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!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Reginald’s Legacy Story, Part 1

Reginald’s Legacy Story, Part 1

Reginald had a hard start to his life. His mother died during labor and the doctors amputated Reginald’s left arm near the shoulder to get him out of the birth canal and save his life.  He was Photo of Reginaldborn prematurely and was small and had health problems. His challenges didn’t stop there. He was also very much alone. With his mother dead, no one in his family stepped up to care for him, or even visit him in the hospital. He was cared for by the hospital staff for several months. There was a woman who often came to the hospital to pray with the patients. After seeing little Reginald there on several of her visits, she began to ask about him. She saw this little baby for more than the disabled and abandoned child that he was. She saw something in him that made her see him as her son. Eventually the woman was able to take Reginald home. He lived with her for several years until tragedy came to little Reginald’s life again when his adoptive mother died. The woman’s neighbors loved Reginald, but none of them could care for him, so he was taken to the Haitian department of social services, who then brought Reginald to Wings of Hope. He was only five-years-old.

Reginald was a happy, adventurous, and energetic little boy. He blended in well to the Wings of Hope family. Because he was physically disabled since birth with the loss of his arm, Reginald learned to cope to be able to do everything he wanted and needed to do with one arm. He was always very independent and worked hard to make up for his missing arm.

“I loved living at Wings,” Reginald said. “I loved playing with cars and spending times with the people who would come to visit us. They would take us to eat at the Baptist Mission. That was fun.”

photo of reginald after his surgeryOne thing he couldn’t get past, however, was the pain that the amputation caused. Because the amputation was not done correctly, as Reginald grew, so did the part of the bone that was left in his upper arm. It protruded through the skin and would cause painful infections. If he bumped it or it got hit with a ball when he was playing, it hurt and tears would roll down his cheeks. Thanks to generous doctors and a hospital in the United States, when he was nine-years-old, Reginald went to the US for some life-changing surgery. The doctors fixed his amputation site so that it would stop hurting and be infection-free, allowing Reginald to run and play without pain.

 

 

Read Part 2 of Reginald’s Legacy Story.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Extended Family

Extended Family

In June I had the chance to introduce my daughter to Haiti, and to the St. Joseph’s Family.  Having said that phrase so many times, the word “family” starts to simply become part of the name, but this visit once again reminded me of its true meaning.

The only thing about the trip that worried me a little was the airport arrival, as I had previously arrived with a group including old Haiti hands.  It can be a bit chaotic, and seeing my brother Walnes standing at the end of the gauntlet of tap-tap drivers awaiting our arrival made my morning.  He made us welcome at St. Joseph’s in so many ways.

Perhaps the highlight of our entire 10 day trip was the invitation he gave to visit his new house under construction in Peguyville, just a couple of miles from St. Joseph’s.  It was so delightful to meet his wife, brother-in-law, toy poodle (no kidding!) and especially his two children, the youngest asleep in her crib.  My daughter fell in love with his son, who followed us upstairs as we took a tour of the construction site and heard Walnes’ vision for the house and his studio.  It was the sort of “family visit” one can expect when you are welcomed into St. Joseph’s family.

— Mark

new home construction

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail