When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

 We had a great Christmas here on the island. We tried to decorate to give the Christmas Spirit but considering the girls were sweating while opening their gifts...it didn't really feel like Christmas.

Here are a few pics of Christmas morning that sums it up. My family back home Skyped in with us to watch us open gifts.


 



On the 24th we had a huge mission Christmas party at our house. We invited the older kids from our Children's program in Peredo and then kids here in the community we live in. Here is a shot before all the kids arrived from our balcony. The hanging tarp is the screen for the movie, "The Nativity" we showed in French. If you have never seen it, you really should check it out. It gives a great picture of how life was back in the time Jesus was born.


 We served Haitian style shredded chicken sandwiches, cupcakes, fruit snacks and Juice.  Then there was popcorn with juice for the movie time. I felt like I was in the kitchen cooking for 24 hours straight! But it was worth it.

 

Our girls helped out for the party a lot! Popcorn for 100+ kids is no easy feat here in Haiti! They also cleaned all the chicken for the sandwiches.

 

So of course we rewarded them with a beach day on the 26th. This may have ben due to the fact that I needed a beach day too ;)
 


Thank you for your support of Invest Hope. Your support provided 2 large Christmas parties, gifts for our foster girls, Christmas dinner for our family, movie night, and lessons with crafts every Saturday in December teaching the Christmas story.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December is proving to be a challenging work month for Invest Hope.

After Hurricane Sandy went through, things in Peredo were bad. Not the bad things that Hurricane Isaac brought like fallen trees and destroyed plantain crops, Hurricane Sandy Sandy brought tons of water through Peredo. A new river rushed right through the middle of town where the market is held. Houses were literally washed away with everything inside of them. Gardens were completely washed away.

The United Nations is predicting that the "season of hunger" has yet to hit Haiti. I can tell you that food prices in the market have gone up. If our mission is feeling the hit of increase in food prices, imagine how the average Haitian is feeling it.


I won't bother putting a sad picture on this post. 

I'm not going to retell one of the many stories of families struggling here in Haiti. 

But I am going to ask you to pray and support community programs to help the Haitian people be independent and care for their families. 

This is the third Christmas in a row I will be spending in Haiti. Besides going to look at Christmas lights and live nativity scenes and spending time with my family, I can honestly say this:

America, you can keep your Christmas hype. Parents you can continue to pour time into your Elf on the Shelf ideas while baby Jesus takes a back seat to yet another worldly Christmas idea. Continue to overindulge your children with gifts while justifying it with Black Friday sales and how they are only kids once. Continue to run yourselves silly trying to fit in every Christmas party, program and event. 

My life was changed 5 years ago when I saw how people who lived in another country and spoke another language needed help. I guess that has changed my perspective on a lot of things. Christmas included.

May the holy baby who grew up to be Jesus Christ show mercy on Haiti during the coming months. 

And may His followers show mercy to mankind in His name.

 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lions and Deadlines and Adoptions...oh my!

I was at my home church the Sunday after Thanksgiving and they had a special "Praise and Thanksgiving" service. Sadly, the attendance was waaay down. People sure missed out.

As I was walking in, the Women's Ministry leader asked me if I would be one of the people who stood up and said something they were thankful for. Kinda feeling put on the spot, I said Yes.

Then I sat down waiting for church to start and started thinking of the things I am thankful for. Of course Thanksgiving had just passed so I had some ideas fresh in my mind. I also had went to Sunday School that morning where they talked about Mary and the sweet baby Jesus. Here's an edited  summary (well not really summary as in shorter...this is longer) of how my thankful story went...

Today I am most thankful that our Savior did not stay a sweet little baby. Because there are some battles in life that I have had that I didn't want to call on a sweet, meek, mild child to help me. I have had REAL problems. I needed the God who caused the walls of Jericho to fall. I needed the God who closed the mouths of lions for Daniel. I needed the God who calmed the stormy sea.

A couple weeks ago was one of those times. You all know I started my journey to adopt Odessa on May 8, 2010. (I am waiting to be of legal age (35yrs) in Haiti to adopt) Well a couple weeks ago Haiti decided to change some adoption laws and one of those laws would shut me out of ever being able to adopt her. So I panicked. So did my lawyer. So did Odessa's birth mother. This was an emergency.

My lawyer told me to get to Port au Prince right away with all the paperwork. There was a deadline to get Social Services to accept my dossier. We had 2 days. Long story short...the would not accept it due to my age. Even though they knew this would block me out of adopting her once the new law took place.

