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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Beyond the Storm

Beyond the Storm

Friends, Your outpouring of love and support have been overwhelming. We can not thank you enough for your love, prayers, and financial support. While the St. Joseph Family was fortunate enough not to experience significant damage to their buildings, the damage they did suffer has a significant price tag to it. Evaluations are still being performed and estimates gathered, but as of right now, repair and replacement costs look like they will be upwards of $20,000. In addition, assessments are still being performed on the homes of employees and LST families, and we will share those reports with you when we receive them. But, thanks to the generosity of donors like you, repairs have already begun, and we are well on our way to meeting those expenses. Thank you!

Because you responded so quickly, the children and staff of the St. Joseph Family have been able to return to the comfort of their daily routines. Days are filled with school, physical and occupational therapy, friends, music, sports, tutoring, and lots of love. Every day the 32 kids at Wings, 5 boys under the care of St. Joseph’s, and 150 students at LST receive the best possible care – all because of the generosity and compassion of donors like you. But being able to continue to provide top quality care requires a simultaneous focus on ensuring there is proper funding to support the day-to-day operations of the SJF.  Below, we’ve highlighted a couple of fun and easy ways for you to support the ongoing needs of the SJF, and we’ll soon be announcing a very exciting matching grant opportunity. We need your help to spread the word about the transformative ministry of the St. Joseph Family and ensuring that there are sufficient funds to maintain this critical ministry well into the future.

Mèsi anpil, not only for responding so quickly in a time of great urgency and need, but also for being there – day after day, month after month, year after year – for Haiti’s most vulnerable children.

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Hurricane Matthew Relief: Haiti Needs Your Help

Hurricane Matthew Relief: Haiti Needs Your Help

With 125 mph winds, Hurricane Matthew ravaged the country of Haiti, leaving death and destruction in its wake. The extent of the destruction is catastrophic – with some areas experiencing 90% loss, The actual number of deaths (currently nearly 900) will probably never be known.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to fund the construction of buildings that can withstand hurricane force winds. Unfortunately, most Haitians do not have those luxuries. The families of the children who attend Lekòl Sen Trinite live in extremely simple homes – many with dirt floors and tarp walls. They are exceptionally vulnerable. They will need help. The SJF leaders and staff are actively following up with the families to identify needs, and – with your support – these families will receive the help they desperately need.

Because of our partnership with the St. Joseph Family in Haiti, you can feel confident that your donations are going directly to Haitians who are in need of your support. Please, help us help Haitians in need, today.

Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund

Mèsi anpil for your generosity, compassion and support!

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Wednesday evening update

Wednesday evening update

We have now received reports that everyone at Wings and St. Joseph’s is safe and – as far as we can tell right how – the buildings have suffered only minor damage, all things considered. Praise God! Thanks to each of you and your generous gifts, we were fortunate enough to be able to construct buildings that can withstand hurricane force winds, and those investments have paid off. Unfortunately, most Haitians do not have those luxuries. Renee recently wrote:

The LST families are the poorest of the poor and we expect they will have damage. It was scary and hard to live through the hurricane in a sturdy cement building; I can’t even imagine what they went through in their simple homes – some with dirt floor and tarp walls. They are exceptionally vulnerable. They will need help. 

With your support, we will provide them with the help they need.

The LST staff are surveying the families to identify the damage to food and crops. Losses of crops mean loss of income and more food shortages.

And, not surprisingly, the elections have been postponed. Add political insecurity to all the other insecurities that our brothers and sisters in Haiti are experiencing right now. The storm may have passed, but there is still a very long road ahead.

So many of you have already made wonderfully generous donations. We can not thank you enough. But we can promise to be good stewards of your gifts.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to help the families who have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, you can do so easily by clicking the button below or by sending a check to the office (27 Horne St, Raleigh, NC 27607).

Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund

Thank you for your prayers and expressions of grief, love, support, and concern. We will continue to send and share updates as we receive them.

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Tuesday evening update

Tuesday evening update

Renee was able to send out a very short message around 1:50pm today. We have not heard from her or any of our other loved ones in Haiti since, most likely due to lack of power and internet.

I am not sure if this will post. It is 1:50 PM. The Internet has been down since a little after 9 AM, I think. Cell phone service only working in about 20 second bursts very infrequently. Wind and rain is still bad in Jacmel. The wind was really wicked for a few hours mid morning to about 1PM. We are still holding out own at Wings, but wish this was over. It seems like it will be a long day followed by another long night.

The New York Times reports that one of the bridges collapsed, cutting off transportation. Reports also indicate that Les Cayes, Guichard’s home town, was hit particularly hard.

Plantains were unable to be harvested in time before the storm, which will undoubtedly contribute to a food shortage. Additionally, the storm destroyed avocado and banana trees, another major source of food and nutrition.

AID workers are expressing concern about lack of safe drinking water, which could lead to another cholera outbreak. Children are especially vulnerable. A UN official has said that this hurricane has caused the biggest humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake.

Undoubtedly this will affect members of the SJF, both directly and indirectly. Though we have not heard of any damage reports yet, it is very likely that there will be – if not to the SJF buildings directly, then most certainly to the homes of employees and almost certainly the homes of LST students.

