Sunday, August 28, 2011

August Updates

Many of you continue to ask about Mattie whose adoption from China was disrupted this past year. I recently got an update that Mattie received Christ as Savior! She is doing so well with her family and is teaching her siblings Mandarin. Praises to the Lord!

All 18 children are now enrolled in school for this year. The younger 15 will be attending Hosanna Baptist School which is close to the Alabama House and the land site. We were told that this is one of the best schools in Jacmel. The older three (Lovely, Myson and Daphney) will attend another school, but I do not have much info on this one. All of the kids are being fitted for uniforms for their respective schools. A list of books to buy was also given to Tommy. This caused us to realized that the previous school attended didn't require us to buy books?!?! and I can assure you they weren't included in the tuition! Needless to say, we are looking forward to a more productive year.

Many of you offered to purchase underwear for the children. The Robinson SS Class at FBC agreed to take this project on. Thanks to all of you who offered - there will be other opportunities in the future to help with the children.

Charley Elgin continues to work very hard every day in preparing for the children to move to the land by October 1st. Two men, John Turnbull and Doug Moyer, have assisted him these last two weeks. They both have been invaluable in getting the site ready for the kids especially in getting the water system up and going. By the way, they had all six showers running at the same time with good water pressure. That is no small feat in Haiti. A big thanks to John and Doug for sharing your time, love and expertise! John spent two weeks in Jacmel and now is headed to Japan to assist in the recovery there. Doug will be there a total of three weeks. Both Doug and John are from California - God continues to amaze us in how He connects His children.

This next week, work will be done toward getting the trusses built and in place. You can see the progress below. Being on mission with God is so exciting!

Cement is almost done

Doug leading a devotion
Now that is using your head!
Sharing Water - Jacmel's water supply was contaminated recently and there was no water for a day. Children's Hope shared with this young boy who brought containers to the fence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Are On Our Way!

There has been a lot of activity going on at the Alabama House in Jacmel, but there is also a lot of really hot (imagine temp. of 104) activity going on at the land site for Children's Hope Orphanage. As you may recall, the land that we are in the process of purchasing had five shipping containers on it with the goal of turning them into a home for children. The Canadian team had done a lot of work in transforming these containers to make them livable, but there were still many issues. On July 25th, Charley Elgin with Pathfinder Mission began to tackle these issues which we refer to as phase 1. Charley and his wife, Martie, answered God's call a number of years ago to serve the folks in Waveland, MS who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. They spent five years in Waveland organizing the construction of storage sheds for the victims. They made a lot of connections and acquired invaluable experience.

Then they sensed God's call to work in Haiti but weren't sure where their entry point would be.
Thanks to Jay Wolf and Donna and Jessie Conte we connected with the Elgins. They agreed that overseeing the construction of our permanent home for children in Jacmel would be their entry point! Charley begins work early everyday and faces numerous challenges everyday from the water system to not being able to locate a key to the tractor not to mention the heat! God has gifted Charley with an unusual skill set that includes logistics, organization, seeing the big picture, and knowledge about a lot of things. Add all of these gifts to a compassionate heart and a good sense of humor and you have a remarkable servant. We are so thankful for Charley and Martie and the sacrifice they are both making to provide a home for children of Jacmel.

The plan is to move the 18 children to the land site October 1. The boys and girls will each have their own dormitory and for the first time in their lives, they will have indoor water with toilets that flush, working sinks and showers. Trusses and roofs will be added to cover the containers and cement is being poured around the containers. There will also be a system to provide cool air into the containers.

As I mentioned this is just phase 1. Phase 11 will be permanent homes for the children. The plans now are to build 4 to 5 homes with each having Haitian house parents overseeing 10 - 12 children. We can then use the containers as a school, vocational classes, English classes, etc.

Another remarkable way God has blessed this ministry is through a ministry that is adjacent to our land site. It is Calvary Chapel. A focus of this ministry is to provide vocational training to Haitian men. We are partnering with them by using their students to help with the construction of Children's Hope Orphanage. They provide us with labor at a reasonable price and they get hands on experience!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Juli, Tanya, Sandy and Diane
Nicole and Alexi watching a video of themselves.
Beach trip
Rene and Christine on first tap tap ride. Christine not so sure about it.
Juli with Lovenson and translator, Davidson

On the most recent trip to Haiti, I was accompanied by three teachers from Eastwood Pres. School. They were Juli Bethea (FBC), Sandy Stokes (Vaughn Forest BC) and Diane Cox (Redland BC). They were incredible! We traveled with Charley Elgin and ten accurately weighed large pieces of luggage that all hovered around 50 lbs. The B'ham airport didn't weigh any of them which made us wish we had added a few more things. Arriving in the PaP airport with 10 bags and getting them to a taxi was an experience like no other and one I hope to never repeat. To say you are bombarded by men in red caps trying to take (help with) your bags is an understatement!!! Trying to figure out which taxi to get in was just as chaotic.