I was defeated. Or so I felt. And thought.

So we went to Social Services the Monday after the Friday deadline had passed. I asked to speak to the director. I thought if she could just hear my story...how I am following their law by waiting and living here and raising Odessa in the meantime....that she would understand and accept my dossier.

David and I and the lawyer sat there all day. She would not see me.

So what did this stubborn mama do?

We went back Tuesday of course.

We sat in the same place staring at the same cement block wall waiting. My lawyer started talking about us giving up and him trying other avenues. I think the look on my face was all the answer he needed.

He said, "You are like a mama lion protecting her baby."

I turned back to the cement wall and started thinking about lions. How strong they are, how big they are, how everyone seems to get out of their path and let them go by. Then I remembered the movie, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. You remember Aslan in that movie? How gentle and wise he was, but when it came to protecting and fighting his shoulders got broader and his roar echoed through the theater.

I was up against a brick wall and I didn't need my God as a sweet little baby boy. I needed Aslan. I needed the God who fights for His Children and justice. That broad shouldered lion who could break through these cement block walls and get my paperwork accepted.

So that's who I called in my prayers.

That afternoon the director, who never would meet with me, accepted my paperwork. She said she would turn around and suspend it until I was 35 but would grandfather it in to the old law.

The walls were down.

The sea was calm.

Success!

But He wasn't finished. That Thursday my attorney called to say the director had not suspended my file but instead let it begin it process through Social Services.

And He still had more. 28 days later I had the Act of Adoption in my hands. Odessa now is fully and legally mine in Haiti with my last name.

So you see, this year I am thankful our God chose to come to earth as a sweet baby boy to save us from our sins but I am even more thankful He didn't stay that way.

Our adoption journey isn't over yet, but a HUGE piece of it is. And we give all the glory to God who has HIS own deadlines and high government contacts. So watch out USA...Odessa Andrews is almost on her way!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Speak Up


12 years old and already been a restavek (AKA slave child) in 4 different homes. Her birth family can not take care of her and her mother thought letting her work for other families would give her food and education.

That didn't happen.

There are large signs in the roads here in Haiti that read, "Tout timoun gen dwa." Which means "Every child has rights". But after going to Social Services with Chantal and her mother, I am starting to think those are just words. No investigation. No follow-up. Just change over of paperwork. 

So last Thursday we added Chantal (pronounced Shawntail) to our house. She is the third (and last!) foster child Invest Hope is trying to help.




Be we need your help too. We need prayer for wisdom in helping and raising Chantal and we need financial support. You can give a tax deductable donation to Invest Hope and become a partner in helping these girls.

We now have two 14 year olds and a 12 year old to care for. The Haitian government gave us guardianship of them but there is not financial backing from them. We are relying on God to send us financial support.

Proverbs 31:8,9 (NCV)
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    defend the rights of all those who have nothing.
Speak up and judge fairly,
    and defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

So here we are in Haiti. Not so far from the US in distance but it IS far in so many other senses. We are speaking up for Chantal who knows no other life than a life of work and sometimes horrible abuse. We are attempting to defend her rights in a world where she has been forgotten. 

But we all know that the Father never forgets His children.   Is He asking you to help?

Donations can be sent to :
Licking Valley Church of Christ
1578 Dayton Rd
Newark, OH 43055
please put "Invest Hope-girls" in the memo

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Long time no Blog

But I have several really good excuses!

The first is I got Dengue fever 3 weeks ago. And boy was I sick. I did not know pain like that existed! I will spare you the medical details, BUT if you are interested in knowing, click the link that will tell you about this tropical virus.


Then I went to the states to the International Conference on Missions. This is the first year Invest Hope exhibited and it went great! Of course my favorite part still is seeing some of the missionaries from around the world that stayed at our house when I was growing up. It is usually the only time I see them anymore. And I love it!

 Invest Hope Booth!


Then I had Thanksgiving and my future sister-in-law's wedding shower. Which had an awesome beach theme since they are getting married on the beach in February!

 Stacy in front of her wedding shower loot!

 Beach themed cupcakes!


And the final excuse is...



We might have had a few relaxing, goofy days at the beach in between.

