Children

Big Things in Carrefour Poy

There are few big things to report that have happened recently in Carrefour Poy.

This first one brings me so much joy!

Claudel emailed me recently to tell me that the mother of two of our sponsored children has accepted Christ as her Savior!  Here is the story as told to me by Claudel:

It is a obligation for all the children of The Bridge to come to Church every Sunday. But some of them refuse to come. I [will] go to talk to them and their families. It is the case for Michelet and Michelda. I explain how it is important and who is Jesus and Michelet, Michelda and their mom all began to come. A month ago she became Christian.

On our About Us page, I wrote

Our prayer is that God will provide the increase through these children to reach their families, friends, and neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is so exciting to hear about one way that prayer has been answered.  Thank you so much to our sponsors who have believed with me that God is working through this ministry.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

The second big thing to report is another answered prayer:

When Claudel told me about the new regulations requiring that the school in Carrefour Poy open a seventh grade class, I was so overwhelmed by the thought of the extra money we would need for that to happen, that I couldn’t even think about the space needed to house the extra classes.  I prayed about it and felt that in light of everything I was dealing with, God was not calling me to try to raise funds to build the extra classrooms.  With some trepidation, I determined to trust that God would provide another way.

At one point Claudel emailed me to ask if I had been able to raise money to build more classroms & I wrote him back saying that I was not able to raise the money, but that I was looking forward to seeing how God would answer that prayer.

Construction began when the school received a small amount of money from the Haitian government, but when that money was gone, construction stopped.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

In August, with the construction at a stand still and new school year approaching, Pastor Gilbert came to the states and spent a Sunday with us at Grace Fellowship.  After leaving Amador County he spent the next few days with a friend who is also one of our sponsors.  A few hours after Gilbert left here, I got a phone call from him telling me that this gentleman wanted to pay to finish the construction!  Praise God!

When Gilbert arrived back in Haiti, the construction began again, and there are now 3 new classrooms on the 2nd floor of the school!

New classrooms ready for the new seventh grade class.

Construction is complete on three new classrooms which were built to accomodate the seventh grade class.

12053277_774198929369097_1069205716_n

Ready for higher education with new upstairs classrooms!

The last thing to report is a big prayer request.

Over the last month there has been widespread, violent rioting in the city of Arcahaie as the citizens are protesting the government.

Claudel sent me this picture of the riots in Arcahaie.

Claudel sent me this picture of some of the rioting in Arcahaie.

Since Carrefour Poy is on the outskirts of Arcahaie, it has been too dangerous for the children to go to school so far this year.  Please join me in praying that this rebellion will come to a quick and peaceful resolution and that the leaders of our school will use wisdom as they balance the safety of the children with the importance of their education.

Oh Lord, God of our Fathers, are You not God in the Heavens? Are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand…

2 Chronicles 20:6

Advertisements
Categories: Children, Education, Haiti, Missions, Salvation, Sponsors | 1 Comment

Hoop Dreams

Life is just rushing by and I haven’t had a chance to finish updating our sponsors and friends about all of the exciting things that happened while we were in Haiti this summer.  To finally continue, in this post, my son Brennan will share with you the story of the basketball hoop.

*****

I really like basketball and since other people do sports ministries, like our friends Luke & Becca who have a soccor ministry in Malawi, that got me wanting to do something with basketball.  I was able to raise money by collecting donations and doing jobs to earn money.  Most of that money went toward the cost of the trip, but I also earned some extra to pay for the hoop.  Then I found out that someone donated it!

When we got it there I couldn’t wait to put it up, but we had to wait until Tuesday because that’s when the rest of the team would be there to hang it.

When we got to Carrefour Poy, we saw that the wall wasn’t high enough for a basketball hoop and the ground was muddy and rocky with roots sticking up from a nearby mango tree. We talked to Claudel and Pastor Gilbert who made some phone calls that we couldn’t understand.

Discussing the placement of the court.

Discussing the placement of the court.

After a while, the man who lives next door to the school came with an ax and began chopping up the roots.

Monsier Lebreton chopping out the tree root.

Monsier Lebreton chopping out the tree root.

Then he skillfully climbed the tree and chopped down a branch that was in the way.

Chopping down a branch from the mango tree to make space for the basketball court.

Chopping down a branch from the mango tree to make space for the basketball court.

While he was doing that, someone drove away in Gilbert’s car and came back with a trunk load of bricks.

