Haiti Update

To our awesome and wonderful support team,
 
We hope and pray that all of you are coming into a time of thinking on and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior during this special time of the year.  I have to admit that it has been difficult for us to get into the “Christmas spirit” for several reasons.  One being that it is so hot and tropical and I, being from the northeast, am usually wearing turtlenecks and am shoveling snow at this time of the year.  Also, we have been so incredibly busy with both overseeing the orphanage that we are temporarily directing as well as looking for the permanent place where God will have us go.  So, we are in a very transitional time right now.  We are so thankful to those of you who have sent packages for both the kids at the orphanage as well as our own family.  What a blessing it will be to receive those things knowing that they were sent with so much love and prayers.
 
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  6 of the children at the orphanage came down with both malaria and typhoid fever at the same time.  Most of my days were spent serving as the ambulance to bring them back and forth to the hospital and medical clinic as well as the nurse to take care of the children and make sure that they were doing what was needed to regain their health.  We thank the Lord that He has used us to care for these kids during this time where many have been ill.  We have enjoyed the time of being able to build some relationships with the children, but we don’t want to develop too much of a bond knowing that we are only here on a temporary basis, therefore we don’t want the kids to get hurt when we leave.  So, we have just been holding things together while the board of directors of the orphanage seek a more permanent plan. We certainly pray that the Lord brings in the right person for this role
 
One of the things that Maria and I both have been discussing lately is the need to really like a place where we live in order to be most effective ministering in that place over a long period of time.  So, we don’t just want to settle into any particular area simply because there is tremendous need there.  There is tremendous need in every single city, town, or village of Haiti, but we want to settle into a place that not only has great need, but also is a place that we really like.  We need to be able to say, “We really like living here and we could see ourselves raising our family here as well as giving our lives to serve the people here”  Our vision for starting a children’s home will require a very long-term commitment, probably no less than 12 years or so. We are basically talking about taking in orphans and abandoned children and raising them in our own family.  It’s almost like adoption.  We plan to be with these children until they are of age and ability to go out on their own and sustain themselves with the tools and resources that hopefully we have equipped them with.  Therefore it is very important to settle in the right place that fits our likes, our talents, our personalities, and our vision.   So, that is what we have been trying to do.
 
We have continued to visit different places around this area as well as other parts of the country to give us a better idea of where we may want to settle.  We just came back from an area in the south which we thought was a great place for starting a children’s home. We spent a few days with some missionaries there who are doing almost exactly what we envision doing and are wanting to expand the work there.  Our kids had such a great time playing with the other children of the missionaries who were of the same age.  These missionaries are about the same age as us so it was also really good to make friends with them.  We all felt like we really connected well with each other.  Both of missionaries have a children’s home and so we had a great time spending time with their children.  It was so much different than spending time at an orphanage where a person often feels pity because the children look sad and withdrawn.  This was more like a huge happy family of 20 children all running around a big house and having the security of their “mama” and “papa” right there playing with them.  These kids were happy.  They have truly been redeemed and they know it.  It was awesome and it confirmed all the more to Maria and I of our vision to have the same thing.
 
The area has some amazing beauty to it, but is also filled with tremendous poverty which would provide plenty of opportunity for us to minister to the people and seek to make a difference in their lives, especially the orphaned and abandoned children.  We both really like the area and could see ourselves settling in there and ministering to the people.   We are praying about this as a serious possibility.  We need to make a decision soon as our time here at the orphanage is coming to a close.  Please be in prayer for us.
 
We are very excited about the possibilities that are in front of us.  We just want to make sure to move with wisdom each step of the way.  Like I said, it is so easy in Haiti to get swayed by the need because there are needs everywhere.  We want to be led by the Spirit of God rather than just the needs that we see everywhere.  So, after almost 2 months of just getting transitioned into this 3rd world country and starting to get a small grip on the language, we believe that the time is soon approaching where we will settle into a permanent place of our own where we can build relationships with the people, continue to learn the language, and shine our lights that will point people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
 
Thank you to each one of you who have faithfully been praying for us and supporting us with the financial means to bring the message of hope to the hurting children of Haiti.  We simply could not do this without you.  Thank you for being such a great team.  We hope to send another update soon with some good news, Lord willing.  May the Lord bless you and may we all come closer to the living God during this special time of the year.  Merry Christmas