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.


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