Some of the school boys unloading bricks from the back of Gilbert's car.

Some of the school boys unloading bricks from the back of Gilbert’s car.

After the bricks were unloaded, some men from the village started building the wall.

Then, one of the kids who goes to the school started bringing wheelbarrows full of gravel to use for the cement for the court.  Thankfully, the money I had raised for the basketball hoop was available for all the supplies and to pay the people who did the work!

By then it was late and we had to go back to Gilbert’s house, so unfortunately we weren’t able to see the cement being poured.

The next day the rest of the team arrived in Haiti and  I was very glad to see other kids who spoke English!  While collecting all the luggage at the airport, we found out it had been quite an adventure getting the basketball hoop there.   The airline workers said that they can’t transport that big of a box.  After a long discussion trying to come up with solution, Christian, the leader of the team, asked if it could be transported out of the box.  The lady said “Yes, of course that will work.” So they took it out and put all the bolts and brackets in separate suitcases.  Thankfully, it all got there safely!

All ready for the hoop to be hung!

All ready for the hoop to be hung!

On Tuesday when we got to Carrefour Poy to teach VBS the wall and cement was all finished and ready for the hoop to be hung!  After the VBS was over, several of the team members and I put the basketball hoop up.  While we were working, we discovered that the battery powered drill that Gilbert had wasn’t strong enough to drill through the cement wall.  We had to get another drill and plug it into the generator that they have at the school.

100_2550

Brian securing the brackets to the wall.

After all the bolts and the framing were installed, I got to attach the backboard.  I also got to put the netting on the hoop before it was attached to the backboard.

group

Kyle, Brian Sr., Brian Jr., Brennan and Christian on the court with a group of kids in Carrefour Poy.

All the kids were so happy that once the basketballs were pumped up, we immediately started playing. Even though the Haitians didn’t know all the rules, they knew the gist of the game, and we had a lot of fun!

A group of kids enjoying the basketball court!

A group of kids enjoying the basketball court!

*Special thanks to Mike Stromberg, Brian Whaling Sr and Jr, and Kyle Catto for helping with this project, as well as the whole team for making sure the hoop made it to Haiti!

 

Categories: basketball, Children, Haiti, Missions | 1 Comment

The Children and their Families

So much was accomplished in my 10 days in Haiti.  In my last post, I was unable to figure out which details to share and which to leave out and so I ended up just writing a brief overview.  Now I am going to attempt to share the main points of interest in a few posts without turning this into a 47 part series!  So many things happened that I want to share with you all, that it will be an exercise in restraint.

My first priority for the trip was to meet with every child who is sponsored through The Bridge.  I had asked our sponsors to provide me with a note of encouragement for their child, a picture of themselves and if possible, a small gift of some sort.

Ronaldina loved her doll!

Ronaldina loves her new doll!

I know our sponsors truly care about the children they sponsor and I wanted the children to be able to connect with them; to understand that they are a real person who not only is paying for their education, but also thinks about them, prays for them and truly cares for them.

So, my first two days in Haiti consisted of meeting with the children and delivering those gifts to them.   It was a joy to watch the children open their gifts and to see their smiles!

Monel was excited to have his own flashlight.

Monel was excited to have his own flashlight.

However, this was also one of the parts of my trip that I struggled with.  I never intended to become Santa Claus to these children, but I am afraid that that is exactly what I set myself up for.  As fun as it was to actually deliver the gifts, throughout the time that I spent in Carrefour Poy, children were asking me for things- a “machin” (toy car), “poupe” (doll), or “one dollar”.  I felt like I was causing greed and selfishness to come out in their little hearts.  And it was heartbreaking not to be able to give a little something to each and every child. In the interest of luggage space, I had only brought gifts to the sponsored children.  (We actually brought another gift for the whole school, but I will write about that in another post.)

I am keenly aware of the fact that what these precious souls truly need is food, water, an education and most importantly the Gospel of Christ.  These are the reasons The Bridge exists.  I guess my hope and prayer is that somehow the love of Christ will shine through the generosity of our sponsors in the gifts they sent.

Claudel, Sander and Alix helped the children write thank you notes after they received their gifts.

Claudel, Sander and Alix helped the children write thank you notes after they received their gifts.

After meeting with all the children who were available in those first two days (there were just a few who were away or sick), I visited a few of the families at their homes to invite them to a meeting for the families of The Bridge kids. As I didn’t have time to go to everyones’ house, (well, really I quickly became worn out from walking around the village in the heat and humidity), Claudel invited the rest of the families.

