Monday, October 26, 2009

New family member

This beautiful little girl is the newest addition to the HATS family. Leica is five years old, has a ready smile and an affectionate heart. We are happy to have the opportunity to help care for this precious girl.

If you'd like to sponsor Leica, please email Karen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Travel Points Anyone?

Travelling from Haiti to Canada to see family or for medical help is necessary, for both physical and mental health, for Karen.

This is also quite expensive. Karen has already used up her retirement savings & all her personal funds to keep the school and children's home afloat. If you have any Aeroplan points or other travel credits that you can donate to Karen to allow her to travel it would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by her daughter Dana

Friday, October 16, 2009

Threatened Again

Once more we've been threatened by neighbours who live next to the mission. In front of the mission compound, between the road and our property, there is a drain ditch (small canal they call it here). Water from the ditch runs into the large canal in front of the mission. It is public property but HATS has regularly, for the past five years, paid 4-5 men every few months to clean the ditch so all water can run freely. There is a very real danger of our compound flooding when heavy rains come and the canal overflows its banks, which has happened in the past. The ditch must be always kept free of vegetation and debris to enable it to carry a lot of the water elsewhere.

In August one of our neighbours, who has deliberately caused problems for HATS in the past, planted corn in the drain ditch. Luckner asked him to remove it which he did ,but very begrudgingly, only when Luckner informed him if he did not he would be going to the police. Shortly afterwards he planted something else in the ditch and refused to remove it when Luckenr spoke to him. Recently he planted rice filling the ditch the whole length of the front of the mission compound - orphanage and school. Luckner asked him to remove it but the response was very forcefully negative. He was spoken to three times and still refused so we had to contact the Jidg de Paix in our area who handles things like this. He came but the man in question refused to come out and talk to him, let alone remove the rice. The Jidg de Paix, Luckner and I stood outside the compound in unbearably hot temperatures for almost 1 1/2 hours while the man's brother and mother tried to get him to agree to remove the rice. Finally he was sent a message that he had five minutes to get there or he would be picked up by police and placed in jail. He came, but oh how very angry he was. If looks could kill Luckner and I would no longer be alive. He slowly removed the rice, with the help of his family members, but he assured us that he would see to it that we would be very sorry.

Are we afraid? Definitely not. Should we use precaution. Definitely yes. We put it all in God's hands and continue to try and do what we are called to do.
Again I say 'never a dull moment' at HATS.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Birthday wishes

Ti Luckner recently turned five years old. All of the orphanage children were excited to give birthday hugs and kisses.

Dieunel, the newest member of the HATS family lost his shorts when he reached out to hug Ti Luc!!Josie, 3 years old, decided to give Ti Luca real doozie of a birthday kiss!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Help Needed

This came from an email my mom sent to me (Dana). I know she probably wouldn't share in her updates so much she needs some help, so I'm sharing it with you! If you know someone that has a heart for missions and is skilled in office work that can go and help for a few weeks or a few months, it would be a HUGE blessing!

When I walk in my office all I see is mounds of work waiting for me. Luckner's desk piled with work that I have laid out there, the top of the filing cabinet, the little table I've set up to my side, the top of my computer desk, the floor between my desk and his desk, and a long narrow table sitting behind my desk. All this is covered with papers and work to be done. Some of it is papers that need to be organized and filed that I have not been able to get at for almost a year. I have always kept things organized and up to date. Doing so has been detrimental to my health but now it is impossible to do so, even if I worked 24 hours a day.
The other office is covered with textbooks and one end of the living room is a mess with textbooks. There is a lot of typing needing to be done for the school. My dining room table is moved to outside my office and it is covered with receipts and stuff for the financial report for June, July and August. I normally do them every month but it was not possible.
I get up every morning around 4:00 to get the days's work started. I hope we can find someone to come down for a month or two before the housing is built. If I have to wait until Feb or later for help, I will survive but I really, really need it now.

Employee Profiles - Martha & Luckner

Martha Joel

Martha is the employee I have known the longest. I met Martha in 1995 when she worked with my daughter, Liette and her family. Martha has been working with me for eight years now. She has 40 years experience working with 'blan yo' (North American families) who have worked at Hospital Albert Schweitzer, in Deschapelles, over the years. At HATS Martha is responsible for meal preparation and purchasing supplies to cook at my house and for all workteams and visitors. She is a great cook as attested to by all visitors to HATS. Martha also does cleaning when necessary and provides a lot of help to Ti Luckner. When I am in Canada Martha sleeps at my house every night to take care of Ti Luc. Martha is always caring for one or two kids that are not related to her, but who need help. She is respectful and someone I can depend on. HATS is blessed to have Martha.

