It seems a little late in the month to wish you a Happy New Year, but we do hope and pray that this year will bring you many blessings and much happiness.
Last year was a very good year for us and for HCDF. Our best personal news came later in the year when our first granddaughter was born on October 3. Her name is Aria and she is as beautiful as any baby can be. (A very unbiased grandma’s opinion). We got to meet her for the first time when she was a month and a half old. Now we have to settle for seeing her through Skype. We are happy for all those calls and the modern technology that allows us to somewhat keep up with her growth, but of course, we also look forward to seeing and holding her again sometime this year.
Ministry-wise, the schools, the churches, and the farm are all doing well or better than well. We will be having the grand opening of the Multi-Purpose Center early this Spring. It will be a much used, much loved addition to the secondary school campus for sports and events. We had a record breaking enrollment of 3 year olds to enter kindergarten this past Fall. The pre-school classes and kindergarten are held at the church.
We have plans to enlarge, improve, and develop the location to adequately handle all the students, but we don’t have the finances for all of that right now so they are a little squeezed, but making do. The principal of the grade school got married December 12. We are very happy for him and his lovely wife who is a nurse at the local hospital. He has been a wonderful and hardworking staff member for the past few years and we look forward to many more years to come. The biggest progress has been with the farm. It is developing faster than we imagined and has already produced much food for the feeding of our students and others. We are very grateful to the Iowa farmers that come almost every six months to help us with everything including planting, harvesting, up keep of machines and the construction of buildings. We are hoping for extra funding this year in order to keep enlarging the number of acres that can be planted and the ability to process the food for consumption and to sell. You will be hearing more and more about the farm as the year progresses.
Also the Caleb interns have graduated from their 3 year mentorship with Jean and have all moved to their chosen communities. Four of them got married back to back in August, September, November and December. Mme. Sheslaire is able to find transportation to be able to be a teacher at L’Exode Secondary School. She teaches French communication in all forms such as grammar, reading, and writing. Mme. Joab is an intern at the secondary school. Part of her responsibilities is to teach a couple of economic classes. Mr & Mrs Kemson and Mr & Mrs Evetuel live too far away to be associated with the school, but they have become well settled in their new communities.
We have two new staff people this year that we are more than thrilled that they have decided to join us. The first is our son, Josiah, who is with HCDF, but most of his work will be with the Association for the Development of Fond-des-Blancs (ADF). This is an association that will coordinate all the groups trying to do development here and help develop a better integrated approach to the development needs of the community. This is new and the first project will be to survey all the communities in reference to what is already here, what people feel is needed, and how to fund these needs. He is very pleased this position has come up for him and is hard at work to make everything run smoothly. The second new staff member is Felicita who is a close friend of Josiah with thoughts of more than that in the future. She has currently taken over the library time at the grade school and will be the main contact person for the HCDF School Sponsorship program. All those of you who sponsor children should be very pleased to hear this as I have not been doing a very good job at this for the past few years. If you are sponsoring a child, you will be hearing from both of us no later than Easter. She is currently working on updating the files. Just a brief bio of her here is that she was born in Guatemala, adopted by American parents when she was 12, attended Berea College where she met Josiah, and speaks fluent Spanish and English and is hard at work learning Haitian Creole.
We had a well- attended and productive board meeting last November. We are thankful for the love and devotion our board members have for us and our ministry. We also continue to be more than grateful for all of you who have shared your love and prayers with us and have continued helping us financially even though our recent communications with you have been a little slow in coming. I look forward to staying in touch with all of you throughout this year and hopefully seeing a few of you down here.
Yours in Christ,