HCDF October 2019 Newsletter

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Haiti is going through some very serious struggles right now. Issues that are affecting the fabric of its existence and the livelihood of everyone living there. Please take a moment to read this article by Keston K Perry, it really hits on the history of Haiti and how that has led to where Haiti is today.

Despite the unrest in Haiti, Fond des Blancs and HCDF are moving forward safely, though not untouched by the issues facing the rest of the country. The Exode school is the only school in the area to continually be open and operating since opening day on September 9th. Construction at the primary school has come to a halt because of the inability to garner more construction materials and cement due to the fuel shortage. The local market gathering that happens every Friday where a majority of people get the weekly shopping done is still happening, but with much less product to sell which is causing a rise in prices. Roads leading in and out of Port au Prince are either blocked, burned or barricaded. The effects of this current crisis can be felt across all institutions in Haiti.

We are not sure when and how this crisis will end, but are thankful to God for always watching over Fond des Blancs and HCDF. Your prayers are being answered and your support are a continued blessing.

– Lémec Thomas, Development Director

First Day of School

The first day of school was very exciting for all the students, especially the primary school and preschool. The primary school has been open for almost 30 years and just got its first paint job. It is beautiful beyond words and the joy and pride it brings to all the students to have such a beautiful school is priceless. We thank all of our donors for their support and prayers. We strive to continue bringing Christ, joy and smiles to all our students everyday and that work never ends. Please help us continue this great work by donating, sponsoring and sharing your love story for HCDF to others. For more information on how to do that, please see the end of this newsletter for my contact info, donating info and social media info.

(Click on any of the pictures below to select a child to sponsor.)

Farming

Last season’s harvest was distributed among the participating farmers last week. The farm is able to produce three plantings a year and the farmers receive a share proportional to the amount of land they have in the project. HCDF has the lion’s share of the land being farmed and its share goes to feeding the students at the school. One thousand (1,000) meals are served every school day, and to many of the students it is a lifesaver. The need for the farm becomes ever more clear as the acquisition of food and natural good becomes more and more scarce.The farm and its continued growth and success is crucial to the self suitability of the Fond des Blancs community and beyond.

HCDF Supporter of the Month: Dixie Noble

This video was created as a memorial for Lowell who went to be with the Lord last June.

“A pair of the dearest and longest supporters of the ministry in Fond-des-Blancs are Lowell and Dixie. Lowell went to be with the Lord last June. The following video is a memorial to his contribution to the Kingdom of God. Dixie is a prayer warrior. She is now having to continue  her mission here without the loving support of Lowell. They have been as a mother and father to me. We are eternally indebted to them for their support and generosity.”

– Jean L Thomas, Founder/President of HCDF

 

“Lowell and I stayed connected with Jean and Joy (founders of HCDF) since the first time we met. We were inspired by what we saw and heard was happening in this very rural town that was practically untouched by any type of Christian Community Development (CCD). With HCDF, CCD is truly thriving; there is now a school with 1000 students, a church with seven satellite churches, credit union, and a farm. They have also done reforestation, water projects and more.

HCDF has also inspired and trained 6 young men, who have taken HCDF’s CCD model and applied it to 6 other communities. These wonderful young men and their families are answering Jesus’ call and bringing CCD to these very rural and deprived communities.

Lowell and I felt so blessed to have been exposed to HCDF. With very little to no overhead, when we give to HCDF, it goes directly to the people in need.

We love to support a place where God is transforming lives and shalom is coming.”

– Dixie Noble

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HCDF September 2018 Newsletter

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The farm has never had a name until now. Jubilee spells JUSTICE and in the context of the Old Testament, Economic Justice. It is our prayer that the farm will spread that message throughout the community.

I would first like to address the recent unrest in Haiti and assure everyone that we, as a community in Fond-des-Blancs, are safe and have suffered little to no ill effects from the protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Praise be to God that Fond-des-Blancs is often shielded from any unrest that may occur in the capital. Everything is pretty much back to business as usual in Haiti..

It is an exciting time in Fond Des Blancs right now! School is getting ready to open for the new year on September 3, we are harvesting our current crop of sorghum at the farm, we recently hosted a church convention at L’Exode Secondary School and this week we received the results for our 9th graders government exams of which 100% of our students passed.

