It has been a great summer of traveling, speaking and fundraising. We are getting close to the end of our circuit of touring as the fall has rolled in and we gear up to go back to Haiti soon. After traveling literally from coast to coast across Canada, we've spent the month of August and September in Alberta and enjoyed having some family focused time, while just traveling on the weekends to speak at churches from Gand Prairie, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Carstairs, Strathmore and Calgary. The kids have had some time to join some activities again- taekwondoe, dance, gymnastics and music and we've had some 'normal' North American family life. Its been good, but we are now getting eager to get back to Haiti.
We held our AGM for Haiti ARISE on Sept 14th and it was wonderful, a real celebration of all that God has done this year. It was very encouraging hearing reports from each department and committee head members updating everyone on the status of things. Rebecca Girvan shared how the Education Fund program has grown in tremendous ways this year, with more than 150 kids sponsored in our elementary school and 80 more in other secondary and post secondary schools. We had a number of students graduate this year and most all of them are continuing on to college with the support of the Education Fund, which is very exciting. Michelle Guenther and Wade and Marilyn shared how we have had some very productive teams this year and how lives have been changed through these trips, Haitians and North Americans alike. We heard a report on the medical clinic from Diane Sampson, who worked with us for 3 months to get the clinic up and oopperating this past spring, and Leah who is our Haitian administrator. The Haitian staff are doing a fabulous job and have really captured the vision and heart for the clinic to be serving the communi. They do regular teaching and community visits and are seeing almost 50 patients a day, three days a week. kathleen Harrison shared an update on the progress of the Childrens Village and how we are pactively fundraising to get the first two duplexes finished and operational in 2014. Marc and Jason Quantz shared a report on the tech school getting ready to open for classes this coming Oct 7! We have a beautiful building and have more than 100 students registered for electricty, plumbing, computers, English, Bible and construction. We are working on getting it furnished and equipped for these classes. A group of guys from WA state are coming down to help set up the new computer lab- the same team that installed the original lab before the earthquake happened in the original school. Then I shared about the excited opportunities we have to partner with some other organizations to maximize our impact- Childcare International is partnering with us to help get 50 more students in our elementary school sponsored, and STM Network is partnering with us to help train our mid to long term missionaries. Jessie Lawnce gave a financial update and let everyone know that she will be resigning at the end of December from her role as Chief Financial Officer. She will still be involved, but wants to play a more in the background role. Michelle Guenther will be stepping in as Financial Manager as well as maintaining her role as Team Coordinator. We are still in need of a CFO to sit on the board and work with Michelle, as well as a controller to help work on the ground in Haiti. We are also looking for a volunteer coordinator and people to continue to help with fundraising.
Phew! That is a lot! It has been a busy year and summer and we have been so blessed too by the response of many churches and individuals support in helping us reach our fundraising goals. We are still not there yet, but striving forward.
I am getting anxious to get back to Haiti. I miss the Haitian brothers and sisters so much, their vivacity for life and generous, simple lifestyles. I find life up here in Canada to be so complicated, too many distractions and responsibiliti to balance that go along with owning a home and running a family in this culture. Haitian life, though there are still responsibilities, just seems simpler. Expressions of faith are unashamedly spoken freely and anywhere, materialism does not consume people's minds and hearts, even dressing is simpler in only one year around season of hot weather. The kids gain a deeper appreciation and gratitude as well when they are daily encountering poverty and befriending children that have much less than they do. I love watching them process and learn for themselves the rewards of living generously and sacrificially. Though this is more challenging to do in Canada since the needs do not seem as glaringly obvious as they are in Haiti, we have been able to enjoy developing relationships within our community and reach out to people with God's love when the oprtunities arise. As the kids are getting older now and are just as much a part of this lifestyle of ministry as it is our calling, we are giving them some say in our annual plans. They love Haiti and they love Canada and desire to be a part of both cultures equally. So I am planning again this year to stay in Canada with the kids til after Christmas. I will head down with Marc to Haiti in Oct just for one week, to help get things jump started for the fall with our long term missionary staff and then leave Marc there to lead. (He's a great leader, by the way) he will come back for Christmas and then we will all head back 1st of January for the rest of the school year. This plan also helps us save some money on flights and travel.
So, that's where we are at! Actually, we are in the car, where we spend a lot of time with the family. We've become pros at packing small carryon bags, each person responsible for their own backpack of books and toys. we've got our snacks and ipad and cell phone and so manage to save some footroom. We are on our way down to WA to share at Prosser Community Church, then head to Ministers Fellowship International conference. on our way back up next weekend, we will stop in Castlegar and Nelson, BC. Then we just have 10 more days and one more short trip to Montana before heading south to Haiti. I'm looking forward to the sun, as fall has wuickly descended upon us and I am sure winter won't be far behind!
One last note- we are really glad to have Joe Park coming back down to join us in Haiti this fall and help out with mechanics projects. We really need him. He needs our help though too, to raise his support and a little more. If you are willing to help out, you can give support for him through Haiti ARISE, and designated to Mechanics 2013 Project. Or you can give a personal gift to him directly to help him out with personal expenses he may have. If you would like to help support any of our long term missionaries, it would be appreciated. Cassie VanCamp is returning this fall to help teach ESL, Wade and Marilyn Fitzpatrick are continuing as Team Hosts and Marilyn will be helping in the office, Roy Ralph is also returning to help with continued contruction on the Chldren's Village and the technical school shops. We appreciate any support you give. It all helps us change lives for God's glory!
well, traveling on...