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.
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