Author Archives: wendy

About wendy

A stay-at-home wife & homeschooling mom, God has given our family an unexpected passion for the children in a little village in Haiti.

Life in Carrefour Poy

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One of “the least of these”

It starts with seeing the sweet face of a child and feeling that pull to share the love of Christ by making sure that child gets an education, a good meal and an opportunity to accept the Savior of his or her precious soul.  As we step forward to do what we can to bless this child, as we write a check from our abundance, as we pray for that child… that child whose picture we see on our refrigerator finds a place in our hearts.  We want to understand what life is really like for him or her, to know their struggles.

It was a privilege to receive a bit of an education about these things during our trip to Haiti.  There is so much more to learn about a culture so different from our own, but here are a few things we thought our sponsors would like to know in order to better understand the children you have chosen to bless.

School- The general attitude about school is very different in Haiti than in America.  That yearly back-to-school tradition that is such a big deal in America is non-existent.  Despite that fact, school is looked upon as a privilege instead of as a right in Haiti.  Children know that they have a chance at a better life if they do well in school. They tend to appreciate the opportunity and work hard to do well.   Many children asked for prayer that they would be successful in school.

1st grade class in session

1st grade class in session

School usually starts at 7am and is done by 1pm.  Children can start school at 3 years old, but it is not uncommon for kids to go years without attending school.  This may be due to family circumstances, lack of a local public school and/or an inability to afford private school.  The earliest grades are 1st, 2nd and 3rd kindergarten which would be similar to our preschool for 3 and 4 year olds and kindergarten.  The school in Carrefour Poy starts with 1st kindergarten, has a combined 2nd and 3rd kindergarten class and has classes for grades 1 through 6th.   An older child just starting school for the first time will usually begin in 3rd kindergarten.

Family- The role of the nuclear family is not as prominent in Haiti as it is in America.  Because of the general poverty of most people, it is very common to send a child to a relative who may be better able to feed and take care of them. We also saw a lot of children with step-families; sometimes due to the death of a parent, sometimes due to divorce.  Several children have close to 20 siblings, usually not from the same parents.  We also discovered that many children do not know their birthdates.

Earning an income– Most adults in the village do have some kind of a job.  As we asked the children what his or her caregiver does for a living, many told us that they sell things in the market or on the street.  As we drove around Haiti we saw many people sitting by the side of the road selling things– produce, candy, shoes and clothing, even electronics.  The market is very similar to what we would call a flea market.

This is the market right outside the village of Carrefour Poy.  it was not open when I took this picture so you can see all the booths from which people sell their wares.

This is the market right outside the village of Carrefour Poy. It was not open when I took this picture so you can see all the booths from which people sell their wares.

Most towns have 2 or 3 days per week when the market is open and the sellers set up their wares in a roughly built booth which they rent for a small fee.  It struck me that it would be very difficult to make a profit when there are so many others selling the same items in such a small area.

Several children said their parent is a builder.  However in a country so poor there are not many jobs for builders.  Sometimes they are hired by the government, but very often do not have any work. Several times as we drove through Carrefour Poy toward the school, we saw a man sitting on a pile of rocks, breaking them up into smaller pieces.  I believe this is the job of a mason.  We knew from the beginning that the father of 2 of our children is a voodoo priest.  However we were told that there are actually several children in the school whose parents are involved in voodoo.

As I said, there is so much to learn, but hopefully this little bit of information will help you understand the life of your sponsored child just a little bit better.  Seeing firsthand what life is like for in Carrefour Poy makes us so much more grateful for your generosity as a sponsor.  You truly are making a difference!  Thank you.

Posted by Wendy

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Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Through the eyes of a 14 year old

My son, Jason, loved our trip to Haiti.  He had a great time getting to know the people and experiencing the culture.  As a mom, it was such a blessing to see how God blessed him during this trip and also how God has used the experience to stretch and grow him for His glory!  Here is the video Jason created, chronicling our adventure:

Posted by Wendy

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions, Shoes, Teachers | Leave a comment

Haiti Trip Overview

Our trip to Haiti was an amazing experience.  I have been home now for several days and my heart and mind are still so full of emotions and excitement, that I am having a difficult time figuring out what to share.  If I told every story and every instance where God showed His graciousness to us, this blog post would be so long that no one would read it!

