PS 34:3

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! ~Psalm 34:3

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Middle of September

Friends and Family,

           I can’t even tell you how excited we are to have the kids finally here with us, in their new home!  Each morning I wake up to kids running around getting ready for school- such a sweet sound!!  We love getting to know the kids more and more on an individual basis.  They are so sweet!  We’ve also begun to learn a few things (good and bad) about our kids: the boys can’t ever play too much soccer, the girls are extremely helpful and they are all destroyers :-)
We gave them 2 full decks of cards to play with last week and told them that we needed every card back when they were done.  When they were done about 2 hours later, we got maybe a deck and a half back.  I kept asking myself, where are all the other cards?  Later that day I kept finding cards randomly around our campus- some outside the fence near the soccer field in the dirt, others were completely torn in half and crumpled up.  Sowe’ve learned through this experience that they need to learn an important lesson about caring for their things before they can play with more cards. 
Last week they also kept asking us for another soccer ball because the one that they had popped.  The reason why soccer balls don’t last our kids very long is because there are so many rocks in their soccer field and often times they’ll kick it into the barbed wire on top of our fence.  So, we told them last Friday night that they wouldn’t get a new ball until they got all the rocks off their soccer field.  We woke up Saturday morning and came out of the house around 7am to find all the boys working out on their soccer field.  It was awesome!  They had been working hard since 6am to flatten it out, picking up rocks, getting rid of all the shrubs and little tree stumps.  Andrew and I helped them measure out a good size field and had them help us clear out some more land. We thought that it was a pretty good size space for them to play on, but they all told us they wanted it bigger. But in order to make it bigger, they had to do a lot more work to clear out more space.  To my surprise, they were so excited to do that because they would get a bigger soccer field.  Anyways, we worked on some other projects that day and periodically checked on the boys.  They all looked really hot, so I said, “Let’s take a break and get some water.”  They told me, “No, we need to keep working.”  They ended up taking a quick break for lunch and then finally stopped at 3pm that afternoon!  I was thoroughly impressed with their work ethic!!  Then we finally gave them a ball to play with and they had a great time that afternoon.    
Just to give you an idea of a typical day for our kids:  They wake up with the sun at about 5:30am, get ready for school and have breakfast before they leave.  Our kids go to school at Mission of Hope from 7am-12pm and they walk a mile each way, unless they are late getting breakfast, in which case, we’ll take them in the truck, which they love :-).  After they get back from school, they eat lunch and then work on their lessons (homework.)  After they’re finished with their homework, the girls do each other’s hair or play with Faith; the boys play soccer or help us with some construction projects; or occasionally they will all play with the 10 cards they have left :-).  Then they will usually eat dinner around 6pm (when it starts to get dark).  Then they have a little free time until Pastor Clairmont comes at 8pm to do a devotional, singing and Scripture memory with them.  After that- they go to bed, usually around 8:30 or 9pm.
I was just thinking about it today and we are so blessed to have the Haitian staff that we do!  God is so good!!!  We (us and all of our prayer warriors) have been praying for a great staff for several months before we even moved to Grand Goave.  We have a head nanny, Chantel, who has been with the kids for the past 3 years and is great with them.  We have a nanny who stays full time with the girls, a Pastor/elder during the day, an elder for the boys at night, three ladies who wash all of the kids’ clothes by hand, and two really sweet cooks.  The really neat thing, is that the two pastors that work for us, their wives are the cooks!  So we’ve got two Haitian families here on staff with us (something that is very rare in Haiti)- what a great role model for these kids! Praise the Lord with us for the great staff He’s provided for us!!
As far as construction goes, we’re still plugging away at our temporary buildings.  We are finally finished with the water tower.  It was Andrew's idea to put a cross in the middle of  Our head nanny, Chantel, just moved into her new house on our site as well.  We are working on the guest houses as well as a house for Michelle (another missionary with HAF that is going to be living with us for a while.)  We’ve got the houses framed and roofed.  Our masons are currently working on the bathrooms for the groups.  We’re also working on extending the fence to include these buildings inside.   Our first group comes October 1st, so we’re trying to finish up their houses before then so they can stay here on site.  Anyways, lots going on still as far as construction projects go. 

-  Praise the Lord for the awesome staff that He’s given us! 
-  Praise Him for the progress so far with the construction.  It’s such a blessing to be able to have a place for these kids to play, eat and sleep.
-  Our internet has been working great lately!  Praise the Lord that we are able to communicate with family and friends back home via skype, even if it is slow, we at least have it!  We are so grateful to be able to still feel connected to loved ones back in the states.  I don't know how missionaries did it a hundred years ago without phones and internet.  How blessed are we to be able to see and talk with family!!
- Praise the Lord for your tremendous amount of prayer support for my Mom these past few weeks.  For all who don't know, my Mom (Robin Hills) was in a saw accident several weeks back.  She lost her pointer and middle finger on her left hand, but they were able to save her thumb and ring finger.  Praise the Lord for an amazing recovery so far!  She seams to be doing great and has such a positive attitude.  It happened on a Friday night and then she went right back to work the next Monday- she couldn't sit still anymore.  Thank you so much for all your prayers for her and our family.  Continue to pray for her as she gets her pins taken out next Tuesday and as she continues to re-learn how to work with a few less fingers.  

