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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Invest Hope work has been busy this December. We have shown "The Nativity" movie 3 times with one more to go this weekend. The Haitians really seem to like this version of the birth of Christ. 

If you haven't seen it...you should! I bought this copy at Odd Lots for $5! It goes into detail about how Joseph and Mary's parents felt when they found out she was pregnant. It does a great job showing how Joseph becomes understanding of the situation and how much he came to love Mary and the baby.

Projecting movies is such a great way to minister in Haiti. Most Haitians don't have a television, so they love to come out and watch a movie. Also, it is relatively easy to do. I say relatively because my husband, David, does all the set up and take down :) He has big speakers, we borrow a projector and small generator and put up a tarp and a sheet. Voila! Movie night!

Once again, we thank you for your support and prayers! After this weekend, the Christian Christmas story will have been seen in Southern Haiti by ~ 500 people!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I've talked about this program before. But this year we have expanded it to help even more kids. So I need to talk about it some more to raise funds for it!

Since I moved to Haiti in 2008, there have always been parents asking me to pay to send their children to school.

I read about the idea of matching parents contributions in a book. I loved the idea because it required the parents to put forth an effort in helping their own children. This promotes dignity and responsibility. But the reality is that a lot of parents in Haiti can not afford to send their children to school. They need a hand up.

Invest Hope has a school match savings program. This year, 35 children are enrolled and their parents are already busy contributing to their accounts!

So we want you to meet some of these children and learn what their dreams are.


This is Coralee. She is being raised by a single mom who works really hard to take care of her and her older brother. But the money she makes isn't enough to pay for school for her children.

Coralee is a high energy, high pitched giggling, squirmy 7 year old. I wish you could hear her little high pitched voice. She says that she loves babies and when she grows up she wants to be a nanny and take care of them.

Will you help us help her mother send her to school?

Your donation is tax-deductible. It can be sent to:

Licking Valley Church of Christ
1578 Dayton Rd
Newark, OH 43055

Check payable to "Licking Valley Church of Christ"
put "Invest Hope" in the memo line of the check.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tons of Baby Omri Pictures!

I am back online! Have been so busy taking care of Omri that I haven't posted in weeks and weeks. 
Omri and I are still in Ohio. He is now 10 weeks old. His due date was today, July 16th!

He spent 6 weeks in the NICU in Miami and we have been home for a few weeks. 

Here is a picture of Omri's primary nurses in the NICU...we LOVE these ladies...they made our stressful stay so much better.

My Aunt Hattie (dad's youngest sister) drove all the way down from West Virginia to meet Omri!

We went from this...one person being able to hold him once a day (talk about torture!) to...

                                                    Being home in Ohio!

 We got to go to my cousin Bree's wedding in West Virginia. Isn't she a BEAUTIFUL bride?

                                          Great PaPaw Jim (my mom's dad)


                 4 Generations of Andrews'! My dad's parents, dad, me and Omri.

I am missing my Odessa so very much...this has been the hardest part of being away. I have never been apart from her this long. David is holding everything together beautifully! He is being a great daddy to Odessa and counting the days he gets to be one to Omri. Odessa sings to Omri over Skype daily and is looking forward to holding "Her baby" soon :)

This has been a stressful, joyful, tearful, and HOPEful time for our family. We are thankful for all the support you have given us during this time.  Continue to pray for us and our reunion together as a family again...we can hardly wait!

God is teaching me now that although I don't always understand the "method to the madness", that there is a plan and it DOES work for good. 

As I look at my baby boy everyday with my heart exploding with love...it's hard to believe God loves him more. David and I feel so blessed that The Lord put Omri in our family. 

***Thank you all for being patient about the lack of mission updates. David continues to work for Invest Hope in Haiti and he hasten sending me updates and pictures...but I am have been busy (and tired) and haven't been posting updates. Stay tuned for these updates and thank you for your patience.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's a BOY!

On May 7th, our little boy decided to come into the world 10 weeks early.

My water broke in Haiti on April 26th and I flew into Miami the same day trying to make it back to Ohio. I only made it as far as Miami where they put me on hospitalized bed rest because I was only 28 weeks pregnant. 