Our team: Debby, Wendy and Jason, checking our luggage in San Francisco, all fresh and ready for adventure.

Our team: Debby, Wendy and Jason, checking our luggage in San Francisco, all fresh and ready for adventure.

I didn’t know quite what to expect going into this trip, but we had certain things that we did want to accomplish while we were there.  We wanted to meet all of the sponsored children, get updated information and pictures of them and have them write letters to their sponsors.  We also hoped to meet the children who have not yet been sponsored.  We wanted to meet all the teachers and see the school in action, and learn about life in the village.  We also wanted to establish stronger relationships with the people who we are working with on this project, specifically, Gilbert and Claudel and others who work at the school.   Although we did not have time to meet every one of the unsponsored children, we did meet many of them and we accomplished all of the other things on our list and then some!

Claudel took us to all the classrooms so we could meet the teachers and children.

Claudel took us to all the classrooms so we could meet the teachers and children.

We also got to bless the school staff with a luncheon in their honor, small gifts to help them as they teach and care for the children, and a small monetary bonus to show them how much we value and appreciate the work they do, thanks to the generosity of our church family.

The teachers looked through the little gifts we brought them while Debby shared a short message of encouragement from Colossians 3:16,17

The teachers looked through the little gifts we brought them while Debby shared a short message of encouragement from Colossians 3:16,17

We brought three duffle bags and a large suitcase full of shoes and socks for the children.  Even with so many, we sadly ran out of shoes before we ran out of feet to wear them. We do have a few more pairs that we just could not squeeze into our luggage, plus quite a few pairs were donated by Debby’s brother’s church in Texas!  We will get the rest of the shoes to Carrefour Poy as soon as we are able.  We also brought gifts from sponsors to their children & little toys for all the kids.

Debby and Gilmine helping a student find a pair of shoes in our little shoe shop

Debby and Gilmine helping a student find a pair of shoes in our little shoe shop

One of the things that made this trip so amazing is that we had the privilege of seeing so many different aspects of Haiti.  We stayed at Pastor Gilbert’s humble but comfortable home in Port-au-Prince.  We spent several days at the school in Carrefour Poy and one afternoon visiting families in the village, walking past several voodoo temples and seeing a little of what daily life is like for these children.

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We drove through tent cities in Port-au-Prince, both the newer & slightly “cleaner” ones and the original, extremely cramped, dirty & disorganized one.

One of many tent cities in Port-au-Prince

One of many tent cities in Port-au-Prince

Pastor Gilbert took us up into the beautiful lush hills to the south of Port-au-Prince where he said the “big shots” live and showed us a beautiful view looking down on the city and the bay.

Port-au-Prince from above

Port-au-Prince from above

Then we headed back down into the hot, crowded streets of downtown Port-au-Prince where you can still see earthquake damage that has not been cleaned up after 3 years.

Damage from the January 2010 earthquake

Damage from the January 2010 earthquake

We visited street vendors and a regular grocery store called “The Eagle”.   We witnessed a baptism in a river near a little rural village,  and spent an afternoon enjoying the hot sands and clear, blue water at the beach.

A beautiful beach in Haiti

A beautiful beach in Haiti

I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced so much in one week in Haiti and to have the privilege of investing in the lives of these beautiful children.  This overview could not possibly cover everything we did. We will be posting a few other blogs with some more specifics about our trip in the near future.

Until then… “Orevwa!”

Posted by Wendy

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions, Shoes, Teachers | 3 Comments

Giving Thanks

IMG_1011I was thrilled when I checked my email on Thanksgiving morning & found that Claudel had sent me several pictures of the children eating their first meal provided by The Bridge funds!

