June 22, 2009 we pulled out of our driveway of our farm on Bakers mountain in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina. It was the beginning of a journey that really has been more exciting than we ever would have imagined. I wanted to give a brief update of how things are going.
I came as an optometrist planning to have a little clinic doing eye care and helping the pastor we had been working with through the years of back and forth trips. God obviously had other plans! It's not fair though because He knew about the little event on January 12, 2010 - the 7.2 earthquake that destroyed much of the country and killing 200,000 people. Had I known about that in advance, maybe I would have had other plans here too!
Celebration Children's Home is our orphanage that houses almost 20 orphans, abandoned, handicapped, or neglected children. These little ones have been instrumental in changing our lives. Our vision is to develop a home where children can be united with loving adoptive families. The home is housed in a former apartment building that we have converted and also serves as our headquarters for the ministry. We call it The Mission and we employee about 20 Haitians that work with us there. That facility also houses long term missionaries that come for extended periods to serve with us.
In a country where only about 50 percent of kids get to go to school we get to pay for almost 100 kids to go to school through our child sponsorship program. We meet monthly with these kids in our Celebration Kids Club. We are working on getting that program more organized so that friends back home can be a part of changing the lives of these young Haitians.
Pastor Cesar has almost 1500 kids in 8 schools that we support. We pay and train the teachers and now are getting to the point that we are feeding all the kids a healthy meal ever school day.
Our most impacting work - most impacting on me if not the Haitians- is our work in the local fishing village. We have 13 fisherman that we are helping to develop their fishing businesses as well as discipling them. We are there almost every day and have weekly meetings and Bible study. Also in that village we have 13 women that we took out of tents by the river where they were living after losing their homes to a flood. We rented them all houses and have them working in our community development program. Three days per week they come and cook food for elderly shut ins in the area. They also participate in weekly meetings that include training on hygiene, family planning, literacy and other issues from a Biblical perspective.
Refugees from the quake live in tent villages throughout the country. In our town we have taken the last families out of that camp and helped them rent permanent housing. We are currently working one on one with them to help them come up with a business plan for providing for the family in the aftermath of this disaster. We have set a few up with wedding dress rental businesses, cosmetic sales businesses, small food stands, dry goods stores, and other small business ventures. As with all our projects we also follow up with teaching and training of Biblical truth teaching on how to live.
Oh yeah I almost forgot, we also do eye care and medical care. We have the only permanent eye clinics in our part of the country. This week we even have team of general surgeons here doing hernia repairs, tumor removals, and other much needed surgeries. What a blessing!
In the midst of all of that we are also trying to raise our 5 American and one Haitian baby that live here with us. School is our biggest challenge at the moment. We have discovered that homeschooling here is so hard due to our daily challenges. We found a mission school in St. Marc but they are needing teachers. If you know anyone interested in coming to teach for a year let me know.
So they we are in a nutshell. I am sure I left some stuff out but those are the high points. Keep us in your prayers and come to see us. We live in a hotel and we will leave the light on for you.