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!