Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello All!

It’s been about a week so we figured it was time for another update. Karen has been gone this week so Mariah, Jess, and I have been in charge. We’ve had a lot of fun together! The past four nights we’ve either eaten or had snacks together to wind down the day, while we watch the Pirates of the Caribbean (half of one each night, since they’re 3 hour movies!). We’re sad that we don’t have the 4th one to watch, though! For any of you that haven’t been to the Caribbean, believe us, those movies are completely accurate! I just haven’t found my gold yet.

Last Wednesday we were blessed to have a dental team stop by and look at the kids! The team is staying a few miles down the road in Borel at Project Help and so they told Karen they would come for an afternoon. We only had one kid who had a problem that needed fixed, and he got to take a ride the next day down to Borel.

Dental Team
Mariah has been keeping busy with school stuff. School starts on Monday and there are a lot of loose ends to tie before school begins. And with Karen gone, Mariah is in charge of that part! This next week will be pretty busy, but we’re excited for this new season to begin. The kids are excited too, especially Judel who begins his first year!

Jess, Mariah and Antwa have also started working on updating our devotion song books, which is long overdue. We’re all excited to have some new songs to sing each morning and a little bit more variety. Also, Jess has set up a few crafts for the kids to keep them occupied while school is still out. The kids have really enjoyed it and have listened extremely well. Karen will be happy to see their work when she returns! The kids are also loving learning gymnastics with Mariah, actually they are doing that right now!

Craft Day
Who's who
As for me, I’m becoming one of the creatures in the Pirates of the Caribbean- I’m becoming one with my chair! Maybe not entirely. My goal this week was to finish 3 small 2 drawer dressers for the housemoms. So I’ve been doing my best to spread that work out so I can have some woodworking each day and then also help with crafts and other stuff as well. I’ve also had the chance of bringing the boys next door to play soccer a few times this week.

We had a nice relaxing weekend here at HATS. Other than the occasional sound of a saw by Eden (who was repairing a few desks for the school) things were pretty quiet. Sunday was the most home-like Sunday since we’ve been here! Jess, Mariah, Ti Luc and I relaxed all day watching football! It was fun teaching Ti Luc about American football, which is kind of hard since all he really knows is soccer. He yelled “gooooaaaal!!!!” every time Darren McFadden ran across the goal line (even on the replays!) and on practically every pass play (even if the ball wasn’t caught)! I guess i’ll just have to teach him a little at a time! Then Mariah, Jess and I made a pizza loaf and watched our movie!

JJ and Anne
We really do appreciate all of your prayers and support of each of us here, we are humbled because we know this wouldn’t be possible without the help of our Family in Christ! We are just happy to be Christ’s vessels- instruments for his glory! Thanks again and God bless you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello All,

So, I always say that I haven’t posted in forever, but really it has been a long time! We are going to keep this one short and sweet, though, and just catch you up with the happenings of HATS.

Seth and I have had a lot more down time than usual. We went from being crazy busy while Karen was gone, to having our family being here, to me being sick, and now we are at a point where work is slow. We have really enjoyed the time, but we are also looking forward to getting back to the hustle and bustle again. :) Since we have down time, we have been doing lots of reading and have been getting great time for our devotions. We also got to go this past weekend with missionary James, who shows evangelistic films, up into the mountains to show videos.

In addition to this, we have been playing with the kids! One day last week, Seth and I put together an obstacle course. It was a blast! The kids all ran through it together once and then each one individually did a timed run. This was a pretty amazing feat for the kids. Each turn took about 2 minutes. They all sat and cheered for every kid that went and were beyond excited for their turn. I was so amazed with their enthusiasm and patience that Seth and I just HAD to give them some candy. :) While the kids chowed away. Antwa, Naomie, Seth, and I all gave the course a run too! One word= exhausting. :) (No wonder the kids were breathing so hard)

Doing the obstacle course
Judel completing the obstacle course
Eating their goodies
I was recently able to start a small Bible study with Mirlande. We take our time together to talk over the week, pray over things, and we have been studying the fruits of the Spirit and how that should look in our lives. I have really, really enjoyed it! It is good time to give her one-on-one attention, but it also helps both of us in our Creole/English skills as we communicate and read from the different Bibles.
Yesterday, Seth and I went down to Project Help in Borel to help pour a cement drain on a roof. Peter, with Clean Water, was very happy to have Seth’s help and it was fun being able to help out our fellow missionary friends.