This family consists of a father, daughter and 3 brothers who are either cousins or friends of the family.

This household consists of a father, daughter and 3 brothers who are either cousins or friends of the family.

Several months ago, I was praying over this trip & asking the Lord to clarify the things He wanted me to do. During that prayer, I had the thought to invite the families of our sponsored kids to a meeting to talk to them about The Bridge program.  Along with that thought came a very brief outline of four points to share with them.  Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE to speak in front of people!  I wasn’t sure if this was really what God wanted me to do, but besides that, I wasn’t even sure it was something I could do! Nonetheless, I wrote down the four point outline & kept it to pray over.  Eventually I asked a couple other people to pray about it also and I mentioned it to Gilbert and Claudel as something we could do if we had time while I was there.

As the time drew near, we scheduled the family meeting into the trip, but I still didn’t know what I was going to say about the 4 points that God had originally given me.  Finally, 3 days before I left for Haiti, I sat down at my computer & filled in some details about those points.

I woke up the morning of the family meeting feeling paralyzed with fear.  I emailed a few friends to ask for prayer and then I prayed, read scriptures, and reviewed the message I would be giving, but my nerves would not calm down. During the whole long drive to Carrefour Poy that day I felt sick with anxiety.  The youth group team prayed for me also before I left them in Bellanger where they were teaching VBS that day.

Claudel helped to serve the meal after the meeting.

Claudel helped to serve the meal after the meeting.

And then, when I got out of the car in Carrefour Poy, I had a minute to check on the cook who was preparing the meal we were serving the families before I was taken into the main church building and it was time.  In that moment, my nerves calmed, and I was able to share the message I believe the Lord wanted me to share.

It wasn’t a long or particularly deep message. It was all about the fact that we, as sponsors, love their children because of Christ’s love for us.  I talked about the importance of the children for the future of their community & the beautiful country of Haiti.  I talked about the importance of their role of influence in their children’s lives, the importance of education, and that we all- the children, their families, the teachers and the sponsors are all a team working together toward the goal of helping each child reach his or her potential.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to snap this picture of my audience right before I started speaking.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to snap this picture of my audience right before I started speaking.

Then I reminded them that we do this because Christ first loved us and I shared a short and simple Gospel message. I had just finished sharing the Gospel and was about to finish my message when one of the fathers who was there stood up and began talking loudly while flailing his arms around.

I have met this man a few times before and he is one of the local voodoo priests.  I don’t know if he had ever been in a church before, so I was so glad to see that he had come.  I don’t really know what he was saying, perhaps he was just talking nonsense, because pretty quickly after he stood up the rest of the audience was trying to shush him and get him to sit back down.  As I watched him, I thought for a moment that maybe he was calling curses down on me, and yet I felt completely safe and at peace, knowing that God was protecting me.

I ask that you join me in prayer for this man and his family.  Specifically, that the Gospel message would take seed in his heart and that he would respond to God’s call.

The voodoo priest with two of his children, both of whom are sponsored through The Bridge.

The voodoo priest with two of his children, both of whom are sponsored through The Bridge.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.     John 1:5

After the voodoo priest settled down and I finished my talk, I asked the families if they had any questions for me about The Bridge program.  Several people raised their hands, and although there were a couple questions, most people simply wanted to express their thankfulness to those who are sponsoring their children. I wish you all could have been there with me to see the gratefulness in their eyes as they told stories of not being able to afford books or uniforms or even tuition, and the hope that they now have for their children’s future thanks to your generosity.

From the children and their families, from Claudel, the teachers, Pastor Gilbert, and from me… Thank you.

We love, because He first loved us.     1 John 4:19

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 2 Comments

Joy & Blessings in Haiti

The first time I went to Haiti, I was on a spiritual and emotional high the whole time.  I was not sure what to expect this time, but I had a feeling it might not be the same mountain top experience it had been the first time.  I struggled a lot during this trip with discouragement- questioning whether this little program is really doing any good.  I was very tired during most of the trip and I  just plain missed my family.  Ten days was a long time to be away from my husband & youngest son.   I also saw many things that just broke my heart.  I witnessed and experienced the spiritual battle in Haiti.  I was and am abundantly thankful for all those who prayed for me and for this trip.  I felt God’s protection surrounding me.

