Wings of Hope Foot Washing Ceremony

Wings of Hope Foot Washing Ceremony

He [Jesus] poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him…”Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You are right. That is what I am. I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:5,12-15 NIV)

During the time of Jesus the roads were long and dusty. The disciples’ feet would have been dirty from walking with Jesus in there sandals. Jesus was their ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ a position to high to be kneeling and washing the dirty feet of others. That job was for servants, those of a lower station. But Jesus knelt to serve his friends and then challenged them to serve others.

Today in Haiti the roads are long and dusty. When you visit and wear sandals you can begin to understand why the disciples’ did not have want their ‘Lord’ to wash their feet. Every year the Wings of Hope kids have a foot washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday. A ceremony dedicated to kneeling down and serving others. Remember what Jesus asked of us, to “do as I have done for you.”

As we go into Easter and celebrate the love that Jesus has for us we, at Hearts with Haiti, ask for you to pray for the St. Joseph Family and it’s leaders. Prayers of thanksgiving for the joy the kids and leaders continue to have, for strength through challenging days, and for them to feel the love that we all have for them. We also ask you to consider giving to Hearts with Haiti to support the St. Joseph family either by participating in the challenge today, contributing to purchasing a van for the Wings of Hope house, or becoming a child sponsor. Finally, we ask you to share. Share your stories about Hearts with Haiti and the St. Joseph Family by tagging us on Facebook, or using our hashtags: #heartswithhaiti #sjfhaiti #wingsjacmel.

Grace, peace, and thanks,

Lydia Cauley

Hearts with Haiti Administrative Director

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Help Wings of Hope get back on the road!

Help Wings of Hope get back on the road!

Spring Angels! Wings of Hope needs a new van.
Wings of Hope is currently without regular and reliable transportation. Reliable transportation is important for Wings of Hope for many reasons. All of the Wings of Hope residents have serious and varied medical needs.  So the van will be used for trips to Port-au-Prince for medical care that cannot be found in Jacmel. Also a reliable vehicle is used to go out and purchase items needed by the home — medicine, food, supplies, etc. Wings of Hope having their own vehicle would make the shopping trips easier, and less expensive. A vehicle is also needed in order to provide transportation for enrichment. Leaders and staff like to take the residents out into the community for field trips and new life experiences. This is not possible without a vehicle because many of the residents use wheelchairs. A reliable vehicle is also used to transport visitors and mission teams who have come to Haiti to spend time and serve with the St. Joseph Family.
Hearts with Haiti are asking our donors to assist the St. Joseph Family in purchasing a van for Wings of Hope. We are setting a Van Fundraising goal at $30,000. This would go to the cost of a used van as well as assist in covering the cost of registration and insurance.
Hearts with Haiti also asks for continuous prayers for the St. Joseph Family. As we blossom into spring and approach Easter please have the St. Joseph Family in your prayers. Wonderful things are happening in Haiti, and they would not be possible without the grace and peace of our Lord. Hearts with Haiti wants to lift up thanks to our Lord for all that He has done as well as lift up thanks to our donors, volunteers, mission teams, and supporters of the St. Joseph Family.

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Hearts with Haiti Welcomes the new team!

Hearts with Haiti Welcomes the new team!

Hello friends,

As spring is just around the corner and flowers are doing their best to bloom, we have some new growth to announce as well. Hearts with Haiti would like to introduce Renee Dietrich, who will be our Communications and Sponsorship Director, and Lydia Cauley, who will be our Administrative Director. We are excited about the new ideas and energy they are bringing to the Hearts with Haiti family. Jeanette Fuccella, the current Executive Director, will be moving on to new and exciting opportunities in her life. The Hearts with Haiti and St. Joseph Family Boards thank her for her exceptional service and wish her blessings and success on all future endeavors, and look forward to seeing how God moves in her life. Keep an eye out for information about other new growth and exciting ideas from Renee and Lydia.

