This Little Light of Mine

"To whom much is given, much is required"


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Freely Given, Gratefully Accepted!

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The hand of God moves in mysterious ways.  Sometimes it’s just a whisper or a small thought planted by God  in hopes it will take root and grow.  Although we are just the messenger through which God may work, we often hope we can know how our actions have touched others. 

An envelope was pressed into my hand by a caring family from our church, “for families that need help!” he whispered in my ear. 

March 11, 2013 was the day we traveled back to Haiti to catch up on the children and their families in our sponsorship program.  The special envelope was safely in my money belt and thoughts circled in my head of who might benefit the most from this sweet gift.  Once our van headed out of Port-au-Prince and reached the mountains, several families were already making the list. 

The top of my list was Jesula and her family.  Several years ago, her husband suddenly took ill and died leaving her with the kids but no land, garden plots and absolutely no inheritance.  Borrowing money to feed the family comes at a high price and she sank deeper in debt.  Two children are in school because of sponsorships which gave hope that these two children would someday not have to live the way she did. 

Now she was summoned to talk with the “Children for a New Haiti” staff.  Questions plagued her as she hurried to meet them .. . . did a sponsor want to quit sending her child to school? . . . . Maybe someone wants to send another of her children to school.  What could it be?  She walked to Grandpa’s house to find out. 

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There I stood, in my hand a rope with a goat tied to the other end.  With disbelief, Jesula approached and then realized that the goat was hers to keep.  Instructions were given that would provide her with guidelines to care for the goat and how it will help her family.  Her heart overflowing with gratitude could hardly contain her feelings. 

Goats!  Who would guess that owning a goat could make such a difference in the life of a family.  Goats multiply quickly providing goats to sell at the market in Lascahabos and also for food for the family.  Goats are easily fed and in the mountains of Haiti, few predators are found.  The gift of a goat means so much to a family that struggles to find or purchase food. 

It is only because of the generous donors and sponsors like you that lives are being touched in a special way.  There are so many needs in Dos-Palais and we are so very thankful for each of you that further our cause to help the children and their families. 

It is our goal to share with you the stories of your gifts but some we may never really  know their impact until we are united in the heavenly kingdom.

If you would like to know more about Children for a New Haiti, please check out our website: http://childrenforanewhaiti.org/

~Story related to me by Wissel Joseph, President/Founder of Children for a New Haiti

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A Goat for Maxo

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It’s really hard to explain to my friends and family the depth of poverty some of the villagers of Dos-Palais live in. Traveling on short mission trips to various parts of the world gives me but a glimpse of a comparable, but to those who have not traveled, how do you help them understand. This story about Maxo explains the hardship that a family can experience in this part of Haiti.

I first saw Maxo in a picture as I filtered through the applications when Wissel returned from his trip to Haiti. During the trip, he had an open enrollment for the villagers with many kids wanting a chance to go to school. Maxo and his mom attended the enrollment and she signed him up. His sweet little face beamed from the picture as it portrayed a child with a sparkle in his eyes and one who loved life.

My husband’s sister asked to sponsor a child and I immediately thought of Maxo. Earlene has a grandson named Max so there it was, the double whammy! With Earlene and Bob’s help, Maxo was enrolled in school.

Our October trip had Maxo’s name listed as a child we wanted to meet and get to know. We didn’t even have to search, Maxo and 25 plus more sponsored children were there to greet us when we arrived. What a sweet child. His smile was infectious and he was indeed so very playful. His eyes always searching to see if we were looking at him so he could do something funny.

Maxo’s family, the Mombayards, have 14 children. Two of the children live with their grandfather, one is in the Dominican Republic. Another one has been given away to a family in Port-au-Prince. It’s not uncommon to give a child away to a family that is financially more stable.

So now John Robert and Miracile Noel live with 10 children in a house that has 2 small rooms but only one room is suitable for living in. The house and surroundings are DSCF1409always kept clean so there is pride in what they do own. Food is still scarce but Jean Robert has been hired by Wissel Joseph, our President/Founder to help with the building of his new house in Dos-Palais so the family will eat better for awhile. In March, Miracile gave birth to another child. Birth control is not available.

Wissel traveled to Dos-Palais in the middle of March. While there he honored Earlene and Bob’s request to purchase a goat for the family. He did not alert the family that money for a goat was given for them and it was such a surprise when the rope with a goat tethered at the other end was handed to them. A goat means so much to a family. Goats usually have 2-3 kids twice a year. Some of the kids they will sell and some they will eat. The family has a better chance at survival with a goat. When Wissel packed up to go home, the family was already constructing a goat pen.