If you would like to donate toward offsetting these relief costs, you can do so easily by clicking the button below or by sending a check to the office (27 Horne St, Raleigh, NC 27607).

Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund

Mesi anpil to those of you who have already generously blessed us with your gifts!

Thank you for your prayers and expressions of grief, love, support, and concern. We will continue to send and share updates as we receive them.

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Coveting your prayers…

Coveting your prayers…

Friends, your prayers are strongly coveted as Hurricane Matthew heads toward our loved ones in Haiti. Our last update from Renee was at 5:30pm:

I think we are in the calm before the storm. After about 16+ hours of rain starting last night, and wind throughout the day, it has been eerily calm the past couple of hours. No rain and very little wind. Lots of dark skies though. The storm is moving very slowly, which isn’t good. The longer it takes to pass, the worse it will be. It will be completely dark in the next 30 minutes. Then the long night begins, with the storm expected to hit in the middle of the night. Right now we have city power, which is good. I’m not sure how long that will last. I imagine at some point that will go down, for how long will depend on if/how many of the power lines in Jacmel get knocked down in the wind. The internet is really slow now because of all the cloud cover. I also imagine that will go down at some point. Cell service has been in and out all day. That could get knocked out too. All of that is to say, I’ll continue to update, if I can, but there are a lot of factors that may prevent it, for however long. The kids have all had dinner and are now hunkered down in their rooms. We have a few staff members here tonight. Hopefully we’ll get through the night okay. Please keep us, and all of Haiti, in your prayers.

You can get the latest updates as they are posted on theSt. Joseph Family facebook page. We will also share an update as soon as we are able after the storm has passed.

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How Plastic Yarn Builds a Community

How Plastic Yarn Builds a Community

In November of 2012, a mission team from the Midwest arrived at Lekòl Sen Trinite in Jacmel for their yearly visit.  They brought some plastic balls of yarn that parishioners made from plastic grocery bags.  They were hopeful that they could start a small cottage industry with their newly formed Women’s group.

The group began teaching women how to crochet, and several women caught on very fast.  One of the volunteers suggested it would be great if they could find a crochet teacher in Jacmel to help the women continue developing their skills.  The afternoon school classes were coming into their classroom and one of the teachers came over to us and said that she knows how to crochet and she would be willing to spend some extra time teaching the women.  That’s how it all began.

Time passed and in 2013 two more groups traveled to Jacmel.  Each time they brought more yarn for the women. One group grew to two – meeting once a week to pray, study the bible, sing praises to Jesus, and learn how to crochet.

By 2014, both groups had bonded and were praying together for the church and the mission teams that had become part of their lives.  On every trip the volunteers visited the women’s homes and brought what little they could to help with their daily struggles to care for their families.

The dream had been to come up with a marketing plan for their bags, but so far the mission team hadn’t been able to make it happen. The Haitian women never became discouraged and continued to make their bags as long as they had supplies.

In November 2015 the Lord provided a way. A mission group from St. James’s Episcopal Church Photo of women's groupin Virginia was in Jacmel painting the new Wings of Hope building at the same time that the Midwest team was there. The two teams talked over dinner about the bags, and the next day they bought 28 bags from 14 different women.  The Haitian women saw the processes from beginning to the end.  They received their earnings the next day, and it brought such joy to them as well as to the both visiting mission groups.  One mother sold eight bags and she said, “Now I have money to take my child to the doctor.”

It was through the women’s perseverance and the mission team’s belief that the Lord would provide the way. To this day, the team continues to supply the women with the plastic balls of yarn.


James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test,
he will receive the crown of life.”

 

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Reginald’s Legacy Story, Part 2

Reginald’s Legacy Story, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Reginald’s Legacy Story.

His trip to the United States was quite the adventure. The first adventure was getting a visa from the United States Consulate and permission to travel for the surgery, which was not easy. There were a lot of firsts, starting with his first plane ride. A few days after he arrived in the US, Reginald celebrated his ninth birthday. He had his first big American-style birthday party. A little boy who lived across the street from his host family invited his entire Cub Scout Pack and they threw Reginald an amazing party. They didn’t speak the same language, but when little boys have soccer balls and Matchbox cars, that is common language enough.

Reginald spent several weeks in the United States for the surgery and recovery. All the time his days were filled with much laughter and fun as he explored, had adventures, and made new friends. He became a great ambassador for the St. Joseph Family and Wings of Hope. He spent time at the schools of his new Cub Scout friends, was featured in several newspaper articles, and brought his exuberance and joy everywhere he went.

But, his Wings of Hope family was never far from his thoughts. As Reginald was showered with gifts while he was in the US, he remembered his friends, and began setting aside some of his toys for them. He asked to buy special gifts for certain friends when he and his host family were out shopping. By the time he returned to Haiti, Reginald had a special gift bag prepared for each and every one of his brothers and sisters at Wings of Hope. The day he arrived back home at Wings of Hope was filled with much celebration and Reginald got to be like Santa Claus and he gave out all the gifts he picked out for his friends.

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