Thanks and Peace,
Alan Stone
President – HwH Board

Renee Dietrich – Director of Communications and Sponsorship

I have been involved with the St. Joseph Family since the day it started. My Mom met Michael and went to the first home the day after the work started in 1985. In 1987, I met Michael and the boys for the first time when they were in the United States on their first theater tour. In 1988, I made my first trip to Haiti and instantly fell in love with the country, the people, and the SJF. Over the next 14 years I traveled to Haiti once or twice a year, deepening my relationship with the SJF. In 2002, I left my job as a photojournalist to move to Haiti and work with the SJF full-time. I have had many titles over the years, and I perform many duties for the SJF. I am currently the Director of Communications and Development for the SJF. Some of my duties include communicating with benefactors and mission partner organizations, managing the sponsorship program, coordinating guest visits, provide SJF administrative assistance and fiscal management assistance. I also serve on the SJF Board of Directors as the secretary.

I will now also be working part-time for Hearts with Haiti as the Communications and Sponsorship Director. I have a long-term relationship with HWH and have worked with the organization for many years to facilitate their support of the SJF. I am happy about filling this role at HWH to become more active in raising the profile of HWH and the SJF and to expand our network of friends and supporters in the US.

I have a degree in journalism and a minor in art from the University of Iowa. I worked for 11 years as a reporter and photographer at newspapers in Iowa and Minnesota before I moved to Haiti. I have won numerous state and national awards for my photography and writing. I have published two photography books on Haiti.

 

Lydia Cauley – Administrative Director

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. -Proverbs 16:9

In January of 2014, I drove to Charlotte to spend the night with an old friend. She had invited me on a mission trip with her church to Haiti to visit the St. Joseph Family. As we boarded the plane in Miami for Port-au-Prince, I was filled with excitement, nerves, and just a little bit of fear, but in my head, the words of a mentor resounded, “Being fearlessly faithful is not the absence of fear but the certainty that faithfulness will win.” The first stop on the trip was Wings of Hope, and with Steve’s jump for joy, Marhitza’s smile and squeals of joy as I pushed her on the swing (at the old home in Fermathe), and my experience helping feed Junior, I was in love. Since then I have been striving to be fearlessly faithful. Four years later God has brought me here, to be the Administrative Director of Hearts with Haiti.

I graduated from UNC-Asheville with a Bachelor’s in Drama in 2011. Following graduation I moved to Detroit, Michigan where I served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for Boys Hope Girls Hope, an organization that provides stable homes, education, and financial and emotional support to at-risk children. After my life-changing experience in Detroit, I moved back home to North Carolina and began working in youth ministry within the local and conference levels of the United Methodist Church. In 2015 I graduated from Duke Divinity School with a Masters of Arts in Christian Practice. God continues to establish my steps, and I continue to strive to be fearlessly faithful.

 

 

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Wings of Hope Neighborhood Christmas Party 2016

Wings of Hope Neighborhood Christmas Party 2016

For many years the Wings of Hope residents have held a Christmas give-away for children in the neighborhood, first in Fermathe and now in Jacmel. The event consisted of designated children (a day before the event the Wings kids and staff walked around the neighborhood giving out tickets) coming to Wings and receiving a couple of cookies that the Wings kids had made and a couple of small toys. It was an outreach to the neighborhood kids from the Wings kids and we hoped it would give the neighborhood kids a positive experience with people with disabilities. This year the Wings kids and staff did something different. And it was AMAZING!

On Dec. 16, 2016, the Wings kids opened their home to 150 kids, and their parents. Again, you needed a special ticket to enter. But this was no simple cookie give-away. Instead the Wings kids and staff planned a Christmas party to top all Christmas parties. The kids and their parents started to arrive before the 10 am start time. They knew they were in for something special, as they were wearing the best clothes they had. They were greeted at the front door by Josephine, and at the entrance to the building by Vilner.

At 10 am, the staff started giving their guests tours of Wings, showing them the classrooms, bedrooms, and the living room/dining room. In each place the tour included an explanation about what the room is used for and the importance of the place being beautiful and welcoming because the Wings kids deserve the best. After the tours, the celebration started with songs, led by Gary.