Our foster girls, Ayi and Mardochee, are doing well. We transitioned them to the first floor of our house. There were 3 bedrooms to pick from so the fact that they chose to share a room together...is a great sign! Or maybe it means they just want more time together to plot against us! Just kidding. We really enjoy having them around. They have been going to a Haitian church close to our house. This week they joined the youth choir and are excited about that. They sing here in the evenings and when they are doing laundry and do a great job!

So while I am full of excuses...I am ready to get back to blogging to keep you updated on what's going on with us in Haiti.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mission Must Read Book

As I have said plenty of times before on this blog, I am a reader. A "stay up all night long reading Hunger Games"(Don't judge...it was a fabulous series) kind of reader. A "I love my kindle but my credit card does not" kind of reader.

Ok. Ok.

I read a lot of recommendations from others. After a discussion on how Invest Hope was trying to do missions a slightly different way, my friend Megan from Ohio suggested I read "Toxic Charity" by Robert D. Lupton. She so much suggested it that she bought it for me on Amazon and had it next day shipped to my house so I could have it before returning to Haiti. She obviously really wanted me to read this book.

So I did. And I have to say that I was agreeing out loud and found myself thinking that the author must be living right here in Haiti with me with the problems he talked about that are faced on the mission field.

My favorite quote of this whole book was,

"Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people."

That's why my budget reports to my board seldom have expenditures such as food bought for the poor or candy given away to children or shoes bought for barefoot people. I could spend 1000 times my budget every month on these 3 items alone in the one little village I work in. 

Does that mean Invest Hope never provides food for the hungry or parties for children or shoes? 

Nope. It just means that we rarely do.

We believe in giving people the tools to support themselves.

Toxic Charity says it best with these Compassion Rules:

"Give once and you elicit appreciation.
Give twice and you create anticipation.
Give three times and you create expectation.
Give four times and it becomes entitlement.
Give five times and you establish dependency."

I encourage everyone who is on their church mission committee or is going on a short term trip to read this book.

When you live among the poorest of the poor, your view on how to help them changes. I know mine did. Dramatically. 

Don't get me wrong. I know none other than the Lord first and foremost can help them. That never changed.

But how I do my job in helping the poor did change. Dramatically. And "Toxic Charity" hits the nail on the head.


 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Evenson's Homecoming

I wanted to update you with some good news...

Remember Evenson? Click here to read the blog post with his story.



 

Well he is HOME! After being in the states for a year...he is back in the arms of his parents.

 




Look at the smile on this Mama's face! I love it! 
Her son who was on the path to an early death when she last saw him is now back in her arms cancer free!

God is good...He provided top notch medical care 100% free of charge to this boy born into a family who could never pay for it. What was impossible for his earthly parents to do for Evenson was made completely possible by his heavenly Father.

What an amazing example of God's provision Evenson is.

Evenson went to the states under the mission Angel Missions Haiti. Click here to be directed to their website to see how you can help other kids like Evenson receive the life saving care they need.
I worked for this mission for a year and I can not say enough positive things about them. God is using them to make a difference in kids lives throughout Haiti.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sorry

These first couple of weeks of having the foster girls live with us there have been lots of adjustments. The biggest being that the bottom floor of the house that we rented for extra space isn't ready yet, so we are all living in 2 bedrooms. Thank goodness we have 2 bathrooms! I think we all feel like we are falling over each other all the time.

But it's been good too. The girls kinda have to be around us all the time because there is no where else for them to go (insert evil laugh).

One of our girls hasn't had a family since she was 5 years old. The other has been raised by her aunt for the last couple years. These two 13 yr olds deal with a lot of issues on a day to day basis. Among those issues include rape, living on the streets, child slavery, beatings by relatives and rejection by Christian missions.

Their stories make me sad.

But since they have come to live with us and become a part of our family it makes me mad. These aren't just 2 girls living in Haiti to us anymore. We are raising these girls like they are our children. We are starting to love and care about them like we do for Odessa.

How dare someone touch my child...let alone rape her.

I can not imagine my child as a servant in someone's home...not able to go to school or church or anywhere.

One of my friends, Beth (a Christian and teacher), writes a blog at "How do you like them apples?"  She has some interesting views on a lot of topics and she "puts it out there" so to speak. A few weeks ago she wrote a blog post titled, "An Open Apology To My Students."  GO check out the entire post. With her permission, here is the letter:

Dear Students,

I'm sorry.


I'm sorry that adults could not get their crap together.  I'm sorry that you have to deal with situations that nobody should have to deal with, let alone a young child.  I'm sorry that choices others made have tainted your view of what it means to be a father, or mother, or a family.


