Hi Everyone. I am not sure our news from Fond-des-Blancs comes as often as it has in the past, but we are still here and doing well.
We held our first of two annual board meetings at the end of March. Eight HCDF board members came to Fond-des-Blancs for visiting, meetings, and evaluations. We are pleased to announce that our oldest son, Lemec, and his wife, Tara, have joined the board. Phil Reed, the longtime president of the board was not able to attend so Lon Fendall presided over the meetings. Since he is the one that normally records the minutes of the meetings that job was given to Tara with Lon typing up the last version of the minutes for all the members present and absent. There were two main focuses of the meetings: the agricultural (farm) project and the Caleb project. There were also short reviews of the churches, schools, and of course, the budget.
The farm project is about five miles away from where the meetings were being held so all the board members went on a field trip to see the land. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more than that for them to see at that time. We were still working on getting farm equipment and supplies in two large containers out of customs. It took months of paper work and phone calls and negotiations to get them from the wharf of Port-au-Prince to the Fond-des-Blancs area. I am happy to report that they are now in our possession and positioned where they will serve as part of the walls for the parking and storage shed for the farm equipment and materials. Darwin, the retired Iowan farmer dedicated to helping us, will soon be returning to help get things started. He will be driving some more machines from Iowa to Florida to be shipped to Haiti so we will be dealing with customs again. We appreciate your continued prayers for this project.
The plan is to plant cash crops such as corn and millet, transform and market them. The profit and part of the harvest will be used to feed the children in our schools.
The Caleb project is in the middle of its second year of a three year commitment. You probably know there are six young men participating in this program. They have all chosen communities where they have begun churches and development projects. They spend four days a week in their communities and three days a week in class with Jean. This week we had a visitor that gave them an excellent seminar on how to write project proposals. She also gave them homework to help them attempt to put into practice what they learned from her. The board members divided up into six groups so that each community could be visited. The visits were to assess each student’s commitment and involvement in their communities. They all came back with great insights of what is going well and suggestions of what also could be done or tweaked. The board members were impressed with this beginning and the students were excited to have the visitors.
During the board meetings Jean and I recognized our 33rd wedding anniversary and Tara celebrated her 26th birthday. She and Lemec were able to stay a few days longer so they got a second trip to the beach and we had the pleasure of having them around.
Jean and I remain in excellent health. For the past year I have been in the process of getting two new teeth implants. These are replacing a worn out crown and bridge. They were finally put in place the day after my birthday. I also had a root canal done that day. It was uncomfortable, but a relief and a blessing to have all that work completed.
The months of May and June are busy months for all the students. They are currently involved in an intra-school soccer tournament. This is the first year so many schools are participating to make it an actual tournament. The 6th graders and the 9th graders are both studying for their government exams. Please pray especially for them. Both Mother’s Day and Flag Day will see fun activities for everyone.
Pray for the Caleb students as they continue to integrate into their chosen communities. Pray that the agricultural project will soon be off to a good start. This past Sunday 24 believers from the main church and the satellite churches were baptized. Pray for their continued growth in the Lord. Even though not everything happens on our timetable, do praise the Lord with us that ministry and development are still happening here.
Yours in Christ,