HCDF March 2016 Newsletter

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Blessings of Peace and Happiness to everyone as we celebrate this season of special remembrance of our Lord and Savior’s sacrifice and eternal love for us.

All the ministry projects continue to go well. Not a lot of updates to give. Day to day progress is good and we continue to thank you for your prayers as we move forward one step at a time.

Current corn crop growing at the farm

On the larger projects I have recently mentioned we are learning patience.  We see progress on all fronts, but it is sometimes a slow moving progress.  The farm is growing and enough rain has come that the crops are growing well.  We have some interested donors visiting soon which we hope will help move things along even better.  Your prayers would be appreciated for that.  The total community development project being funded by Kellogg and being overseen by our son Josiah is still moving forward, but with nothing big to report yet because the funding details are still being sorted and checked, but it is all looking good for the future.

In the meantime, Josiah and Felicita have been doing lots of work organizing the sponsorship program making sure all the data is correct.  Josiah is also doing a lot of data entry for other school activities.  We continue to be very grateful for his return to Fond-des-Blancs.

The initial stages of the multi-purpose center are mostly completed and there will be an opening ceremony for the students, parents, and local residents on April 23.  We hope to have a larger celebration with board members and others in attendance at a later date.  The students are super excited about the sports complex part of the center.  I am sure the Spring and Summer will be filled with lots of basketball and indoor type soccer tournaments as well as the June graduations for the kindergarten and primary level graduations.

This last weekend we had teaching seminars for vacation Bible school teachers.  VBS is being planned for all the satellite churches as well as the main church.  Please pray for the teachers as they prepare and the children who will be attending through the summer.

Current peanut crop growing at the farm...

We are at all times grateful for your partnership with us through your prayers, donations, and communications with us.  May God bless you richly for this.

Yours in Christ,

 

Joy Thomas

HCDF January 2016 Newsletter

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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,

 

 

Joy Thomas

HCDF November 2015 Newsletter

It has finally rained!!! After months and months and months of no rain, we finally got enough to mention. The creek bed still dries out after each rain, but it does flow during the rains. We pray the rains keep coming. Thank you for your past prayers and continued prayers for this issue..

All our schools started the first week of September without any problems.  However, the second week had a difficult beginning.  HCDF never inserts itself into anything political even though there is always a lot of political discussions and events going on all the time especially during this election year.  The current president of Haiti made a decree regarding Fond-des-Blancs that none of us liked.  A fraction of the population decided to show their discontent through rebellious boycotts.  They shut down all roads coming into and going out of here to stop businesses from operating.  They asked that all school close their doors for an indefinite period of time.  Jean called the organizers to let them know that L’Exode schools would not be shutting down at all.  We opened the next day with less than a hundred students combined coming to the schools.  The teachers came and we functioned like any normal day.  The demonstrators decided to attack what we call the secondary school which houses 7th through 11th grades.

They came ready to burn tires in front of the school and disrupted classes by throwing rocks onto the buildings which ended in loud noises scaring the students and some rocks actually protruded into the classrooms through the fiberglass awning we use to help give more light.  We were given advance warning they were coming and had closed the main gate and had all the children upstairs near one another.    Jean invited the leaders into his office for a discussion and fortunately their followers did not try to barge into the school yard.  The discussion did not change much, but with Jean standing his ground and many people standing with him, the rebellion fizzled away.  The students were scared, but also brave.  They stayed together and we sang songs such as “This is the Day” and “Jesus Loves Me” loud enough and often enough to tell the people outside they were not afraid.  We were able to feed them before sending them home and they were guided home on mountain paths instead of running the chance of clashing with the demonstrators waiting for them somewhere down the road.

The next day all the students came and all the other schools opened.  It seems none of the other directors wanted to close, but they were frightened of the consequences if they didn’t.  Seeing that Jean stood up to them and the majority of the community favored him doing that they all opened their doors to continue the education process.  We agree with the complaint, but not in how it was being dealt with.  The students are not old enough to vote and making them stay home is not going to get the parents to join a non-logical revolt.  All the school days since then have been blessedly normal.

