So, even though it is only November 2nd and our Thanksgiving in United States isn’t until November 24th, I have been in a very thankful mindset lately. I am so thankful for God and the way he works. I am thankful that He chose Seth and I to fill this position and has been so faithful throughout the entire journey. I am thankful for how he has grown Seth and I’s marriage and helped us each individually learn much needed things and discover a more intimate relationship with Him. I am thankful that Karen has let us be a part of HATS and the children’s lives. We are so overjoyed to get to see these kids everyday. We are thankful for Karen and her service to this mission. Her faithfulness in carrying out God’s will for her life and her hard, hard, HARD work here. We are also thankful for Mariah and her sacrifice to be here with us and how she brings so much joy to Karen. In addition, we are extremely thankful for James, Ken and Betty, and Sara and Peter: all who have brought us such a source of community and friendship. God has been so good to us this past year and we are so thankful for a opportunity to grow more Christ-like while being part of this mission.
Things have picked up here around HATS. With school starting, Seth and I have been much more busy. Seth doing carpentry and me doing office work. These past several days, I have been trying to get the school sponsor list ready for when Liette comes down, so she can use it when organizing the school sponsorship photos and letters. I have really enjoyed my work here, especially that I don’t do any certain task for a long period of time. This work has been great, and I have been still trying to keep up with other small things I REALLY enjoy doing.
Mirlande and I still try to meet once a week and discuss a bible story focused on one of the Fruits of the Spirit. During our meeting the other day, we got on the topic of dreams. She told me that she would love to become the President of Haiti. However, that she would quickly get rid of the chofer and the door opener to her car because she would want to drive herself. I told her people would probably LOVE her for that. 🙂
I also have been trying to do a craft each week based off the Creation Story. I am doing a three week sermon spread out on the Creation story. To kick it off, we made animal masks to later use at our final Creation party at the end of the sermon series. I explained what we would be learning in church and how they would need the information they will learn in church to complete the creation party at the end. The kids were really excited. Since then, we have been doing a craft each week for each day of creation and recapping the lesson.
|The kids with their animal masks|
Within the last few weeks, we have had some really neat visitors. One group was a Canadian group who stopped by for a full day visit. They got to see the whole compound, the school, and time to play with the kids. It was a blast having them around and hearing all their stories. One very encouraging guy named, James, for Seth and I told us how him and his wife went to Africa on their honeymoon and stayed for two years to do mission work. His wife always says he owes her another honeymoon! 🙂 Now that is dedication to God’s calling! The other was a previous resident at HATS. Janine, who lived here for a total of 3 months in 2005, came to visit last Wednesday through Saturday. It was neat to hear her experiences with HATS and the other orphanages she worked with and her new passions in ministry.
Yesterday was October 31st, yes Halloween, but also Mariah’s adoption day. It is such a neat thing her family does. They chose a day between Josiah’s adoption date and her’s and they celebrate every year that God gave them to the family. So NEAT! We had a small party on the bank of the canal as the sun set.
|Mariah’s adoption celebration|
Today, a group from Borel stopped by to play with the kids. They brought mats to sit on for the truck ride there, but the kids soon turned them into toys. We had toboggan rides, house with sleeping bags, and crawling, hungary animals. The kids had a blast and can enjoy the simplest things.
|The kids new toys|
Mariah is still working over at the school and doing a fantastic job. She looks very professional as she heads over to the school every morning and always has various jobs to be doing. Last week, she hand drew two poster boards for separate classrooms of all the fruits and vegetables she could fit on it. They both turned out great!
Karen, well, I think if I listed everything she has been doing in the last few weeks we would be here for days reading! All I have to say is that lady is BUSY! She has been keeping track of the school, organizing and handing out school books, replacing and adding school students on the sponsor sheet, and everything else you can imagine. She is still go, go, go!!
|Karen and her kids|
Well, first I want to brag on my wife a bit. She talked about her crafts, but I want to tell you what I see as a helper and observer. The kids love Jess! They love the crafts that she puts together for them and they are constantly asking when she is going to do the next craft with them. Most importantly, they’re learning about God! Before she starts the craft she reviews the lesson from church with them and explains how it applies to the craft. A few weeks ago she asked the kids what were the fruits of the Spirit and what were some examples of good and bad fruit. They were full of good answers! To the extent that we could barely get them to speak one at a time! It’s the kind of disorder that brings a smile to your face because they were so excited to share what they’ve been learning!
Like Jess said, things have picked up quite a bit from August. While things were slow, I helped Jacques harvest the corn from the garden behind Karen’s house. Lately I’ve been working on building 2 desks and 3 cabinets for the offices at the school. I also built a swimming pool (That’s what I told the kids). Actually, it was a very large tool box (6 1/2 X 3 X 3) for the work teams that come down so that they will ALWAYS have tools to work with here (I’m pretty sure there’s a Haitian tool troll that’s constantly stealing our tools!). Soon, I will be building a roof for the small office at the school, as well as helping with painting the offices.
|The Boys Repairing the Backboard|
I’ve also been playing a lot of soccer with the boys and lately teaching JJ and Moise how to throw the football and run routes. I have to tell a story about Moise. A few weeks ago Moise and I went over to the field next to HATS to play (JJ and Vladimy were busy). We played a few games. The older boys are always trying to kick the small boys off of the field so in the second game I told a smaller boy who didn’t get to play the first game to play in my place. I made sure, though, that Moise didn’t get kicked off. I went and stood on the sidelines and as I started to watch the game I realized Moise wasn’t playing. I realized he was standing next to me, so I asked him, “why aren’t you playing.” I was getting ready to stop the game because I figured the older boys had kicked him off the field. Instead he pointed at a kid and responded, “I let him play in my place.” Then he stood and cheered joyfully for his team! What a great kid! I was so proud of him!
We’ve started a nursery for church (we may have already said that in a blog). Sandra, Ann, Jofky, and Karena tend to take to much of the other kids attention, so we thought it would be best to have a nursery. The adults take turns at it, but I do it the most because when Jess isn’t speaking, I’m the one that gets the least out of a sermon because I don’t understand it all yet. So why not watch the little ones!
Tuesday and Wednesday were a holiday here in Haiti- The Day of the Dead. To counteract some of the ‘other’ stuff that goes on during this holiday here, Luckner held a time of prayer and fasting at Radio Creole. Jess and I got to join Karen and Mariah to pray and worship with our brothers and sisters at the station. It was an encouraging time of worship together!
Also, remember Mariah in your prayers. She’s feeling better today because school was out the past two days and she took that time to get a lot of rest, but she could still use your prayers for a full recovery. Thanks
|A beautiful picture from a walk|
Thanks again for all of your support of us here at HATS. God bless you!