Luckner Estimable

Luckner is the assistant director of the mission. Luckner first worked for HATS as an attorney in July 2005, when I was in need of legal help, due to discovering a plan by a former employee to have people enter the compound at night and take me captive. After Luckner handled that problem he was hired to do all legal work for the mission which he did quickly and well. He then combined the position of handling the legal aspect of the mission work with the position of taking care of HATS personnel. Later on he accepted the position as my assistant to run the mission. Luckner wears many hats as he is also the director of the HATS school, and teaches several subjects to our three secondary classes as well. Before joining HATS he had more than 20 years as an educator - teaching, and also overseeing schools for the government. When Luckner was a child he had a sponsor which enabled him to attend school. He has a heart to see as many children as possible have the same opportunity, and he is thankful for our sponsorship program at the HATS school.

He is a jack of all trades and thus helps HATS save money on electrical and plumbing problems. Luckner is "papa" to all the HATS children and especially for Ti Luckner. The reason for that being the mission offices are in the director's house. Ti Luckner (Alex) was only 8 months old when Luckner joined HATS. He has had a lot of time and attention from Luckner and he loves 'papa'. Ti Luckner tends to get jealous when our cutie pitutie Josie and the other young kids are in papa's arms and he isn't. Luckner has just become 'papa' to little Dieunel too and soon there will be more little HATS children.

Luckner helps families in need with food and schooling who are not in the sponsorship program. He plants gardens regularly and blesses many family with the product that is harvested. He is honest and trustworthy. Luckner shares the word of God Sunday mornings at our church services. He fully agrees with me that the mission must be run with honesty and integrity in every way, in every area, at all times.
HATS is blessed to have Luckner on board.
Both Martha and Luckner truly live out the moto of HATS, "IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN".

School is in & HATS is on the road again!

September/October 2009
Hello from the Artibonite Valley in Haiti. This update is being written by Karen alone. With our hectic schedules there is no possible chance for Luckner and I to sit together to work on the update. He, however, sends greetings to all.
This is my second time writing an Update. I had spent a lot of hours on one with just a couple of photos to add, to be sent out in September, and I lost it. It was difficult to have to start all over, but that is life in the electronic age, especially with my computer problems lately.
It was great to get home. It is good to be home. I, however, arrived to find my computer not working (it had been giving problems before I left) and when trying to rectify the computer problems our internet access was lost. That situation could not be changed without a trip to PaP. When the computer was fixed again, and things removed were being reloaded, it was discovered that everything on Outlook had been lost. I had a lot of important things saved there, and of course my address book, (including the special group addresses for the monthly Updates.) All gone. Yikes. A major problem. And one that is not yet completely restored. Thanks to all who have sent in addresses but I am still missing a lot that I did have. Those of you who receive this update can pass the word along that if anyone wants to me to have their address to please send an e-mail.
Speaking of computer problems. When I lost everything on Outlook I also lost some programs. I was using a photo program for resizing photos for the updates. I have not been able to find another that will allow me to make the photos quite small, thus the photos are a little bigger this month. I hope this does not cause a problem for some of you. Perhaps next update I can make them smaller again.
The month of September is a busy one for any educator but is especially so for us. Getting the school open and operating properly is a task in itself but with the sponsorship program it becomes huge. It means a tremendous amount of work but it also means education for many who would otherwise not get it. To see this program continue and develop, help is needed. I sincerely hope and pray that there will be support missionary staff here at HATS next September.
Thank you to our sponsors for forwarding your payments for your student for this school year 09-10. Thank you to all new sponsors for joining in educating a needy child. The name and grade of your student and a photo will be on its way to you soon. Speaking of which - we have students still in need of a sponsor. We have two elementary and four secondary attending our school this year with no way of paying. We accepted them because they really want to attend, and we were hopeful of finding sponsors for them. One mother was heard walking away from our office praising the Lord because we accepted her child into the sponsorship program without a sponsor. She had no hope besides us. Taking them without sponsors, of course, means HATS funds must cover their expenses until one is found. Sponsorship fees, $200 year for elementary and $350 for secondary covers their uniforms, backpack,
textbooks and school fees.
Our students are happy to be back at school again, which certainly includes our own HATS kids.
Some of our HATS kids ready for 1st day of school

My special little guy, Ti Luckner (Alex) is glad to be going to school again. This is his second year of prescolaire. Our cutie pitutie Josie started her first year of prescolaire and she and Ti Luckner like being in the same class. (Our prescolaire class has year one and year two.)

