Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Christmas Blessing!

The Moore Family - Dec. 22, 2011

Sometime back, Kerri and Mike Moore answered God's call to adopt through the Alabama foster care system. They went through all of the necessary paperwork and training classes that were required, and then they began the waiting process. They never seemed to waiver from the knowledge that God had called them to adopt, and that He indeed had a sibling group for them. Kerry and Mike's motivation to adopt did not come from wanting to "rescue" children but rather, it was because they had once been spiritual orphans who had been "rescued" by a loving, heavenly Father! What a joy it is to share the hope of Christ with children.

In July of 2011, Mike and Kerri met brothers: Zach and Sean. It didn't take them long to realize that these were the children that God had ordained for them. Zach and Sean moved in permanently and the adjustment of a new family began. However, the adoption would not be final until December. I am happy to report that on December 22, 2011 Zach and Sean officially became "Moores" and they celebrated that afternoon with a big reception for family and friends. What a Christmas Blessing! Some of you may remember that Kerri sang a song on the night that Children's Hope was launched in September 2010. It was a song written by Steven Curtis Chapman about a child wanting a family for Christmas. Well, the Moores not only opened their hearts to one child but two! On behalf of your church family, thank you Mike and Kerri for being an example of what it looks like to care for "orphans in their distress."

P.S. I was eating a candy cane today and Hope ran up and excitedly said, "the sins are going away." Of course she was referring to the red disappearing and only the white showing. Jay preached on this Christmas morning. I don't tell you this just because it is absolutely precious but to stress how important it is for us as Christians to reach out to the orphans of the world and introduce them to the Savior that forgives our sins.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good Company!

This picture was taken at the airport in Port au Prince as we were waiting on the plane to Miami. I had the privilege of being in the company of five Godly men and would like to tell you a little about each one of them. First, Rob Birkbeck is on the left. Rob was born in Zambia but now is a US citizen living in Orlanda. Rob travels all over the world as a free lance get it done guy for different ministries. He has done everything from smuggling in Bibles to setting up evangelism opportunities in the Ivory Coast. However, his greatest challenge was adopting a six year old relative with Reactive Attachment Disorder. No matter how difficult this became, Rob and his wife hung in there and never stopped loving him. They have truly been the hands and feet to this young man.

Then there is Andy! For those of you who know him, you know he is a man of integrity that loves the Lord with all of his heart! Andy continues to amaze me with his energy and willingness to sacrifice for others. I am thankful for his spiritual leadership in our home and for the special gift that God has given him to teach the Word.

Next, Charley Elgin is a man walking closely with the Lord. It doesn’t take long being around Charley to know that he is surrendered to the work of the Lord. He takes his calling very seriously and God has granted him much wisdom and faith. We continue to marvel over God allowing our paths to cross!

Finally, Doug Moyer and John Turnbull are sitting by Charley and both are from California. They first met Charley in Waveland, MS about five years ago and they formed a strong bond of friendship. This was the second trip to Chilren’s Hope, Jacmel for both Doug and John. Doug is a pastor with a strong background in construction. He radiates God’s love and compassion.
He and his wife have two children who were adopted as babies! As Doug relayed this story to me, it was evident that God had orchestrated every detail.

John has such a pure and loving heart and his actions and words are a reflection of His love for the Lord. It doesn’t take long to realize that John’s motivation to serve is genuine. John is originally from Scotland and still has a hint of an accent. He carves Noah’s arks and his wife, Debbie, paints them (

Andy and I are so humbled that all four of these men gave of their time during the Christmas season to be in Jacmel. Rob facilitated the acquisition of the land; Charley laid the ground work for a construction team coming in Jan. and beginning of Phase II; and Doug and John completed construction projects. We praise the Lord for them and their willingness to serve!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas in Haiti, 2011

Telling the Christmas Story
The kids listened so intently
Arab FBC provided pjs for all the children.

