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 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

Top Graduates of L’Exode Secondary School Offered University Scholarships

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To break the vicious cycle of poverty and superstition, HCDF has been offering a quality education to the children of the community since the 1980s. Currently L’Exode educational programs include over 1,500 students in HCDF-supported schools across seven campuses. Responding to the tragic destruction of so many high schools in the 2010 earthquake, HCDF launched its own high school in 2012, partnering with University of Tennessee Knoxville in the US to assure the buildings are durable in earthquakes and other storms. The academic standards at L’Exode schools are as high as any in Haiti. HCDF began extending even greater opportunities this year for its top high school graduates by offering university scholarships to advance beyond high school and then return to the community in leadership roles. We finished some critical areas of the main campus this year, which includes five classrooms, a library, a computer lab room, a cafeteria, and restroom facilities. Much remains to be done but the campus is already a beacon for the community.

Caleb Leadership Program Update

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To assure that there is a new generation of leaders for the holistic community development programs, churches, and schools, HCDF began the “Caleb Project” in October 2012, a three-year, intensive training program for promising young leaders. The six current students, pictured here with the HCDF Field Director — from L to R: Evetual Theicien, Smith Fauvelt, Jean Francois Thalon (Field Director), Sheslaire Georges, Jean Joab St Louis, Kemsom Lumoy, and Eddie Edouard — have been learning throughout the year, and have already selected areas that are in need around the perimeter of Fond-des-Blancs. They are currently dividing their time between Fond-des-Blancs in continued course work and hands-on learning, and their respective communities where they are focusing on the most pressing needs and positioning themselves as leaders in those communities.