I'm sorry that the church has not been there more for you. To walk alongside you and your family in hard times.  To care for you when nobody else was caring for you.


I'm sorry that, for the most part, we believers are so caught up in our own lives, our conveniences, our schedules, and our "problems" that we don't look for ways to help you.


God says that true religion is looking after widows and orphans.  Many of you have been "orphaned" in one way or another.  May we, the church, rise up and look after you.

Without getting preachy, I agree.

How can I expect our foster girls to become responsible mothers one day if they don't have an example of one? How can I expect them to choose good husbands if they don't have good, appropriate male influence? How do I expect them to want to follow Jesus when other "Christians" deserted them in times of trouble.

When we were looking for somewhere to put these girls a couple months ago and nothing surfaced...I heard God's nudging. On Facebook.

I know...a pretty unlikely place...I know.

But it was a simple picture. Of six pairs of brand new shoes all lined up. Tennis shoes, sandals, boots. The caption said,
 "Back to school shopping a success!!!"

Then I looked at who had posted it. The teenage daughter of one my dad's preacher friends. 

6 pairs of NEW shoes? Really?

I started in on my rant to God. How was this fair? Have people really forgotten about orphans and those less fortunate around the world? Why didn't God spread the wealth around a but more?

It ended with, "God, SOMEBODY has got to take care of these girls."

And His reply was clear as could be in my head..."Yes SOMEBODY does."

But really it is a lot of Somebody's. David and I have opened our home to them and are raising them but we can't do it alone. We need prayer and financial support.

Ayi and Mardochee need monthly sponsors to pay for food, toiletries, school supplies, after-school tutoring and fun outings. We have another (and final) teenager who is waiting to come live with us also. But we have to get the sponsorship completed for the girls we already have before she can come.

So during this Halloween season where 8 billion dollars is predicted to be spent on costumes, candy and decorations and Thanksgiving where people make so much food that  leftovers end up in the trash and especially Christmas (no explanation needed)...please remember the orphans. 

James 1:27
"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence."


I, too, and sorry like my friend Beth. And like her, I want to help these kids move past the labels. I am sorry that for the 5 years I have been in Haiti I am just now opening my door to give homeless orphans a place to live. 

Church-Will you rise up with us? Help us care for these orphans in a family environment?

To become a Hope Partner in monthly sponsorship with our girls, send your tax-deductible donation to:

Licking Valley Church of Christ
1578 Dayton Rd
Newark, OH 43055
Please put "Invest Hope-Girls" in the memo

If you have additional questions please email me at ginnyandrews@hotmail.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Job and his Cotton Candy House



We started with the story of "Job and the House that Was" and are now ending with "Job and his Cotton Candy House".

It's finally finished!

After much debate in the hardware store...my pink accented house idea won over David's blah brown  and cream one. Job's family now has a nice cement block, two roomed house with 6 windows, a front and back door and a little cemented front porch.









 Thank you to everyone who showed true caring for this family you have never even met by donating to this Hope Project.

Thank you from Invest Hope.

And thank you from Job's family. They are so grateful.



1 John 3:17,18 (NCV)
 " Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God's love is not living in that person. My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring."

Friday, October 12, 2012

So the house is settling down a little. We are getting into more of a routine with our additions.

Meet our second Invest Hope child, Mardochee. She is a smart, articulate 13 year old who takes in everything around her. 

I first met Mardochee in 2011 when I was working with Angel Missions Haiti. She has a debilitating eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.  She just got back from being in the states on a medical visa for the past year. 

Mardochee's family here in Haiti and her host family in the states were looking for a school for her here in Haiti that would work with her special needs so that she could continue her education. She had not been in school in Haiti for quite some time due to her low vision.

LEKOL SEN TRINITE accepted Mardochee as a student in their program. She just needed a family here in Jacmel to work alongside those providing her education.

 


Here is a pic of me, David and Madrochee on the roof of the school building. 

 Madrochee is fitting in really well in our house but it adjusting to being back in Haiti after living in the luxuries of the US for a year. Not an easy adjustment...I know from experience...however we can tell she missed Haitian food! (Man these girls can eat!)
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hello from the Nuthouse

My grandpa's last name is Nutter and his house has been nicknamed "The Nut House". Very fitting considering my mom's side of the family. Including myself!