Our friends in Iowa arranged for a pre-fab building to be sent to our farm.  It will be put together in January.  For the moment we are calling it the “transformation” building.  It will be used for milling and bagging the corn and other produce. The more transformation we are able to make, the higher the profit level will be. As the farm grows, there will also be a butcher room and meat packaging room.  We continue to be very excited about how well the farm is doing in such a short time and, of course, the main blessing is that it has already started feeding the school children.

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Jean and I will be traveled during the month of November.  We were blessed to be sponsored to attend a convention in Guatemala the first week of November and then we were in San Diego to meet and spend time with our new granddaughter, Aria Nohaumia, who was born October 3rd to our son Lemec and his wife Tara.  Aria had to spend a couple of nights in the ICU because of fluid on her lungs, but she stayed strong through that and is at home with her parents and growing bigger and stronger every day.  We watched her on SKYPE several times before meeting her in San Diego.  We will have to settle for SKYPE again, but we are thrilled for the time we had to be with her in person.  She is a beauty and becoming full of fun personality.

This year Jean and I have more than our share of blessings to be thankful for during this holiday season and the years to come.  We look forward to watching Aria grow and develop.  We are excited to see the progress of the farm so quickly and the promise of even more success.  We have been proud of the students in the school for many years and expect to continue to be so.  They are all very pleased and proud to watch their school grow with more opportunities for them.  Our son Josiah will be joining us in our ministries and could be bringing along a couple of friends with him.  They will all be much needed additions.  We will give more information on their duties in the January letter.

Jacques will not be staying, but he will be home for Christmas this year.  Nothing better than having children (even grown children) home for Christmas.  We hope all you will be feeling so blessed also

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

Yours in Christ,

 

Joy Thomas

HCDF July 2015 Newsletter

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The school year is over, but there is still plenty of activities at the school. Students from other schools who want to enter the L’Exode Secondary have come to test in. This year was the first year the government did not test the 6th graders. Our exams are usually harder than the governments so a few of our own students had to retest with us to ensure a spot in 7th grade. We do not have the results back yet, but I am sure 7th grade will once again be a large class. The construction of the multi-purpose center building has slowed due to lack of financial resources, but it has not stopped. Visiting work groups are helping with the roofing of one section. We also have an opportunity to provide scholarships (through another organization) to students who have completed university and would like to continue on for a Master or Doctorate’s Degree. The application for a scholarship is lengthy and the students are meeting at the school for guidance and assistance. Please pray for the new 7th grade students, financing for the multi-purpose center building and the students hoping for a scholarship..

Another activity at the school is Pickle-Ball. This is a game we had years ago, but the court had to go when we started building the cafeteria for the new school. A youth group from Atlanta helped lay the new court. It is a fun activity that we have enjoyed for years and enjoy introducing to visiting groups and now to our high schoolers. The Atlanta group did two days of basketball camp which was very well received. Once everything for the multi-purpose building is complete we will have a full court. While everyone enjoys the new sports that are available, soccer will always be the number one favorite here.

The six Caleb young men Jean has been discipleing for the last three years have now completed that stage of their training. They each are now living full time in their chosen communities working on community development and preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They had a very nice closing ceremony with family, friends, people from their communities and some visiting Americans. Two of them, Kemson and Evetuel, will be getting married this summer. Their fiancé’s are committed to serving with them.

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The combine made it safely to the farm!

Currently, Darwin, a farmer from Iowa who has visited us several times, is here to continue working on the farm and giving us guidance on how things should be done. It is sometimes difficult for him because things in Haiti never run as smoothly as in the U.S. Materials and supplies are harder to get and the timing of getting them is usually slow, but we have seen a lot of progress and are encouraged and

already have a small crop we can use for the feeding program beginning in September. Pray that the combine gets here in good shape and pray for all of the tractors and people working at the farm. It is a lot of new methods, but everyone is learning well.

Later this month our son, Josiah, and a friend of his, Yves, are coming to visit. Both are very interested in returning to Haiti to work full time with HCDF. We are very excited about this possibility and ask you to pray for them as they consider this life decision. They both would make great additions to the staff.

We have 20 applicants for teaching positions at our secondary school. Technology has enabled more Haitians to know of our existence. Pray for wisdom in choosing the best and pray for them as they relocate to this area.

