Where does time go? I obviously struggle with blogging. For one, it's hard to find time to sleep let alone write. Though that's not even the hardest part. The hardest part for me is that SO much happens here in a day. A week. A month. We constantly deal with situations that are not "normal". Situations that are hard to put into words. I'm always asking myself, "Should I really write about that?" After all, our ministry is with vulnerable people, and I never want to exploit their situations. On top of that, working in the orphan care world is a hot mess of it's own. It's a hot topic and Christians everywhere have opinions on orphanages, best practices, family-reunification, short-term mission teams, adoption, adoption ethics, etc. Honestly, I love talking about his stuff and blogging about such topics can be a great way to share experiences and encourage others who are striving out of pure hearts to defend the cause of the fatherless. But blogging about these topics can also bring a lot of un-necessary drama (in my opinion) so I usually choose to have conversations about said topics in person.
So as we continue to pray for discernment on what and what not to share…here's a little update on what's been going on in our neck of the woods:
**We are expanding out onto the back of our property! We have purchased some additional land in recent months to spread out. This will create 2 separate compounds connected by a bridge. The new homes on the 'back property' will be our family homes. Our current 'front property' will be utilized as our activity center (worship night, games,special activities, etc), education center (daily lessons/homework time after school and computer lab), administration, missionary housing, short term group housing, and our age-out campus.
This is happening for a few reasons:
1. According to IBESR (Haitian social services), our kids can't live on our compound with the other children once they turn 18. We will still have kids who are not finished with school at that age, and we are committed to walking alongside them for a period of time to help our kids "age-out" well. They will move up to our front property when they reach that age. There they will be given the opportunity to finish school and be mentored as they choose their next steps in life and prepare to spread their wings and leave their Hands & Feet home. The same concept is also happening at our Grand Goave site right now.
2. We are crowded! We have 90 people living full time on our small compound, plus short-term mission teams when they come. We desire for all of our children to have safe, stable family units away from the hustle and bustle of people coming in and out, and having a separate family home compound will accomplish this. Interaction with all other people will happen on our front activity campus.
3. Our families are currently full right now, and the extra space will allow a little more room if IBESR comes to us with a child who needs a family.
|We had a new well drilled on the back property at the beginning of the summer! You can see the wall that was completed around the property as well.|
|This summer we've had some great teams working hard under the direction of our Haitian construction crew on the back property. After a lot of work building the wall, digging and leveling land, we have our first new home going up.|
** Our kids have been having a great summer. For starters, ALL of our kids passed in school this year. Not only did they pass, but they all did extremely well! Stephen and I along with all their house moms are incredibly proud of each and every kid. They all put in a lot of hard work over the last semester.
Their summer break has been filled with loads of fun activities! They've gone on field trips to the national museum and other sites in Port au Prince, our older kids got the chance to go to an amazing church camp for a week with their 'cousins' from Grand Goave, our house moms have been teaching cooking and sewing classes, they've done lots of crafts including bracelet making and wood working, they have done service projects, and the list goes on. Our kids are incredibly talented and I have especially enjoyed watching the house moms invest in teaching the kids their skills this summer. Oh how I love our staff!
|This photo was taken shortly after the kids found out they all passed. These two incredibly smart guys had to run and tell us the good news right away as they worked hard and showed tons of improvement this semester!|
|Our kids and staff put in some hard work and painted our church last week. It looks beautiful, and I'm pretty sure they had a lot of fun doing it!|
|You've got to have time for a good water balloon fight.|
|One of our house moms teaching our girls the process of designing and sewing clothes.|
|I'm incredibly thankful for the tables one of our group members made for our kid's activity room and for our family for home school this fall!|
|Of course we have to squeeze in some hang out time.|
That covers a lot of ground from this summer. We have so much great stuff currently going on. A special thanks to all the teams for their hard work and being such a blessing to us this summer. We continue to appreciate all of our amazing supporters as well. We covet your prayers and could not keep going without each and every one of you.
On that note... I think we're also looking forward to a slow-down in pace this fall and a chance to breathe :)