See Maxo and his goat:  http://youtu.be/b9RRzMiaAmY

What a gift for that family! The compassion to lift others not only blesses that family but you as the donor also experience those blessings. We want to thank you for your concern and compassion for a little boy named Maxo who now knows that you cared for him and his family in a special way.


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The Rock Pile

20130312 9486 gp HaitiIt was just a little rock pile. Not like the ones on down the road that were completed and ready for projects. But what made this rock pile interesting was the little boy sitting on the pile, hammer in hand, tap, tap, tapping.

The morning sun cast shafts of light across his little pile and the air was still cool from the night. Tap, tap, tap and the little hammer continued on.

Groups of children passed by on their way to school, laughing, and usually carrying a stick or two for the school cook to make the noon time meal. The little boy turns away. Tap, tap, tap.

Construction in the out of the way village of Dos-Palais is rather crude by US standards. But also very modern as you compare it to Haitian standards. Cement bricks, mortar, gravel, and rebar all were being used for the new medical clinic in the center of town. Most of the supplies came from Loscohobas which is about an hours drive on rough roads. But the gravel came from Dos-Palais. Hard labor produced that gravel.

Rocks were taken from the river as the children transported water back home to their Mothers’ kitchen. They either carried the rock in their hands and balanced the bucket of water on their head or the rock on their head and the bucket in hand. Either way, the rocks were transported to the growing rock pile being made into large chunk gravel used by the workmen for the new clinic.

Money is important to the family trying to keep up with food for 8 or 10 kids. The money for the gravel is quickly gone. So everyone that is strong enough to swing the hammer works, never mind school because many of them have no money for that dream.

So he sat on the rock pile. Tap, tap, tap. As I came near I asked him why he wasn’t in school. Not wanting to answer he dipped his head down to look away. It’s so hard to hide the tears and the hurt of seeing your friends walking to school and now this man wants to know why. How do I answer he questioned to himself.

Finally, in as few words as possible he explained he could not go to school because his family could not afford the uniform. Family information was given and I knew of his father.

Here I stand, a man born in Haiti, with memories of growing up poor and the unknown flooding through me, knowing somewhat how this little boy felt.

“Lord, there are so many, where do I start!” And the Still Small Voice said “Just one, start with just one!”.

~Story as related to me by Wissel Joseph, President/Founder, Children for a New Haiti


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Pattie’s Gift

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She looked like she was ready for the firing squad but I only wanted a picture.

How I wished that I knew the Creole language so I could maybe sit with her on the porch and listen to her story and maybe understand why she chose to strike this unusual pose for a woman who gave me permission to take her picture.

I can only assume the hard life she may have led and now it was even harder because she no longer had a husband to help her raise her children.  Other factors also came into play.  Food was scarce and not knowing where to turn for the next meal can make one feel bitter and unloved.  School was out of the question for her children.

But we came with good news!  My friend, Pattie, was led by a tender heart to send money to me with the expressed wish that I help a child in Haiti when we arrived.  Not knowing how we might help a child, we still knew it would be an easy task.  There are many children in Haiti that need help.

Wissel constantly reminded me of Pattie’s money as we traveled back and forth on the dusty roads of Dos-Palais.  We talked often of how the money could be spent.  How much of the money would be needed to help a family.  What could be done with the money by the family.  Everything was considered.  

Joly Family

Joly Family

Finally it was decided that there was money enough to help two families with their most immediate need -food- and there would be enough left over that they could invest in something that would provide a continued supply of food for the future.  For Haiti, a goat or some chickens would allow a family to sell the increase then put food on the table at home.

With happy hearts, we shared our good news and the money with Mrs. Joly.  What a thrill to see the relief and happiness by the family.  I felt the heart of a woman touched by a stranger’s gift when I hugged her before we left.  That moment’s hesitation before parting said it all to me.  It said “Thank you, Pattie”.

But then we had another gift yet to give.  So with happy hearts we walked further down the rocky road to  the Anger’s house.

It was in a half finished structure that we found Mr. Anger sitting on a chair.  I touched his knee so that he knew I was friendly and said “hello”, he quickly reached out for a handshake.  Mr. Anger has been blind for 15 years.  He started the house but because he lost his sight, he never finished it.  Soon we were joined by the family because visitors were rare in this little town.