It has always been L’Exode school policy that a student can only register at the age of 3. Now that we have started the secondary school we have double the number of 3 years old registering for this coming school year. The parents are hoping to help ensure their children will get to be a part of L’Exode all the way through high school. We have a plan for enlarging the pre-school/kindergarten school, but for this year we will be using temporary structures for the necessary added classrooms until we have the finances to build the permanent structures. The total enrolled for the 3 year old class is 162. On top of that we have 82 who graduated from kindergarten to start 1st grade. We have had this many before and are prepared with a third classroom for them.

We are feeling very blessed with all the extra opportunities the Lord has given us for serving him. As mentioned, we need your prayers for wisdom and we need ongoing donations to keep improving everything. Thank you for being a part of all this with us.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

Joy Thomas

Multi-Purpose Center Appeal

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Haiti Christian Development Fund

Education in Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti – A multi-purpose center to serve as a sport center and auditorium for the students and the Fond-des-Blancs community.

I’d like for you to visit us and meet Michlaine. She is one of over 800 students in L’Exode Schools in the Fond-des-Blancs area of Haiti. She started attending L’Exode when she was three. As a toddler her parents brought her on a donkey for the 5 miles distance to the school. From first grade on, she has been walking that distance twice each day, uphill both ways (and that is a true statement). She is sixteen now and the top performing student in her 10th grade class.
Her story is not atypical of the other students at L’Exode. She passes by over half a dozen schools on her way to L’Exode. Her parents wanted the very best for her precious daughter and made the sacrifice to face that distance for the past thirteen years. L’Exode has been committed for over twenty-five years to help break the children of Fond-des-Blancs out of the vicious cycle of poverty and superstition by providing them a quality education in a modern, Christian atmosphere. And the record speaks for itself: 99% of L’Exode students succeed at the State tests. We have much more to do in the field of education in Fond-des-Blancs; up to providing a university education to the young people, right here in their community. This year we are building a Multi-Purpose center that will double as an auditorium and sport facility. We are half way there in our fundraising. We started construction with what we have on hand. We need your help to see the project through.

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L'Exode Stadium 1_rd

MULTI-PURPOSE WITH LOCKER ROOMS _RD

We are sending this email to a select few. If you could make just a $50.00 contribution it would help toward the goal of $100,000.00 that we still need. Please visit our website for more information about what we do. Plan a visit to Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti if you would like to see with you own eyes. I promise you that your donation will contribute to the transformation of a young person’s life.

April 2015 Newsletter

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This past month (March 29), we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary!

Make sure to the visit the Multi-Purpose Center construction blog for continuing updates on the progress of the construction.

The first few months of this year have been very busy for us with many activities happening all at once.

The most obvious activities are around the secondary school’s multi-purpose building and the farm. As I mentioned in my last letter, our long-time home had to be destroyed to make way for the center. As I expected, it was very hard for me to watch it go down. I tried to stay away, but on the days I am scheduled to do classes, I had to go. I salvaged a few blocks and tiles to try to creatively use in our new yard. The group taking the house down was very safety conscience and made all efforts possible to bring it down without any workers or students being injured in the process. It took almost a week to get it down. We were told there was enough rebar used in building it that it was probably guaranteed to survive a couple more earthquakes if necessary. We will make sure the new center will be built just as sturdily. The group finished their work on a Thursday and by the next Monday Haitian workers were hard at work preparing the foundation for the new center. They are working with great efficiency and the walls will start going up in early April.

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The farm is producing amazingly well. The students of L’Exode have already benefited from the vegetables of tomatoes, cabbage, sweet green peppers and eggplant being added to their lunch meals daily. There was also a short season of millet that gave them an option to the rice and cornmeal we have been buying. Currently there are 60 acres of land that is planted with corn. Once it is cultivated we will no longer need to buy corn. The corn and vegetables are growing well because we have the equipment for watering the fields from a nearby river. This is very fortunate since most of southern Haiti has not received significant rainfall for months and months. One buyer has already been found for buying the surplus to give us the money for buying the rice and spices and to help with smaller farm expenses.

In early March an HCDF board meeting was held in Orlando. It was a time of encouragement for us as well as clarifying and defining the future. While in the U.S. Jean and I had a doctor’s appointment for health physicals. Thank the Lord all our tests came back in the normal ranges.

