PS 34:3

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

End of October Snapshot

Bonjour Friends and Family,

Well it's been a busy few weeks here at the Hands and Feet Village in GG.  We had two teams back to back the first two weeks of October.  They were awesome!  The first team from Ventura, CA was a group of 9 guys who helped us finish up the guest houses, fix some plumbing problems, made two professional size soccer goals for our kids and gave us lot of encouragement.  The second team from Owensboro, KY was a group of 6 girls and 1 guy- almost the complete opposite from the first team.  But it was awesome because they were able to focus a little more on the girls this week.  They had a girls night where they painted nails, made jewelry and just hung out.  Our girls had a blast!!  One night we had a campfire- roasted hot dogs and marshmallows (which the kids absolutely loved!) and they told some Bible stories.  They also helped us out with a lot of painting, made some signs for the kids' bathroom and other random miscellaneous projects.   So needless to say, these groups were awesome and I believe they left Haiti changed. 
Time of transition.  Since then, we've been trying to recover and get back into a routine :-).  It was really nice the first few days to take it easy and slowly get things put back together (lots of laundry and cleaning, lots of donated things to be put away in the depot etc.).   But we realized in those first few days that we're in a transition period now.  The first 5 months of being in GG were mostly focused on construction and getting our houses put up and functioning.  We are now finished with all of our temporary houses and are shifting to focus more on our ministry with the kids.  Our village is built- how exciting!  Don't get me wrong, we absolutely loved working on the houses and all the construction projects, but it's also a nice refreshing change to be able to focus on raising these children!  Andrew is still overseeing several projects that our Haitian masons are working on (our sign and the permanent wall) but I am able to focus most of my time on Faith and coming up with ideas and things to work on with the kids.
            Our HAF Boutique.  One of our new ideas for the kids is to create a store for them to be able to buy things at using points that they earn throughout the week for doing their chores.  My parents and youngest brother, Nick, are coming down in a little over 1 week.  One of our big projects for my mom is to help us make shelves and organizing our depot.  In the depot, we'll have a little section for the store.  When teams come in and want to give candy and toys to the kids, we are going to ask them to donate it to the store so that the kids can buy whatever they want with the points that we give them each week.  They can earn points by doing their chores on time, helping out around the village and memorizing their memory verse each week.  This way, we're hoping that they will learn to take care of their belongings if they have to work for it.  We're also hoping that it will help teach them to not beg and expect things from groups when they come in.  Right now, it's just like Christmas for the kids every time a new group comes in and they learn to expect things from all Americans.  We're trying to break that habit with our store.  Anyways- it's just a fun thing that we'll be starting in the next couple of weeks. 
            Getting acclimated to the Haitian culture.  It seams to be going well with our language learning and being able to function when going out to buy supplies.  For the most part, we're able to communicate with the Haitians, it is still really helpful if they can speak slowly for us :-).   I also think I hit a missionary milestone yesterday.  I needed to go to the market to buy a few vegetables and some eggs.   Our Haitian staff asked me if I needed them to go with me and I said, "No, I think I can handle it."  Anyways, I was really excited to be able to buy vegetables and not feel like I was getting ripped off because I was white :-).   I got the same price that I did when I went with our head nanny!!!  It was exciting to know that I can now go to the market and buy whatever we need without feeling dependent upon another Haitian.  It only took me 6 ½ months to get here, but I've finally made it- praise the LORD!
            On a little heavier note.   Last week we heard of an orphanage that was being shut down by the President of Haiti about 1 hour away from us.   This orphanage had about 75 kids at any given time.  Apparently, missionary teams would come in to visit the kids and each time they came back, there were 25 brand new kids and 25 of the old kids had gone missing.  The staff completely denied having any of the previous 25 kids at all.  So anyways, one of the local missionaries started checking things out because things didn't seem to be adding up.  She came to find that they had not only been selling the children, but they had been killing some of these kids to sell their organs! !  Can you imagine someone doing that?!  It breaks my heart every time I tell the story.  Can you imagine the fear that the rest of the kids at the orphanage are dealing with right now?!?!  Heavy stuff.  All that to tell you that there's a possibility in the upcoming weeks that we might get a few more of those kids here in GG.  We have the capacity to take 3 more girls for sure.  If we needed to, my parents could help us build another building for some more boys when they come down.  SO- anyways, I would ask for you to be praying for the rest of the kids at that orphanage.  The President has given the kids to a local missionary for now and they are going to work on trying to find as many of the kids' parents as possible, and then the rest that don't have any parents will be put into other orphanages that have space. 

-       Praise the Lord for the amazing two groups that came in October!  They were such a huge help and encouragement to all of the staff here in Grand Goave.
-       Praise the Lord for His protection over Faith!  She has learned how to escape out of her (close to 4' tall) crib and has landed on the concrete floor- unharmed!  The only thing I can say is: praise the Lord and thank You, Jesus!!!  What a mighty God we serve!!
-       We also want to praise the Lord for all the construction progress that has been made since June!  WOW!  Thank you Lord for the funds for all of these buildings as well as the help we've received to finish them up. 
-       Please be praying for the kids at that orphanage that was just shut down.  Pray for safety, healing and restoration.  Pray that through all of this, they will be drawn so much closer to Jesus and lean on Him for their every need!
-       Pray with us for one of our kids, Wilson.  I don't have all the details right now, but he's dealing with some serious health issues.  He's getting a CT scan done this morning, that will help us know a little more about what's going on.  Please be in prayer for his health and that the doctors would be able to diagnose what's wrong with him.
-       We also have another one of our kids, Shivens, who has a cataract in his right eye.  We had an American eye doctor check it out and he gave us a few places to go to have it removed.  Please be praying for the details as we try to arrange this operation over the next few months. 
-       Discipline for the kids.  Please be praying for us as we continue to raise these kids.  This is a constant prayer request.  Some of the kids have a lot of baggage that we don't even know about, and it's hard to get through to them sometimes.  Pray that God would give us not only patience and understanding, but also wisdom to know how to best train these kids.