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Again I asked his wife, Mrs. Anger if I could  take her picture and what a contrast I saw through my lens.  A beautiful woman full of optimism and hope even though she did not know the reason for our visit.

We found out that she and the family had exhausted their credit with the vendors in town so now they had nowhere to turn  to for food.  They scavenged what they could from the trees around them but it was not enough to fill the tummies of the children.

Again, we offered the same amount to them with suggestions on how to spend the money.  Immediate needs first and then invest in something to provide food for the future.  We told each family that Cherubin (our CNH Representative in Haiti) would be by later in the week to help them purchase things or animals with their money as their investment for the future.  He would help them get set up and have a workable plan.

The Anger Family

The Anger Family

Hugs all around and much joy was expressed by the family.  Later we saw them at the Open Enrollment for school sponsorships and learned that she paid all those who gave her food on credit and the kids had “newer” shoes on their feet.

What a difference Pattie’s gift made in the lives of 12 people in Haiti.  It not only provided desperately needed food but it also put the families in a position to feed themselves in the future.

An added bonus is that the children participated in the Open Enrollment process in hopes  of attending school.  A good education will uplift them even more.

And all this, food, possible education opportunities for the kids and hope, because Pattie cared enough to help “just one”

Please help us put these beautiful children in school.  It takes so little from you and me but it means so much to them.  An education helps to lift them out of poverty.  And as we look into the future we see the benefits of those we educate in this little town.  Benefits like increased educational opportunities and better services for the town because of improvements in the standard of living.

What investment can you think of that will have this much return?  A child’s future hangs in the balance;  a life of poverty or a good education and hope for a brighter future. You can be the change factor.   All this, education and hope, because you cared enough to help “just one”!


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“Smile, Honey!”

Chemara Eustache

Chemara Eustache

“Smile, Honey!” I encouraged, lifting my camera to take a picture.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “who taught me to smile?” No, me neither! Something just tickles inside and suddenly I beam a bright smile. I thought everyone did that.

Sure, those that are shy probably don’t share those sunny smiles as often as the rest of us, at least in public. But the capability is there in all of us. At least that is what I thought.

Working with the children in Haiti was so rewarding. Gaining their trust was slow because they are very shy and timid around new people, especially the “blancs”. That’s what they called us and granted I would be suspicious too if I had never seen a white person before.20130101_112406

But, I came prepared. “Pinterest” showed me a cute trick with a girl’s headband. Using a red stretchy headband, add 2 googly eyes, an orange nose and “voila” there you have a likeness of Elmo sitting right there on your camera lens. I thought the kids would love it.

Well, I had a teeny tiny problem with that assumption. I didn’t stop to think that Elmo probably wasn’t being beamed into that remote little village for all the kids to see so that strange little face on my camera was not as intriguing as I had hoped.

But still, the kids did stop to take a look and eventually to let me take a picture of them.

Enrollment for School Sponsorships

Enrollment for School Sponsorships

The day we opened the enrollment process the porch and front yard was filled with kids and their families wanting a chance to go to school. So much hope and happiness that they could at least be a part of the process in hopes for sponsorships in the future.

They marched through the process without much trouble until they came to me. It was time to stand by the door for a picture for their files. Most all of them looked down at their shoes too afraid to look up. So we played a little with each one, showed them how to stand and then asked them to smile.

After a little cajoling most of them gave a small shy smile but some didn’t seem to understand what we were wanting.

Finally it dawned on me, they did not know how to smile. I have never seen a child that did not know what muscles to use to smile. How is that possible? Those that did not know how to smile would drop their lower lip so that they would show some teeth. That was their smile.

It made my heart heavy to think that life is so hard and the reasons to smile so few that these children did not know how to smile. How can that be?

Going to school would be a reason to smile and for those who have not learned, an education will help to improve not only their life but the lives of their families. All children deserve a chance in life, you could be a part of that process.

It doesn’t take much. $35 a month is so little in my world but such a big deal in their world. Let’s give the children a reason to smile!

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The child I have featured in this story is Chemara Eustache.

Chemara

Chemara

Chemara really wants to go to school. Inside, this little boy has a desire to become somebody; a doctor, an accountant, or perhaps a teacher. All children come with those dreams. Let’s make his dream come true and put a big smile on that sweet little face!

If you wish to sponsor Chemara, let me know. A comment in response to this post would do it or you can go to the  www.childrenforanewhaiti.org website. When you fill out the sponsorship forms, don’t forget to put Chemara’s name on the form so we can make sure everything comes together. And thank you for considering making this little boy”s dream of going to school come true.