On May 7th I went into labor and they could not stop it. My mom was here in Miami with me and was the first to see the gender of our baby. I can not tell you how thrilled my husband David is ow that he has his boy!

Omri Davidson Andews-Barreau was born on May 7th at 10:06pm. He weighed 3 pounds 2 ounces and was 16.5 inches long.

Omri is still in the NICU in Miami. He is doing well. He no longer has an IV. He is taking some feedings orally and the rest given by tube and still on oxygen. He currently weighs 3 pounds 10 ounces. My family has taken turns staying down here with me pretty much non-stop. 

Thank you for your prayers and kindness during this time. It is has been very stressful on our family being separated for so long and for such an important event. But God has been good and we are looking forward to the day we are together with the new addition to our family!

Uncle JW holding him for the first time.

Mommy holding him for the first time. And I haven't really put him down since!

Mama Lynn and PawPaw looking at their first grandson!

Pictured below is the first time Daddy and Odessa are seeing him via Skype from Haiti! They can not wait to get their hands on him!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why Would He Do That?

Now I am no preacher. Or bible college graduate. Or super well versed in the bible. But I was reading the book of Mark and his account of Jesus's life. I have read in a bible study and several books now about how Jesus was very much about relationships and there are plenty of examples of that in the bible.

But something caught the eye of this preacher's kid that I had obviously overlooked when hearing and reading the story of Jesus walking on water.

Here is the story from the NCV in Mark 6:45-51

Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home. After sending them away, he went into the hills to pray.  That night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on the land.  He saw his followers struggling hard to row the boat, because the wind was blowing against them. Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and he wanted to walk past the boat. But when they saw him walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost and cried out.  They all saw him and were afraid. But quickly Jesus spoke to them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”  Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind became calm. The followers were greatly amazed.

The part that I saw for the first time is found in verse 48. It says, "He saw his followers struggling hard to row the boat, because the wind was blowing against them. Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and he wanted to walk past the boat."

Reread the last part that is bolded and italicized by me.

So let me get this straight.

Jesus saw that his followers, who by the way, HE sent out ahead of Him, STRUGGLING HARD to row the boat. And what was Jesus' reaction going to be to this?

To walk past them?


So I thought it may just be the New Century Version that translated it this way.

The New American Standard Bible says: "Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them."

So Jesus, according to this translation, intentionally was going to pass by his disciples after seeing them straining?

 This does not seem like the relational Jesus I have been reading Christian authors write about. Why would be want to an intend to pass by his BFF's that were struggling? He saw them. He was the one who sent them out ahead after all! So when He saw them having a hard time why was He just going to walk right past them?

The good news is is that He did help them. After they called out to him thinking he was a ghost. They were afraid. 

Is it possible that God is waiting on us to call out to Him in the middle of a problem we may have in our own lives? He's there. He cares. He knows when wind is blowing and that we are struggling and straining.  But there could be a personal lesson waiting for us that we haven't fully learned yet? 

Like I said before...I am no bible scholar...but I know that God knows my problems. He sees when I am struggling hard to fight on my own. Does the God who sent me out see? Does my frightened voice have the power to move the God who made the heavens and earth to stop by and comfort me?

I believe it does.

So Have You?

I just got home from Bile study. The ladies who are missionaries in Jacmel meet together once a week for study and fellowship.

Today we talked about friendship and how it is so different making and keeping friends while living in Haiti. Honestly, I don't have that many friends here. My best friend is Haitian and I can relate to her and have more in common with her than I have ever had with any American friend I have ever had. Sometimes God brings you a blessing from the most unlikely places and circumstances!

But friendship is hard here. Every mission has different focuses and most missionaries have a busy workload that doesn't leave much time for making and keeping friendships. One point that was brought up today was the fact that missionaries seem to come and go at a pretty high rate that it's a struggle at times to make the time to start a friendship when the reality is there is a high probability that person won't be around for long.

But there is something about community and friendship with those who understand. No offense, but most of you reading this blog have never lived in Haiti. So it's a treat to sit and talk with someone else who has "walked that mile in your shoes" and truly understands. We can laugh about the day to days encounters we have within a different culture. We can fully understand when someone is just feeling like they can't do it here anymore. And no one understands feeling left out back "home" like others who have spent holiday after holiday away from their families too.

Haiti is hard.