The crew with Charley, Doug Moyer, and John Turnbull
Lunch in the cafeteria

Showing off new flip-flops donated by a local law firm
Special monogrammed outfits from Eastwood Pres. Kindergarten Classes

We arrived in Jacmel around 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning after a few mishaps. We missed our plane in Atlanta by five minutes due to a change in policy regarding how early checked baggage was required to be checked in on international flights.
Also, our connection in PaP never arrived to take us to the chartered airport. However, God is gracious! He made a way for us to get on the next "full" plane to Miami and provided a kind taxi driver in PaP that took very good care of us.

As always, the children greeted us all at once with hugs and kisses. Once we were able to get off the taptap, I had them form a line so that I could give each one a proper hello with more hugs and kisses. After they showed me around their new home of which they are very proud, we headed to the cafeteria to begin our two day Christmas celebration. I shared the story of Christmas by using a nativity set. Then we talked about how Jesus grew up, died for us, and rose from the grave. I revisited the story again the next day to see how much they remembered and was pleasantly surprised. I also talked about what it means to become a Christian.

Then they each opened a gift that contained a pair of flip-flops, a bathing suit and a pajamas. They were thrilled with their gifts even down to the tie that held their gift bag together. All of the bathing suits fit perfectly. They were so fun to watch showing off their new gifts. Then we shared Rice Crispy treats and a coloring page with children in the snow making snowmen. I explained to them about snow, but I don't think they ever grasped it. I also had to explain to them about pajamas. They had no clue! Finally, I said you sleep in them. I was getting no where with our translator with the word pajamas.

During this first day of our Christmas celebration, I realized that I did not see the Christmas tree that I was told they would have. Joy was told that one could be purchased in the market and we decided to get one for the kids. When I asked about it, I was told it was outside. I was very puzzled and immediately said well lets bring it in (I brought ornaments). Then I was told it was hanging on a tree and it was a different kind of tree. Needless to say, I was very confused. After a lot of questions, I finally learned that there was no tree but a string of lights in a mango tree. If the smell and sights had not already told me I was in Haiti, this miscommunication certainly made it clear. I made a mental note to purchase a tree after Christmas and somehow get it to the kids by next year.

We ended the day at the Church by the Beach for a sweet service with other Christian Americans. It took place at Dr. Ken Pierce's house who is an American doctor from Hawaii. He and his wife are in Jacmel to build a medical clinic and have started a surfing ministry. There were 12 of us at church including four young adults who were such a blessing to us all.

On Monday, Andy met Rob Birkbeck (represented Manna Care from Canada) at the notaries office to complete the land transaction. The meeting lasted less than 2 hours. Rob said this was amazing, because these types of transactions can sometimes take up to years! Although we were hit with a large tax bill, we were praising God for a quick deal (things rarely ever go as planned in Haiti).

Then it was off to have our second day of Christmas celebration with the kids. As I said, we revisited the story of Jesus' birth. Then the kids got their second present.
The kindergarten classes at Eastwood Presbyterian School had purchased outfits for each of the kids. However, these were not just any ole outfits! The tops and bottoms had their names monogrammed and each child had a different color. Needless to say, the kids loved seeing their names. They were so proud of them along with hair accessories for the girls and extra clothes for the boys. They immediately tried their new clothes on and came ready for their picture to be taken.

After we had meetings with the staff and Samuel, we met with almost each child individually just to encourage them, remind them of God's love, and let them know that Children's Hope would do our very best to always provide for them. We made sure that "things" were going okay. Elida was the only one that began to cry.
Finally, she told us that she was crying because she missed Mrs. Joy!

As we left and said our good-byes, it was getting dark. I looked up in the mango tree and there were the Christmas lights. I couldn't help but think about Jesus Christ being the Light of the world and nothing can dispel His Light. I thought about Haiti and regardless of its darkness, the Light is shining!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lots of News!

As most of you know Children's Hope is partnering with the AL Baptist Children's Home (ABCH). A lot of folks think ABCH is just involved in residential homes but they also license and oversee foster homes as well. Through our partnership, they have expanded to Montgomery and hired social worker, Bobbi Olson. Bobbi will work with our FBC families who commit to becoming foster parents. She will also work with other churches in the area recruiting families to become involved in foster care. The next 10 week foster care training class will begin in Feb. 2012. It is not too early to sign up!

