This Little Light of Mine

"To whom much is given, much is required"


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Update on the story “Pattie’s Gift”

I often wonder what happens to the people in the stories we write about in Haiti.  It’s one thing to reach out and touch the lives of those in need, even boldly giving them advice on how to do better in providing food for the family with the gifts we give.  But do we expect to see progress or dare hope that their future has been changed for the better after our encounter?  Of course we do.

We know that not all gifts produce the desired hope for the future that we wanted for them but when they do, we rejoice!

Here are the updates on the families that were featured in the story, “Pattie’s Gift”.

 

20130312 0206 gp HaitiThe Joly family update:

Yvette has changed so much from the last time we visited her.  When I took a picture of her in October she looked hard and depressed.  At that time she had very little to feed her family and life was very bleak. 

What a difference  a few months have made.    When Wissel walked to her house, she exclaimed “I knew that you would not come to Dos-Palais without coming to see me!”.  She looks happy, less stressed and much more hopeful.  She used her money to purchase a goat and also some items to sell from home or in the market such as spaghetti, coffee, bread, sugar and flour.  Sometimes she travels to the Dominican Republic to purchase items to sell. 

What a relief to see Yvette’s life change because of a gift from Pattie.

 

The Anger family update:20130312 0247 gp Haiti

Wissel stopped by the Anger family just to check on them to see how they were doing since October when we shared Pattie’s gift with them.  Of course they remembered Wissel.  The husband is blind but after Christianna explained who Wissel was, he was most pleased to finally meet again.

With the money, they paid off the debt in town they had incurred during the time when they had no food and was able to again purchase food for the children.  They purchased a hen and a rooster.  Wissel encouraged them to take good care of the chickens because they will give them eggs to eat and the extra chickens they can sell.  It would make more sense to purchase chickens from her for other families in the community when we return on the next trip. 

As goodbyes were said, they especially wanted to send greetings to the “Blancs” (whites) which was Joe and I!  But most of all to tell Pattie how grateful they are for her kindness.

If you have been surprised that a gift of $50 can make such a huge difference to a family in Haiti, we encourage you to seek out ways to give a hand up to those in need.  Helping families through “Children for a New Haiti” would be delighted to connect you with a family that desperately needs your help.   You may contact us at http://childrenforanewhaiti.org/


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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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Maasai Soup

Making Veggie Burgers in Kenya

“Miz Pat, would you like some Maasai soup?”

Traveling to other countries revolves around food for me. I usually travel to parts unknown because I do the cooking for medical teams when they travel. It really is a win-win situation. I provide a service – food – and it keeps me away from helping the dentist pull teeth or from holding steel-cold instruments during a surgical procedure. Important tasks, but realllllly not the tasks for me.

I don’t exactly faint at the sight of blood, but I don’t like seeing it in large quantities. Usually the only blood I see is my own should I nick my finger slicing and dicing the salad. Mostly minor and gets covered rather quickly.

I remember one trip to Kenya when I almost had more blood than I really wanted to see. The Maasai tribal ladies that worked for the eco-lodge where our group was staying were a fun bunch. They were thankful they had a job in such a nice facility. The kitchen had counters where they could mix the food. But the ways of the Kenyan people change very slowly and the counter usually stayed bare as they worked on the floor like they were taught by their mothers growing up.

Most Kenyan ladies have one common complaint and that is back pain. Standing with locked knees, bent at the waist working on the floor or over a fire day after day was very debilitating indeed. But they served to the best of their ability and they were taught well how to provide upscale service for the company retreats that came from Nairobi. For how dark the little kitchen they worked from was, I was amazed at the wonderful food they produced.

We quickly divided up the work for the group and they agreed to serve breakfast and I would fix the traveling lunches and then have dinner waiting when the group returned around sunset. Although the ladies were done after breakfast, they hung around to see what I would cook and later jumped in to learn new techniques and recipes. We had a grand time. We fried donuts and baked rolls in a large pot filled with sand. Really! They filled a large pot about 4 inches or so with sand and set it over the fire to warm for a couple of hours. When everything was evenly heated they set the rolls in, covered them with a lid and placed more coals on top. The rolls baked just like in the oven. Fabulous!

Eco Lodge Camp in Kenya

While that was new to me, I showed them how to use my old canning pressure cooker I brought along to quickly cook beans for the group. They were fascinated with it and asked if I would leave it for them. I taught them the best I could on how to handle a pressure cooker and have often wondered if anyone blew it up. I hope not.

Toward afternoon, one of the husbands would drop by for some lunch. He parked his herd of cows outside the compound while looking for something to warm his belly. One day he arrived and the Mrs. was all giggly. She lifted a bowl toward me and asked if I’d like to share her Maasai Soup.

I had already been cautioned about traditional food staples in Kenya. I was mighty glad that I took a pause before automatically accepting because I don’t think I could have taken even one sip of warm soup in the bowl she lifted toward me. The ingredients of the soup consisted of newly caught cow’s blood from a small slit in its neck which was then mixed with fresh cow’s milk.

Haiti will bring more food adventures and I can hardly wait to see and taste the things that whisper Haiti. So far, I have not heard of food items to be wary of but I’m sure there will be something. I love trying new things, and I know not all things will be loved, but they will be fascinating just the same.

I want to check out the fresh fruit and vegetable markets and take in the colors, smells and textures of the region. Maybe learn how those with so little money manage to feed their families. Where can we help them “bridge the gap” so the children can go to school with full bellies ready to learn the lessons for the day.

Yes, I’m looking to help “bridge the gap” instead of teaching cooking techniques and exchanging recipes. There will be many in that gap in Haiti. My prayer is that Jesus will bless the money that we will bring so that we can purchase food supplies for those we serve plus a few more. After all, the Bible tells us He fed the 5,000 from a small boy’s lunch of fish and bread. Do I have enough faith to ask for that miracle?