Sunday, September 30, 2012


For almost a year Andy's dad, Tony Birchfield, has been working on an aquaponics project in Dadeville.  Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. In aquaponics, you grow fish and plants together in one integrated, soilless system. The fish waste provides a food source for the plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. Aquaponics produces safe, fresh, organic fish and vegetables. When aquaponics is combined with a controlled environment greenhouse, premium quality crops can be grown on a year-round basis, anywhere in the world. Aquaponics can be used to sustainably raise fresh fish and vegetables for a family, to feed a village or to generate a profit in a commercial farming venture.(  

The goal is to replicate this in Jacmel in the next year.  We hope it will provide fresh vegetables and talipia to the children and staff at Children's Hope, a business for CH, and jobs for the kids as they get older.

600 talipia fish arrived Sept. 28

Leafy vegetables will be planted here and fertilized from fish waste

Beth picking first ripe cherry tomato

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sewing Center and Nicole!

In my last email, I shared pictures of school uniforms but forgot to write about them.   Despite many challenges, the sewing clinic has been a huge success!  Thanks to Charley and John Turnbull who have really hung in there with this project; they have showed much patience and dedication.  I can't begin to tell you all of the little details that go in to making this work not to mention some really big details.  But it is working and working well.  These ladies who had never held scissors two months ago are producing lots of uniforms for the kids at CH and doing a good job!  I want to share an email from Charley that shows how God is using the center:

After Tropical Storm Isaac had passed Jacmel, virtually all of the women who work at the sewing center had lost their homes (tents actually) to the storm.  The next Monday morning, they came to work in spite of their loss.  We sent them home, telling them they needed to take care of their families and we would still pay them.  The next day they came back.  The next day they came back and they all had the same shirts on. Showing us that they were a team ... 

My point, these women have gone from no hope to pride in their work and themselves.  Those are intangibles, but speak to the whole point of this particular aspect of our ministry.  Giving Hope to people who had no hope.  

Another story ... there is an orphanage in Jacmel that has 19 girls ... most are school aged.  They have no means of providing uniforms for the girls so we are going to make the uniforms for them.  Those same women are making a difference in the lives of those children ... giving them hope as well.  2 Corinthians 1 says that God is the God of all comfort who comforts us in our affliction so that we might comfort others with the same comfort that we ourselves have received.  That is what is happening here.  Scripture is being lived out .... Bondye Bon ... God is good!

Rev. Charley Elgin
Children's Hope
Jacmel Haiti

Ladies at the sewing center

Also, I mentioned that Nicole had fallen out of the lower bunk (still questioning if there may have been a little more to that story from Nicole) and broken her clavicle.  John took her to the hospital.  They x-rayed and set it but said the "bone" doctor would not be there until Saturday (this was Monday).
John waiting outside of hospital with Nicole and little sister Christine.  Christine was so distraught  about her big sister that John let her come along.

Getting cast

John taking Christine, Nicole and Samuel for ice cream afterwards!

Charley suggested John take Nicole to the Cuban hospital outside of Jacmel where the doctors are better trained instead of waiting on the Ortho doctor to come on Saturday.  Here is Nicole at that hospital getting her cast reset on Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

News from Jacmel (Part 2)

After church, we headed back to the Children's Home.  Doug Moyer's wife, Dani, provided t-shirts and fabric paint for the children.  Once again, the dining hall was converted into an art gallery, and our little artists went to work.  A special thanks to Dani for this project!  While some were enjoying the world of art, Alissa and I were fitting school shoes on the children.  They loved getting the new shoes (Walmart specials).

 I want to share with you a sweet story from this weekend (there were many more though).  Last spring I purchased new backpacks from LL Bean (half price online) and brought them down in May.  I knew that I had bought a couple of extras but when we counted last night there were exactly 23 backpacks which is the exact number of children we have.  Nothing takes God by surprise.  He knew back in the spring that we would have 23 kids with us in September!  God loves orphans and He will provide when we attempt to provide for them.

Davis and David set up the dental clinic again and pulled a number of teeth.  Christella was the first and she had two teeth pulled.  She really screamed and cried!  The others did much better.  Overall, Davis and David felt like the children's teeth were in better shape than expected even our sweet Christella.
We are so thankful to Davis, David and their wives for joining us on this trip and are excited to see what the Lord has planned for them.

On a final note, Eegee Williams used her gift of sewing to provide draperies for the remaining rooms of the AH.  She also made pillows for the couches and guess what everyone immediately does, sits down and hugs on one.  There is just something about a good pillow!  Thanks so much Eegee for using your talents to make the AH so inviting.

Edith working very intently
David, Beth, Andy, Alissa, Eegee, Max, Natalie, Davis, Sara, Joy and Tommy

Natalie comforting Christella after she got two teeth pulled

Max and Myson - good friends!

Kids painting t-shirts.

Alexi and Nana

Nobertho and Rene'

John holding uniforms

Uniforms for girls that attend Hosanna Baptist

Eegee and John hanging up uniforms in the sewing center
Drapes by Eegee!

Eegee also provided beautiful new pillows!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

News from Jacmel! (Part 1)

We arrived Friday afternoon and went straight to the Children's Home.  We had a great time playing with them.  Our team is made up of Dr. Davis Denney (dentist) and his wife, Sara; Dr. David Stanley (dentist) and his wife, Natalie, Alissa Irvin, Eegee and Max Williams, and Birchfields (Andy, Beth and Tanya).   On Friday, Davis explained what he and David would be looking in their mouths and cleaning their teeth.

On Saturday, we headed back to the Children's Home for dental examinations and fun!  Davis and David did about 2/3s of the exams (children and CH staff, translators, drivers) this morning.  All of the children did so well and were so cooperative.  The only exception was Christine.  She screamed and we had to hold her down long enough for Davis just to look in her mouth.  We called it quits after that.  She was mad at me for hours!  

Afterwards, Davis, David, and Andy met a local dentist in Jacmel and visited his office.  The dentist is interested in partnering with us in getting dental care to those in need, so we will explore this opportunity.  He also joined us at Children's Hope Saturday afternoon to finish the exams.

On Sunday, we went to Pastor Paul's church and enjoyed being with the local believers in worship.
I will post later on the rest of the trip soon.

Davidson interpreting as Davis explains about the dental exam.

Sara having fun with "The Teeth"

This is sweet Estherline!

David Stanley with Noberto who soon fell fast asleep in David's arms


Rene' very focused on play dough

Alissa and Estherline

Christella opening wide for her exam

Beth, Davis and David giving Estherline a dental exam.  She was a trooper!



The kids working hard on a sewing project

Noberto with his newly made cross

John Turnbull - much loved by the children

Charley with Denise

Joy and Tommy with Casimir and Nathalie

Myrlande - gets stitches out on Monday

Myrlande with get well cards from FBC, Mtg members

Drs. David Stanley, Matthew Colin and Davis Denney