Tuesday, October 21, 2014

 

The Tears of a Child



Hi friends,

I've tried to think what would be the toughest age level to be in Haiti.

The elderly, for the most part, are not taken care of. Many days you see people in their 70s and 80s searching for firewood or doing some other task, so they can be included in the nightly meal. I've discovered many lying in a hut, on a cardboard box, thirsty and nearly starving to death. And when they are sick, nobody is there for them. So hard to end your life with nobody caring for you or about you.

The mothers who are raising the kids, in some cases, the fathers. Not enough work for 85% of Haitians. Picture this: not a drop of food or drink in your house, no bank account, no money in your pocket. You have kids. You get up in the morning and have to go make enough money so maybe everyone can eat that night. Some days you do, most days you don't. Think of the pressure.

The teens have it tough, in many cases out on their own at age 13 or 14, especially the boys. The good thing is they are resourceful, and can get around and normally find someone who will share food if they don't eat at home.

Then I come to the children. In Haiti, most parents think they are being good parents if they do the following:

1) feed their child everyday
2) keep them alive
3) get them in school

That's it. What's missing?

No nurturing, no encouragement, no bonding, no bedtime stories, no playing with the kids, no hugs, no saying "I love you," no TLC when a tumble happens, no band-aids for boo-boos. No birthday presents or special days.

The children that receive the above, they are the lucky ones. Many children don't eat, aren't kept safe and don't get an education. Tears are a part of a child's life, and that is sad.

We are thrilled God has given us 25 kids to care for in the Lighthouse and Beacon. I know 25 out of the thousands in Haiti is a small number, and maybe you think we are not making a real difference. Well, to our 25 and 275 at school, we are making a real difference, as we work to provide the love and nurturing these kids so badly need.

Thank you for helping us wipe away the tears and give hope to these precious young folks. We are making a difference, through Christ who gives us strength.

May God bless you,
tominhaiti

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

 

A new season has begun

No longer under tents - the third grade classroom at Grace Emmanuel School
Hi from Haiti,
     
Summer is gone, fall is here and with fall brings a new season, new challenges, and many new opportunities. 


September 15th was a very exciting day for us as we moved into our NEW school at Grace Emmanuel School. As you are aware, we just completed 6 new classrooms (with 9 more to be completed this coming year). The classrooms are large enough to partition for this year, so nearly all the classrooms can meet in the new buildings (with two still meeting in the wooden classrooms). 


We had an exciting day starting with the flag raising and Haitian national anthem, then chapel where several of us spoke and the teachers were introduced, then a little parade from the lower property to the school in the upper property. What a thrill to lead the kids up, and then have a ribbon cutting. Then the kids were off to their classes, teachers and students very excited about the newness of it all, and to be done with the tents. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the wall, equipment, and books. 


This new season also marks a new idea at Victory Bible Church. This coming Saturday, the 27th, we will be meeting with 70 members from our church. We are calling this Super Saturday and will start at 9:30 am and be done at 5 pm. Our 12 leaders chose 58 of our most faithful church members and invited them to be a part of this day. 

We will start with a time of prayer, worship, and training on evangelism. We'll have a cookout at noon, then we will split up into teams and visit the surrounding villages with a strategy. The purpose will be to meet, greet, invite, pray, share.......whatever God leads us to do. For most of these folks, it is their first time doing ministry. We are very excited about their involvement in reaching their people for Christ. 

We also have our Prime Time Boys and Power Girls mentoring programs starting up, as well as youth group. Many chances to be Jesus in Haiti. 


Dickie in his uniform
Last December, God placed a 4-year-old, abandoned, and neglected little boy in my life, named Dickie. 

I didn't want a 4-year-old and even sought professional advice from people who work with kids full time. The advice was, "take him." 

I did, and what a joy. 

This little boy is in kindergarten and loving it. Everyday he comes out and says "School was awesome." 

When days are long, troubles big, and discouragements frequent, there is always a little boy who just loves his poppy, and you know what? That always kind of makes everything okay. 

Dickie told me the other day, "I think God made you for me." 

I replied "Yes, He did, and guess what? He made you for me."


Please pray for our dedicated staff at our school and church as well as Beacon and Lighthouse. We face many challenges everyday but that is what ministry is all about. Ministering to people. 
     