Despite the struggles I experienced, it was really a great trip, filled with many moments of joy!

Loving being surrounded by these beautiful kids!

Loving being surrounded by these beautiful kids!

I loved having the opportunity to spend some “down time” in Carrefour Poy, which I did not get on my last trip.  I had time to watch the children play, to talk with them, to hold them.  These are some of my favorite memories!

It was a huge blessing to meet with all of the sponsored children as well as some of their families and hear a little about how The Bridge is making a difference in their lives.

The family of some of our kids in front of their home.

The family of some of our kids in front of their home.

I loved sharing this experience with my middle son, Brennan.  I loved watching him communicate and make friends with all the children in spite of the language barrier.

Brennan with some of his new friends. :)

Brennan with some of his new friends. 🙂

Seeing all the people I met on my last trip was a treat.  So many friendly faces, and I count it a privilege to get to work with some of them.

It was great driving around with Gilbert.  I received the benefit of his wisdom and learned a lot about Haitian culture & ministry in general.  It was also exciting to brainstorm new ideas of how we can continue to help the school in Carrefour Poy with him & dream about even bigger things for the future of this ministry!  I will be writing a little about some of those things in a future blog post.

In the car with Gilbert... and this time I got to drive!

In the car with Gilbert… and this time I got to drive!

What a blessing it was to watch our youth group & the leaders ministering to the children of Carrefour Poy.  There were so many little difficulties on this trip (and a few big ones), but I rarely heard complaining but instead witnessed a lot of smiles and the love & joy of Christ pouring through our team to the children they were ministering to.  And in a few of the team, I had the privilege of witnessing the spark of God’s call in their hearts to do more.  I can hardly wait to see the outcome of those sparks!

These are just a few of the great team of youth that ministered in Haiti last week.

These are just a few of the great team of youth that ministered in Haiti last week.

So many wonderful and exciting things happened on this trip… too many for this one blog post.   I will be sharing more about those exciting things in the near future.

Stay tuned!

Read more about my trip in this post about The Children and their Families.

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Teachers | 3 Comments

Anticipation

15, 14, 13, 12….

Every day for the last week one of these numbers has been announced to me by my middle son, Brennan, who will be traveling to Haiti with me.  Today he announced:

9 days till we leave for Haiti!

And my heart did a little somersault in my chest.

I have been very busy preparing all the little details for this trip, but in quiet moments, I take time to remember some of my favorite moments from my last trip and allowing myself to feel the excitement, anticipation and privilege of getting to go to Haiti a second time.

There are so many things I am looking forward to.

Seeing the children…

A few of the sweet faces I will get to see!

A few of the sweet faces I will get to see!

delivering gifts from our sponsors to “their” kids,

Clothes, toothbrushes, dolls, hot wheels, notepads and pens, a soccer ball and even a life straw! I am blown away at the generosity of our sponsors!

meeting the kids’ families,

Family members of one of our sponsored girls.

Family members of one of our sponsored girls.

seeing friends,

369

My oldest son, Jason, with Claudel, Alix and Sander in January 2012

and sharing some of these experiences with my two oldest kids and  a great group of youth and adults from our church!

Desiree from That None Shall Perish training our youth team on teaching VBS.

Desiree from That None Shall Perish training our youth team on teaching VBS.

This trip is mainly a Youth Group trip with the purpose of teaching VBS to children at Pastor Gilbert‘s 4 different churches.  We have a great group of kids going on this trip who will be sharing the Gospel message with over 1000 Haitian children!  What a life-changing experience! Hopefully… prayerfully…  life-changing for both our American team as well as all the Haitian kids we will get to meet!

My son Brennan and I will be leaving for Haiti a few days ahead of the rest of the team so I will have time to meet with all of our sponsored children.

I will also have the opportunity to meet with the families of our sponsored kids to discuss the Bridge program with them, answer any questions they might have and discuss with them the importance of their role and influence in the lives of the children in their care and the importance of the children themselves- and their education- for the future of Haiti.

I also plan to deliver a curriculum which was written as a follow-up to the VBS which our youth will be teaching. This is a great curriculum which has been translated into Haitian Creole so it can be taught to the children of Carrefour Poy by the teachers at the school after we leave.  It is called The Colors of Salvation and reinforces the message which will be taught by our youth, going into more detail about the Gospel.  We will be delivering 5 teacher’s manuals plus all the coloring books, craft materials and supplies needed to teach the curriculum.  At the end, each child will get to make 2 bracelets with colored beads representing different parts of the gospel story. One bracelet is for them to keep and one is to give away and share the message!