The kids have been a pure joy this past week. It is so neat to see how they are each individually growing and learning. I just want to thank you all for your support and prayers for this place. And thank you for all the things you have done and made possible in these kids lives! :)

Anne being as cute as ever
Jofky's new persona

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello HATS Supporters,

Lately, we have been getting requests from people asking if there was a way they could receive a blog update in their e-mail. People were noting that it would be great to have it right there in their inbox, so they didn't miss the information. This is possible and very easy! While you are here on the blog website, you will find a blue section on the right hand column. Right above the pictures of the followers, there is a place that says "Receive new posts by e-mail." In the box below, type your e-mail address and the system will send you a confirmation e-mail containing a link. When you click on that link, you are signed up and the system will send you a copy of the blog to your e-mail address whenever a new blog is posted. (Remember you MUST click the link to verify. We have had some people forget to finish that last step :)) This can take up to 24 hours, and is not under our control, but it will appear in your inbox. We, again, want to thank you for following along with the blog and for supporting us in so many ways! Hopefully, this will make it a little easier for everyone to stay connected with what goes on here at HATS.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good intentions can often be just that - good intentions.

I seriously planed on blogging more often, every second day doing a short one. Life here, however, tends to constantly get in the way. Mariah did one recently but I realize I really am overdue again. My days are so full one day just runs into another and I hardly know when one has finished and another has begun. This is going to become even more so in two weeks time when school reopens.

Speaking of school. The construction project of office with adjoining library is looking good. This week will see the cement work finished on the walls inside and out. Before we paint, however, we need to get a smooth cement floor poured, and the wood framing done for doors. After this we will need shelves, a storage cupboard in both rooms, and two desks in the office (for Luckner and Karen), filing cabinet, etc. Then chairs so we can actually meet properly with parents and with teachers. For the past couple of years we have held our meetings in the school yard, standing or sitting wherever we can find a little shade.

Office and school building taking shape
Our school will open Monday, October 3rd. Opening was delayed at the order of the president who had an agenda of his own (some political promise he made to do with schooling that everyone knew he could not fulfill.) Thank you to all of our sponsors who are continuing with your student (s). If your student has changed this year I will do my best to let you know within the first two weeks of school opening. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Radio Creole at Luckner's place continues to play Christian music, give God's word daily, and pray three one hour periods a day for those who call in with prayer requests, as well as teach morals, acceptable behaviour, respect for one another, etc. This radio station is making a big difference. When one takes a stand for the Lord, and for the good of all, persecution comes. I knew it would happen and talked to Luckner about it before the station went on the air. Good changes are happening throughout the area and the persecution has hit and keeps on coming. A lot of terrible and evil things take place every night around here and especially at midnight. Radio Creole has a pastor who prays every night from midnight to 1:00 or later. This nightly prayer at Radio Creole, along with everything else that comes over the airwaves from the radio station has upset the apple cart of those who desire to do ungodly things late at night. People want to take revenge against Radio Creole and Luckner. Pastors all throughout this area have banned together and decided to have a day of prayer and fasting (Jen) this Thursday for Radio Creole and Luckner. Then the same evening (Thursday) pastors and other Christians will gather on the roof of the Trade School outside Radio Creole from 6:00 p.m. to midnight to pray. Thank you for your prayer support for Radio Creole FM and for the people in the Artibonite Valley. May God's goodness prevail and evil be knocked down.

Radio Creole FM
My kids are doing well, precious, special and all growing like weeds. They do love to have time with their Mama and I am doing my best to keep up the necessary work load and have more time with them. Too, they enjoy time with Mariah and with Jessie and Seth. Ti Sandra is my new office assistant. She sits in my office with me daily, in what once was Ti Luc's highchair.