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However, that just made me remember that some of you may not know Jean broke his smaller leg bone. It was a clean break that did not break the skin and did not require pins or any kind of surgery. It did require that he wear a cast (which was well signed) and use crutches. The cast came off just before the trip to the board meeting. He is still moving slowly with a slight limp, but he is doing very well.

Recently the whole community had the joy of watching a Fond-des-Blancs soccer team play against a team from Port-au-Prince who are a promotional team for the current President of Haiti. Before the game we were told the promotional team had never lost. Our game with them ended 2-2 so I guess they can still say they haven’t lost, but our community counted it as a win. Jean made sure each of the FDB players got to play. They scored two goals while the opposing team made their two with a goal and a penalty kick. It was a very exciting afternoon.

The day before the match Pastor Jean Francois sponsored a youth day at the school that the young people from all the station churches attended. It was an all-day affair of singing, learning and fellowship.

The farm is located five miles from the rest of our ministries. The creek that has always been near us is drying up and the local farmers must depend on rain which still isn’t coming. Do pray for them as well as your usual prayers for the ministries of HCDF.

He is Risen!!! Let us Rejoice and be Glad in it!!!!

Yours in Christ,

Joy L Thomas

Happy New Year 2015

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Caleb Leadership Center Participants with Dr. Edner Jeanty Sr.

Greetings everyone.,

We hope you are all excited about new experiences and adventures. We are. 2014 was a good year for us personally and for HCDF and we are looking forward to seeing how God will continue our efforts in Fond-des-Blancs.

The three year commitment Jean made to the six Caleb men will end in June, but that only means they are not obligated to come to classes anymore. Jean and HCDF will remain available to them for advice and a channel for financial resources. They are all living full time in their chosen communities, most have built a building for church, a couple have preschools, and all have begun economic development projects. We are pleased and blessed to see these young men’s progress.

We don’t often speak of the kindergarten and elementary schools anymore because we are so focused on developing the secondary school. They are doing very well. We have seen a need to remodel and expand the preschool/kindergarten because the registration numbers keep rising. We won’t be able to begin construction for another year or two, but we are now working with UT/Knoxville on an architectural design. It is nice to be able to continue to look and plan forward. The elementary school continues to flourish under the leadership of Wilner Bernadel, a former Exode student.

The church is also flourishing under Pastor Jean Francois Thalon. This year we voted for four more deacons to help administer the growing numbers. On a personal note, Jean Francois and his wife, Ruth, welcomed their second child, a daughter named Schama. Her older brother turned 9 this month.

We are all very excited about the building of the multi-purpose center building which will have several administration offices and a sports center for basketball, tennis, pickle-ball, etc. It will also be used as an auditorium for convocations, graduations and theater. You will be hearing more about this as the year progresses.

On an academic note, all of the 9th graders passed the government exams which was good for the reputation of the school. Over the summer I did weekly projects with the honor roll students from all the grades and for Christmas hosted an overnight party with them and the rest of the 10th graders. I super enjoy working with them.

Jean will not really be becoming a day to day farmer, but he is enjoying working with the Iowan and Haitian farmers as he secures everything we can to ensure a successful farm. There has already been experimental plantings and now we are ready for a major planting this month. We will keep you informed about this month to month. In the meanwhile we are grateful for the monetary gifts received designated for the feeding of our students.

There are two different groups coming later this month. Some will be helping at the farm and the others will taking down our old home to make room for the multi-purpose center building. I am very emotional about this latter activity. I understand the need to do it, but I won’t be able to participate or watch. This is the place where we made our home and to which brought our newborn sons home and raised them with many many many unforgettable life experiences. jltfam at martine wedding I have not said pray for this in each above paragraph, but I hope you know this is implied. We count on your prayers. We also count on your financial support when that is possible for you. Although we we have some pledges to start the projects mentioned above, we are also stepping out in faith that the rest will come as the year progresses. Please feel free to communicate with us via Facebook or email and as always you are invited to come to Fond-des-Blanc to participate with us in any of the projects mentioned Yours in Christ, Joy Thomas

HCDF End of Year 2014 Letter

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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!