Thank you guys so much for your continued prayer support!  Without you- our ministry is not possible!  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beginning of October Snapshot

Friends and Family,

It's time for another update from Grand Goave, Haiti.   We have been having a great time getting to know the kids better over these past few weeks!  We've been learning a lot as new parents to 31 kids of a different culture :-).  It is really fun at times, but it can also be equally as stressful.  My favorite part of the day is at 12:15pm when the kids get home from school I get overwhelmed by 31 hugs and sweaty kisses from all of our kids- the most amazing feeling ever!!!  On the other hand, it's a little draining when you have to tell all 31 kids several times each AND at separate times why they are not allowed to watch the movie this week.  I guess that's what we signed up for though, right? 
The kids had last Thursday and Friday off from school because of a teacher conference.  So we helped them put their hand and foot print in the concrete of the dining area with their names underneath.  They had a blast with that!!!  They are also completely fascinated with our dryer (which some of our supporters so graciously donated to us- thank you!).  The kids will stand around and watch me take my clothes out of the washer WET and put them in the dryer and then a few hours later, they're DRY!  They all have to feel our clothes before they go in the dryer to make sure that they're really wet and then after to make sure they really are dry.  It's so cute to see their reaction after they touch the clothes out of the dryer- they always say, "It's dry!" like it's some sort of miracle. 
As far as construction goes, we were pushing and pushing to get our guest houses finished for our team that came in yesterday.  We are still not 100% finished, but enough done for them to survive comfortably :-).  We are really excited to have this group of 9 guys here from California to help us out for the week.  They are all ready to work and have many different skills to offer, which is great!  We picked them up from the airport yesterday in the big Deuce (we are still trying to figure out a name for that thing :-).  I, Angie, rode in the back with them while Andrew and Faith had some good bonding time up front.  It was really not a bad ride in the back on the troop seats.  It thought it would be really rough and not very comfortable, but it was actually quite enjoyable.  It was a totally new perspective for me to see Haiti not behind a glass window.  You wouldn't think that it's really all that different, but when you're riding in the open back of a truck all of your senses are engaged.  Anyways, it was neat to be with the team as they began to see and experience Haiti for the first time.  You could see their hearts break for the people of Haiti.  Some were silent the whole way (2 hours) as they were overwhelmed by the tremendous amount poverty. 
We had a great service this morning at church and then went down to the beach with the team and kids for an afternoon swim.  The kids (well, honestly and the team) absolutely love riding in the Deuce and ask if we can take it everywhere now.  (I'm attaching a few pictures of the kids in the deuce.)
We are looking forward to a great week with this group from California who leave next Saturday.  Then next Sunday, we've got another group coming in for a week.  So we'll be pretty busy these next couple of weeks with entertaining, organizing groups and helping to translate between the kids and the teams.  But we are also extremely excited to be able to see so many willing hearts to come and serve here.  Here are some praises and prayer requests that you can be lifting up before our Father over the next few weeks on our behalf.  Thanks again for all of your support!
-       Praise Him for the safe travels for our team from CA to Grand Goave.
-       Praise the Lord for the encouragement we've already received from the group, what a huge blessing!
-       I also want to praise the Lord for sending in some help at just the right time.  If I can be honest, we were getting a little weary with all of the work to be done.  But God knew and He provided this team at just the right time to come in and help us out and to lift us up.  It's also really neat because right now our biggest need from a team is help with construction- and who did God send us?  A team of 9 men who are skilled in so many areas and are all excited and ready to work!!!  Our God is awesome like that!!
-       This isn't part of our ministry in Haiti, but I'm so excited and wanted to share with all of you.  I want to praise the Lord with some of our good friends from SC, (the Eusey's) who have been preparing to go to Japan for the past several years.  What a long and hard process it's been for them.  God has provided all of the funds and they are now cleared to go to Japan the end of this month!!  PRAISE THE LORD!
-       Please be praying for these two teams as they minister this week and help out with various projects.  Pray that they would not only get a glimpse of God's heart for the world but that He would speak to them individually in amazing ways these two weeks. 
-       Pray for patience, grace and flexibility as we have lots going on especially this week.  
-       Michelle is a missionary from the PAP site (most recently) and is coming to stay with us in Grand Goave on Wednesday full time.  Please pray for that transition that it would go smooth and that we would be unified as we work towards one goal.  Satan likes nothing better than to divide believers against themselves.  So pray that as our team grows here in GG that we would all continue to work towards the same goal.

     Hand and Feet prints in the dining area

     Getting out of the Deuce for church!

    On the way to the beach with everyone!