Monday, August 3, 2009

Jan 08 - Dec visitors and updates

Warm greetings from all of us at the HATS mission in Deschapelles, Haiti.

We trust you all enjoyed Christmas and New Years with family and friends and that this first month of 2008 has been good for you.

This update will be shorter than most because Karen is once again having great difficulty doing any reading or computer work. For awhile now she has been losing vision in her left eye. This means another trip back to Canada for eye surgery soon. She is not looking forward to being there this time of year, but it is absolutely essential that it be taken care of. For any errors you may find on this update, please forgive.

Karen's brother Don, from Newfoundland, is here with us now and he is helping Karen get this done, including some photos even. Luckner and Don are Karen's eyes now, so to speak.

Thank you for the special support in December for Christmas. Due to your loving kindness the children thoroughly enjoyed the 'fets', the Christmas gifts, the special meals, their new outfits, and all the fun and laughter. Leaving the mission compound for the Christmas Eve fet and the New Year's Eve fet was the highlight of the season's festivities for our children.


Karen, Luckner and kids opening gifts

9 of the children in their new clothes

Having Caleb, Karen's nephew, with us for three weeks, made it a very special holiday time for everyone. Christmas was very different for him this year, but he really enjoyed experiencing Christmas and New Year celebrations Haitian style. He fit in everywhere with everyone. He was one very well liked and respected young man, who many people want to see return as soon as possible. Here's Caleb helping to serve the Christmas eve meal.


We believe there was one glitch only in Caleb's time with us and that was him getting Dengue Fever on January 1st. Karen, too, ended up with it and neither of them could help the other. Luckner, and then Cecile, took care of Caleb and Karen for a couple of days and then Caleb headed back to Canada while still quite ill. The good news is that both are now back to doing too much again.

While Caleb was here we were blessed by two visits from a couple of Canadians who are stationed in Haiti with the UN. Carl, from Quebec, presented the mission with school supplies and soccer balls from Ecole aux Quatre-Vents in Gatineau. We were blessed by both visits to our mission and by the donated items for our school.

Mid December saw our school students and staff enjoying a special Christmas meal (rice & beans, chicken, vegetables, salad, and cold drinks) thanks to friends of HATS-Haiti in Nova Scotia.

Hungry Grade 6 children enjoying their meal

School Director, Luckner, helping to serve the meal

During December and early January the generator was broken down for some time. "No generator, no electricity." "No electricity, no e-mail communication."
We had no vehicle running. "No vehicle, no go." Then we ended up with no internet service for two weeks. Life is never dull and always challenging, which Caleb certainly can attest to.

A few of you have not yet received the photo of your sponsored students as they were not in school on photo day, and a couple of you are awaiting name and grade. Please be patient while Karen gets the necessary medical help and can return to work.
Having Don with us is a tremendous blessing. He is involved here, there, and everywhere - helping the laundry lady wash clothes by hand, helping the ladies who prepare the meals for the school students wash all the dishes, temporarily fixing the clothesline poles so laundry can dry, teaching English in the grade seven class in place of Luckner, scrapping and painting the huge entrance gate, and helping Karen with the office work. Too, he is a great help with Alexandre, who we don't think was actually lacking in attention and love, but Uncle Don is great fun to be with.

Don and the ladies washing dishes

Thank you to those who sent funds to help purchase an inverter and batteries so we can have electricity when there is no Haitian electricity and the generator is not running. The installation of this system was done by Luckner, with the help of a couple of others. To have this system up and running is a tremendous blessing. Dickie, come on down as now you will be able to have fans running whenever you need them

Recently Karen was informed she is being blessed with the gift of an air conditioner through a cousin. It is perhaps in Haiti already, most likely in customs in PaP. A decision will be made later as to where it will be installed. If it is in the bedroom, Karen will not want to leave that room, and that would not be too condusive to the work of HATS getting done. If we put it in the office, Karen will put a mattress on the floor there and sleep there instead. But will that see Karen working more hours again, than she really should??

We are believing that good things will happen this year. But no matter what might be ahead, the children will always be our highest priority.
REMEMBER FOR HATS IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN !!

Oct 07 - Ti Fi, Bees, Manifestations, help needed!