Sandra now helps Mama in the office daily
Today is Sunday and what I consider 'Family Day'. We started our day with our little church service. It was Jessie's turn to do a message today. She does one twice a month and Maggie and/or Antoinette the other Sundays. As a part of this morning's message Jessie and Mariah did a skit about keeping our hearts and our lives clean. Our Sunday service is followed with a good meal, and then I try to keep our afternoon open for playing and enjoying time together. Some Sundays we also sit and chat as a family as well and Mama Karen spends time talking about respect for others and growing up with integrity, honesty and good morals. Hopefully some of it will stay with them throughout their lives.

Sunday afternoon family time
Family talk time
Jessie playing with Ti Luc
One happy with ti kado, one in corner due to attitude
Today Mariah helped Magalie prepare the Sunday meal for the children. Mariah helps cook at Luckner's on Tuesdays and Thursdays so by the time she leaves us she should be quite adept at preparing food Haitian style.

Mariah and Magalie preparing the Sunday meal
Mariah, Jessie and Seth painted the two large gates to the compounds as well as the two small ones between the main compound and the school. They had a little help from JJ and Vladimy. It has made a beautiful difference to both the outside and the inside of the compound. It is amazing how much brighter and more attractive a coat of paint makes things.

Mariah can multitask - eat, paint, listen to music and be a goof ball
Finally told the children today that the little house Luckner and I had asked Seth to build was not really for a small 'back up' generator but was a playhouse for them. They were all quite pleased.

Kids are happy with their playhouse
Again, to all of you who follow the blog, thank you for all the support. I have no idea how many actually read what we blog, but I know for sure that a few people do. Thank you Sandra, Dickie and Shondi for always putting a comment on the blog. It is very encouraging for us. Thank you Liette for always posting it to facebook for others to see. Speaking of blogging. Now it Jessie and Seth's turn to write one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hello everyone!!

Well this past week has been a great one. I continue to teach gymnastics for all the kids and moms in the orphanage who want to participate. The class is an hour long every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have the chance to exercise in a fun and safe environment. We learn pike jumps, tuck jumps, straddle jumps, forward roll and backward roll, cartwheels and other fun skills. We have the chance to play with the parachute for warm up game.

Gymnastics with Mariah
Parachute warmup for gymnastics
As well I've been working down in Luckner's little shop two days a week. Now I know how to make change and sell lots of things and help costumers with what ever needs to be done. I help Rose Lore with the cooking when I go there and learn how to cook great meals. Rose Lore says that Luckner does not eat a lot but if I cook for him he makes an effort to eat way more!

Mariah helping at Luckner's business
I enjoy very much going to the radio station and seeing my friends that I have made and listening to the great gospel music and the teachings that Luckner and other people do. I was able to go to Ti Riviere with Luckner and a group through the radio station to pray with a young man who wanted to accept the Lord.

One of Mariah's favourite places to go
Praying with a young man in Ti Riviere
Anyway having an awesome week and can't wait for Sunday because Jessie and I will be doing a skit. Should be a blast and hopefully the kids will learn lots from it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Liz here. (a.k.a Nana Toes toes.)

It is said that all good things must come to an end and so this is my last day in Haiti. It has been a very restful time for my physical being and for my soul. Thank you dear Lord and thank you Karen. My husband is slowly dementing now and is close to losing his short term memory , which has been very difficult to witness and to adjust to. My stay at HATS has given me time for reflection and meditation and I will go home refreshed and renewed.

When I spoke at devotions this morning I told everybody that I was reminded of a hymn with the line
'Worship and Devotion shall be one' . This is definitely how I see HATS. Once we accept Christ all that we do and say should be in service to Him. I also told them that no one job was more important than the other - all are equal in God's eyes. Most important of all are the children. And the example that is being set for them here at HATS - for it is the children who are the future and the hope of Haiti. I will always remember the beautiful voices raised in praise each weekday morning and that will comfort me when I have struggles.