So we plug on, living, loving, being Jesus to these wonderful folks God has called us to. Thank you for your part in so many ways. 

tominhaiti

Thursday, September 4, 2014

 

Fall update from Haiti

A group from California was here in August to run the Haitian Hustle with the Beacon boys
Dear friends,
     
Seems like I always start out by apologizing for not writing much but this will be the last apology, I'm going back to my weekly updates. I hope they will not bore you but encourage and excite you as you hear stories of lives changed and a difference made. What we are doing really is making a difference. I will start with getting you caught up with news you may or may not have heard:

Partnership: This past year we entered into a partnership with Back2Back Ministries, please visit their website back2back.org, fantastic ministry. We are sharing a guest house with them. They use the house for two weeks a month for groups and we get two weeks. Their family, the Fudges, live upstairs along with our two missionaries.

 

Speaking of our two missionaries: Lauren Neal (left) is one of our missionaries, working with the Lighthouse. Jamie Curtis (right) has been here two months and is working with our school, Grace Emmanuel. They are two wonderful young ladies. Please add them to your prayer list.

Sad goodbye: Nate and Kristi Bucher who served so well with JiHM for two years have left Haiti and are back in Minnesota. We are so grateful for the blood, sweat and tears, and love, they poured into the people here. They both will still be connected and assisting JiHM stateside. A huge thanks!

Points of Light:
A) Victory Bible church: We have struggled during the past year or so finding our way and moving forward in a way I know we can. However we have a good plan in place and are excited about the future. We have put together a 65-person team from our church, and will be meeting monthly for an all day of training, lunch and going out and doing ministry together. We are excited about including so many of our folks in actual ministry, besides our staff.

B) Grace Emmanuel School: As you probably know, we will be starting in our NEW school and are so excited. Wish you could each be here for opening ceremonies as we dedicate what God has given us. One exciting aspect of our school is Jamie who just moved here will be working hard to connect our 280 school kids and families with our church. What a great mission field we have coming to our mission every day.  We will send lots of pictures of the first day and all the new rooms filled with kids. Thanks for your prayers and support to make this happen.

Kimberly, Lovely and Adriano
C) Lighthouse: Lauren is doing a great job with these 10 youngsters. They are all busy getting ready for school.xt Monday.

D) Beacon: This is the name given to my home and the 13 young men I have living here. Three are getting ready to leave for college, one working on going to Brazil to work, 8 in high school and Tyson who is our full-time maintenance man. I'm very pleased with the growth of these young men and the direction they all are headed. Thanks to all of you who have invested so much.

Those are our four main Points of Light. We have lots of outreach that is done through the church and visiting churches but these are the points we work on full- time.

Financial: I have done ministry for 200 months in Haiti and every month we have made enough funds to continue. This past month, August, was the first we did not. August is always slow but this year was really down. We have a certain number we need to reach to maintain, and grow our ministry. When that number is not reached, obviously we go backwards and we go into survival mode. I didn't come to Haiti just to survive, I came to thrive for God. Please pray about how you can help with the financial side of things. We don't need millions and we don't need one or two people to do it all, we just need YOU doing what you can. We were about $6,000 short in August for our budget. We can't afford that for September. Please pray how God would have you involved in this part of the ministry. Thanks in advance.

Closing: Dickie, my 5-year-old, is doing really well. He is growing and so happy. He goes to kindergarten this year. Problem is he knows English better than Creole, lol.
Today he brought me a bottle of cough syrup from the bathroom with a big smile. He said "I like this stuff."  I asked why. He said "When I come here you give me this every night and I got better." He remembered that first week 9 months ago when he was so sick and the medicine was a good memory.

We have a group here from Holly Hills, Florida, doing awesome. A group from Pathway in Fort Wayne comes Saturday. Next week I have a visiting evangelist from the Dominican Republic coming for a week, then a group coming the end of September. Always busy, and we love it. Thanks again for your prayers and support.

Tom

Friday, July 25, 2014

 

A Trail Left Behind

Hi,
    
The other day I was hot and tired and a tad discouraged. Then I was talking to Jony and we started talking about "past staff" and people we worked with. Here was what we talked about:
  
And these are just a few. Many more are making their mark for the Savior. This conversation lifted my spirits knowing that WOW, we really have made a difference in these 16 years. The Bible talks about our Fruit. Well, the above is just a few examples of that fruit, and God's blessing on this ministry.

Than I saw a thread of a conversation from my pre-Haiti days. I worked with inner city kids for years and am friends with dozens from the ministry in Fort Wayne in the early 90's.  One of the young men mentioned our basketball. Then all were chiming in on Tom picking them up after school everyday, and the tournaments and all the fun we had. Several said I was the only dad they ever had. They are all following Christ, involved in church and raising families. More fruit that God has allowed me to be a part of.
       