Greetings to all our faithful supporters from those of us at the HATS-Haiti mission,
Thank you so very much for standing with us, Karen and Luckner, through thick and thin, through persecution, and the fiery trials and storms that assail us, as we endeavour to run this mission in a manner pleasing to God. The enemy would like to see us give up our stand for righteousness, and walking in integrity, but we are determined to stand, to persevere, and to continue to run the race. We believe that in the end we will hear "well done good and faithful servants".

A letter was written by us " plainte" to the Justice System in Verrettes telling of the plan that we had uncovered: that a group were printing tracks to blacken Karen's name, planning to manifest (demonstrate) outside of the HATS mission to try and make Karen leave, and failing that, to kidnap her. This 'plainte' was taken very seriously by a judge and was signed by him. Copies of it were put up outside the compound. When the group in question saw that we knew of their plan, and the legal steps we had taken, they decided to lay low/hide, at least for now. Too, they would have been deterred by seeing the police, and judge in the area doing an investigation into this.

The group behind this persecution are disgruntled former employees, friends and family members: people who are not in favour of the stand that HATS has taken to operate in righteousness, and accept nothing less from its employees and children. They think that if Karen leaves another group, with more money, will take over and those who lost their jobs will return to work, along with their friends. It is extremely difficult for 'blan' to know or understand the mindset of some of the Haitian people unless you live with them for an extended time. People who have lived/worked in Haiti will understand that coming here short term and passing out money is the worse thing visitors can do. This can start people doing unacceptable things in hopes of finding more of it.

The situation, caused by this disgruntled group, has cost us not only emotionally but also financially. In Haiti anytime you need to deal with anything legally, or need the services of the police, it costs. We, however, had no choice. Some important truths of the plan have been uncovered.

We were hit with another problem, before this present one, and that one is still not resolved. On the first day of school someone abandoned a 'special needs' child at our school. They put the girl in a school uniform, sat her outside the classrooms and left. We had no choice but bring her from the school compound unto this one. Luckner immediately started trying to find out who she belonged to. Well, it is now four weeks and two different women have been in jail for a couple of days over this matter, but she is still here. She cannot stay here at HATS as we do not have sufficient employees to take care of her. Cecile cannot take care of this child and the others as well. We would have to hire someone to take care of her and we are unable to do this. The justice system in this area are dragging their feet on this matter, hoping we will keep her and they won't have to do their jobs. This has cost HATS a lot of money in legal fees, etc. and a lot of stress. We have found out that those who did this, did it, in the hopes of getting money for themselves from HATS. They thought that when the justice system arrested people over this abandonment, and put them in prison, they could then accuse HATS of putting them there, and ask for retribution funds. And that is exactly what they have been trying to do. It, however, is not working at all as they had hoped.

Too, this problem, with the abandoned girl, has caused a lot of extra work for us both, for Luckner outside the compound and for Karen inside. Karen had, "Ti Fi" (young girl), as we call her, living in her home, with her and Alex, for eight days until Karen absolutely could not keep her any longer. While Ti Fi was staying at the director's house, Karen had to sleep on the floor close by, to keep an eye on her. Needless to say Karen slept very little. Ti Fi is approx six- years-old and Karen had to carry her and lift her often. Luckner saw the need, one Friday, for her to return to the children's home and said so. If she had stayed with Karen one more day it would have reached the stage of 'the straw that broke the camel's back'. As it was, the day after she left Karen 'hit the wall' physically and could not do a thing.

We care about this girl and want to see her properly cared for. We, however, cannot keep her here and we are looking for the mother. We are willing to help the mother care for her daughter, if we can find her. This girl needs more help than we are capable of giving her onsite.
Please pray that this very difficult situation can be resolved quickly. That the girl can be placed in a good home, hopefully with family, without more stress at HATS.

Someone recently wrote and asked Karen if she plans to work at HATS until she dies. Her response, "If that is God's will for her life, then she will do so." She, however, would like to let her supporters know that her staying on here indefinitely is not easy at all. She is certainly not here for herself. She is not here for any reason other than "for the children". If she did not feel called to do what she is doing, she would have returned to the comfortable life in Canada long ago. Karen finds it lonely here. She is here without any family member and without friends in the area. When the employees leave she is in her house every evening, and on the weekends, with just Alex, and far too much work to get done always. Karen misses her wonderful loving, and fun filled, family members a great deal. She does not have anyone here to talk with, walk with, laugh with and/or pray with. She is alone!