WE finally made it to the chartered plane terminal and our 17 min. flight to Jacmel proved to be a little bumpy and may I say somewhat nauseating for some. Needless to say we were so glad to see Andy and the Schwindlings at the Alabama House after a long day of travel. The A/C was on our bedrooms, so that alone gave it the feel of a luxury hotel to us.

On Tuesday, we got busy with the 18 children by visiting them at the rental home. They enjoyed showing the teachers around the house. They waited to have breakfast until we had arrived. They all sat down to a plate of grits. After saying the prayer, they waited on Samuel to say it was okay for them to start eating.

We brought the first group of four to the Alabama House and the teachers evaluated each child, set up folders on each, and created a resource file box. All of this will allow future mission teams to work with the children on educational needs. All of this is kept at the AH.
Most of the children had their first tap tap ride to the AH. They were full of excitement and smiles; well, most of them at least. Some of the younger girls were a little scared at first and were hanging on with all of their might. While at the AH, most of the girls had their first experience with using an indoor toilet. They were amazed when it was flushed. We continued to work with the children throughout the week. We learned a lot about the Haitian education process and how much it differs from the US through two very exceptionally bright young translators. Edrick is 23 and recently came to know Christ. Davidson is 24 and will complete his last year of high school this year. He has one more year not because he was held back but because school cost money and it is a challenge to have extra money for school in their economy.

A high light was taking the kids to the beach for their first time ever. While Jacmel is on the coast, they had never been to the ocean. They loved it! They were dancing around and laughing. Some of the younger ones were a little hesitant at first but most all of them got in.
We had a picnic of peanut butter sandwiches and Sunny D!

Diane, Samuel and I took two girls to the doctor on Wednesday. While Haiti regulates you to death in some areas, the doctor's office didn't require any paperwork and never even asked the names of the girls. It seems when the welfare of the people are an issue, there are no regulations. This was a hard experience, because Elida had stitches that were supposed to have been taken out over two weeks ago. Something was lost in translation and they were never removed. As a result, infection set in. The doctor did not numb the areas (even though I asked twice), and Elida cried and cried and I just had to hold her down. It was terrible!!!

One big prayer request is for permission to "homeschool" and the right teacher. When you add up the expenses of school including uniforms and transportation starting in October, we think a teacher could be hired for the kids. We are late getting started with this, so we would appreciate your prayers.

Overall, the children seemed healthy, clean and happy. I asked Samuel if the children ever get sad about the loss of parents, family, etc. He said they are happy, because they have food to eat and a place to sleep. They consider themselves blessed!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Update on Schwindlings!

We are all learning that nothing is easy in Haiti! We are also learning that nothing happens quickly! Despite all of the challenges, Joy and Tommy are remaining faithful servants. One issue that they still face is the lack of internet. Please pray that this will become a reality soon, because internet will open up so many opportunities for communication. Another issue that may be resolved this week is having the generator hooked up, so they will have electricity 24 hours. Currently, the electricity is cut off in Jacmel at 4 a.m. and comes back on at 2 p.m. Getting the generator delivered from Port au prince was a major accomplishment and very expensive. However, it was unloaded in the road and Tommy devised a way to get it inside the gate using 2 x 4s and leverage. It is huge! They finally got men to get it in place and the electrician will hopefully, get it up and running this week. Water is also an issue, but a plumber came today and will provide an estimate soon. They can't drive the truck yet, because we are still working on the right paperwork to get insurance. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. They are dealing with some frustrating issues, but nothing that can't be worked out eventually. It is a totally different world! God will work through Tommy and Joy and provide victory through all of these challenges. Please continue to pray for the Lord to sustain them and remind them daily that they "are more than conquerors." Please pray specifically for the needs shared here. Also, that they will connect with other missionaries in Jacmel and develop close friendships.

Tommy's mom will have open heart surgery maybe next week. This was a complete surprise. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer just before they left but then found a blockage in her heart. Joy will leave Jacmel for about 2 weeks while she recovers. Please pray specifically for Tommy's mom, Monique Benton, and for Tommy's peace of mind.

Many of you have asked about sending cards, care packages, etc. to them. I plan to experiment with a letter and small care package, but I am not very optimistic that either will reach them. It seems that our only choice is to send cards, etc. with teams that are going down from other churches, ALSBOM or FBC. While they do not have internet in the AL House currently, they can go to an internet cafe to retrieve emails, so please flood them with emails. The address is: More to come soon on the kids and the visit from the three kindergarten teachers.