In the Haiti education there are a series of national exams every student must take and pass for certain grades in order to move on to the next grade. We recently received the results of our 9th graders government test scores and learned that all of them passed and will be moving on to 10th grade. We are thrilled by the news and are currently preparing for this year’s class. Every year we are faced with the challenge of making sure we provide every student with the text books and materials they require to be successful, but with only a few publishing companies to choose from and a limited number of books, this is a challenge every year. But thanks to our donors, motivated staff, specifically our field director Jean François, our students always get what they need.

The preschool construction is well underway. The first phase foundations have been poured and walls are coming up. Construction is moving quickly to get two classrooms completed by the opening of the school year.

I have attached a link with some pictures that show our current progress. Please continue to donate, we have not yet reached our $1,000,000 goal needed to complete construction. https://photos.app.goo.gl/1Bw2W8EesNzk2r1d6.

July 22 through July 29 our Church hosted 11 churches from several surrounding districts for a church convention. We host this convention every other year and are one of the few places that can provide the space necessary to accommodate every everyone. Times of worship and prayer started at the Church on July 22nd and did not end till July 26. Events then continued July 27th to L’Exode secondary school and ended July 29th. Jean Thomas, HCDF president, closed the event with a sermon. We are happy and blessed to have the facilities to host this event every other year.

This crop of sorghum is our most beautiful yet. The heads look level just like the ones grown in Iowa. Our next crop is beans, which we will start as soon as early September. In our plan to grow and expand we are expecting to receive new farming equipment in the next couple months thanks to our wonderful friends at Van Wall equipment authorized John Deere dealer, who provide us with great working machines at an affordable prices. We are always thankful to our dear friend Darwin, without his know-how and passion for this project the farm would be no where near what it is today.

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24”

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and donations for us and all the Lord has given us to do.

Yours in Christ,

 

Lémec Thomas

P.S.

A special thank you to my mother Joy Thomas. She has been writing these newsletters and keeping everyone informed since the days before email, sorry to age you mom. I will be taking on this important task going forward. I hope to continue the strong legacy she has established of sharing HCDF’s success’s, its struggles and most importantly the stories of how God’s glory is being personified through the people of Fond-des-Blancs. Thank you everyone for your love, support and donations.

 

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HCDF March 2017 Newsletter

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The first quarter of this year is going well. Progress has been made since the hurricane that passed over the island. Lots of cleaning and repair in our area. Many many trees went down in our yard and the school yards which we’ve tried to turn into a blessing. We have been able to give employment to a few young men to cut the fallen trees and turn them into cooking charcoal. Our schools still use charcoal for cooking the daily meals. We normally buy it, but for now we are producing our own. All the schools are functioning well and the farm is in recovery and moving forward in its capacity to produce more than ever before.

One of our satellite church school received a double whammy after the unfinished structure went down in the 2010 earthquake and then again in this latest hurricane.  This time we secured the finances to complete the whole structure before something could happen to it again.  Local mason workers put up the posts and block walls.  There are four classrooms and a church sanctuary that can be divided into two classrooms during the week.  A group of men from the US came to build the trusses for the roof.  Young people from our main church and from Haitian visiting churches put the tin over the principal’s office and placed the trusses over one of the classrooms.  Local workers will continue until it is completely covered.

Mardi Gras is a big celebrating time in Haiti.  However, most protestant churches do not join in these celebrations.  Instead, many, especially those located in the larger towns and cities choose to send their young people to rural areas for retreat camps.  We are pleased and blessed that for many years we have been a location for these camps.  With our growing facilities we have been able to accommodate even more groups.  This year we hosted in three different locations:  at the main church, at Exode grade school and at Exode secondary school.  Each group consisted of around 90 people.  The groups at the schools benefit from a close proximity to our community’s water source.  It was young people from these groups and our own youth who gave a day of service to continue work on the roofing project.  The group at the secondary school is from a church pastored by Jean’s oldest nephew for which we are pleased and proud to serve.  While he was here we were able to determine that he is the oldest male grandson of Jean’s parents and our Josiah is the youngest grandson of them with countless cousins in-between.