Karen does not really have 'a life' in Haiti. She 'exists' here. To her 'existance' and 'living' are different. She has been outside the compound only three times in the past two months - to go to the bank in St. Marc. This is not what she would call 'living'. She feels like someone has placed her inside a small fish tank, gold fish bowl, and put a lid on it. She 'exists' inside this tank due to necessity, day after day, only by the grace and strength of Almighty God. 'Life' is what she experiences when she is in Canada with loved ones and freedom. She desires more time in Canada but she can't be two places at once.

It is impossible for Karen to keep up with the administrative work load of HATS. She has been, since Theresa left, doing far too much, far too late every evening, and weekends, to try and keep things going. Again, we ask for your understanding and patience if you do not receive a response to an e-mail, or a thank you for your loving kindness to us. We love and appreciate you all but the work load is too heavy, and we can't always get in touch. Help is needed.

This year, as you know, Luckner is the director of our school, as well as doing his usual fantastic job as assistant director of HATS. His work load, as well, is too heavy and he continues to put his life on the line for this mission. He always has someone upset with him due to his work at HATS. In this country when one is not happy with someone, that someone needs to 'watch their back'. Luckner's life has changed dramatically since he joined HATS especially in the area of being in danger. He, however, is willing to continue to stand up with Karen, against the enemy, and for the children.

Luckner is doing a great job with the school. It is great to see the students, in their uniforms, happily coming every morning to start devotions at 7:30. They are receiving a meal every Tuesday and Thursday, for which they, and their families, are extremely thankful. To all of you who support HATS and the children we say a huge thank you.


Empty tummies soon to be filled

Bees anyone?? Karen calls this "the bugman". He did a good job of removing what seemed like thousands of bees, and honey, from an area outside on the second floor of the director's house/offices. They had started to take over the yard. What you see on the outside of the bucket is bees and there are many more inside.


This is still rainy season and we are getting lots of rain. We had to put several truck loads of gravel and rocks on the school grounds as it was too wet for students or teachers. Our children, however, are not deterred by it at all. They love to get their clothes off and play in it. Alex, too, enjoys the rain now.


Some of you have shown concern for Karen and also questioned the future of HATS after Karen. Karen has been very concerned about that herself for a long time. She has been diligently praying for, and seeking, a group/denomination to take HATS into partnership with them. There has been some interest shown by a denomination in Canada and some dialogue has happened. We want you to know that the future/longevity of HATS is a big concern of ours and we are working on this. Anyone interested in this mission, please get in touch with Karen.

On the last update we mentioned the walker/gait trainer we wanted for Alex so he could learn to walk. Thanks to Education Haiti it is enroute. It, most likely, is sitting in customs here. There has been corruption problems there with a clean-up being done and many things are being held up. We are so very anxious to get it here and see Alex start using it. Hopefully a photo with it will be in the next update.

"Remember one person's life being changed is more important than all the material things the world has to offer."
Working together we can change the lives of the children. For HATS "It is all about the children".

May 07

Hello once again from the HATS-Haiti mission in the hot country. And believe us it is hot and humid all the time. Oh for a walk on a 'cool' day.
On the April Update we mentioned that Mirlande's eye was still healing and we included a photo of Mirlande, but failed to say that it was taken before the problem with her eye. The eye continues to heal and here she is again. These days, however, the injured eye is open again.

Our little Josie continues to charm us all. She is scurrying everywhere and saying a few words. She loves to mimic us at church and devotions by singing in her baby language and clapping her hands.


Alex continues to develop slowly and steadily. It is a joy to behold. He now hates to have to sit in a chair or his stroller as standing and trying to walk is so much more fun. Now, for a period every day, he sits on a low Haitian chair and when we are close to, and in front of him, he can stand by himself and tries to walk to us, but at this stage he is mostly falling into our arms. He laughs and takes great delight in doing this. We continue to wait for the day that he will walk by himself. Here's Alex feeding himself!