I tell you this to encourage you, if you have been faithful, if you have been Jesus to people, they are out there, even if we forget or don't know. People you have invested your lives into, are investing in others. That is a great encouragement.
      
To those of you who have supported JiHM since the beginning, for all of you who sacrifice your hard-earned funds to make this ministry happen, that list above should make you smile. It doesn't matter if someone works for us or not, if they are doing God's work, that is what matters. My prayer is that I can continue to send emails like this, of lives changed. Every month we add new names to this list, who in turn are adding new names to "God's list" and that is what matters.
    
Thank you for your continued faithful support. I do have a request, if anyone is sitting on money, and doesn't know what to do with it, or you want to make an investment, we could use your help. Our finances are tight. Please pray about supporting JiHM and helping us to continue to make lists, like the one above.


tominhaiti

Friday, June 13, 2014

 

UPDATE: Help Move the Lighthouse

The Lighthouse moves tomorrow!
 
Thank you for your quick and generous giving to set the Lighthouse move into motion! Yesterday we were able to purchase a refrigerator, oven and water cooler for the kitchen with funds that came in. A group from Indiana and Ohio has been cleaning and painting this week to prepare for Saturday's move.
 
To continue to make the Lighthouse a home, we are still looking for donors to give towards these remaining needs: 
  • Paint
  • 8 twin mattresses
  • Washing machine
  • Fix electric wiring
  • 4 dressers
  • Living room furniture
  • New battery for generator
Due to the high cost of furniture in Haiti, we estimate we need about $5900 more for the rest of the set-up costs in the new home. Please consider giving toward these needs today.
 
Again, this transition will have lasting benefits on the Lighthouse kids and their caregivers. It will allow them more personal space, it will create a more structured and intentional family unit, and it will provide them with a new sense of permanency. 

To give towards the Lighthouse move, you can give online using our online giving form(designate the funds towards The Lighthouse) OR you can mail a check written to Jesus in Haiti Ministries, with a separate note to put the funds towards The Lighthouse, to:

Jesus in Haiti Ministries
c/o Hartley Tax and Accounting
6066 E State Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46815

If you have any questions about the Lighthouse move, please contact Lauren Neal at laurenlouisan@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

 

A Place To Call Home: Help Move the Lighthouse

 
We are thrilled to announce the Lighthouse Children's Home is moving to a new location, the home where we previously housed guests. 
 
Jony, Richena and their son Douglass
After prayerful consideration, this move seems to be the best opportunity for both the nine Lighthouse children, as well as the older boys, altogether thirty people currently living on .5 acres. The nine kids are now in two bedrooms, the six boys in one and the three girls in the other. They are growing quickly and need more space. Jony and Richena Louis, the caregivers of the Lighthouse kids, will also be moving with their two kids to the new location. They are excited about the possibilities this new home will provide.  
  
In order to make this move possible, we need your help. The estimated start-up cost to move by our goal date of June 14 is $10,000. This start-up cost includes fixing the electrical wiring that was vandalized during the time the property sat vacant, a new refrigerator, mattresses, fans, a water dispenser, furniture, kitchen supplies and more. We are hopeful these needs can be met by next Saturday, and we are asking you to prayerfully consider being a part of this exciting opportunity. 
 
Last week Lauren Neal, director of the Lighthouse Children's Home, walked through the old guest house with the kids and Jony and Richena. Her reflections on the walk-through give a glimpse of the excitement this move is bringing to the Lighthouse kids:
 
We walk through the front door of the house and the kids scatter, laughter lingering in the empty rooms, a thick layer of dust covering the concrete floors. Lovely grabs my hand and leads me to a room to the right of the entry where Richena is articulately examining her family's future bedroom. She swings her head around to face us and gives me a look of approval, a look that says, this is home. 
 
I walk toward the stairs, still with Lovely by my side, but she bolts up the steps toward the sound of the giggles above us. I reach the top and Adriano averts my attention to the left, as he excitedly tells me this is where he will sleep. They run back and forth, peeking into the doors of the empty bedrooms, imagining the space they can soon call their own. Anne Marie shouts my name and I follow her voice across the hall. I find her looking out the window and she tells me this room will be painted pink for the girls. I find Jony, Richena's husband, sitting in a rocking chair on the veranda and I join him. The kids are talking a mile a minute, their voices full of excitement and enthusiasm. And in this moment, joy fills the air. 