Bobbi worked with Etowah County Dept. of Human Resources in several areas including foster care for about seven years. Her family moved to Prattville about five years ago. During that time, she did some contract work that allowed her to stay home with her children who are now 9 and 11. Her husband, Matt, is an accountant with the Retirement Systems of Alabama. Bobbi's office is at the Montgomery Baptist Association. We are so thankful to the MBA for partnering with us as well.

We also have news from Children's Hope in Jacmel. While we "said" we were not taking any additional children, a dire situation was presented to us. A ten year little girl lost her mother a while back and her father committed suicide recently. She was at risk of becoming a restavek which is basically a child slave in Haiti. She moved in with the other 18 children and started school this last week. Her name is Estephanie but goes by Nana. I will get pics as soon as possible.

Montgomery has a new law firm in town and it is called The Adoption Law Firm. Sam and Mary Beth McClure adopted Robi from Hungary in 2010. Sam felt called to open this firm and concentrate on adoption work. The McClure's are a Godly couple with a passion for orphaned and vulnerable children. See his website at or contact him at 334-612-3406 or

Finally, I wanted to share a picture of one of our neighbors in Jacmel. This is the cow that spends the day at Children's Hope. I think we can all agree that he needs a little fattening up!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Goats and B'days!

Joy and Tommy experienced a tremor from a small earthquake in another part of Haiti on Saturday. Joy said the entire house shook for just about 30 seconds and they ran outside grabbing just her ipad! Can you imagine the fear that went through the minds of Haitians as they felt the tremors throughout Haiti. The earthquake did no damage but I am sure it was a vivid reminder of Jan. 2010.

Many of you have asked about the Haiti trips planned for 2012. They are

Jacmel, Haiti

Jan. 29 - Feb. 3

John Bush

Team Size: 8


$500 plus cost of air fare

This team will work on building the orphanage for Children's Hope under the direction of Charley Elgin. You will also spend some time getting to know the 18 children that are currently living there.

Jacmel , Haiti

May 3 - 9

Team Size: 8

Brian Gay


$500 plus cost of air fare

This team will work on building the orphanage for Children's Hope under the direction of Charley Elgin. You will also spend time getting to know the 18 children currently living there.

Jacmel, Haiti

July 7 - 13

Team Size: 8

Tanya Birchfield


$500 plus cost of air fare

This team will work with the 18 children living at Children's Hope Orphanage. This will include some tutoring, crafts, ESL, etc.

Jacmel, Haiti

Oct. 4 - 8

Team Size: 8

Tanya Birchfield


$500 plus cost of air fare

This team will work with the 18 children living at Children's Hope Orphanage. This will include tutoring, crafts, ESL, etc.

We have been purchasing goats to help with the grass as well as possibly provide a "side business." These are the newest ones below coming to their new home in the back of a taptap.
Tommy had fun feeding them popcorn!

Many of you know that one of the translators (Davidson) has been hired to teach the children English and tutor the four that are far behind. When Joy and Tommy arrived back in Jacmel last week, all the children greeted them with "Hello, how are you today?" Davidson takes his job very seriously and we feel very blessed to have him on our team!

I will finish on this note. Last week was my birthday, so in honor of my day Joy made chocolate cupcakes for the kids so they could celebrate it. See the video below for my very special birthday gift - thanks again Joy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Special B'day Party!

Recently, Barry and Heather Moore spent a week in Jacmel, Haiti along with their three children. They stayed at the Alabama House and spent some time with our 18 kids and toured the land site prior to the children moving in. Heather saw that we needed two stoves for the kitchen and immediately decided to take this project on. Her oldest daughter, Kathleen, would have her 14th birthday soon after returning from Haiti. With Kathleen leading the way, the family decided to throw a "Help Haiti" party instead of a traditional Birthday party. Instead of gifts for herself, Kathleen asked her friends to give monetary donations to Children's Hope for the purchase of the stoves. Her goal was to raise $900 but once the money was tallied, $940 was raised. This was enough to purchase both stoves and a goat! Over 80 of Kathleen's friends attended the party and contributed. Thanks to Kathleen, her family and friends! The ladies who help at the orphanage will no longer have to cook over an open and dangerous fire. Not only will it be safer but much more efficient. What a great example of selflessness and initiative in meeting a need.

