PS 34:3

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

January Update

Friends and Family,
                 This is a much needed and long overdue update on our lives for the past month.  It seemed that every year during the beginning of December (when we were in the States), our lives got so busy.  We had parties, Christmas programs, rehearsals, shopping to do and who knows what else.  I thought that the month of December wouldn't be as crazy in a third world country- but I was wrong!  Ours was busy for a little different reason, but still crazy nonetheless.  Anyways- I will give you a quick synopsis of the last month.
We had a group come in December 10-18 to help us with some activities with the kids- making Christmas cookies, building some bunk beds and helping us with our Birthday party for Jesus.  The group acted out the Christmas story while one of the girls read it in Creole, we sang some Christmas carols, happy birthday Jesus and then had a bunch of American food for the kids.  I think they really enjoyed it.
            The Jacmel kids got pretty well adjusted to life in Grand Goave- going to church and school here.  I don't think we ever got adjusted though :-).  It was a really stressful month of having the kids here with no end in site (we just didn't know when they were going to move back.)  The kids were all out of school by December 12 too (which didn't help with our downtime :-).  The biggest issue was that our campus is not big enough to host 100+ people (for a long extended period of time.)  The kids were getting themselves in trouble just because there wasn't a whole lot of space for them to play.  So anyways, after a long stressful month they went back to their home on December 19th.
            I will tell you that the day after they all left, it felt really quiet and empty.  We didn't know what to do with ourselves :-).  It was weird only seeing our 31 kids instead of the 89 kids that were just running around the day before.  But it was a refreshing and much needed quiet time.  I felt like I was able to focus on getting Christmas presents organized, stockings labeled, making ornaments with the kids and just hanging out with our kids on their break.  We had a lot of fun that week before Christmas. 
            Celebrating Christmas in Haiti is definitely a lot different than what we're used to- but fun!  For example, it never really felt like Christmas because it was in the 80s all the time- that was a little weird.  But we did have a fake Christmas tree with lights, stockings and Christmas music.  The Haitians typically don't do a lot of gift giving, since they are so poor.  Most of their celebration is on Christmas Eve with lots of food and music.  Our church hosted a Christmas party on the 24th that we went to with our kids.  Then the following morning Andrew and our kids went to church and came back to find lots of presents and an American breakfast casserole waiting.  The kids had never received so many gifts before!  They were blown away at all the stuff!  It was really neat because we had four different groups that gave the kids presents.  A lot of their sponsors gave them a backpack filled with stuff, the Northside Kids Music and Missions gave them a huge box full of goodies and sneakers, the Lexington Business Exchange gave them each some toys and a Christmas outfit and one of our best friends who monogrammed a towel for each of our kids.  We literally had to take a break in the middle of opening gifts.  It had been 1 ½ hours and we were only half way done!  We also left a few gifts to be opened the day after because the kids were getting worn out :-).  When you think about 31 kids opening gifts up individually for a picture to send their sponsor, it adds up really quick :-).  Anyways- they were really excited and had an amazing Christmas! 
            Yesterday I was blown away at our kids.  They started coming to me one by one asking if I could type this thank you letter to their sponsors and those that gave them their gifts!  Some of them would come to me with a letter and asking me, "what is their name, so I can write this letter to them?"  It was the sweetest thing!!  And the best part- they would all end it with "I love you."
            We decided to make New Years really special for our kids- so we decided to take a road trip to Jacmel to visit their cousins :-).  We loaded up in two pick up trucks (because the battery for the Deuce was dead) and started over the mountain.  It was pretty funny because this is the first big road trip for most of these kids.  It was just like any other family- "are we almost to Jacmel yet?" (30 minutes into the trip).  We also stopped about 45 minutes into the trip for a puke and pee break.  Haha- the mountain road is pretty curvy, so we had to stop about every 30 minutes after that for several of them to get it out of their system. Then once we got there, we went to the beach with the kids.  This was the first time a lot of them had seen such big waves!  Our beach on the inside coast of Haiti in GG is protected, therefore, not as many waves.  They had a blast at this sandy beach in Jacmel.  Then later that night we had popcorn, cake and a movie- which they really enjoyed.  What a great New Years! 
            OK, now, thinking ahead to the next month.  We are planning on coming to the states for 2 ½ weeks: January 20- February 8.   We will fly back to Atlanta late on Jan 20 to spend the following day just resting as a family and getting used to American culture again.  Then we will spend the 22nd visiting and sharing with a new church.  Then we will head to SC Jan 23rd and will be there until the following Sunday, Jan 29th.  We will then make our way north, making a few stops on the way to visit friends.  We will then be in NY from Jan 31-Feb 6.  Then we will fly to Florida for two days to visit my grandparents and head back to Haiti Feb 8.  We would love to see and visit with as many people as we can- so please help us out and let us know what nights you're free so we can start planning out the schedule :-).  Thanks!

-       Praise the Lord for an amazing Christmas and New Years with the kids!  What a great time to be able to spend with these kids and share about why we celebrate this season!
-       Praise the Lord for his sustaining grace in getting us through the month of having the Jacmel kids here!  (There were a few times where I thought I was going to go crazy :-).
-       Praise the Lord for a healthy pregnancy so far- feeling great!
-       Looking back on this past year for our kids- praise the Lord for providing each of them with their own bed, space for clothes and belongings and more importantly a place to call home.
Prayer requests:
-       Please be praying with us about our mountain property.  (I don't know how much I've already shared with you guys.)  HAF owns a piece of property on a mountain here in GG, but they weren't able to find a lot of water when they dug the well last Spring.  We would still love to be able to use our property up there for building our permanent structures.  We've got all the supplies we need to test the well to see how much it actually will produce.  Please be praying for us as we pursue this next phase in starting to potentially build on this property!  Pray that God would provide the water that we need to be able to sustain a HAF village up there, if that's His will.
-       Pray that during this next week of kids being off from school that we would really be able to pour into their lives.  We are starting to plan out some Bible studies and devotions with our kids.  Pray as we plan this that we would be able to communicate it well to the kids and that they would continue to grow closer to Christ.
-       PLEASE continue to pray for the salvation of our kids!  In the next few weeks, we would like to sit down with each kid to be able to talk through the Gospel with them and ask them if they've ever made a decision to follow Christ before.  Please be praying for these conversations and that He would bind the enemy as we become more intentional about investing in their spiritual lives.
Thanks again for all your love and support over this past year!  We are so grateful for your prayerful, financial and emotional support!!! We hope you had an amazing and Christ-filled Christmas and New Years!!!

Much love,
   ~ The Suttons

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faintIsaiah 40:31
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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