Ti Luckner had a special friend in his class last year, a little girl called Gladine. This morning I saw them sitting together in class and hugging beautifully, so I quickly grabbed my camera. There is something precious about having a friend at every age.

Ti Luckner and his friend Gladine
On the August Update, I gave the great results of our school having 100% of our grade six students, which includes our own Serlande and Vladimy, having passed the official government exams. This year they have started their secondary schooling.

Serlande and Vladimy off to exams in June

Vladimy and Serlande in school uniforms

This month, October, HATS will start running two 'special' classes off site, one in Deschapelles, and one in Borel, for mature people who have a desire to return, to or attend, school. The idea is to prepare them to be able to pass the government exams for grade six.

On the subject of schooling HATS has its hat off to Education Haiti under the directorship of John and Bev Chappelle of Lower Sackville, NS. Education Haiti, now with 33 volunteers, has forwarded two cheques to HATS for this school year. One to cover sponsorship of 53 students and one to cover salaries for the teachers at the HATS school for this school year. Praise the Lord! What a relief and blessing it is to know the salaries are covered. These funds come as the result of a lot of work from all these people with the collecting and recycling of bottles, etc. This group is aptly named "Education Haiti" and they are doing a fantastic job with education here in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti.
Too, Education Haiti forwarded funds to get some badly needed work done at the school before it reopened. This included doors being put on the three new classrooms that have been in use since construction in January, as well as some important safety work being done on the huge barrier entrance, and the door, to the school compound.
Thank you very much to all who are involved with Education Haiti.
Within the next month or so I plan to feature three of our success stories on sponsored students. I will include photos and bring you up to date on their lives at present. These three started in our sponsorship program, through Education Haiti funds, in1998.
HATS also wants to thank Riaz Khan of Calgary, for sponsoring two charity bbqs, at his M&M business site. Thanks also to the volunteer workers who made both these functions successful. Thank you to both people who won the 50/50 draws at the charity bbqs and donated the winnings back to HATS-Haiti. Thank you very much.
Thanks to Carol McCaslin and Lois Uptigrove for organizing the evening at Brentview Baptist in August and giving me the opportunity to share my heart on the work of HATS in Haiti. Thanks to all who attended and supported this work.
We have a HUGE Praise report in regards to the fundraising that had been going on for a vehicle for the mission since January 2009. We now have a new 2008 Mitsubishi L200 with automatic transmission. Now, I can drive relaxed and in comfort while knowing I will not breakdown. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL WHO HAVE WORKED TIRELESSLY TOWARDS THIS END AND TO EVERYONE WHO HAS DONATED FUNDS FOR THIS VERY NEEDY PROJECT. My heart is filled with thankfulness and appreciation. The vehicle will be driven only by the two people who direct the mission, myself and Luckner, and by our blan visitors, especially our two 'blan' chauffeurs - Dickie and Nolan, when in Haiti. The servicing of the truck and any other work needed in the future will only be done at the dealership.

God's provision. A new vehicle for which I will not stop thanking Him
We have mentioned the great need of suitable housing for additional missionary staff. There is a plan for a group from NS to come January 5th to 19th to work on this. Too, the group from Texas plan to come late January to so this very important project can be done. By February we should have suitable housing available for help at HATS.
We are hopeful that a team will be coming down this year too from the west coast under the leadership of Liette. Start looking at it seriously folks!!!
In the meantime Karen is in need of help now and there is accommodation available for short-term missionary help. Is there anyone out there with office administration skills and experience, which includes computer, who has some time to come and serve??
Tarantulas are still around. This week I had a fairly large one in my shower. Seeing as there was only myself and Ti Luckner in the house, and I was not about to allow a security agent into my private living quarters, I decided I needed to try and do something about it myself.
I remembered Luckner telling me that you cannot kill a tarantula with bug spray, but they will play dead when sprayed. Sure enough. After spraying it and watching it play dead five times I was brave enough to throw something heavy on it and kill it.
Hey Blair, I thought of you, and our trip to Biquette when dealing with this.
Ti Luckner continues to develop and he continues to be a joy to everyone, and, of course, especially to his mama. He picks up everything he hears and remembers it. He amazes and delights us when he comes out with phrases in good Creole that we had no idea he knew. He also understands English and responds well in that language too. Some days he talks a lot and very clearly but some days he struggles to get his words out the way he wants. Without this extremely special litle guy Mama Karen would find it lonely here, especially in the evenings and on the weekends. We have a lot of time together which is good for us both.

