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. 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