Mrs. Leger has been a wonderful teacher as she brought Grace up to speed with the rest of the class!
Grace had a real challenge ahead of her when we moved to Haiti – there was no first grade offered at the Missionary School! Thankfully, prior to moving, she tested well enough to be accepted into second grade. It was challenging for her at first, but she is doing very well. She has seven girls and one boy in her class! She loves her teacher, Mrs. Leger! She rides to and from school in a gator with three neighbors, Chloe, Gabby and Faith (Chloe and Gabby’s mom, Mandy, and me in front).
Going to school with friends missionary style!
Grace is finished with school each day at 12:30 to come home in time for lunch. She loves cursive writing, math, Bible time, and especially loves her newest subject, the French language. She has a French teacher who comes into her classroom two times a week. She shares her excitement in learning words, phrases, and songs in French. There is also a neighborhood German Club, once a week, that she really enjoys. Eventually she will also study the Creole language at home from a Haitian teacher (she is already quickly picking up words and phrases from the Haitians we interact with). We wish we had her young brain to absorb as quickly as she does!
Another excitement of her week is her gym class. She chose gymnastics. One of her teachers is Trinity, along with two other young ladies. Grace really loves that gym class! After school, a few times a week, she and her friends make up their own little gymnastics class. She plays every afternoon with many of her school friends either at our home or at theirs (well, we all live close together!).
Since the class has been studying ponds they made a 3D pond scene complete with Mrs. Leger in a longboat!
Here are Grace and Mackenson, one of her buddies, in his tree house. Mackenson is the sweet boy that Tim & Joan Reinhard are adopting and homeschooling. He loves to play with Grace!
In October we had the opportunity to meet both directors of the child sponsorship organizations we will be serving, left to right, Marie Lucie (MEBSH) and Adline and husband Lumenes (HCH). The other two gentlemen are Tim Butikofer and Tom Neuenschwander, AC World Relief directors.
Besides working with the MEBSH child sponsorship office that the Apostolic Christian World Relief organization supports, we will also serve as administrators for a second organization: HCH (Help a Child in Haiti) based in Port-au-Prince. Last October we spent extended time with the HCH director, Adline, her husband Lumenes and their assistant, Joel. We were able to visit seven of their eight southern Haiti rural schools, where their organization currently handles 450 sponsored students! The young lady we sponsor, Mantha, attends one of the HCH schools.
Words cannot express how much these people love the children they help. Adline’s family was very poor and she experienced the blessing and wonder of having her own education sponsored. She related that it was her sponsor who was the the first person to ever tell her that she was loved. She understands the children and the families she serves! Her words: “There are so many opportunities to help. The children have nothing. And many of them just need love and to be told someone loves them. We can do that!”
Adline and Joel questioning a student about her brother’s school attendance. “He doesn’t have any shoes.” (The money was quickly provided for that need!)
At one school Adline was questioning a student why her brother wasn’t coming to school.They were speaking to each other in Creole when suddenly Adline walked away from us. She came back after awhile and apologized for getting emotional. She explained that the student told her that her brother doesn’t have shoes to wear to school. It brought back all the emotions of her youth because she had to share a pair of shoes with her brothers. Parents favor sending their sons to school so she seldom got to go.
Truthfully, when you see rooms full of quiet children neatly dressed in uniforms you don’t immediately register poverty and need. What you see is the result of a sponsor’s giving (or for those not sponsored the money is scraped together by some families or only partially paid when they have to choose between fees or books or food).
If you don’t already sponsor a child’s Christian education, we encourage you to consider what a tremendous blessing that only $30 a month would be to a child and their family. There are children waiting to be sponsored! Go to this link for more information:
Waiting in the shade for school to start!
School begins with singing the national anthem and prayer.
This rural school holds high school classes in this structure. Classrooms are separated by tarps.
They pointed out that many students for this school walked five miles over the distant hills to attend!
I love how the light bursts through the doorway of this empty, dimly lit classroom.
It reminds me of Psalm 119:130…”The entrance of Your word gives light.”
Who can put a price on a Christian education in a third world country?
We’ve had a few funny things happen to us and we’ve seen a few unusual things (from a U.S cultural perspective)! We will post more from time to time so you get the idea how learning a new culture can be both humorous and challenging at the same time!
Language and money barriers!
Recently when our friends, Rudy & Polly Zollinger (Smithville, Ohio), were visiting, we went to the “fast food restaurant” in town called Hot Spot. Polly decided she only wanted lettuce on her burger. I tried to stress “lettuce only” to the waitress, but didn’t know the Creole word for only. I did the best I could and it seemed the waitress understood fbecause she nodded her head. When she finally came with our order (an hour later?) she handed Polly a plate with a sad little burger with melted cheese on top sitting in the middle with a tiny pile of fries! No bun, no lettuce…wow! We just burst out laughing after the waitress walked away. It was a good reminder to keep practicing Creole! Often this particular restaurant doesn’t have too many items available. Most of us ordered pizza or burgers, but Rudy ordered fish. The waitress came out and said, “no pizza,” but we thought she said “no pwason” (which is fish…hey, it sounds a lot alike!). So we told her to bring a burger. When she brought out burgers for everyone there was one plate too few. We decided to just share the food and Rudy promptly ate one of the burgers (we had waited an hour remember and we still were thinking “no fish!”). After a while she also shows up with a lovely fish! Well…Rudy ate that too while we all laughed again!
There was another time when the nearly deaf “banana lady” (who comes almost every morning to our door) asked Mike for some money for her ripped basket. He decided to offer her a large Haitian coin which had 50 marked on one side. We had gotten this coin from someone else the day before and we assumed it was 50 Haitian gourdes because it was the size of a U.S. half dollar. Well, she clearly didn’t want that coin! He was surprised how persistent she was in not wanting to take that coin, so he eventually shrugged his shoulders, threw up his hands and went in and slammed the door behind him. No use trying to help some people!? We found out weeks later that that large coin is only half–50%–of one gourde, probably worth a penny! (She still comes!)
The “banana lady” who we see almost every morning! If we don’t buy from her she asks for food or something else…
You know what a siamese twin is right? Have you ever seen a siamese banana? We recently bought one (two?) that were conjoined! Twice as good! Someone deleted the photo I took of it (them?) so I am hoping the banana lady comes up with another one so I can show you!
I’m sure there is a perfectly plausible explanation why this door is hanging upside down! It’s not in our house actually, it’s in the guest house at Bonne Fin. Well, it would drive me perfectly crazy to use that bathroom door every day if it was in my house!
One more…I mentioned earlier that Haitian church services are typically longer than American ones. The kids sit there for a long time! The one church we have been recently attending has quite a few kids that sit up in the front. There are two LSM Homes of Hope at this location which adds to the number of kids dramatically. One time a young girl could not find a bench to squish into and she stood in the aisle for a while. One of the pastors came down from the pulpit to rescue her and let her sit by him on the pulpit! After a while she went to sleep in that big chair! Our kids got quite a kick out of that scene!
To be continued…
Recently I was caught by these words from one of our regular visitors:
“Having a sponsor for my education is like having grace, it is an undeserved gift.”
Evans, 13th year student
Compare this earthly gift of a Christian education to the gift of salvation from God…an offer to be saved eternally by grace through faith…offered freely to all:
“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Thanks for the difference many of you are making one child at a time! We can never underestimate the power of encouragement and the power of love. This young man that I quoted comes by often to talk and has shared that he hopes to also sponsor one or two children when he finishes college and gets a job. He is well aware that not everyone has been given the gift of education that he has been given. Could a life changing earthly gift help open eyes to the greatest gift ever offered? Most definitely! You can tell your sponsored child about Jesus. Because you have demonstrated that you love him/her you now have an open door to share the greatest gift!
Here are some recent favorite photos:
This photo speaks to me of our children’s willingness to serve in Haiti with us. Here Grace is following us into a 2-hour church service which she will get absolutely nothing out of!
Sometimes is is just good to get out of the house to study Creole. Learning a new language as a family is very interesting to say the least!
A Haiti sunset framing a fishing scene right out of the Bible!
From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of the Lord is to be praised! Sending love and prayers from our home to yours…