Jovens
We walk out of the gate, anxious for the day we will soon call this place home. I take Jovens' hand in mine as we begin to make our way back down the road. I glance down at him and his expression exudes life. "Lauren," he says, "that is a really beautiful house. I cannot wait." He leaps a little off the ground with exclamation as he enunciates every word. Here is a boy who cannot even see the rooms of this home, who cannot see the colors on the wall, who cannot see the view from the veranda, yet senses the beauty of finding joy with his family in the simplicity of moving. 
 
As we walk home hand in hand, I can't help but smile, thanking Jesus for this precious boy and for his future.
  
This transition will have lasting benefits on the Lighthouse kids and their caregivers. It will allow them more personal space, it will create a more structured and intentional family unit, and it will provide them with a new sense of permanency. 

To give towards the Lighthouse move, you can give online using our online giving form(designate the funds towards The Lighthouse) OR you can mail a check written to Jesus in Haiti Ministries, with a separate note to put the funds towards The Lighthouse, to:

Jesus in Haiti Ministries
c/o Hartley Tax and Accounting
6066 E State Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46815

Thank you for already investing into this ministry both prayerfully and financially. We hope you come alongside of us again in this next step toward a brighter future. If you have any questions about the Lighthouse move, please contact Lauren Neal atlaurenlouisan@gmail.com.

Friday, May 23, 2014

 

May Update



Hi,
   
The past 6 weeks has been: different, busy, discouraging, uplifting.........and about 10 other adjectives. The first of April I went to the states for a short R&R and some fundraising/meetings. The first two weeks was spent with my daughter and grandkids, having fun. Problem was I had been through such a stressful few months in Haiti, and when I got to their house, I kind of collapsed in bed and was sick the entire time. It was still good to see the kids and do a few things but I was mostly just trying to get better. 
 
Then I flew to Fort Wayne (and were my arms ever tired) where I spent a final week at the dentist, doing some fundraising, and meeting with several board members plotting strategy. I felt very good and it was a great week.
     
Then back to Haiti. When I pulled in my yard, the generator was running, and literally broke five minutes after I was home. For the past 24 days we have had no real source of power. With no power, you can't pump water which means no showers, no flushing toilets, no washing clothes, etc....With no power you have no fans which means you have lots of mosquitoes. Food not properly refrigerated, no way to charge phones, iPads, etc... and much more.
     
We have city power a couple hours every couple days. It has been a struggle to just survive but we have. Also we have a Kia truck overheating and boss after boss tries but can't fix it.
    
Needless to say it's been a "fun" 6 weeks. The good news is, ministry continues. Pictured here are progress on our new school and wall that is going up so fast. We are so excited that part of the new school will be ready for the fall session. 
 
The administration building
2 blocks of 3 classrooms
 
 
 
We have more exciting news. Many of you who visited remember the "old" guest house we used. It is huge and beautiful. When we partnered with Back2Back Ministries, we rented a new guest house and we share that, along with the expenses. They get to use it two weeks a month and we use it two weeks a month for groups.
      
We have decided to re-rent the old guest house and we will move our 9 Lighthouse kids into that so they can have their own space, and the older 14 I have can have their own space. After much thought and prayer, this made the most sense. We will still be one family, eating some meals together, and much more, but this made better sense for the care of all 23 of the young people in our care.
       
We will be sending out separate information soon as we will have to raise some funds to make this happen. Please see how you can help in this new exciting move which will benefit all. 
 
 
       
Our church, as the foundation of our ministry, is going strong. Our new lead pastor, Pastor Jean, is doing great and leading in a very Godly way. His goal matches ours: preach the Gospel and make disciples. Attendance is not as high as once was but disciples are being made and that is what makes a difference.
    
On the home front, my son Derson, who is one of our pastors, had a radiator explode on him last Saturday and received 3rd degree burns over much of his chest and shoulder. Praise God it missed his face. He has been to the hospital several times getting it treated and bandaged up. He is very sore and has missed church and school this week, the first time for both. The amazing thing is he has handled it all with a smile and NO complaining. Pray for complete healing please.
      
I have much more to share but will stop here. I am committed to get more frequent emails going again and so expect emails updating you on our church, school, home life, groups, outreach and so much more. Lives being changed is why we are here. Thank you so much for your prayers, your financial support and your friendship. God is working here and I am thrilled to be a small part of it. Electtricity or no electricity, lol
     
Never forget, keep being Jesus in your neck of the woods, your folks need Jesus just the same as ours, tominhaiti 
  

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