August 2016 Update

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As I write this, Jean has less than a dozen more radiation treatments and them he will be able to return to Fond-des-Blancs. He was diagnosed with intermediate prostate cancer last May..

In another month he will need to be tested again to ensure the radiation did its job.   We trust it did and are grateful for the care he has received and the fact that he has gotten through it without any negative side effects.  We’ll let you know the results of the test, but we are already more grateful than we can say for all your prayers and words of encouragement.  Jean says the time went much faster than he expected it to because he had so many people come to visit him to break up the time plus he has gotten to take a couple of trips without missing too many treatments.  He made two trips back to Haiti and one trip to California.  He will make one more trip to San Diego on his way to Yuma where he will get to be a part of a ceremony of our son Jacques reenlistment for his second term with the United States Marine Corps and will get to spend a little more time with our precious Aria.

Our granddaughter, Aria, is now 10 months old.  After the school graduations I came to the US to spend some time with Jean.  We had a week together and then I left to spend a week with my mom in Oregon for the 4th of July and from there to San Diego for a week with Aria and her parents.  Jacques rode over from Yuma for the weekend.  It was a treat for me to see everyone, but Aria is definitely a huge focus for us right now.  She has a sweet and fun personality which makes it very hard to leave her without a return date in mind.  However, I did leave, but only after taking dozens of photos and videos that I look at daily.  I came back to be with Jean.  We have tried Skyping, but that is still a little confusing for her.

While we have been in the US, Darwin, the main farming expert from Iowa who comes down twice a year, was there in February and came back again last month, just on time for another corn harvest which ensures we will have food for the students when school starts next month.  The Lord opened a door wide open for us to become agricultural farmers after USAID stopped giving food to schools in Haiti.  The farm has been a huge blessing to our ministry in enabling us to continue feeding the students.  There are more doors that are cracked open which may enable us to enlarge the farm and make food available to many more areas. Along with local workers, Darwin also finished framing the transformation building.  This construction is taking a while because of the tedious English instructions require Darwin’s presence, but progress is being made.  For now, the corn is transformed to cornmeal with a mill located at the school.  We will be happy when this can be done on site at the farm.

We have a record number of students coming into first grade this year.  We are facing some growing pains. It is not yet clear how we will find enough classroom space for all the incoming students.  We still have space issues at the church also where the preschool and kindergarten classes meet.  We have a plan for remodeling, but do not have the finances for it yet.  For now, we make do by using the sanctuary.   We need to move things around, but we still have plenty of room at the secondary school for this coming school year.  We’d appreciate your prayers for the space issue solutions and that we will find enough good teachers for the added classes.

Our son, Josiah, moved back to Fond-des-Blancs this past January.  He is heading an umbrella organization put together by the Haiti Christian Development Fund and a couple of other local non-profit organizations which have been active in the Fond-des-Blancs community. This association will work as a clearinghouse for all future development in Fond-des-Blancs. The organization has received a generous grant from the Kellogg Foundation to assess the local resources and needs, bring most of the local organizations under this umbrella and gain legal recognition for the association.  He has hired a surveying business from the city and two local people, one of them a L’Exode graduate who was an intern with the Caleb Center last year, to work along with him.  More local people will be hired and trained to do some of the surveying work.  Along with his work he has kept up with his love for soccer.  This Spring and Summer he has coached and played with a few different teams.  And helped organize a tournament funded by the Kellogg people.  One of Jean’s trips back was for the finale of this particular tournament.  Josiah’s friend, Felicita, is also living in Fond-des-Blancs and working with HCDF in our libraries, with the school sponsorship program, and will probably start teaching Spanish at the Secondary school this Fall.

Soon after our return, the church will be hosting a convention with other churches in our fellowship.  Getting together is always something everyone enjoys.

It seems trite to say that I don’t have enough words, but it is true we don’t know how to thank you enough for all your prayers and words of encouragement you have given us at this time of Jean’s health needs plus all the history we have with so many of you.  God bless you.

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