For almost a month now we have again been blessed with electricity thanks to the donated generator we talked about on the last update. It is extremely heavy, much more so than our other one. Getting it unto the hired truck, to transport it to the mission from P-a-P, was interesting and amusing to say the least. I must admit to a lot of internal laughter as I watched 12 men trying to do so. Often all of them were talking at the same time and each one with their own idea of how best to manage it. In order to enable us to head back home faster that day Luckner was doing something else important in P-a-P while the generator was being loaded. I know that if he had been there it would have gone smoother and faster as he would have seen how best to do so and with authority have organized it. Me, however, being a woman in Haiti knew it best to stay out of it and just enjoy watching. I assure you it was better than any TV show. Thanks to having the generator we have been again having a steady supply of water. We are happy and thankful to have this generator. We, however, have been using it a great deal less than we were using a generator in the past because of the gas expense. Today a difficult decision had to be made to curtail usage completely for now. We are all hoping that we will be given some Haitian electricity that we will be billed for later. But that is something one can never depend on here. We, however, need electricity!!
If you write us and do not receive a response for some time do not be alarmed. It will mean only that we are without electricity and thus have no computer time.


O happy day - after eight months without it - the Montero is now running beautifully. It is once again being extremely useful to the mission. The timing was good as shortly after the Montero was back in action we had a motor problem with the truck, but not a serious one like the Montero had. The truck motor is presently in P-a-P to be repaired when possible.
This school year will soon be winding down. Sometimes we can't believe that it was not even a year ago (early last June) that we, Luckner and I, decided we should take a step of faith and let people know we needed a construct a school to open in September. Thank you once again to all of you who sent funds for the construction, worked hard on raising funds, came down and worked hard on the construction, and to all of you who have made it possible for students to attend school by sponsoring one or more.
We need sponsors for more students for September. Please pass the word along to family, friends and people in your church. The yearly fee for an elementary student is $175 and for a high school student $350. We apologize to the sponsors that this year you have received a photo of your student but have not yet received a letter from them. This is due to the huge work load that Luckner and I have. The letters will come. Thank you for your patience. We are behind in some things and trying to get caught up. But will catch up ever happen?? We are doing our best. Feel free to drop us a note about, or for, your student (s).
I, Karen, thought I was going to lose my very trusty co-director on Monday for two weeks as Luckner was supposed to be going to the Holy Lands that day. He, like the rest of the tour group no doubt, was ready to go but received word on Friday that there was a glitch with one airline and they would not be leaving as scheduled. They may still leave this week. He is awaiting word. We are both thankful that I had not completed the arrangements to go to western Canada for a few weeks to see my two daughters and grandchildren. I will now wait and book after we have a date for Luckner's leaving and return.
We have some projects that we would like to see done in HATS this year. We will list them as perhaps there might be a church group, other group, or individuals willing to try and raise funds for one of these projects. If so, please let us know.
# 1 - We need to get the school property enclosed. It is partially done only. The grounds are being used as a toilet and as a dump. There is nothing that can be done about it besides finishing the block wall we have started. The estimate for this is approx. $9000.00 US. Too, we still need five doors and a large barrier (gate) for the school property.
# 2 - We need to construct a storage depot. The estimate for this is $1500.00 US.
#3 - We need an inverter/battery system for electricity. We would then use the generator only to charge up the batteries and use that electricity to run things. This will save a lot of money in gas. This estimation is $4000 US.
These projects, of course, would need funds that would have to be raised separately from general funds.
Speaking of general funds, we are still trying to run the mission without sufficient coming in. This is not easy and many 'needs' are not being met. At this time we need funds for gas and oil for the generator and for the vehicle. And things like brake fluid, gas and oil filters. We need a printer ink cartridge and printer paper for the office. We need food for Karen's house. She has not been able to send Martha to the market for a month now. (Thank you Lord, we have the basic food supplies stocked up again for the children). The children need clothes and shoes, and chalk is needed for the school, etc. Too, salary time is coming up again at the end of the month. We continue to put it in the hands of God and wait on him. Thank you for joining us in prayer for the necessary support to come in.
If you've been to Haiti, or know anything about the country, you realize that life here is not an easy one for the Haitian people. Many are willing to take big chances on small boats to try and reach the United States illegally. One such group of 253 (most of this group were families with children) tried it this past week. The boat went aground and many lives lost. They have found parts of 163 bodies that had been eaten by sharks. One body was a pregnant lady and the unborn child had been eaten. This is just so very sad and tragic for those who tried to escape and for those who are now mourning the lost. Too, there was another group of 138 who headed off in a boat recently and cannot be located anywhere.
People who feel desperate take desperate chances. They put their hope, and their lives, in the hands of a person they pay to try and get them to the US.
Hope, however, comes from the Lord and when we know Him we must wait on Him. He will take care of us.
Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."
Life is not always easy for Luckner and I who direct this mission either. We have taken a strong stand for rightousness and the enemy is not happy. Life in Haiti is different than most North Americans can comprehend. Life is not valued highly and killing someone seems to happen easily when one is angry. This area where we live is a volatile and dangerous one. Luckner and I have both had more than our share of threats but Luckner has born the brunt of most of it. This past week while here working he received a phone call from a private number. A man told him basically that due to changes at HATS, since he joined me, he deserved to die and he, the caller, would be waiting at the bridge over the canal to shoot him when he left work at 4:00 p.m. Some staff leave at 4:00 but Luckner seldom leaves before 5:00 or later. Luckner, however, left here at 3:45, drove home and left his car, and then took his bike and rode back to the bridge to see if the supposed killer would turn up. Some people had gotten word of what had happened and word travels fast. A massive number of people turned out in support of Luckner. Thank God nothing happened. Apparently the person who called Luckner did go there but took no action. Luckner figured out who had called him and called this person with a message but a different one than he had received.
Last night Luckner received warning to take extreme caution as someone had overheard some former HATS employees planning to kill him because they no longer work here. They don't seem to understand that they were working here longer than I wanted as Luckner had asked me to give them another chance. They need to blame someone other than themselves and so again he is the scapegoat.
This is just a couple of many times someone has seriously threatened Luckner since he joined me at HATS. His life as a lawyer was a lot more calm than it is as a director of HATS-Haiti. If, however, we are God's and He calls we must obey. That is what Luckner has done. He has basically laid his life on the line many times for this mission. We have a great deal of appreciation for him and his work.
For some time now I, Karen, too have been receiving phone calls, also from a private number, advising I use extreme caution due to what is being said outside the compound. This person who gives me the warnings does not want his name known, perhaps to keep himself safe. Thus, however, Luckner does not want me leaving the compound alone. He fully understands the danger around us. I can take a short run during the day as far as his place but that is all. Otherwise I need someone, usually Luckner or Odner (chief security) with me. If I go anywhere at night without Luckner Odner must be with me and armed. Do I like this type of life?? No. Must I put up with it?? Yes. Is it easy for me - a lady who has always been independent and stubborn?? No. Not at all. Sometimes Luckner has to get upset with me, for my own good, as he feels responsible for my safety. I do appreciate his concern even if, in my stubbornness, I don't always show it immediately.
Please understand neither of us are living in fear at all. We are, however, using the good sense God gave us and are taking precaution.
Please keep us both in your prayers for protection, provision, and for production as we endeavour to run the mission without sufficent funds and in a manner pleasing to God.
Again, a huge thank you to all of you who support this mission, with prayer, encouragement and with finances. Your support is crucial to keeping HATS-Haiti going and being a 'light in the darkness' in this corner of the world.