The beginning of this week lots of changes and additions came into our house here in Haiti. So I am writing to you from the new Nut house a little farther south than the original one. But just as crazy...I assure you!

It all started with a 14 yr old girl named Ayi that David and I have known for the past 2 years or so. She was living in an orphanage when some drama happened and then she found herself back out on the streets. Her parents died when she was young and she has lived in a variety of different living situations. We had heard about her struggles and went to visit her a few months back.

What we found made my heart hurt. This once happy, healthy teenager was not the same young lady anymore. Her smile, which once showed you a piece of her heart, was now superficial. The clothes she had on were 2 sizes too small. The word that best describes what we saw: Lost.

This child of God was lost with no hope. I of course wanted to put her in the truck and bring her home that very day. Convincing David of this rash plan was another story altogether...I am still learning that as a married person I don't get to make all the decisions anymore.*sigh*

So I invited her to the beach with us, had her over for dinner, basically spent time with her to help David see how much this girl needs a family.

One day he was telling me how sad it was that she had no one. He has a younger sister the same age as Ayi. He couldn't imagine her in the same situation.

We talked with the Invest Hope mission board. They were in full agreement that this is a great opportunity to show hope to a child in need. We also decided to do this in more of a foster care type approach than as an orphanage approach. She would move in with us and we would raise her along with Odessa.

The next day we took her to Social Services and got guardianship of her.

So meet the newest addition to our household and the Invest Hope family!


 Ayi, 13 years old

Please pray with us for her to feel loved and accepted by not only us, but her Father in Heaven. Pray she learns how to move on from the past and embrace the future.

After that post you're probably wondering why that makes our house crazy right now.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. Ayi came last week. Two more teenage girls came this week...one with a newborn baby!

So now you can believe me when I say...

Goodbye from the Nut House!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great article

If you work or volunteer for a Christian organization, you should read this Article.

I have been in this situation and unfortunatly, "outsiders" usually don't know anything is going on.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Newest Hope Project!

Baby boy and mama were released from the Maternity Center yesterday!


Thanks to education and encouragement from the midwives there,
especially Melinda (pictured above),
mom is successfully breastfeeding and baby boy is gaining weight!

Arriving home was bittersweet for Momma.

She was so happy to see her other children and family members.

Yet at the same time, saddened to see the storm damage to the house she lived in again.



And remember, this tree hit her in the back!
She has a broken tail bone but doctor's say will heal fine.

Invest Hope is interested in helping this family rebuild their home.
Helping. Not completely doing.
There are no men living in the house but they have cousins and nephews and friends willing to help.

Would you like to help us with funding this Hope Project?

Honestly their house was not well built in the first place. They constantly experienced leaks and had several large holes in the walls where rodents could come in pretty easy.

There are 2 adult women, an elderly grandmother and a handful of children, including Baby boy in this household.

We are using this building project as a tool to show the love of our heavenly father to them and the Hope they have if they give their lives to him!

Donations for this Hope Project can be sent to:
Licking Valley Church of Christ
1578 Dayton Rd
Newark, OH 43055
please write "Invest Hope-house project" in the memo
I'm usually not up this late bc I get up so early and the Haiti heat has a way if sucking the energy right out of ya.

But tonight I am sitting up in bed, once again scared that Odessa's adoption may not go through.

I went to Port au Prince this week to sign The last of the adoption papers to go into process here in Haiti. I was told everything was done.

Today at 11 am our lawyer called and said that IBESR ( Children's Services in Haiti) would not accept it due to my age. Current Haitian law says you have to be 35 years old to adopt in Haiti. I knew this but since word is the age law is changing next month, IBESR was going to accept our paperwork a little early.

Wrong.

And then more bad news.

Haiti has accepted the Hague Convention (which is set to go into affect Monday). So my paperwork needs to be turned in by tomorrow. As I am not eligible to adopt Odessa under those laws.

However, they don't want to accept it based on my age.

This makes Odessa's adoption impossible.  I have been waiting to be eligible age wise under Haitian law. Now another law is being put into place before I get the chance to be that age.

So tonight my head is pounding from trying to comb through laws and make phone calls trying to find a sympathetic ear.

On May 8,  2010 I became Odessa's mommy in my heart and hers.  I have kissed all her boo boo's, went to all her preschool parent teacher meetings, made sure she gets good food in a country full of malnourished people and read her bedtime stories every night.

