Birthday Blessings: a Haiti team update

Do you remember the day you were born? Of course not, but you do know what year, day, and maybe even what time that event took place. I’d also guess that you have been able to celebrate that day each year with people that love and care about you. Many of the kids at House of Hope orphanage had never experienced a birthday until Grace Church decided that their birthdays were worth celebrating. Keep reading to find out more! (Missed the last update? Click here!)

Wednesday was a beautiful, HOT day in Cap Haitien!

We started today with singing, and we are all getting to know our songs better – both in English & Creole! A fun skit and lesson about Zacheus followed special sharing time led by Allison Dahl with all the team and the children (and a few tears!). Balloon games were a hit today, both balloon races and balloon battles.

Sharing time (Allison leading) with the kids
Sharing time (Allison leading) with the kids

The really big hit today was the Birthday Party held for all the children (and staff) of the orphanage. This was our second year doing this and it has quickly become a favorite tradition! Many of these kids do not know when they were born – so we celebrate one big birthday party for them all! The pavilion was decorated with streamers and balloons. A special cake and soda were purchased in town and brought to the orphanage for the party.

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Gift bags wrapped the night before were shared, by name, with each child. The gift included sunglasses, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, earrings for the girls, athletic headbands for the boys, and the special finale was a brand new French bible for each of the children. The team helped them each write their names in them. The children were so happy and thanked us from the bottom of their hearts. Thanks to the generosity and support of our family at Grace Church this special gift was possible!

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Tomorrow will be our last day at the orphanage. There will be many tears from all, to be sure! As this is the third time Grace Church has sent a VBS team to House of Hope orphanage, the Haitiens tell us they now regard us as family – a special honor that we treasure deeply and take very seriously. Thanks to all of you who have made this possible. We tell all about our church and God’s people there who send us here. God is clearly working down here – impacting children and adults for Christ in Haiti made possible through your love, prayers and support.

Kids wearing shirts from yesterday with Prov 3:5&6 on back
Kids wearing shirts from yesterday with Prov 3:5&6 on back

Many of our Haitien brothers and sisters tell us that they are praying for us every day – and also that they are praying for us to come back EVERY year! For some, they have told us this is the highlight of their year – a very humbling thought indeed. Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy without which none of this would amount to anything.

House of Hope - pavilion where VBS takes place
House of Hope – pavilion where VBS takes place

Friday the team will spend seeing the sites of Cap Haitien as well as visiting a local beach. The team has already put in a hard week and the down time will be welcomed (& needed!) before preparing to return home – although there will likely also be much sadness as we will miss the kids already. Then we get up very early Saturday morning for our flight back to Port au Prince then on to JFK.

Steve with Pastor Abner Joly (Director of Orphanage)
Steve with Pastor Abner Joly (Director of Orphanage)

With all the needs that our Haitien brothers and sisters have down here, it won’t surprise you to know that we have begun to think about a work team project that would likely fall sometime in January 2015. (It is not so hot in January!) Please think and pray about this possibility. Perhaps you would want to come along – or – support the team in some way. There are many needs and we want to be lead by God as to how best to help. It could be at the Grace Bible Institute (where our teams stay and local Grace Brethren church leaders are trained), one of our local churches, the House of Hope orphanage, or a combination of these. And don’t forget, VBS 2015 could very well be right around the corner! Thank you for your prayers!

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