It is amazing to see the work God has done through this little program in the year it has been in existence.  Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the school has been able to stay open allowing these children the opportunity of a good education and the blessing of learning more about Christ every day.  Not only that, but Pastor Gilbert has been able to add a school nurse to the school staff to watch over the health of the kids and we have been able to start the school meal program!

 

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Currently, we are able to serve meals twice a month, but we have high hopes of being able to increase that amount in the near future.

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Thank you so very much to our sponsors and to everyone who has donated to our school meal fund for helping to make this happen!  And thanks be to God for allowing us to be a part of His plan for providing for His precious little ones!

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.  Isaiah 58:10

 

Categories: Children, Haiti, Hunger, School meals | Leave a comment

A Big Goal

We’ve been working off and on throughout the summer getting this website ready to share with the world.  Now that it is done, it’s time for a new goal!

When we met with Pastor Gilbert this past May, one of the big topics of discussion was how we can implement a consistent school lunch program.  Gilbert feels confident that once we have 100 children sponsored, a school lunch program would be sustainable for the entire school!  We’ve felt from the beginning that feeding the children meals on a daily basis is an important part of this ministry.  Most of these children get only one meal a day, and in the wake of tropical storm Isaac, food may be even more scarce for the poorer families in the village.

Currently, we have 38 children sponsored, so comparatively speaking, 100 is a big number!  How can you help?  First, you can pray.  We know that our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He has already shown us that he can and will provide more than we know to ask or even think.  Second, it would be huge if you could help get the word out about The Bridge sponsorship program.  Share a link to this website with your friends and family via email or on your Facebook page or blog.

We are praying that this website will be a good way to not only communicate with our current sponsors, but also to share our vision with a greater audience and hopefully be able to make an even bigger impact for God’s glory in the village of Carrefour Poy.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  James 2:15-16

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, School meals | 3 Comments

Notes for the kids

With a team (which included my husband) scheduled to go to Carrefour Poy to build a roof for the church in early May, I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to invite our sponsors to write notes for the children they are sponsoring.

I also thought it would be a good time to involve the children at our church in the ministry & give them the opportunity to share the love of Christ with others.  Kids from our Sunday School, Childrens’ Church & youth classes all participated by writing letters, Bible verses and drawing pictures to send to Carrefour Poy.  We ended up collecting about 70 letters to send to the children, letting them know we love them and are praying for them.

Here is Claudel passing notes out to the children:

Madocher with his note:

Litane with her note:

Monel & Diega looking at each others notes:

A group of girls reading their notes:

Thank you to everyone who spent time writing notes to the children & praise God for the opportunity to share His love with the kids in Carrefour Poy!

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions | Leave a comment

The Original Bridge

In January of 2010, our family did not have a television.  We heard about the earthquake in Haiti on the radio and then had to wait until people started posting pictures on the internet to see the devastation.   My oldest son, Jason, who was 11 at the time and I sat at the computer looking at pictures and videos with tears in our eyes.  I remember him saying quietly. “I want to go there.”  When I asked him why he wanted to go there he said simply, “I want to play with those kids and make them smile.”

Since it was not feasible at the time to go to Haiti my son decided he wanted to raise money to help them out in some way.  I helped him make jars with signs on them asking people to donate their spare change to the children in Haiti; he put these in several stores in our home town and ended up collecting $235!  In November of 2010 a team from our church went to Haiti with that none shall perish.   Jason sent the money he had collected with them, asking them to use it in some way to help children.

When the team visited the village of Carrefour Poy, they learned that it would be helpful to have a bridge over a little stream that runs near the church and school.  This little stream is the village’s main source of water, but during the rainy season in Haiti, the stream turns into a raging torrent which would make it impossible for the children to cross to get to school.  The money that Jason collected was just enough to purchase all the materials needed to build a bridge over the stream.

Jeremy (Jason’s dad) and Logan of That None Shall Perish ministries with some of the kids of Carrefour Poy standing on the bridge in November of 2011.

Categories: Children, Haiti, Missions | Leave a comment

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