Really hard.

Ask anyone who has lived here over a year and I guarantee they will agree.

So that is why today I am thankful for friendships. Friendships I had in the past and the current ones I have here on the mission field.

Remember to thank God for putting the right friends with you in the right place and right time. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good News!

We are excited to share with you that the money for Nadine's family's house has been raised!

Nadine's birth mother in front of current house

We are hoping to begin demolition of current house after the Easter holiday.
This family is responsible for helping out on their house project also. We love how they take pride and ownership into the work that goes into building their new house...this is what makes it a HOME. 

They have already carried all the large rocks that will make the foundation of the house up to the job site! They are ready to begin!

Thank you for your generous donations given to fund this project!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

More Crafts

 Friends learning to make friendship bracelets.  This was a great way for us to talk about the qualities of a good friend. Some of the bible verses we discussed included:

Proverbs 18:24
"Some friends may ruin you,
    but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother."

1 Corinthians 15:33
" Do not be fooled: “Bad friends will ruin good habits.”"

John 15:13
"The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends." 

 Designing their earrings

 Kathleen, age 15, modeling her handmade earrings!

 Souvline (Nadine's younger sister), pictured here proud of her creation!

Group of girls modeling their work

These hands-on craft activities provided opportunities for kids in the village of Peredo to express creativity. There are not art programs in the schools and most of them are too poor to buy the resources themselves. This also helps them with fine motor skills. 

Then they have a project to take home to remind them of the discussions we had in the program that day. 

Real friendship is so important to us all! Especially the friendship we can find in a relationship with our Savior!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This post is one that has been heavy on my heart for some time. I don't expect it to be well received.

Here in Haiti by orphanages and children's homes. I believe they were meant for children who are orphans. But the truth of the matter is, most children I have met in orphanages in Haiti are NOT orphans. Most have a living parent.

So why all the orphanages? Why all the adoptions? Why all the child sponsorship programs available for any first world person to support a child in an orphanage? For $30/month you can help provide housing, meals, education and medical care to one of these children.

I challenge you to ask about the children in other countries you are supporting. Here in Haiti each of them are required to have a file. (Also as a side note, here in Haiti the parent(s) can come and take their child back at ANY time from an orphanage or creche-provided an adoption isn't finalized. This just shows how the parent(s) still have rights)

Is there a living parent?

If so, what is the organization doing to try to reunite and help the family be able to provide for all the members in it?

If not, is there a living relative, who with the right aid, is willing to raise their niece, nephew, sibling, cousin?

Poverty should not be a reason parents give up their children. If the parents are dead, then that is one thing but that is not the case with most kids in orphanages in Haiti.

How can we as Christians think that God does not want a family to stay together? How many of you would chose to place your child in an orphanage if there were other options to help you care for your child? Why aren't we putting more effort and funds towards keeping families together?

Social Services here in Jacmel have asked David and I several times to open an orphanage or children's home. But we have another dream. A dream of a Haiti filled with families. Families of all types. Which is one reason why we have enlarged our family fostering 2 teens. One is a true orphan with both parents deceased and we work with the mother of the 2nd child in hopes of reuniting them one day in the future. This girl goes home for regular visits ans her mother comes for visits also.

This dream is possible. I believe the funds will be harder to find than funds for children who are labeled as orphans in orphanages.

Imagine to HOPE we can give a family in helping them stay together. In coming along side of them and helping them taking care of their own children.

I think this change has to be made by you. The supporters of these non-profits helping take care of "orphans". Yes, some are true orphans. But not has many as fill the orphanages and children's homes to the max here in Haiti.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sadly, one of our foster girls left us a couple weeks ago to go back and live with her extended family. I have struggled to blog about this as I have mixed feelings about it.

Discipline is an area that a lot of people disagree on. We don't use physical discipline with our foster girls. One reason is they have already been physically abused in their life. We are trying to help them deal with this wound and feel like additional forms of physical punishment with set them back even farther.

But teens push.

And push.

And push!

One lesson we learned through this circumstance is that when dealing with unacceptable and defiant behavior with a teen, is all adults in that teens life have to stand united on the ultimate outcome and uphold the same punishment. David and I were on the same page but others involved in this child's life had different visions of how to correct her behavior.