February 2007 - School Construction!

January 9th saw Luckner, Ti Mili, and I, along with 3 policeman head to Port-au-Prince to pick up the 11 person workteam from Nova Scotia. I was able to talk my way into the airport to meet them to try to help them through customs with all the luggage. It, however, was not the normal happy 'Welcome to Haiti' meeting I had anticipated, because I was tied up with airport security and police making a report when they arrived. The workteam ended up waiting for me inside the airport while Luckner, Ti Mili and the police escort were waiting outside.

When I had entered the airport, while the plane was unloading, I went into the ladies washroom. There were no other ladies around. What I did not know was that a man was hiding behind one of the stall doors and of course it was the one I entered. He ended up leaving with my purse and I ended up sitting on the floor trembling. Other than sporting a ugly black eye for two weeks I was fine. He had told me not to talk, to just give him my money. When he was starting to leave I called out to Jesus and he hit me. Three days later I received a phone call from the chief security at the airport saying they had found my purse. Only the money was missing and money can be replaced. Thank God I had my credit card and Haitian ID card in my pocket.


Thanks be to God and the Canadian workteam the construction of HATS-Haiti school (IMED) is finished. Now we need six doors and more benches made.
The aptly named "work" team, under the great leadership of Gerry Rhyno, did a fantastic job.