We went to the beach yesterday and it was a wonderful day. It was not only the children who were having a joyful time, but also the house mothers. They were doing somersaults in the water and splashing about having a refreshing break from their daily routines. It was very obvious that eating in a restaurant, where the children were so well behaved, was almost more of a highlight than the swimming.

Beach - Here we come!!
Beach day. Mariah with Jofky
Beach Time
Meal in restaurant at beach
Little Karena in big restaurant. Still eating slowly
Was a good day. Time to go home.
To Karen's family - I have been successful in firmly suggesting that Karen rest. She has actually taken a number of short rests and several times went to bed early. Thank you, Lord. Karen admitted today that she has never taken so many short breaks since she has moved to Haiti !!!

Of course at this time I will be leaving my precious granddaughter, Mariah, behind. All of my grandchildren are bi-cultural and I have watched Mariah these past two weeks as she attempts to find her niche here. There is a lot of "North America" that struggles with Haiti as it is so different. I have always called her Precious since she came into our lives. She is beautiful inside and out and will continue to grow into a loving Christian woman. Her Papa Don and I are so proud of her.

I will take with me all the love that has been shown to me, the hugs and kisses of the children, and the wonderful warm hugs from the staff. I will especially miss Ti Luc, and Martha singing praises while she works in the kitchen.

Ti Luc and Nana
A great big huge thank you to the Lord and to Karen for this time in my life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thank you Lord!

We thank the Lord for all that he does and for his continuous provision in so many ways. Until I came to Haiti, though, I thought the phrase “Thank you Lord” was just useful for thanking our Lord, but I’ve realized it can also be used for art and a bit of humor (which still doesn’t take away from the ability to thank our God!). If you’ve been to Haiti you know how religious the country is- there is some sort of religious statement on most vehicles and businesses. There’s a bus around here that has “Thank you Lord” written on the side of it, but underneath the words there is a big shooting missile. I found it slightly humorous, so in my free time last week I recreated it in an art piece I titled, “Thank you Lord with a missile underneath” (Mediums- Paper and Sharpie). And I’ve priced it very reasonably, at a measly cost of $3,287.56(US) and all the proceeds will go to HATS. Here it is....

Thank you Lord with a missile underneath
Seriously, though, Thank you Lord! Jess and I were blessed with the company of our family a few weeks ago! My brother, Saul, Jess’ brother Jordan, her sister Jamie, and our friend Mark came to visit with us and help out with a few projects here. It was a much needed time of fellowship with those we love most, and we made the most of their time here! Before they came, we decided we wanted to shape our time based on The Festival of Shelters in Leviticus 23. It’s a weeklong celebration to honor God, and it’s easy to celebrate with family and friends! We all slept in our gallery together (which we figured was kinda like sleeping in tents!) We had a dance party one night with the kids and a cookout another night; We had a water fight one day; We shared a birthday celebration with Judel and Vladimy; We made funnel cakes because we were missing out hometown’s homecoming; we did a song together at church; and we also went mummering one evening(a Newfoundland tradition Karen taught us- she picked 4 out of 6 of us correctly)! Also, Missionary James brought us along with his team to the beach one day and also on a hike to Verrettes Falls.

Lets dance!
Jordan with the birthday boys
Mummering; can you guess who's who?
Mark strolling on the beach
The hike to the falls
The falls
On top of all that, we also enjoyed serving together. Jess and Jamie painted the inverter house as the boys got the “Delco House” started, and then we all finished it together. We told the kids we were building another house for an alternate generator, but we were actually building them a big playhouse. Karen didn’t want them to know what it was until it was completely finished so that it could be a surprise to them. As Karen said in a previous blog, we lost the generator for a few days, which meant we quickly lost all of our battery power (including power tools). We had to revert to hand tools. Although, it’s a lot more work, hand sawing a piece of wood always makes you feel like more of a man (even if you’re a woman)!