As I deliver the materials and curriculum, I will have the opportunity to walk through the curriculum with the teachers to make sure they understand how to use it & share some teaching ideas with them.  Claudel is planning to use it as a summer school program after our team leaves and before the next school year begins in October.

The Colors of Salvation in Haitian Creole!

The Colors of Salvation in Haitian Creole!

I am also very excited to get to help out the youth team with VBS in Carrefour Poy.  I am really looking forward to having that time to spend with the children of Carrefour Poy watching them learn, seeing more of their personalities and just playing with them!

As you can see, I have a very full trip planned.  And so many things to finish preparing before I leave in just 9 days!

I know that God will bring all the little details together as He always does.  I am so amazed at all the ways He has provided for this trip so far.

So many people have invested in this trip in so many ways.  People who have been praying, or spoken words of encouragement to me.  Our sponsors, who are sending gifts to their children.  The many people who have been involved with getting The Colors of Salvation ready– from my friend Debbie King, the author of the curriculum, to the men who worked to translate it, to Mandaly of the Sweet Coconuts blog who is graciously editing it.  So many people who have donated money, materials or time preparing materials. The youth who are going out of their comfort zones to bless all these children and will also be preparing baggies of the materials to make the salvation bracelets and helping me pack everything!  And my family who has been so patient with me as I pile supplies and sponsor gifts and suitcases around the house.

I feel so blessed by each you.  So blessed to have the privilege of going to Haiti.  So blessed to be a part of the worldwide Body of Christ.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

9 more days…

Jason & I with Madocher in January 2013... Looking so forward to seeing him again!

Jason & I with Madocher in January 2013… Looking so forward to seeing him again!

I can’t wait!!!

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Teachers | 4 Comments

Dreams & Disparity

DREAM– something that you have very much wanted to do, be, or have for a long time, a strongly desired goal or purpose.

Meet Michelet.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

He is an 11 year old cutie who dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  He lives with his mom who crushes rocks to earn money.

These women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

These Haitian women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

This is Philomene.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

At nine years old, her dream is to become an engineer.  Her mom, who she lives with, is a trader in the market.

People trading at a Haitian market

People trading at a Haitian market

DISPARITY– different from each other, containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements

Do you see the disparity?

These children, like all children, have big dreams.  Just like my children. Just like your children.  Many of these Haitian children dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers or nurses when they grow up.

Yet  the family members or friends that these kids live with all do very different things for a living.  Many of them are traders in the market. Some wash clothes. Or crush rocks. Some attempt to farm the depleted Haitian soil.

Sometimes I look at a situation that is so big, and it feels hopeless.  I see disparity in the fact that these children have HOPE that their big dreams will be realized in the midst of the poverty that surrounds them. But who am I to say that their dreams are too big for them?  How am I to say that the problem is too big for God to work in?

I love this quote from Katie Davis so much that it appears on every page of this blog:

“I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. ”

How do we change the world? How do we change Haiti?  How can we change just one little village? We serve one person.  We love one child.

This morning I read this statement by Ann Voskamp:

“You are changing the world – when you are changing one person’s world.”

My prayer is that God will use this ministry to enable us to each change one child’s world.  May God use us to help make those big dreams a reality!

You can see more of our children & their big dreams at this link.

IMG_1995

This was a favorite saying of Pastor Ward Willoughby, who spent his life sharing the gospel of Christ. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” December 3,1928-March 31,2014. (The picture was taken in Haiti in January of 2013)

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 2 Comments

Summer Bible School

Long time no post!

The Bridge sponsorship program continues to be a blessing to the children of Carrefour Poy, Haiti.  When the regular school year ended, Claudel and I began to discuss if we could continue the school meal program through the summer break.  Claudel was able to organize a few young men who were willing to teach the children a Bible school program two days a week during the summer so the children can continue to learn about God and enjoy a school meal!  The children are taught Bible stories, sing songs, play games and are served lunch.  Here are a few pictures of the Summer program:

Alix teaches the children Bible stories during the summer program

IMG_1622

Singing songs during Summer Bible School

IMG_1481

Waiting in line for lunch

Lunchtime!

Lunchtime!

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

Life in Carrefour Poy

168

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

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.