-  Continue to pray for us as we minister to these children.  We’re trying to get the construction done before these groups come in, but at the same time, we need to remember our main focus- the kids.  We’re here to minister to these precious children, so pray that we would not loose focus of that amongst all the other things going on here. 
-  Please be praying for one of our kids, Wilson, who is 11 years old.  He’s been having lots of pain in his knees and legs.  He’s seen several doctors and they’re still trying to figure out what’s wrong with him.  We’re trying some medicines to see if it helps his pain.  Pray that we would be able to figure out what’s causing his pain, as it’s keeping him from doing things he likes to do. 
-  We will always need prayer for wisdom in knowing how to raise these children up to fear the Lord.   Please continue to pray for God to show us how to best teach these children as we walk through life with them.  Pray for patience, understanding and God’s wisdom as we work with these 31 kids.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support!  We couldn't do it without you holding the ropes for us :-)  For a few more pictures, feel free to check out our Hands and Feet Facebook page.  

Much love,
     The Suttons

Kids Moved in!!

Family & Friends,

      Well, I am extremely excited to tell you that we have finally moved in all of the kids to their new home!  We finished up today moving all of them in.  Thursday started off really busy: we met with all of the nannies, cooks and wash ladies early that morning and then moved the girls in that evening!  It’s crazy that this is the day we’ve been preparing for so many months and now it’s finally here!  The girls were so excited to say the least.  When we went to go get all of their stuff, they asked me if they were going to move over later and I said, “No, now :-).”  You should have seen their faces- they were so excited and ran to their room to get all their stuff.  They each came running back to the truck with a Rubbermaid container of clothes and a backpack.  They ended up eating dinner at the school, because it was ready, while we took their stuff to the house.  Then we picked them up 30 minutes later.  They were so excited when they went into their new house.  They didn’t fight (like I thought they might) about who got what bed.   They were really cute when picking out beds (mostly based on what sheets were on them.)  I let them get settled in with their nanny, Gadit, while we ate our dinner.  Then I went back a little later and they had unpacked all their stuff and put it in their cubby space.  Before they moved in, I put little nametags on each of their cubby spaces and they were so excited to have their own space with their name on it.  It was amazing to come back in the house that has been the tool room for the past several months to see it now filled with 7 happy girls and all their cute clothes!!  They’ve already made it feel like home.  Also, it was really funny that night, they were telling me some of the rules that we had made for them.  They were telling me that they were going to brush their teeth twice a day and bathe two or three times a day (those were two of our rules).  It was funny- they were really excited about that.  (I think they really like showers because it cools them off :-).  
Last night we had a movie night with the girls.  We watched The Princess Bride in our living room.  I don’t think they understood much of it, but they were so excited, none the less, to be able to watch a “fim.”  They kept asking me, “Does the princess die?  Does he die?”  It was so cute!
            The boys kept asking me, when are we going to live at Hands & Feet with you?  I think they were a little bit jealous of the girls getting to move first.  But finally, we were able to move them in today.  Boy, was that crazy!   The boys were adamant about what bed they wanted and they all had a huge long explanation why they should get it.  So, after about an hour and a half, we finally figured out where everyone was going to sleep.  The funny thing was- everyone wanted the bed with the spiderman sheets on it :-).  I told them we’ll change the sheets every week- but we won’t change your bed every week.  I still don’t think some of them understood, but oh well.  They are all settled in and each of them have their own bed- YAY!  We are also planning on having a big party tomorrow after church for the kids.   The girls helped me make two cakes for the party today :-).
            We also have an intern, Jeremy, who flew in yesterday.  He is a missionary kid from Turkey who is here for a little over 2 weeks to help us out with some construction projects- so that will be great!!  Anyways, lots going on.  But I just wanted to give you all a heads up that we’ve finally moved the kids into their new home.  Keep praying for us as we begin this new chapter with these 31 kids.  We know of a few extremely challenging kids, so pray for wisdom as we deal with them.  Pray that they would respect Andrew’s authority (a lot of Haitian kids don’t listen to us, because we’re American).  Also pray for patience when we’ve got 31 kids asking different questions all at the same time :-).  Thank you so much for all your support!  We couldn’t do this without all of our prayer warriors back in the States!!  Thank you for your role in these kids lives.  We love you guys!