She has brought out the momma bear in me I never knew existed, given me many more grey hairs than I already had, and melted my heart Everytime she puts her arms around my neck.

So tonight I made her peanut butter sandwich a little slower, let her play in the bubbles a little longer and rocked her long after she fell asleep.

Because there is a deadline tomorrow...

Made by the same people who have told me to wait until I meet the requirements to adopt in Haiti.

The same people who gave me guardianship 28 months ago.

So please be praying with us tomorrow.

My God is big.

Bigger than mountains and oceans.  Bigger than adoption laws and governments.

My hope is in Him.










Saturday, September 8, 2012

4.3 pounds to 5.5 pounds!


Look at Baby Boy!
Some of you have asked how he is doing.



Melinda at Olive Tree Projects, is taking great care of him and mom.
Mom is breast feeding and baby is thriving and oh so cute!
The day we brought him in to The Maternity Center, he weighed 1.96 kg (4.3 lbs).
Today he weighed in at 2.5 kg! (5.5 lbs)

Continue to send prayers up for Baby Boy and Mama.

Tonight I am going to bed thankful for the small part God allowed me to play in this story and thankful for fellow missionary friends, like those at Olive Tree Projects, who have done so much to help this mother and her baby.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Post hurricane post

Thanks to everyone who has emailed and prayed for us and the Haitians in Jacmel this past week.

The hurricane hit early Saturday morning (about 2am). David and I laid in bed listening to the wind howl and objects flying around outside hitting the house.

Then our phones started ringing.

People in Peredo started calling us. The storm had hit there also and they were getting the worse of it. 

As we laid in our sturdy house, in our dry bed, we listened to our friends and the people we serve telling us about roofs getting blown off, tress crashing into houses and their gardens (aka their livelihoods) being destroyed.

I felt helpless.

The river was finally safe for us to cross (see picture! ha!) on Thursday. We left the truck on this side of the river. The water was so high that it could only be crossed on someone's shoulders.  Those of you who have been to Peredo know how wide the river was...it is even wider now.



Genio, David's cousin, had called that morning about a sick newborn. I have learned in the 4 years I have known Genio that if he asks me to come out to see a sick person, then the person is REALLY sick.

So we got there and he led us to this house.

 

 Or what was left of it anyways. The lady who lived there was pregnant and this tree crashed through the rook and hit her on the back, knocking her down. They got word to the Red Cross who contacted the UN who took her to Leogane (almost to Port au Prince) by boat.

She delivered a baby boy and they sent her home. 

I show up at her house 3 days later.

This is what Baby Boy looked like.

 

 He looked bad. He was totally lethargic and not crying at all when I was pinching his skin. He had that glazed over faraway look in his eyes. Mom stated she had breast problems and couldn't breastfeed.

I asked the question I didn't want to know the answer to.

"What have you been giving him to eat/drink?"

The answer: sugar water

For the last 3 days. His first 3 days of life.

I knew we had an hour drive back into town plus the time it was going to take us to walk back to the truck with mom and baby (about another hour). So I decided it would be better to walk into the main street of Peredo and buy some formula first.

When I first put the nipple in his mouth he chowed down like he was starving to death...because he actually was starving to death.

I called one of my missionary friends, Sarah at Olive Tree Projects and told her about the situation. She said to get them to her clinic ASAP. 

I went and visited Baby boy and mom at Sarah's clinic yesterday. The midwives are taking fabulous care of them! Here is Baby boy's picture 24 hours after getting formula.


Peredo needed lots of help before.
Now they need even more.

Here are some pics David took walking to and from Baby Boy's house.








We prayed with lots of people. We tried to give them hope.
 Haiti is still hard. Haiti is still heavy.  

But Haiti still has hope.
Baby Boy is proof of that.


 Romans 12:12
 Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.


Invest Hope is praying about the right course of action to help the people of Peredo.
If you would like to help with the cost of helping a family rebuild, please email me at ginnyandrews@hotmail.com

On a side note...Job's house is 99% done (we just have to put in the front door and paint the house). It had no damage from the storm. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Strength and Beauty among Poverty

I do house visits to check on certain people in the village, especially kids who have been absent from the program or known to be sick or just my favorites that I want to go see!

This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to see first hand how people live in their environment.
I joke that sometimes I feel like I am the host of a show on the National Geographic channel :)

I get to see things and learn how people of another culture live and sit and shat with them while they are making Haitian food over charcoal with the chickens and naked kids running around. 

