HCDF October 2016 Newsletter

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Update about the effects of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti’s Southern Peninsula

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25

JOY:  The Haitian people have a right to be weary and faint of heart.  Tropical Storm Sandy, the 2010 earthquake and now Hurricane Matthew all of which gave immense devastation.  The loss of life is unimaginable, but for those who survived, life continues and usually with gratefulness to God for what is left.  The physical needs of Haiti are once again on the minds of everyone.  All of us who live here are grateful for all the care and concern sent to help.  With the help from others the Haitian people will be refreshed through their constant stamina and their faith in God.

JOY:  Both Jean and I started writing a letter.  I was going to integrate his into mine, but since our writing styles are so different I decided it might be fun to share both with you even though some of the information is repetitive.

JOY:  Fond-des-Blancs was in the zone of the worst winds and rain, but because it is located in the mountains and not on the seacoast we have survived with lots of damage, but no deaths.  When Jean and I first moved to Fond-des-Blancs, I complained (only partly jokingly) that he couldn’t hear God calling him to a coastal area.  We’re on an island surrounded by coastline, but we are in the mountains.  I am rethinking that complaint.  Recently we have seen in Malaysia, Japan and Haiti how easy it is for the ocean to totally wipe out coastal cities and locations.

JEAN:  For 24 hours, hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, battered Haiti with incredible wind and rain. The devastation on the southern peninsula is beyond words. Some who flew over the most severely affected areas reported that the physical devastation is even worse than the 2010 earthquake in terms of loss of homes and life-sustaining gardens. Over 1000 casualties have been reported so far.

JOY:  For this storm in our area the wind was worse than we have ever seen.  Many tin roofs were taken off of homes as well as the main roof of our new multipurpose building.  The roof of our school library did not come off, but unfortunately many of the shelves were too near windows.  I took many away from the windows before the storm, but more rain than I anticipated blew in.  I am doing my best to dry as many of them out as I can.  Our six interns who have been in their selected communities for a couple of years now also suffered damage, but no loss of life.  A couple of them lost their whole church/school buildings and a couple others lost the roofs to their buildings.  We will be giving assistance to all of them for homes and churches.

JEAN:  Our community of Fond-des-Blancs, not in the direct path of the storm, suffered major damages as well. There are no gardens left, signaling hunger for months, if not years, to come. The tin roofs of a large number of houses were simply blown off. The largest section of the roof of our new multi-purpose center at L’Exode Secondary School was picked up and dropped in the middle of the street. Our entire crop at the farm is gone. The loss in terms of livestock is also painful.

 

JOY:  The ten miles from our community to the main paved road has never been paved.  We have worked on it several times. Our bulldozer is working on it again to enable cars and trucks to go out for and come in with needed supplies. There were certain areas that had become impassable.

JOY:  My experience at our weekly market last Friday was very uplifting.  Even though there was no guarantee at the time that supplies could be restocked, but no one hiked up their prices and everyone was happy for everyone else who could give good news of survival.  As mentioned non-perishable items will be re-stocked, but all the small gardens in the area plus all the corn and peanuts that had just been planted at our large farm were all washed away.  This is a huge financial loss.  We plan to give several tuition scholarships to students whose families lost the most.

JEAN:  As we look at the options before us:

  1. Respond to the housing crisis. A home that should not house more than two or three people is now a shelter for several more homeless extended family and friends.
  2. For most farmers, it is too late to prepare their lands for a new crop before the first of the year. But they can begin to grow their livestock herds; especially goats and pigs.
  3. Not just our school, but several others suffered major damages to their buildings. Most have no source of finances to rebuild.
  4. The number of trees that have been uprooted present another danger to the fragile ecology of the community. We need to either (or both) produce or buy tree seedlings for replanting.
  5. At least for the L’Exode schools, we would like to assist with a few months of ‘free tuition’. This would give the parents a time to recoup. Any financial contribution designated to that end would help.

Hurricane Matthew in Fond-des-Blancs

JOY:  Thank you for all your notes of concern for our welfare.  Like everyone else I have spent the last couple of days drying out our home and sweeping away the thousands of leaves blown in from the trees, but relieved and happy we are not with loss of life in this area.  We move forward with yours and and help.

Yours in Christ,

 

Jean and Joy Thomas

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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.

Signature Row at End

HCDF June 2016 Update

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Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

We have many things for which to rejoice and to be thankful, all the while remembering and feeling the need to pray continually.

I think most of you know that Jean has been diagnosed with intermediate prostate cancer.  His recommended treatment is two months of radiation five days a week.  After many medical tests and a few dry-run type tests, he finally received his first dose of radiation (June 7).  It went well and it is comforting to me that he is on the road to recovery.  We are thankful for all of you who have already begun praying about this situation.  We can all rejoice that this was discovered in the first place and we have insurance to help cover most of the expenses.  The treatment cannot be done in Haiti so he is spending this time in Florida.   I will join him later this month after school exams and graduations are completed.

All the schools are running normally.  We have close to 30 6th grade students graduating from the grade school and close to a 100 from kindergarten.  We are excited and happy about the latter, but this many will be a logistical problem for the grade school to able to receive them, but we will get it done.  All the same, we can use your prayers that we make

wise decisions that benefit all the students and teachers. May 18 is Flag Day in Haiti and it was well celebrated at L’Exode with parades, singing and dancing, basketball and soccer games.  The events were well attended; three other schools were invited to participate in the day’s activities and help us fully use the new multi-purpose/sports center.

The Fond-des-Blancs area has finally been receiving plenty of rain which has been a great benefit to the farm.  The farm has been able to supply plenty of cornmeal, sorghum, plantains, sweet peppers, and papayas to the schools to enhance the school menus.  It is also growing peanuts as a contract for another organization which provides some money for other types of food at the school.  We are incredibly grateful for how successful the farm has become so quickly.  Thank you for your support of this very necessary endeavor.

We are grateful to have you rejoice with us and to be thankful with us for all we see the Lord doing in our lives and the lives of the people of Fond-des-Blancs.  We hope and ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Your friend and sister in Christ,

Joy Thomas

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.

aria-sd2015

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