Monday, December 28, 2009

anxious to start the work

Dear Friends and Family, The time is getting close for our team to fly to Haiti as Christmas is over and the new year is almost here. Our team, families, fund raisers and churches have been extremely busy raising the funds for this project which will see a residence built to house a missionary-minded couple needed to help Karen with the work of HATS HAITI orphanage and school. Over the years, the work has grown and there is definitely a need for people that God has called to go and help in this ministry. Our team is numbered at 14 - some with past experince in Haiti and some on their first trip. We have Jim Steer, Karen's cousin from British Columbia, Tim and Heidi Newell and their 3 children, Kate, Aidan and Erin (from Dartmouth N.S.), Brian Roberts, Brian Bowers, Robert Comeau, Ben Churchill, Colton Colquhoun, Leonard Cottreau , Major Peter Rowe -Salvation Army, and team leader Gerry Rhyno (all from the Yarmouth area.) At this time Haiti seems to be fairly peaceful and we pray that it will remain so , but we do ask that you pray for our team during our stay in Deschappelle and that you always keep the work there in your prayers as Haiti can be a very dark place spiritually. I am sure that Karen will covet your prayers. Our plans are to fly to Montreal from Halifax and Vancouver on January 4th , then fly on to Port Au Prince the next morning , arriving about 2:30 in the afternoon. Karen plans to meet us there with transportation to take us to the orphanage compound which is usually about a 3 to 4 hour trip, so we should arrive around 7 pm . The children at the orphanage are always there to welcome us and it makes a wonderful finish to a very long day. Over this last year a Board has been setup in Canada to over see this work in Haiti and we have people from all across Canada on the Board. We have applied for charitable status from the Canadian Government and are in the final stages of that being granted so all future checks to the HATS HAITI mission can be written directly to HATS HAITI and we will send you your tax receipt. We really want to thank the Yarmouth Wesleyan Church who have helped us is this area for the last few years. Finally, I again ask for your prayers , God Bless You All- Gerry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So Thankful...

Well, we've all been busy getting things ready for the past few weeks. Shots and checkups are behind us now. We've been busy fundraising, and are thrilled to report that we've been blessed with almost 75% of our financial goal so far. We have a bit more to raise still, but we trust that God will provide what is needed. Thank you so much to all those who have helped with this cause!

We want to say a special thank you to the students and staff of Sunnyside Elementary School in Bedford, NS - especially Mrs. Dart's Grade 3/4 class, and to Rod and Heather Laybolt who helped to organize things and put us in touch. Each time a team goes down to Haiti, we try to max out our baggage allowance with donations - clothing, shoes, etc. Our family (the Newells) wanted to make a point of bringing shoes down - especially dress shoes. The school system in Haiti requires uniforms, including dress shoes, for all the children. There are many occasions where the cost of uniforms, or even shoes, is too much for some of the families. While Tim was in Haiti last January there was an example of an absent little boy at the start of the new term. When his absence was checked into, it turned out he had no shoes to wear. The mission quickly provided some for him and he returned to school.

That one story struck a chord with many people, and we've been overwhelmed with the response. We had received fifty or sixty pairs of shoes, sneakers, sandals, etc., through our friends and local church. Mrs. Dart's class decided to adopt this as their Christmas project, and did they ever deliver! We received a carload of between 200 and 250 pairs of footwear - most in mint condition, and many were good children's dress shoes.

Here are some photos of us sorting and organizing the shoes. An extra thank you to those who loaned us duffel bags and suitcases, or came to help sort!

Our children are aged 12, 9, and 6. It's been a lot of fun to see how they are preparing for the trip (especially now that needles are done with - though they did fine). They've seen many photos and heard stories about Haiti from their Dad and grandfather over the years, and it's amazing how much they absorb. Our youngest has decided that she wants to take a watering can, so they can collect water when it rains and then help the crops grow. She ends her prayers many nights with, "Thank you that we've been blessed, and let the Haiti people get blessed." They want to save apple seeds and take them to plant, to help with reforestation and food. By taking a French-English dictionary, they're hoping to be able to share a few words of English with the kids there and learn a bit of Creole themselves.

Well, it's less than two weeks now until we leave. We pray you'll enjoy a wonderful and blessed Christmas over the next few days.

Please check back soon as we'll be posting more about the team in the remaining days before we leave!