Several young families have also shared that for their child's birthday, they want to do something for Children's Hope rather than getting gifts. Another family plans to make a contribution to CH in honor of family members for Christmas rather than giving gifts. What a wonderful mind set to have. We live in a world of excess, and I am thankful that Christians see the need to help others rather than acquiring more. As the Christmas season approaches, please consider fulfilling the needs of others whether it is CH, Compassion International, World Vision or other ministry. In fact, that would be a great gift to Jesus on His Birthday.

Kathleen is on the right.

About 80 teenagers attended!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct. Mission Trip

The most recent mission team to Jacmel returned this past Monday night, October 10th. Thanks to the team who gave their money, time and love to go on this trip . They were such a blessing to the children and the children were such a blessing to our team. If you ever feel unloved or unappreciated, my advice would be to spend an hour with these 18 children. They will definitely boost your spirit. They love people and life. I am including a lot of pics with this post, because I think they tell the story best. Also, Troy Teel made a video of the trip and it can be found by clicking on the following link.

Andy with Kenson and Elida
The boys loved Tyler.
The kids now have plenty of room to play - go Lovenson!
Troy playing ball with the kids.
Troy and Casimir in deep concentration.

Mary Conley, Anne Louise, Beth and Emma Beth
Charley and Martie reunited!!!
Juli with Davidson (translator and children's tutor - we love Davidson)
Children's Hope sign at the kids new home.
The kids running to the taptap to meet the team.
These kids couldn't wait for Andy to get out of the taptap!
Celia Teel gets a sweet hug from Myson.
Labeling brand new underwear for the kids - the kids were so excited to get their very own compliments of Robinson SS class at FBC.
More labeling!
Hanging up brand new backpacks in the girls' dorm. Mattresses pads were placed on all of the beds. Mattresses are expensive and hard to come by in Haiti, so we want to make these last. The mattress pads are compliments of the Pathfinder SS class at FBC.
Tommy and Joy in front of the kitchen at Children's Hope. Tommy just hung this new sign.
Emma Beth and Mary Conley Teel with some of the kids in their school uniforms.
Looks like Juli (the teacher) has things well under control!
Headed to the beach.

Tyler and Addy Hough with kids at the beach.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Move-In Day!

The awaited day finally happened and the kids couldn't have been happier. Below you will see the kids driving up each with a paper flower in their hand. The kids didn't know anything about their new home until today. All along, Samuel wanted it to be a surprise and it sure was. The kids love their new home and yard where they can run and play. We are so thankful to our Lord for making this possible and every person who helped make it happen.

The boys' dorm room
Front of the boys and girls' dorms
Kids love the freedom of a yard
Kids are listening to Samuel tell them about their new home.

Friday, September 30, 2011


A special thanks to Justin Aday who painted the office for our new social worker with the Alabama Baptist Children's Home. The Montgomery Baptist Association is providing her with office space and Justin helped to spruce the room up. She will be in Montgomery soon after being trained at the ABCH.

Things have certainly changed on our land in Jacmel over the last couple of months. The effort has been led by Charley Elgin with Pathfinder Mission. Charley has given almost every waking hour to this project. When he shared with Pastor Paul that Oct. 1 was his deadline, Pastor Paul just laughed knowing that the wheels in Haiti turn very slowly. Obviously, Pastor Paul underestimated Charley! Charley and his wife, Martie, give all the credit to the Lord and their purpose in life is truly bringing glory to God. We are very grateful to the Lord for sending the Elgins our way.

As I write this, David Payne and Hale Keene should be arriving home from Atlanta. They spent the week in Jacmel helping Charley complete top priority jobs so the children can move in Oct. 1. They worked extremely hard and once again God sent just the right people at the right time.
Thanks so much to these two men for all their hard work and their willingness to be a servant in a difficult place.
David Payne
Hale Keene with the children.
David entertaining kids with his phone
Charley on the tractor
Hale on the land - boys' and girls' dorms in background