A favorite Christmas image and saying of Jean’s is an image of the three wise men with the words, “Wise men seek Him still,” printed below. He’s been using that on Christmas letters for years and this year will be no different.wisemen

What made them wise? I am sure there are many answers to that, but the first and most obvious is that they believed the Scriptures they had available to them and they acted on what they read. They got up from their research and started their journey to find the baby born to be King of the Jews. They thought ahead and brought gifts fit for a king. Even though they did not find Him in a palace they still believed the baby had been born to be King.

So as we celebrate the birthday (exact day or not) can we say the same of ourselves. Are we searching God’s Word to guide us on our journey? Do we believe even when what we find, probably isn’t what we were expecting? Our Christmas prayer is that we would all seek wisdom in accepting and following Jesus.

Jean’s and my journey brought us to Fond-des-Blancs 31 years ago. We met at Voice of Calvary Ministries founded by Rev. John Perkins. We were honored and pleased when he was able to cone visit us earlier this year. Accompanying him were H and Terry Spees. I first met them while I was in college and did a practicum at the ministries for my major. We had been waiting years for them to come visit us and enjoyed every moment of their visit.

Theoretically the board members of HCDF are to meet twice a year with one of the meetings happening in Haiti. This has seldom happened, partly because of cost and scheduling and also because of all the political problems Haiti had for a few years. This year the board came and were the first guests to stay in our new guest house designed by the architectural students of the U of TN. Among other things the board members divided up to have a board representative visit each of the six Caleb students new ministries in their chosen communities. They were able to both encourage and give advice to the students. Our son, Lemec, and his wife, Tara, had expressed interest in being on the board and were invited to attend this meeting. We were very pleased to have them here and they were good additions to the conversations.

Officially, the farm/feeding project started in January. Equipment and supplies were on their way before that to enable us to put together the storage bins and construct a garage for the generator, tractors, and other small machines. Since then the work has been in building a road, preparing and cleaning the land and doing a small experimental plot. The first large planting is planned for early 2015. The objective is to grow food for feeding students and hopefully a surplus so other types of foods can be added to the menu using the money from selling the surplus. Pray for the success of this venture as it affects hundreds of students. We are very grateful for the help we received and are receiving from Iowan farmers and businessmen advising and helping to fund this.

This past September the second board meeting of the year took place in Minneapolis with the farmers from Iowa in attendance. Lemec was able to attend again. He, along with his wife, were voted in as official board members. We couldn’t be more pleased over the interest they have shown to stay connected to HCDF. Also, our youngest son, Josiah, came to this board meeting. He was letting everyone know he is giving strong consideration to moving back to Haiti. This will not happen for at least another year. Currently, he is working and living in San Diego near Lemec. Our son Jacques is happily serving in the Marine Corps. He is currently stationed at the Marine Air Base in Yuma, AZ; close enough to be able to visit his brothers from time to time.

From the board meeting Jean drove through Iowa visiting our friends there. In the meantime I flew to Oregon to spend some time with my mom and also to go to my very first high school reunion. It was a bit of a culture shock for me, but also I super enjoyed seeing and touching base with people; some of whom I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. Jean and I met back up in Florida and flew back to Haiti together.

The L’Exode kindergarten and primary school continue to do well. In fact, we had a record breaking number of 3 year olds register for pre-school this year – 134. We are needing to expand the church and surrounding buildings to accommodate the need. The high school is in its 3rd year of operation and also doing well. I teach English to all the grade levels (currently 7th-10th) and greatly enjoy getting to know the students on a personal basis.

Last month Jean had the exciting opportunity to participate in a conference in Cameroon, West Africa. He met with other leaders involved in Christian community development. We are very grateful he was able to be a part of this. On the way home he was able to spend a long weekend in Paris both as a tourist and visiting many Haitians who are living there. I am very grateful that there were no disasters or breakdowns while he was away.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas as you seek Him and follow Him during this holiday season as well as the rest of your life.

Yours in Christ,

Joy and Jean Thomas

HCDF August/September 2014 Newsletter

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Hello dear friends and family,

Jean and I have just completed a trip to the board meeting which went very well with lots of reports and assignments being made. I then traveled to Oregon to visit with my Mom and to attend a high school reunion. This is the first one I have ever attended and enjoyed myself very much. I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with green forage and several more days of rain. That is good news for the farmers and our continuing work at the Lhomond Farming project. There was good progress made over the summer both in construction and equipment maintenance. There is still more equipment on the way. Pray these will arrive safely and in a timely fashion. Also pray for the farmers who don’t have the luxury of the river and have already lost their corn crops because of the very late rain.

