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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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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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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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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Reading suggestions

Reading suggestions

Books have been on my mind a lot these days.  Alan Stone asked me to offer some good read suggestions for Didi.  That took me to a great bookstore and a fun time of searching through the bookshelves.  I also had a recent phone conversation with a good friend and SJF/HWH donor, Derek Harrison.  Derek was telling me about a book he has written. Derek then sent me a copy of that book.  A few weeks ago I received a book written by Renee S. Larson.   For those who love Haiti and SJF, for people who know they are called to service, here are two “must reads”.

Turning Times: Stories of People Who Serve.  What makes it a recommended read is the focus on people who serve.  Servant Leadership is  emphasized at St. Joseph’s in our formation of the young leaders we are raising up.

Derek writes in his preface, “For all our differences, one thing held in common is that all of us are trying to find our way in a world that sometimes allows us to float contentedly on a sea of calm water and at other times tosses us about in storms that threaten us with drowning. . .  Move not away from troubles and fears, but toward them.  This book is about people who do that.”

Chapter eight, Little Things, pages 331 through 336 focuses on Derek’s time at SJF.

Turning Times is a self published book through Starry Night Publishing.  The ISBN number is 9781519652942.  It can be downloaded on Amazon for $3.

A second suggested read is A Witness: The Haiti Earthquake, a Song, Death, and Resurrection, by Renee Splichal Larson.  This book tells about Renee’s experience of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. At the time of the earthquake, Renee, along with her husband, Ben Larson and Ben’s cousin, Jonathan Larson, were guests at St Joseph Home For Boys.  In the Foreword to A Witness, Rev. Norma Cook Everist writes: “This book is about a few minutes in history and about the years that surround them.  We live in the moment  and yet sometimes, suddenly, swiftly, some event changes everything.  How do we respond?  This book is intimate, deep, and profound, but not heavy; there is even some humor.  We laugh as well as cry.  We see people who go to amazing lengths to care for each other.  Care across boundaries: accompaniment!”

There are many references to SJF throughout Renee S. Larson’s sharing about a love that is stronger than death.

The ISBN number for A Witness is 978-1-4982-2626-6 (paperback);  978-1-4982-2608-0 (hardcover)  A Witness is published by Resource Publications, Eugene, OR.

Peace and all that is good.

Michael

 

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Sadraque Smiles

Sadraque Smiles
Wings of Hope gained another angel on March 18, 2016. It was then that Sadraque went to his heavenly home. Our hearts break with his passing, but we know that Sadraque is now dancing with the angels and watching over all his brothers and sisters at Wings of Hope and the St. Joseph Family, and everyone whose lives he has touched.

Sadraque suffered with seizures the entire 14 years he was a part of the Wings of Hope family. Most of the time those were managed well with medication. He still had seizures from time-to-time, so he wore a helmet to protect his head if he had a seizure. For the past couple of weeks, Sadraque’s seizures were more and more frequent and nothing the doctors prescribed was working in controlling them. For several days prior to his death, his seizures were almost constant and in-between the seizures he was so tired and worn out that he spent most of his time in bed. He barely had time to recover from one seizure before another one started. Despite the best efforts of the Wings nurses, leadership and staff, and the doctors, Sadraque’s battered and weakened body had just had enough on the evening of March 18 and he slipped away, surrounded by the people who loved him.

Sadraque came to Wings of Hope in 2002. He was abandoned by his family, so we never knew his birthdate, but we think he was born in 1992. He was brought to Wings of Hope by a social worker. He was abandoned on the streets by his family because of his disability. He was first placed at another orphanage, but they could not deal with his special needs, so he was brought to Wings of Hope. Besides, or maybe because of, his seizure disorder, Sadraque had some intellectual challenges. He processed and learned new information slowly. He also had some attachment issues, probably due to his family history. He was great at knowing days, dates, and times, however. If he was looking forward to a certain event, he could tell you how many days it was until that happened, and often did a countdown to the day he was waiting for.

As Sadraque grew in the Wings of Hope family and started to receive medication to control his seizures his self-confidence and social skills increased. He loved Wings of Hope and all of his family there. He liked to help the other children and being a big brother to them. He also liked Zèl, the Wings of Hope dog, and liked to play with her and feed her. Sadraque loved field trips, especially ones to St. Joseph’s Home for parties and worship services.

Sadraque loved the visitors who came to Wings of Hope. He was often one of the first ones running to the gate to greet people with a high-five or warm hug. He loved to take people by the hand and walk around with them. He loved getting his picture taken and would often pose with various people until he had a picture with everyone. Sadraque loved to dance and would bring others, particularly visitors, into a dance party by taking them by the hand and dancing with them.

Sadraque was the most grateful person I ever met. He was happy and grateful for just about everything and made sure you knew it. After you answered a question for him, his response always was, “Okay, thank you.” When he went out to lunch with a visitor, he probably thanked them a dozen times during the outing. Sadraque was also one of the happiest people ever. He constantly had a huge smile on his face and that made everyone else smile. It was hard to have a bad day around Sadraque. His happiness was infectious. He would often come up behind me and tap me on the shoulder so I would turn around and give him a hug. Or he would just tap you on the shoulder and smile as he was walking by you, to acknowledge you and let you know he was there and that he cared about you. Sadraque was very kind and thoughtful and always thinking of ways to help others or make their days brighter. Several times when he went out to lunch he stuffed his pockets with french fries to take back to the kids who didn’t get to go to lunch. He would always share his treats and toys with others. He could be very quite and calm and just sit with you, not talking or doing any particular activity, but just enjoying the being in your presence and sharing time together.