Some missions joke that groups are sometimes called 'workteams' not only for the work they do but for the work it is for the mission too. I can say, and I know Luckner agrees with me, that they could not be called anything but a 'workteam'. They came and they worked and they worked. They represented five different churches in the Yarmouth area and did not know each other before they planned the trip. They, however, truly were a 'team' who 'worked' well and hard together.


Day 1 - Team meeting on the foundation



Most of them learned to lay blocks for the first time. They caught on quickly to anything that was new to them and they were willing to work hard in the heat to see that the school construction was finished while they were here

The walls are going up!


The roof is going on.
The finished school
Preschool to grades 3 with the workteam.
This is what the construction was all about. Furthering the education of children.

One large room which will really be two classrooms Monday - Friday is our church room for now. We had our first church service in that room two days before the group returned to Canada. What a lovely worship time we had together. Many of the Haitian men who worked on the school with the Canadian group worshipped with us at that service and are continuing to come Sunday mornings. At that service we dedicated the school and the land to the Lord. We know this project is going to touch a lot of lives in our area.

Our first church service in the finished school (Canadian choral group)
It was a blessing for me to have the group with me. They were extremely encouraging and supportive of what I do here. It was great to be able to speak English a lot of the time. Too, it was nice to have someone here besides my darling baby Alexandre in the evenings. It does get lonely at times. We spent a lot of time in fun and laughter. Having Gerry's lovely wife, Heather who also is a Newfie, along with the ten men was a triple blessing to me. I am so very thankful that she came.

The Montero was still not fixed when they arrived so we rented a van to transport the group from and to the airport. This meant they needed more funds than expected but they were all willing to cover the cost of the van and the police escort both ways. We had no travel problems. Hopefully before the March visitors arrive the Montero will again be running.
At the moment, with a donation from a Rotary Group in the US, we are working on a cement block fence around the school. We will not be able to close all the property at this time, but will do as much as possible. When we have used these funds we will put razor wire around the rest of the property as we await additional funds to properly finish enclosing it all with a brick wall. Enclosing the property is very important, to protect the finished school and to keep the back of the land from being used as a toilet. Not what one would call sanitary. We want to say a very big thank you to Dr. Patrick Roche and the Macon, GA, Rotary Group for this donation.
Speaking of police escorts it appears that things have quieted down a lot in regards to kidnapping. We see lots of groups and visitors coming to Haiti again. Please continue to pray that things will improve even more in this country.
We have three people coming from Halifax area in March and hopefully five from Calgary in April or May.
I want you to know that I am extremely thankful for every dollar that is sent for HATS and for me personally. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I know that a lot of thank you letters are long overdue, but the problem is I can only do so much in a day. Those who know me well know that I always try to do too much. Running the mission, staying on top of things, fundraising, correspondence, having a baby to care for, meetings, time with my children, on call 24 hours a day/7 days a week, plus . . . . takes more time and energy than I have to give. Thus, some things slip behind and thank you letters have been one of them. Please be patient with me. I do pray for you and ask God to bless you as you continue to bless us here. Your generosity and encouragement is keeping us going.

Dec 2006

Hello everyone,

Once again it is time to take a few minutes to catch up with all of
us at HATS-Haiti.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Can it really be December 18th? Christmas is upon us and one would never know it around here. We have been much too busy with construction and keeping everything else going which made it easy to forget. Will have to get busy in a hurry as we have children looking forward to it.
I pray you all have a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour. I pray, too, for a Blessed 2007 for all of you.
.
We have lots going on here at the mission as usual. Never a dull moment is a daily understatement here.
The main activity once again has been school construction. What joy it is to see the foundation being built for the other four rooms. There is a feeling of excitement in the air because people can see that the plan to have the school finished is very real. An 11 person workteam will arrive from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on January 9th for two weeks to try to finish the work. Despite the increased danger in our area, that we felt obligated to tell them about, they are still keen to come. They have been planning, meeting and praying for several months and reported they are coming in confidence that they will be protected.
Children carrying rocks for construction










Working hard to pour the concrete


Speaking of the school, we had our hopes up about receiving some school desks that could be donated to our school from one in Michigan. We surely do need the desks, but are unable, at this time, to cover the shipping cost. There is a gentleman in the Grand Rapids area who has a ministry, Rays of Hope for Haiti, to help missionaries in this country get things they need shipped in. He stores belongings in his warehouse free of charge, but has to have the shipping costs paid. He has found the school desks for HATS and we must find funds to pay for them. They are the old fashioned ones that has the seat attached to the desks which is what we would like. Because, however, they come attached they take up more space and so cost more to transport - $40 per desk.

When the workteam arrives it will be a busy time but hopefully also a good experience for the group. Some of them are first timers to Haiti but some have been in Haiti several times. Only one of the 11 have been to our mission prior. For me a very sad thing about the group coming is that my beloved sister and brother-in-law, Sandra and Dickie, will not be with them. Due to a medical problem they cannot come at this time. I had been so looking forward to having them here.

I normally try not to talk too much about the kidnapping and other dangers here but it is real and we have people coming. I feel I should be honest about what is happening all around us.

There is definitely an increased danger in our area and so we are being even more cautious than ever. Many kidnappings have happened in our area in the past 3-4 weeks. It is no longer just in P-a-P area but we are in the midst of it now. Kidnappings have taken place all around us, in Ti Riviere, Pont Sonde, route between St. Marc and Pont Sonde, Liancourt and the road to Verrettes. A lady was kidnapped on Friday about five minute drive from the mission. Some people have been held in houses in Deschapelles and Liancourt (five minutes and ten minutes from us. Much prayer is needed for this very serious problem.
This week a St. Marc vehicle with 25 people was kidnapped. Everything possible was taken from them all. Eventually the bus driver and 17 passengers were released but 8 were taken as hostages for ransom. Then, even more upsetting news is - this morning a vehicle that left Verrettes (10 minutes from us), shortly after passing our mission, was stopped and people kidnapped. This is hitting extremely close to home. Needless to say I am not leaving the compound unnecessarily. The country is definitely in need of prayer support and changes need to come.

I gave you the good news about us receiving approval for our school due to Luckner's timely work. We have, however, been informed that we must choose another name for our school. They, apparently, have too many schools with the same name. Thus we are no longer l'Institution Mixte L'Espoir de Deschapelles. As of today (another trip to government offices in Gonaives) we are Centre d'├ętudes Classiques Emmanuel de Deschapelles. (CECED)

More, not so good, news. Jessica will be leaving us again on January 4th and returning to her home in Indiana. Her pastor, church family, mother, and also Jessica feels that the Lord has another plan for her sooner than she expected. She thought she would be here for seven months but God's ways are not our ways and neither are His plans our plans. Jessica will be missed by all. A big thank you to Jessica for the help she has given while here. Too, thank you to her mother and church family for sharing her with us for the 2 1/2 months.

We want to say a very big thank you for the help that we have received due to our being honest about the financial situation at HATS. There is nothing more difficult for me than to let people know that the mission needs funds. A donation was made to cover a month salaries for all staff. (The employees will receive these funds tomorrow as their December yearly bonus, which must be given at this time of the month.) We are trusting that by the end of the month we will have received enough funds to pay them their regular salaries .) We've also received funds for food for the orphanage and for Christmas gifts for the children. Too, a girl in Canada asked people, in lieu of gifts for her 16th birthday, to donate to HATS-Haiti mission. This brought us more than $700. Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to one and all. May you all be blessed in return.

Too, a big Thank you to all our regular supporters - in finances, prayer and encouragement. The HATS-Haiti mission would not be here without you.

2006 has seen pain and frustration, laughter and fun, staff changes, and construction. It has been a difficult but also important year for HATS. Things are continuing to move along nicely due to all of you who stand with us and behind us. Without your encouragement things would have been much more difficult for me this past year. Thank you!

1 Thes 5:11 - "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Again, from all of us at the HATS mission to all of you - A very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year. May you all be greatly blessed as we continue on this journey - working together for Him

Serving Him In Haiti
Karen
Hands Across The Sea-Haiti

Why?

Well that's a loaded question! Why did Karen go to Haiti originally? Why did she stay? Why did we start this blog?

Let's start with the easy question... Why the blog... today we discovered that her website is down & may be too old to be web-worthy due to changes in technology. In discussions about her website I (her daughter Dana) shared that her fabulous newsletters should be on her website so they could be more accessible.... after that I was sitting here realizing that I should take it on rather than simply say what I think should happen! I have no idea how to post newsletters onto a website so instead I started her a blog.

So, I'm going to go back into my old emails from her and post up a selection of them to bring the new readers up to speed a bit.