Other children are available and are eagerly waiting to attend school.  “Children for a New Haiti” information is on our website www.childrenforanewhaiti.org  and also we are on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/ChildrenforaNewHaiti.  Please look us up and learn what you can do to make a difference for the children of Haiti.


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CNH Wishes You a Merry Christmas

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Wissel Joseph, President and Founder of “Children for a New Haiti”

Counting Our Blessings:

One evening after a long day of work, I sat in our living room to watch the news, when an advertisement for “Panera Bread” came up. It showed several people sharing how thankful they are for different things. All of their thankfulness was oriented towards families, friends, and love. There was no doubt that you can see the pride, the joy and the feeling of blessings in their faces.

The message was so deep that it impressed me to start thinking about how fortunate and blessed I am to be healthy, to have a job, to have a family, to have a place to live and most of all to live in a country that offers opportunities.

I automatically started thinking about the children in Haiti. The contrast is so stark. While most of us are celebrating or getting ready for Christmas either by buying special gifts for our loved ones or by receiving our most wanted gift, their expectations are so much lower to non existent.                                                                                                                                              
While we will be celebrating in this holiday season, I would encourage you to say a special prayer for the Children in Haiti. Some will not eat for days, some will not receive a gift, nor a cherished dream toy. Some will go to bed tonight with the same dirty clothes that they have been wearing for the entire week. Some are dying because they do not have access to a medical facility nor clean water. When we think of all of that and more, we should count our blessings!
And how do I know these things? I was born and raised in Haiti. I remember not having the chance to receive toys, and have a fun Christmas because my mother could not afford it. When I see my daughters wrapping their gifts to bring to school as part of a gift exchange, I praise the Lord for His blessings and I am grateful that not only he has given you and me the opportunities to have, but also the chance to share.
The situation that I described above is not only happening in Haiti, it is everywhere in the world, even in this great country that we live in. As we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that comes with it, I would encourage you to think about a way to make a difference in someone else life. Maybe it will be locally or to the families that are suffering the loss of their children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. All are worthy projects and deserve our prayers of comfort as well.
We, at “Children for a New Haiti” have the mission to make a lifelong change and difference for one child at a time. If you are looking for a way to help the little ones that need our help, please help us do that by sharing our web page with your contacts and help us spread the word by helping a child to have access to a good education, to health care and to a balanced nutrition program. By helping us, we will be working for a better world.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wissel Joseph, President/Founder


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Heart Pictures

She sat like a little dumpling on the pink bench. Her big eyes willing you to notice her and smile back. She was probably 2. I love babies and this little one captivated my heart and so I took a picture. And then another.

It was our last day in Dos Palais. We finished our work and it was time to pack up and head home. We felt like we had accomplished a lot but in the grand scheme of things, we had barely scratched the surface. So many needs by the families, so many children needing education, and so many basics that needed to be put in place to make their village safe to live in. Returning home was bittersweet.

A picture here and a picture there, I had documented our trip as best I could. But I was unprepared for my last picture of Dos Palais.

It was decided that we would pack up and leave after dinner. Suitcases were always packed and ready to travel at a moments notice. Not because we needed to “get out of town” but because there was very little room to call your own. It was the goodbyes to family and friends that would take the most time. But first dinner.

The cook prepared a scrumptious meal of rice and beans, plump fried chicken legs, salad, and their famous sauce. But that will be another story.

We loaded our plates and noticed that the family were all sitting inside the little house and it was really hot so Joe and I moved outside to the porch where it was cooler and sat down.

My heart dropped. There sat our little dumpling with 9 of her brothers and sisters plus her mom on the two pink benches in the twilight. The kids have a way of dipping their heads down and then looking up that signals so many needs in their lives. They all had those needs.

That evening, my heart took a picture. It will be my most long lasting picture of Dos Palais and will forever illustrate how much the people need. It will spur me on to continue seeking help for that sweet little dumpling in the viewfinder of my heart.

So many needs and we Americans have so much. If we all share just a little, we can make a big difference in the lives of the people in Dos Palais and Haiti. Please consider supporting a child in school. Or just making a donation for unspecified needs will also go directly to help a family with food or a hand up to start a business so that they can feed their family. We……… no, they need your help.

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Donations are accepted through http://www.childrenforanewhaiti.org/ or through the Razoo button above.
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“This Little Light of Mine” blog is written specifically for “Children for a New Haiti” organization. It is our mission to bring hope to the children of Haiti through education sponsorships, nutrition, and medical services.