I get to see what is inside people's houses and how these poorest of the poor scrape by day to day.

I get to be the butt of a lot of jokes which open up the channel of communication which allow me to inquire about things most people wouldn't ask.

I get to sit among a people who are strong, beautiful and poor. And that combination is like none other I have ever experienced. 

Last week I was sitting in a group of women at one of their houses and they were admiring my wedding ring. And I quickly thanked God for giving me simple tastes to choose a simple wedding ring. I don't have an engagement ring. But I believe if I would have had a big rock on my finger, yeah it would been admired, but it would have been a huge barrier between me and these women I am trying to reach.

I took off my ring and handed it to Marlene, one of the women I have known for years here. She looked at it and it tried to put it on her pinky (Haitian's hands are big!). She took hers off and handed it to me. It was made of a metal that looked like gold but it was so thin I was afraid I might bend it.

As it dangled on my thumb Marlene started talking as she turned my ring around and around her pinky.

4 years ago her husband went to the Dominican Republic looking for work to support their family. She was pregnant when he left. 

She never heard from him again. 

But she keeps on keeping on. When most of us would be in bed with the covers over our head. Curtains drawn. On depression meds. Laying on a couch talking to a shrink.

Not Marlene. One of the poorest Haitians I know, she is raising her 4 kids alone. She cooks and sells food in the market. She walks 1/2 mile up a rocky hill with 5 gallons buckets of water on her head to wash, clean and bathe. She carries her kitchen supplies all the way to town to make and sell food.

She handed me back my ring with rugged, calloused hands that know hard work. I reached out to take it with freshly painted fingernails and smooth fingertips.

I didn't want to look up b/c I knew the tears welling up in my eyes would spill over.

Then she cracked a joke about checking her charcoal b/c her her small outside kitchen already caught on fire once and there is no man around to rebuild it for her and everyone was laughing so it gave me a chance to wipe my eyes without anyone noticing.

And life went on. 

Her example of strength, beauty and poverty.

She is strong.

She is beautiful.

She is poor.

And she is a daughter of the King.  Which makes her my sister. 

And that makes me proud.





On a non-serious note...

When I was leaving Peredo that day this moto passed me.

I saw a flash of IV tubing and thought my eyes were still watering.

So I called him back and had to take his picture.





Yep it's exactly what it looks like. Pop bottle with gasoline in it connected to his moto with old IV tubing. 

Only in Haiti!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tangled Purpose


 The foundation is done on Job's house!


 The tin and wood for the roof has been bought and delivered.


David delivered the last of the 700 cement blocks this morning.

Now he is delivering the rest of the sand needed to mix with the cement.

It's coming along...slowly but surely the community is starting to volunteer and help their neighbors rebuild.

***On a cool side note...go back and look at the middle picture. The guy standing to the right in the dark green shirt is a Voodoo priest in the area we are building in. Yesterday when we were delivering block he watched the others unload it but when when came back with the second load he helped!

I had no idea who he was but the long beard was a red flag as beards are not normal in Haiti. He is young and normal looking-not at all what I expected from a Voodoo priest. David came and told me who he was. At first I panicked (Voodoo is NO joke). But then realized what an opportunity we have here. I didn't go knocking on his door...he came to us. To check us out...and then started helping.

After the blocks were unloaded he walked over to me and asked how much money I was going to pay him. In my sweetest Southern Girl Creole accent I asked him who asked him to help us. He cracked a smile and said, "I know if white people are doing a project there is money. Where's mine?"

I told him to ask the other workers if we were paying them and they said no.

Someone explained what we were doing and about Job's house burning down.

It was time to go so I told him we would be back with another load in the morning if he wanted to help. Even I rolled my eyes at this suggestion b/c I already knew the answer.

But, he said he thought he would have time.

I am working in the office today and I can't wait for David to get back and tell me if he showed up.

It's funny the way God works...well not funny but you know...different than how we would. It's like a ladder of what ifs?

1st rung: What if I hadn't gone to nursing school?
2nd rung: What if I hadn't come to Haiti?
3rd rung: What if Job's house didn't burn down causing me to meet them?
4th rung: What if I would have gotten discouraged and left Haiti?

God is amazing. His plan is more intertwined than a spider web.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to see parts of it unfolding and stand in amazement with our mouths hanging open.

Other times we don't understand and can be frustrated, discouraged and mad.