Work has begun on improvements on the secondary school.  The walls of the outside of the buildings are being stuccoed with smooth cement so they can be painted, tractors are working on cleaning the land for a full-sized soccer field that is situated just on the other side of the cafeteria, walkways are being improved, plants and flowers are being planted for beautification and the road next to the school will be paved to cut down on all the dust going into the classrooms, offices, and library on a daily basis.

Jean is and will be spending more and more time at the farm making sure the land is being used to its fullest capacity.  Planting has begun for corn and peanuts.  The papaya and plantain trees have already been replanted and are growing well.  We have hired a young man from the community who has completed his agricultural degree from a university and is being very instrumental in working on a large experimental garden to discover what can be best grown in the soil and climate here for future larger plantings.

This past January marked 33 years since Jean and I moved to Fond-des-Blancs.  We are humbled by how much the Lord is blessing us at a time we thought maybe we would be looking at retirement.  Instead farm growth and school growth and opportunities for growth are far exceeding our former expectations and keeping us busy.

We want to share this excitement with all of you who have been participating and partnering with us through all these years or have just come in recent years.  You have been an encouragement to us in the lean and difficult times and the times like now when it is clear to see the Lord still has more for us to do.

Last, but not least, our church and churches also continue to grow.  Our church has been able to minister to many young professionals coming here to work at the local hospital or in other capacities in the community.  It is always heart-warming to us when we see so many of them choose to worship with us.

Please continue to pray for us and all these activities.  The Lord is leading us and we want to make sure we follow Him correctly.  Also continue to pray for all our students in our main schools and the satellite schools.  After so many years we are able to know about several success stories of former students and we want the current students to stand on the backs of those successes and become citizens of Haiti and the world to help the development of everyone.

Yours in Christ,

 

Joy Thomas

HCDF November 2016 Newsletter

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T“hough the fig trees do not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crops fail and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I (we) will rejoice in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk 3:17 & 18

Dear Friends and Family,

The above verses perfectly describe our community in Haiti.  As we have seen in the past, the Haitian people are of strong wills and strong faith.  They do not give up easily and they are not giving up now.  Their crops are corn, peanuts, plantain, beans, papayas, as opposed to figs, grapes, and olives, but the loss is just as real and the rejoicing and hope for the future is just the same.

Fond-des-Blancs was severely hit and damaged during the storm of Hurricane Matthew.  We are very grateful that we did not have any loss of life in our area, but there is damage in many other ways.  Everyone lost their gardens and many of their animals both of which are crucial to their daily livelihoods.

Our first response was to send the bulldozer to be the first to get out on the road to start the clean up to allow traffic to flow again so supplies could get into the area.  Schools in the area were closed for a week so the buildings and yards could get cleaned and dried.  They are all open and functioning again.  We have begun giving tuition assistance to all our students to allow their parents to use those resources to fix their homes or start their gardens again.  Through the churches and in-community surveys of needs, financial assistance is being and will be given to those most in need.    The first aid is going to families of those in our church, however the aid won’t stop there.  We are here for all citizens of Fond-des-Blancs and the surveys that have been completed will ensure that those with the most urgent needs will be at the forefront of receiving assistance.

Many, many trees went down everywhere including our yard.  We still cook with charcoal at the schools and these trees will be repurposed to become charcoal which will be used for the cooking of food for the students.

Everything at the farm was destroyed.  We had one small patch that was not destroyed during the middle of the storm, but then the rain kept coming and destroyed that patch also.  However, we did have a reserve of corn in the grain bins which were not ruined so we are still able to feed the students temporarily.    We will use the extra assistance donations coming in to buy food for them until another crop from the farm can be planted and harvested.

A group of six people, all who have come before and worked together before even though they are from three different states (Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky) came to put the roof back on the multi-purpose building.  They worked tirelessly to get this done which they did plus a few other extra jobs.  We are grateful to them, their families and their churches for making it possible for them to come.

“The Sovereign Lord is my (our) strength; He makes my (our) feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me (us) to tread on the heights.”  Habakkuk 3:19   We continue to move forward.

Your prayers and generosity have been a major encouragement to us and the people of Fond-des-Blancs and we hope you understand that.

Yours in Christ,

 

Joy Thomas