When it came down to her behavior being potentially very harmful to herself, we called her extended family, who she lived with before and told them we could no longer be responsible for her.

What makes us very sad is this child is now missing out on the opportunity to go to school. She is vision impaired which makes it more difficult to find a school that will accept her. Her family is looking for a school in their area.

Please pray that God opens doors of opportunity for this child especially in the area of education.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day to my Odessa! (David too of course!)

"Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place
 on the object we are waiting for."
-Charles Stanley

I have been waiting 1,013 days 
and will wait a thousand more as long as I get to spend them with you...

That's how much I love you...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2nd House of Hope Finished!

I woke up Monday morning with the task of going to Peredo and hiring someone help the family Invest Hope is helping rebuild their house.

I was surprised to find that our girls didn't have school that day. What a perfect service project for us to do together!

We love opportunities like this where our girls get a change to serve in their own community and country. Odessa was thrilled she was going to get to paint. The teens not so much but they came along.

 And then they worked very hard in the hot sun and ended up having fun! Go figure...


I played the pregnancy card that day and was the project manager and photographer. Our intern, Santana Davis, jumped in a painted too.

By that afternoon we were done. The house is complete! This is one happy family who send their thanks to everyone who helped them rebuild their house. They contributed lots of time and effort into this project as well. David and I were so happy with their work ethic and gratitude.

Your donations went to help this family rebuild their home and give them hope. Thank you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The older kids in our "Kids Today, Adults Tomorrow" program continue to work on their Embroidery skills about one Saturday a month. The remaining Saturdays have new projects and lessons.

  Pictured above, Patricia, our Children's Director, is teaching embroidery stitches to a teen.

Surprisingly, the guys are REALLY good at embroidery.  

 I, however, do not have embroidery skills. But I do enjoy working with the younger kids, teaching them bible stories and the lessons that come out of them. And I LOVE the fact that you NEVER know what this age group is going to say so it keeps you on your toes!



This was 2 Saturdays ago when we talked about courage and used the story of Esther as a great example. The kids loved making their own sparkling crowns and then danced and sang songs wearing them.

Your support of Invest Hope goes to help fund this children's group, specifically the craft materials we purchase. Thank you for continuing to support this program.

~The kids really thank you~

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Strength of Two Mothers

This past week I watched two families and countless friends say goodbye and celebrate the life of Nadine.

Last Wednesday Nadine had multiple strokes during a procedure at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She was placed on a ventilator. David and I got the call Wednesday evening from Nadine's host mother, Sheree and headed out to Peredo to pick up Nadine's birth parents and one of her sisters on Thursday morning.

We brought them back to our house where we waited to Skype in with the doctors, host family and then to see Nadine.

My heart was breaking for her host family in Ohio who loved this child like their own. They really did. The took amazing care of Nadine running her to so many doctor's appointments, being patient with her "Nadine" personality and giving her experiences in the US she never would have dreamed of in Haiti.

My heart also was breaking for the family sitting next to me in my stuffy little office surrounding a computer screen. The family I met five years ago and who had trusted me this past March to take their daughter to the US for life saving medical treatment. The mother who had raised Nadine the best she could with no access to medical care in a very poor village in Haiti. The father who always believed his daughter would die with her illness. And an older sister who just so happened not to go to school that day.

I applaud Nationwide Children's Hospital for the efforts they made to include Nadine's Haitian family in this difficult situation. They skyped with an interpreter explaining again and again her condition and prognosis. They showed a family who had never even heard of a ventilator the complicated Machine that was breathing for their daughter. They allowed multiple visitors into a PICU room, spilling out into the hallway to be present. Many past caregivers of Nadine's came to her bedside and some prayed over her, all surrounded her host family giving them support.

I watched my laptop screen as Nadine's birth mother's words were translated for her host mother. Two women who loved one child...one of them gave her up in order for her to find healing, the other accepted and loved her like one of her birth children. While Nadine's birth mother was heartbroken, she was extremely grateful. The last thing she said to Sheree was, "Nadine was our daughter, but now I see she was yours too. Thank you so much."