What reassurance to know that God is weaving the web of our lives. What a day it will be to sit in heaven and see the web untangled and see purpose.

Please be in prayer for us as the project is completed. And, as always, thanks to the donors who made this possible. You are just as much a part of this web as those of us here.




Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Worth Reading

I read a ton here in Haiti. Blogs, books, articles, random magazines i find down here from the 90's.

I gave up TV a few years ago but still watch an occasional movie. I's rather be lounging around reading a book than watching TV or a movie any day. Here I read a ton of books on my Kindle. Mostly I get the free ones b/c let's face it...when you read several books a week it gets pretty expensive.

I came across a book a few weeks ago that I couldn't put down so I want to share it with you so you can read it too.

It's called Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances by Kimberly L. Smith.

 

Yes it's a Christian book that has a few corny parts, I'll admit. But overall, it is fantastic! Best of all it is a true story of sacrifice, courage and putting trust in the Lord on a day by day basis-even when you feel like He is not there anymore.

Kimberly Smith is a missionary who has a family but struck out on the field on her own while her husband held down the family and mission forts stateside.

The ending was truly a surprise that I didn't see coming and her grace in dealing with it is amazing.

I really really want you to read this book.

Really.

So much that you can click on this sentence for the link to buy it on Amazon.

Or this sentence for the Kindle Edition.


And after you read it come back here and tell me what you thought!




Monday, July 30, 2012


Thanks to all the kiddos at Meadow View Church in Frazeysburg (otherwise know as Crazeysburg!) Ohio!

They exceeded our goal of $500 for our school match savings program!

What is the program?

Invest Hope believes in helping people help themselves. 

Giving them a hand up and not a hand out.

We started with 10 children in the program last October. We made accounts for their parents to deposit money into throughout the year. Next month they receive double the money they put in (up to $50) to help pay for school and supplies for this school year.

Meadow View church was a partner with us for this program and their kids went above and beyond our expectations!

We can't wait to show the kids this picture of their brothers and sisters in Christ and their heart in helping others.

If you are interested in this program (we are enlarging it for next year) or any other of our programs, please email ginnyandrews@hotmail.com.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rainbows

Our "Kid's Today, Adult's Tomorrow" program yesterday told the story of Noah briefly but then we focused on God's promises.

How He always keeps them.

How He gave Himself and us a reminder of His promise never to flood the whole earth again with a rainbow.



 The kids loved gluing sequins to make their own Rainbows.


 Our prayer for these kids is they hold tight to all of God's promises. Their lives are not easy but they have a big God to guide them through. We pray they hold on to these lessons all the days of their lives.

 Genesis 9:11-17 (NCV)
And God said, "This is the sign of the agreement between me and you and every living creature that is with you. I am putting my rainbow in the clouds as the sign of the agreement between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and a rainbow appears in them, I will remember my agreement between me and you and every living thing. Floods will never again destroy all life on the earth. When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and I will remember the agreement that continues forever between me and every living thing on the earth."
 So God said to Noah, "The rainbow is a sign of the agreement that I made with all living things on earth."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Drama on the mission field? Say What?

Yep it's true.

There is drama on the mission field too.

You would think that once you leave the states and go to a third world country that the drama factor would be significantly reduced...right?

I remember one job I had back in the states I worked with a group of mostly women and there was so much cattiness and drama that it became normal to come into work and ask what went on during the shift you had off. It almost seemed like I was working in a Soap Opera. It was ridiculous.

I took another position at that same pace of employment and when I would see my former co-workers they would start right up bringing me up to date on the current drama.

And the sad part is that I listened. And asked for further "dirt" and drama on some subjects.

So I am asking for prayer this week as sadly there is drama here too. Between Americans. Who came here to be an example to others. Who came here to serve. Who came here in obedience.

We can't stop those trying to pull us into their drama.

But we can chose not to go there. We can chose to be silent when others are being loud about us. We can look to the One above who went through lots of drama for us so we can be free of it.


Romans 16:17 (NCV)
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to look out for those who cause people to be against each other and who upset other people's faith. They are against the true teaching you learned, so stay away from them.

Did you see what the last words said?

 "So stay away from them."  Stay away.

Paul does not say respond to the person. He does not say go around talking to other people about it. He says to stay away from those types of people.

Today I ask you to be in prayer for my mouth to stay closed, my heart to be guarded and for the Lord to direct my actions according to His plan.