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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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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Investing in women, investing in the community

Investing in women, investing in the community

Of all the things that we Americans take for granted, the ability to read and write is probably at the top of the list. I remember with clarity how, on my first trip to Haiti, the gentleman sitting next to me was unable to complete his customs form, and the flight attendant – without missing a beat – helped him perform the task. Up until his signature, of course. Which he formed as a large black “X.”

Unfortunately, that was not a one-off event. I have witnessed it each and every time I have traveled to Haiti.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of all Haitians (48.7%) are illiterate. But the St. Joseph Family is working to change those statistics.

In the seaside town of Jacmel, the leaders of the St. Joseph Family have formed a women’s group, comprised of 30 mothers of children at Lekòl Sen Trinite, to teach them how to read and write and how to crochet. According to Bill Nathan, “When we first starting working with them they didn’t know how to read or write, and now they can read. I see a lot of changes in the mothers now because of this program. Whenever they sell a bag (that they crocheted), the money goes to feed their children.”

This remarkable program was begun by a long-term friend of the St. Joseph Family. She and the leaders visited the homes of the women in order to get to know them better and understand their needs.Says Bill, “It’s very important to know the people  that you are working with. We are going to continue working with these mothers and the children in the community of Jacmel.”

In addition to providing the mothers with skills and an education, they also are learning to value the importance of providing an education for their children… something that the teachers at Lekòl Sen Trinite very much appreciate!

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True Christianity

True Christianity

As our group stood at the bottom of what used to be Wings of Hope, PR asked us the question “What would your life be like if you had never met Maya or Verbo or Michael or anyone associated with HTF?”  At first, I couldn’t put it into words but I definitely knew something would be empty inside of me if I hadn’t met these fantastic people.

And then it hit me. This past year I’ve struggled with the label of being a Christian. To most people in America and the world, Christians are judgmental, anti-gay, and just here on this Earth to earn their nice guy merit badge to make it into Heaven.  It’s infuriating to me to know this is the Christianity the world sees, and frankly embarrassing to call myself a Christian knowing it will be followed by those looks of distrust, but that was just it.

I wouldn’t have such a visceral reaction to this if I hadn’t been exposed to people who walk the walk and talk the talk.

Frankly, I didn’t think it was possible to live a truly Christian life… until Haiti.  Maya, Verbo, Michael, Phil and Lonnie and all others don’t do the “American” Christianity; they don’t preach one thing and act another way, they live and breathe true Christianity. 

True, I knew grace was a cornerstone of my faith and I knew eternal life is right here and right now, but I’d never seen it in full action, only bits and pieces. Without Haiti, I wouldn’t have seen the grace and forgiveness Michael holds so prevalently, never speaking ill of anyone and always finding the good in them. I wouldn’t know strength without knowing of Maya, a restavek (child slave) who ran away to make a better life for himself. I wouldn’t know commitment and selflessness without Verbo. I wouldn’t know about seizing opportunities without knowing Phil and Lonnie who picked up everything and started House of Blessings.

But there’s one thing at the root of all of these characteristics that is a crucial aspect to being a Christian: courage. Being a Christian is about having the courage to stand up to adversity, like Maya did as he ran away from a restavek home. Being Christian is about feeling a call from God and acting upon it, like Phil and Lonnie. Being a Christian is about having the courage to welcome those in again an again who have hurt you, as Michael has done so many times. Above all, being Christian means you are ready to dive into the unknown, but you have to have the guts to take that first jump.

The truth is we don’t have it all figured out, but who says that should stop us? For Michael, Maya, Verbo, Phil and Lonnie, the thought didn’t even cross their mind to turn back, partly because they have this incredible faith God will provide. Courage would be impossible if we didn’t have someone to back us up and the faith that He will always stand ground for us.

In the U.S. we rely so heavily on ourselves, but our selves can only take us so far. We have to let God handle the rest.

If we don’t, then we’re doomed to only reach the sky, never the stars. We are called to dream dreams big enough for God to see us through.

But these dreams could never be a reality without people like Michael, Maya, Verbo, Phil and Lonnie to dare to dream and take that leap of faith. They have taught me to believe in myself and take on the treacherous journey of living out of faith. Every time I travel to Haiti I learn more and more about how to let go and a take those daring jumps into the unknown.

I may not have everything figured out but that’s the point. Christians take life by the reins and enjoy the ride. Christians are the dreamers, the go-getters, and the courageous fighters pushing forward to create an amazing world fit for any dream. It seems there’s a lot more to being a Christian than the world lets on.

So as I set out on one of the biggest leaps ever, I feel blessed to have Michael, Maya, Verbo, Phil and Lonnie, and the people of Haiti in my life. Without them, and of course the love of my parents, I wouldn’t be able to stand tall and take the world by storm. 100%, no holdin back.

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Here I am, Lord

Here I am, Lord


The following story is from Debbie, a regular visitor to Haiti and the St. Joseph Family homes. For many years Debbie has been instrumental in hosting a summer Vacation Bible School for the children in Jacmel. 

A long favorite hymn of mine is “Here I Am Lord.”  The refrain reads. “Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. If you lead me, I will follow; I will hold your people in my heart.”

If you lead me, I will follow.  Well, a total of 15 of us followed a call to Haiti this summer to lead a Vacation Bible School for over 200 kids in Jacmel.  As we sat on the roof of Trinity House on our first night, Pastor Rick spoke with us about God’s calling us to Haiti. He asked if anyone wanted to share why God called us here?”

Being the good American I am, I thought I was called to teach, to love, to serve, to be the hands and feet of Christ amongst the people of Haiti.

Debbie and Steve, at Wings of HopeSounds good, right?  Well God does indeed have a sense of humor because, I was the one who was taught by these most precious children of Haiti; I was loved by them, I was served by them and I witnessed their joy in being the hands and feet of Christ to all they welcome into their home.

And so, I went to Haiti to teach, yet they taught me about endurance.   To survive each day is a story of endurance for most children in and around Trinity House.  Children awaken in tents.  There is no clean water for them to drink, little or no food to eat, no water to wash in, for some no shoes to wear.  Yet, they endure.

We were greeted on Sunday by these children around Trinity House with smiles of happiness and by those who imitate PR’s “anpil, anpil”.  As we cleaned the field in preparation for camp, they worked alongside us, hauling cinder blocks and picking up trash.  It was on Sunday that I met Kikou and Nanou, 2 small children from the tents behind Trinity House.  I immediately fell in love.  To see these smiling, loving children amidst this incredible poverty stirred something inside.

Working with Maya and Verbo, they were able to speak with their families on my behalf about educating these young children.  Education will not only give them a leg up in Haiti, but it will provide food each day and clothing in the form of a school uniform.  Theirs will still be a story of daily endurance on a scale we, as Americans, cannot truly understand. However, I am blessed to now call these two precious children part of our family.

And so, I went to Haiti thinking we Americans live a fortunate life and have most of the answers.  I returned with eyes and heart opened.  In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He blesses the poor.  I see now, that I was, I am the poor in spirit, yet now I am blessed as I have indeed seen the Kingdom of Heaven.  Thanks Be to God!

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