This summer Jean worked with Haitian university students who receive scholarships from the church. Most of their work revolved around the farm. Besides helping with some of the lighter construction, they did surveys of the local families. I opened the school library every Wednesday for the honor roll students. I had games available for them and at least one craft per week. They also could check out books for the week. It was fun for everyone including myself. At the end of the summer we celebrated the 105th birthday of one our church members. Three of the students helped me bake and decorate the cakes. It was their first time using electric mixers and certainly their first time trying to decorate a cake. A great time for all three of them. I’m sure we will do it again.

We are all more than excited that once again all of our sixth graders passed the government exams. We sent 42 students, more than ever before, giving a higher chance of at least one of them failing, but they all pulled through. They all will be moving on to the new secondary school and because there are so many of them we will not be able to allow students from other schools to join them. We are even happier that all the 9th graders passed their government exams. This is the first time ever of L’Exode sending students to the 9th grade exams and they did amazingly well. Sixteen students went to the exams and all of them passed with over average grades and six of them were in the honor roll category. We are looking forward to working with them for the next few years.

This month we are welcoming 134 three year olds into our preschool. This more than ever before and will require some remodeling at the church to find classroom space for them. The University of Tennessee will be helping us with this.

We are feeling very blessed by all the Lord is allowing us to do in Fond-des-Blancs with the Caleb and L’Exode students, the church, and the farm. We appreciate that you are with us on this journey and continue to pray for us.

Yours in Christ,

Joy Thomas

HCDF July 2014 Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Summer greetings everyone. The school year is over and the 6th and 9th graders have completed their final government exams and we are now waiting for the results. There is no school construction happening at the secondary school at this time. There are already enough classrooms for the coming school year even though we will be adding 10th grade. All our concentration this summer is going toward the farm.

The kindergarten and 6th grade graduations went very well as usual. The new very large cafeteria, though unfinished, is a huge blessing for these events as our class numbers are growing and more students means more family members wanting to come to the graduations. We had 135 three year olds register for preschool this Fall. We accepted all of them. This is 40 more than we have registered in past years. The architectural students from the University of Tennessee are designing a second level for the classroom building situated behind the church to provide more classrooms at that location. We will also need to hire a few more teachers and teacher assistants for which we would appreciate prayer.

Darwin, the farmer from Iowa, spent a couple months here and headed up the raising of the largest silo. Three smaller ones are being built by a youth group from Georgia. A small experimental garden has already been planted for testing. Another fifty acres is now being plowed and will be planted in the next few weeks. In the beginning it will be mostly corn being planted. The objective is to eventually daily feed over a thousand students. Some corn will be used in the feeding program, but the rest will be sold to enable us to buy other types of food to add to the corn. A lot of equipment has already arrived, but there is more to come. Please pray for the needed funds for transportation and the safe arrival of this equipment. We have ways of irrigating at the farm, but the local farmers must rely on rain which we are not receiving. Please pray for that also.

Jean and I do not have any travel plans until the end of summer. In the meantime we have the group from Georgia and after them two young ladies from California will be here for about a month. Besides building the silos, the Georgia group held a basketball camp for the younger kids. The camp was an amazing success. The children enjoyed themselves perfecting their dribbling and shooting skills and a few of the older ones practiced defense moves. The young people doing the camp came prepared to share Bible stories and testimonies with the camp participants. Those were also well received. At the end everyone was asking when we would be doing it again. We don’t know, but we will definitely do it again. The two young ladies coming have been doing ministry in Port-au-Prince and are coming out here to see what it is like to work in a rural area. On a personal note, this is the first summer Jean and I have not had a son coming home for summer vacation. Because of modern communication we are able to communicate regularly, but we still are adjusting to the fact that we don’t personally have anyone in the soccer games or coming in and out of the house with his friends. We miss that, but we are happy that all of our children are maturing well and working out their lives as adults. Yours in Christ, Joy Thomas