I have been telling him for years how special he is and that he is # 1 in my life. Lately, I've been talking more and more to him about Jesus. A couple of weeks ago I told him Jesus was # 1 in my life. He looked a little confused and was upset. Then he said "No, Ti Luckner numba 1 for Mama." More teaching daily and now he is starting to get the idea that Jesus is #1 for Mama and that he is #2. Last week he told the ladies who work here "Jesus numba one for Mama, and Ti Luckner numba two". They were surprised and thrilled to hear him say that. Yesterday he sat in my arms and said "Mama, Jesus numba one for Ti Luckner and Mama numba two." Hearing that blessed me.

As he continues to delight us with his development and his joy of life, I often think back to when he was seven months old and I took him to see a specialist in PaP. I went knowing there was something wrong with my baby and looking for help. The doctor told me to 'jete li' (throw him away, dispose of him) as he would be a vegetable all his life. He said if I wanted to help a child for me to put my time and energy into helping someone who could actually be helped. Needless to say I was upset and angry with the doctor. Just look at Ti Luckner today. God's grace and mercy in his life is apparent. I will continue to do what I can and I believe that God is going to use this child in the future.
The adoption papers have been completed and are in the hands of the lawyer in PaP. Please pray with me for this adoption to be completed. This little guy is different and special and has been from day one. He has been in my arms and my heart since I brought home from the hospital at 7 weeks old and 3 1/2 pounds. I must admit I cannot imagine life without my boy. He is more precious every day. We love and need each other very much.
When missionary help arrives Karen will thankfully be able to spend more time with her other children at the Kid's Home too. I have a lot of love for all my kids here and I want to spend more time with them. I want to put more into their lives, spiritually and morally. There is, however, only so much time and energy to give.
HATS has added another child to our family. We will be adding a second one soon. This little guy is Dieunel, age 3 1/2. He is being showered with love and affection here and hopefully the adjustment time to the HATS family will not be too long. He is shy around some of us and especially Mama Karen. I may very well be the first 'blan' he has seen.

Dieunel Mercius
Anyone interested in sponsoring Dieunel for school, or at the orphanage, please let me know.
I have a request for prayer for a friend of mine, who I met in Haiti. He was kidnapped in Kenya in July, along with his two colleagues, and taken to Somalia. At this point he is still being held in captivity. It is now 2 1/2 months since they were taken captive. Since negotiations for his release are continuing it is very important that I not mention him by name nor his nationality. I, however, ask you to pray for him and for his family. Thank you. Praise God, I just received word that Randy, and his two colleagues, have been released. No details yet. He, however, still needs prayer as he and his family deal with all this. Thank you, God, that Randy is no longer captive.
We are very much looking forward to having Bob and Linda Comeau and their daughter Amanda, from Yarmouth, NS come to help for a week in December. While here they will be supplying and serving a special Christmas meal to all our school students. And then Bob is turning around and coming back in January with the construction workteam!
The first week of September we had Theresa and Ronel stay with us here onsite. Ronel finally got his visa to move to Canada and Theresa came to Haiti for a week to help him pack up and to travel back together. It was good for all of us, staff and kids, to see Theresa again. We are missing Ronel at the school this year but we are all happy that they are now together.

A couple of people have asked why Alex is now Ti Luckner. I explained it on an update before but will do so again. My boy is a very determined little guy. He says a lot of things the way Luckner does. One morning Martha and Germaine told Alex he really was 'a Ti Luckner' (a little Luckner). Alex liked that and decided he wanted to be Ti Luckner. He would get upset with any of us who called him Alex from then on. Ti Luckner is what he wants to be called so Ti Luckner it is for now. When someones asks him who his papa is he answers Gwo Luckner.