Then Gephte spoke to the crowd about the Wings residents, and what it means to have a disability. He talked about people with disabilities being the same as everyone else, and that they need to be treated with dignity. At one point he hugged Teddy and told them, you can touch them, you can hug them, you can play with them, they are just like you. Then Teddy made the sign for “love” and told the crowd that the Wings kids love them. The neighborhood kids and their parents were all very accepting of these messages. It was wonderful.

Then the Wings staff and kids presented the Christmas pageant. It was INCREDIBLE! They always add something new each year. This year it was Reginald acting out the part of the star that the kings follow to Bethlehem. Of course, it also included the slaughter of the innocents and the death of Herod. The crowd loved it. There were lots of cheers. After that there were a few games while the Wings staff set up the gift table.

There was a huge selection of gifts – most of which came from the kids and staff. The Wings kids gave up some of their own toys and the staff pooled their money to buy toys for the neighborhood kids. It was so incredible to see. The Wings kids happily helped hand out presents and never asked for anything for themselves.

After they got their toys, the neighborhood kids then went to the dining room where they each got at bag of popcorn, a bag of Cheecos, a sandwich, crackers and candy. There were also coolers of Kool-Aid for people to drink with their lunch. The Wings kids were great hosts; they even picked up all the trash after the event was over – without being asked!

It was an incredibly amazing CELEBRATION A profound experience of community, acceptance, generosity, and love. The Wings kids and the Wings staff made so many people happy and I’m sure changed the way that people with handicaps are perceived. It was a perfect way to celebrate the season of love and light.

More photos available on the St. Joseph Family facebook page!

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2016 Wings of Hope Christmas Tree Decorating

2016 Wings of Hope Christmas Tree Decorating

The Wings of Hope family has kicked off the Christmas season with their annual tree decorating ceremony. There were reflections on what the Christmas tree symbolizes, singing of Christmas carols, and the decorating the Christmas tree. It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas!

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Update on Jonas!

Update on Jonas!

In November we posted about a new member of the Wings of Hope family, Jonas. Shortly after we introduced Jonas it because clear that there was more to his story then we knew. His mother and father had two boys, Jonas and his brother. The mother apparently didn’t want to care for a child with special needs and abandoned him at the Missionaries of Charity home in Jacmel, then left town with her other son. Jonas’ father, however, very much wanted his son. He searched for days at all the orphanages looking for him. Finally he went to the authorities to file a missing child report. They knew about the little boy who had been abandoned and came to Wings to pick Jonas up and return him to his father. All of this happened on Thanksgiving Day in the US, which became a Homecoming Day for little Jonas. We are sure his father is glad to have him home, given all he did to find him. We are thankful for the short time that Jonas was in our lives and we wish him and his father well on their journey together.

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Roof Repairs

Roof Repairs

Just over a month ago Hurricane Matthew smashed into Haiti, devastating the homes, lives, and families of many. The St. Joseph Family was fortunate to be able to weather the storm with relative ease, thanks to their many committed and generous extended family members in the United States and elsewhere. Not only have you – our donors – helped to ensure that the SJF buildings can withstand a hurricane, but you immediately rushed to support the SJF – and all of Haiti – in the aftermath of the storm.

Though the SJF experienced no loss of life or catastrophic damage due to the storm, there were repairs that needed to be done. One of the repairs was to the roof of St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Petionville. We are so grateful to have been able to make these repairs so quickly… all because of your immediate response.

Thank you!

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DOUBLE your donation with Board Bucks!

DOUBLE your donation with Board Bucks!

Our Hearts with Haiti board members know first-hand how critical your donations are toward sustaining the transformative ministries of the St. Joseph Family. They believe so strongly in the mission of the SJF that they – board members past and present – pooled their funds to form a $60,000 matching grant.

Thanks to your generous that goal was not only met, it was exceeded! We thank you so much, mèsi anpil!

But wait…that’s not all. Later the board members presented a challenge. They would match up to $10,000 for all NEW donors or donors who haven’t given since November 2015. That goal was not only met but exceeded! We thank you so much, mèsi anpil!