Jamie and Jess finish the inverter house
The Men
More than one of us usually work, I promise!
Real men
Jess takes a turn
Karena checks our work
Photo for our hometown newspaper
Before our family got here and while Karen was in Canada, it was the hottest it had been since we’ve been here. It wasn’t raining and the sun kept getting hotter! It was pretty miserable at times. We were praying that it would cool off for our family, but actually, only half prayers, because you kinda want those back home to really know what you’re experiencing. God listened to our prayers though! It was beautiful while our family was here. The days were hot, but it rained almost every night which cooled it down tremendously. I think we all used 2 sheets most nights. Now when we go back home and complain, “man, it was so hot in Haiti!” They’re just going to roll their eyes and say under their breath, “doubt it.” Our family had such a great time here with us, serving with us and getting to know the children! HATS will always be a part of Jess and I, and now when we talk about it in the future, we will have people who can talk with us and understand fully!

Unfortunately, our celebration left with our family, because the day they left, Jess got sick. We thank God so much that is over with now, but that was a rough week. We’re so thankful for Karen’s help in getting a nurse here to get Jess an IV in our own home! And we’re thankful for all of your prayers.
Mariah and Liz came while Jess was sick so we missed out on their first few days, but we’ve quickly realized what wonderful people they are and we’re excited to have them here with us. We had a good time in fellowship last week when they came up to our place for chocolate chip cookies and banana bread.

Over the past few weeks, Jess and I haven’t gotten a lot done work wise. Partly because Karen told Jess to take a lot of time to rest, but also because a lot of the construction stuff is done and school doesn’t start until October now. I realize now, that I may have worked too hard while Karen was gone in Canada. I got all of my projects done and now I’m just left with some small paint jobs (that I will be sharing with Jess and Mariah). I’m sure that won’t be the case for long, Karen is good at working stuff up! This is the first slow period I’ve had since I’ve been here. Last week, I did fix some small repairs around the compound and I built a small dresser for Jess and I’s room. Saturday, Jess and Mariah spent the afternoon getting the kids new shoes and underwear, and fitting them for swimsuits.

JJ waiting for his shoes
Is this the right size
Djemima, Josie and Ismyis wait patiently
They're ready for the beach!
Karen gave us Monday off because it was my birthday! Jess asked me what I wanted and I told her I wanted to go to Six Flags- She said no. Then I asked for Olive Garden- and again she said no. Then I asked for a Dr. Pepper and she said we could share one (We did share one, but not because she said we had to). We’ve realized that it’s kinda tough to make things special in Haiti because of the lack of ability to go somewhere or get certain things. Jess did a great job though and made me a wonderful dinner that evening- Sweat and sour meatballs, [Editors note - I think Seth meant sweet and sour...but it has been hot in Haiti so I left it as written] potato wedges and garlic bread! We also went swimming at the hospital pool that day and I had my NFL fantasy draft that night with all my friends back home! One of the best gifts was the next day, though. We got to go with Karen to St. Marc on a bank run. We love going because its a sort of a date for us because Karen drops us off at the Deli Mart which has a fast food restaurant above it. We got bacon cheeseburgers and fries and they even had Dr. Pepper (which is the first time we’ve seen it here) so Tuesday we didn’t have to share! It was such a blessing, because our “dates” typically don’t involve leaving the house!

I know Karen has already talked highly of Luckner’s radio station, Radio Creole, and I must do the same. It has brought a lot of good to the community and I was more than happy to hear that another person came to Christ through it in the past few days! Another thing it has done is heighten discussion on Voudou and Christianity. Because of that, Karen invited Luckner to come and talk with all of our employees yesterday. It was an encouraging and insightful thing for all who were there yesterday and I pray that more people will be able to gain understanding and life through the radio station! I ask that you pray for the radio station and also for this place, that we will always be growing in our relationship in Christ, which will also strengthen our light to those around us and to the world!
God bless you and enjoy the rest of the pictures!

Jump for joy
Moise why aren't you jumping
Karena, Jamie, and Djemima
Jofky, Saul, and Anne
Tifi and Jofky playing baseball
Jordan, Judel, Diunel and Jofky
Lizard class
Ann just finished her candy
Jofky too!
who's going to win?
Jordan with the kids