I sat with the woman who did not get to be by her daughter's side in those last moments. And like so many other Haitian women going through hard times, she sat strong. Her eyes never left the screen as she watched Sheree and Dave say good bye to Nadine. She took in all the medical equipment in that ICU room. And then she stood up. She said she was ready to go home and tell the rest of the family that Nadine was gone.

Nadine passed away Thursday evening with Mama Sheree and Papa Dave and her American siblings by her side.

Mothers are strong. It took strength to raise a child with a deforming illness in a country where there is little medical hope. It took strength to let her go, hoping for treatment and healing. It took strength to accept a child from a different country, who spoke a different language, and who at times had challenging behaviors in your home. It took strength to continue caring for this child when multiple NEW medical needs came into the picture.

And it took strength to say goodbye.

Nadine's birth mother in Haiti in 2010

Nadine with her family Christmas 2012

I feel blessed to have witnessed this strength from both of Nadine's mothers.

So in closing,

Nadine...You were loved by two families in two different worlds. But now you are being loved by the Best in the best world yet. 
Ale avek Bondye...Nap toujou sonje ou Cheri.

***Thank you to everyone who helped Nadine in one way or another...it is a long list. Here are a few that helped get her to the states on a medical visa.
Dana Noffsinger
Dr Shiels
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Sheree and family
Angel Missions Haiti
Beth and David H and family

Saturday, January 5, 2013

 Here are pictures from the younger kid's Christmas Party last week.


 After 99 games of musical chairs...

They all enjoyed hotdogs, cupcakes, fruitsnacks, popcorn and juice. 

They all also each received a small gift including hair barrettes, matchbox cars, crayons, sandals, or fun cartoon character socks.

I know this is a brief report of the party...but we are tired after all these parties. They were fun but baking 110 cupcakes in a little tiny oven and watching the 99 games of musical chairs and listening to them cry for more...we are exhausted!

Thank you for your support! You made 150 kids in 2 parties very happy for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When I look back at 2012, I think of it as the year the most things changed in my life.

-Odessa's adoption was (finally!) finalized in Haiti. Seeing her name with "Andrews" now legally attached to the end of it, made my heart (that had been beating anxiously to get it done since May 8, 2010) settle back into it's regular rhythm.

The first time I ever held Odessa

-I got married! Boy has that been an adjustment...a good one of course ;)

-The ladies at my home church sent me a "wedding shower in a suitcase" because I was getting married in Haiti.

-Some of my aunts and cousins planned a surprise wedding shower for me that was really nice. Complete with Pinterest-inspired decorating! And I do not have ONE single picture to post!

-Over the past year we temporarily took in 2 abandoned newborns, one teenage mother and her newborn, one child who had been living on the streets in Port au Prince, and a sick toddler.

-In 2012 we welcomed 3 foster teenagers into our home for a one year trial period. One orphan living on the streets, one child who has been a slave for 4 different families in her life and one child who is legally blind.

- Transported 3 medical children to the states for life-saving surgery

- Worked with 29 families in the microloan process. Processed their loans, repayments, followed their businesses and family lives.

-Partnered with 10 families on a matched-savings account to help them pay for their children's school. Signed up 20 families for the same program this coming year. 

-Helped a family rebuild their house after a fire.



-Survived one tropical storm and one hurricane

-Got to Skype often with my family back home home.

-And we got a Christmas surprise that will be "delivered" in July!


 The sadness is still here in Haiti. Imagine everywhere you go people begging for money and children begging for food. Haiti is our home now and this has become my normal. Normal now to walk up to the small market by my house to buy a Coke and have 2 or 3 kids tell me how hungry they are. Normal for us to cut back on our dinner portions to share. Normal for Children's Services to come by and say we are the "last chance" this kid has for the night or they will sleep in the adult jail. Normal to do a home visit and want to take the malnourished kids home, give them a bath, make them some mac and cheese and let them watch a movie. And normal that when I go to these houses of the poorest of the poor, they always try to give me eggs or vegetables or fresh cow's milk.

Chocking back tears until I got home is normal...that has never gone away. Feeling guilty when putting leftovers in our mini-fridge has never gone away.  Prayers of thankfulness when tucking Odessa in her clean bed with a full belly night after night...those never stop.

1 John 3:17-18
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 

So without any more preaching...

Let's remember the poor in 2013. And the HOPE we all have in Jesus.