In the days since his passing, in tributes to him on Facebook people have most often described Sadraque as gentle, loving, calm, happy, and caring. He definitely was all those things. And he touched the hearts of everyone he ever came in contact with.

Sadraque’s favorite time of the year was Christmas. He LOVED LOVED LOVED Santa Claus. He couldn’t wait for each of the Wings of Hope Christmas activities, from decorating the tree, to the Christmas boutique, to the party. Everything about Christmas was filled with joy for him. But, nothing beat the appearance of Santa Claus at the Wings of Hope Christmas party. Sadraque could never contain himself around Santa and embraced him with a look of absolute joy when Santa came to Wings.

The passing of Sadraque leaves a huge hole in our hearts and in the Wings of Hope community. But, we know he is healthy and seizure-free now and happily dancing in heaven and embracing all of his friends who have gone before him. We will miss him every day until we see him again, but we know he is with us always in our hearts and watching over us as our newest guardian angel.

— St. Joseph Family, Haiti
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Wootrod

Wootrod

Hearts with Haiti and the St. Joseph Family are committed to ensuring that the young men who graduate from the Family are supported in their transition into independence. The Timoun Jodi Granmoun Demen (“Children Today, Adults Tomorrow”) program provides these young men with the career counseling and job skills training needed to make this transition smoothly and successfully. Wootrod Joly is a participant in the TJGD program.

My name is wootrod. I am 21 years of age. I recently graduated from St. Joseph’s Home. I am now living at a rental apartment. I’m still going to school. Actually this is my last year in High School, I am looking forward to this school year and also the outcome.

My favorite subjects in school are Physics, and Math, so this school year I am really going to make the effort to have good grades, to be able to move to the next level. The last year of High School is not easy, but I pray that I will make it.

As hobbies, I love to play the guitar and sing. I also take the time to read more, because people do get knowledge through reading, it is an important thing to do. I also like to watch TV.

My big dream for the future is for one day to be a lawyer. But I am also interested in other things such as Accounting. My music career and so on.

I’m excited and thrilled to be able to have a home, an apartment of my own to stay in. To me it is a very big deal, especially when you are living in a country where there’s no job opportunities and the government aid is pretty much down to zero on a scale. To me it’s a blessing.  I thank God for the SJF family for all the support they provided for me in my life. Thank you.

 

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Haiti (a poem)

Haiti (a poem)

It is a country, and for some it is a home

And for others, who visit, it is a journey in life.

You can come to

Find what you may be missing or what is giving you direction in life.

The people you live with that you really don’t know,

But, for one week, you exist with and get to understand why God put you together to come here.

Trash everywhere, smoke, and diesel fumes, young children waiting for school, and

The old man walking beside the road in the afternoon, on the way to out to Paradise Hotel.

People we meet from Canada to California and other places of the world.

Why does God send us here?

Painting and preparation for a new life for some that really only exist because He made them for

us to realize that life is very precious, and that we shall not take it as a grain of salt.

Every day I am here I want to be more God-like, I want to make someone feel a little better by

buying a gift, giving a hug, or telling a joke to make someone smile.

Because that’s what God would be proud of

The man that we see on the road could be Jesus, because we don’t know when he is coming back

to change this world.

That is what we believe in the faith of being Christians.

When we come on a mission trip, we as Americans do all the work we plan to do with the time

we have here, but it turns into a self-evaluation.

This is my first and not my last Haiti trip. I came on this trip to serve Him and to experience

another place in time on my journey through this life that I have been blessed with for sixty short

years, a blink of God’s eyes.

He watched over me in the good and bad, and I give Him all the praise.

Every day I get up around six to seek God’s creation; sun, clouds, blue sky, waves crashing on

the little beach. I say my prayers to thank Him for watching over our team from day to day and

our people back home.

— Barry L. Allen

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Giving color to the new Wings of Hope

Giving color to the new Wings of Hope

The update below is provided by our friends from St. James’s, who have volunteered to spend the week helping paint the walls of the new Wings of Hope in Jacmel. Thank you, St. James’s volunteers!

Slowly, but surely, it’s coming together! Our team from St. James’s church has been working tirelessly to lay down the second, third, and yes, sometimes 4th coats of paint, and the colors could not be more beautiful! Although the sun is hot and relentless, the payoff will be even better. Who could imagine a more deserving family, than our sweet friends at Wings of Hope. We have a few days to go, and we look forward to celebrating our dear friends in their beautiful new home! Bravo pou Wings!

 

Volunteers painting the walls at Wings of Hope

Painting Wings of Hope

painting courtyard wall at wings of hope

photo of courtyard at Wings of Hope

view of Wings from the top of Lekol Sen Trinite

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