 
It is because of your constant support that we are able to help sustain the transformative ministries of the St. Joseph Family. Jesus calls us in John to go and bear fruit, with your donations we are able to continue to pour into the lives of vulnerable children in Haiti and bear fruit within the St. Joseph Family communities.

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School bell rings at Lekòl Sen Trinite

School bell rings at Lekòl Sen Trinite

The school bell is ringing again at Lekòl Sen Trinite. The 2016-2017 school year started off with the opening of classes on September 5. As is typical, it took a couple of weeks for all the students to return to school, as many of them spend their break from school in the countryside. The class lists were finalized by mid-October.

Again this year, LST is educating 150 students from the Jacmel community. These are children who would not be able to attend school if it were not for LST, as they come from some of the poorest families in the community. LST is a tuition-free school, and all educational materials, uniforms, and other programming are made possible by our generous donors.

LST has both morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session has seven grades, from the Montessori preschool/kindergarten to sixth grade. The morning session is for both boys and girls. The afternoon session is girls only and has four grades, Montessori preschool/kindergarten through third grade.

We are proud that last year all of the sixth graders at LST passed their class successfully!

The Montessori preschool/kindergarten program, the only Montessori program in Jacmel, is a three year program before they can move on to first grade. Students as young as three years-old are accepted into the Montessori program at LST.

Little girl at Lekòl Sen Trinite receives gifts from a donor

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Back to school for the SJF Boys!

Back to school for the SJF Boys!

Education and family are two important components to the SJF philosophy of raising responsible and caring children. The five young men supported by St. Joseph’s Home are learning those lessons in very real ways. All the boys live either with their families or in a foster care situation. This allows them to experience family life and be a part of the larger community. Four of the boys are continuing their academic education, which is provided for by St. Joseph’s. The fifth young man is getting ready to embark on a vocational education, which will give him the foundation to support himself.

Photo of Steevens

Steevens

Steevens, whose mother and father are both deceased, lives with his uncle and attends a school in the neighbor where he lives in the Bon Repos section of Port-au-Prince. He is in ninth grade and his favorite subjects are math and politics. Steevens has big plans for his future with his dream being to someday become a lawyer. For now though, his favorite pastime is playing soccer. He plays on his school’s soccer team.

Gasthy, a member of the St. Joseph Family in Haiti

Gasthy

Gasthy and Ti Ralph are brothers. They share the same mother, but have different fathers. Ti Ralph’s father died when he was young. Both boys live with their mother. Gasthy is in seventh grade. He took the government exams last year and did very well. His mother sells things in the market area and he always helps her transport her wares to and from the market. Gusty dreams of being a professional soccer player, but if that doesn’t work out, he thinks a good plan would be to learn how to install windows and work on a construction crew. Ti Ralph lives with Gasthy and their mother. He has struggled academically and did not pass his academic classes last year. Because he is getting older, the path for Ti Ralph is now to pursue a vocational education so that he can learn a trade to be able to support himself. He is thinking about learning how to install tile. In his free time he likes to sing and play soccer. He also helps his mother in the market.

photo of Wisleme

Wisleme

Wisleme lives with his mother. His father died when he was very young. He is in eighth grade and dreams of going to medical school. He likes to read and play soccer.

Lulu is from a very poor and remote mountain village. He is living in a foster care situation so that he can continue school and be supported by the SJF. He is in sixth grade and does very well in school. He loves to write and dreams of becoming a journalist. He also loves to play the drums and to play basketball.

Photo of Lulu

Lulu

Lulu, Wisleme, Gasthy and Ti Ralph all live in the same area in the mountains just outside of Port-au-Prince. Because they live close to each other, the SJF is able to provide a tutor for them. They meet with the tutor five nights a week to help them with their academic studies. Even though Ti Ralph is no longer attending an academic program, he also attends these sessions to continue his education informally. Because Steevens lives far away from the other boys, he studies on his own and with his classmates.

Besides paying for the tuition for the schools and vocational education for the boys, the SJF, through donations received for the Tree of Life program, is able to help with basic needs for the boys. SJF leadership members are present in their lives and meet with them on a regular basis.

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