Saturday, October 19, 2013

Update on ElderCare Artesian Program

It's been 2 months since I returned from Haiti when we started the ElderCare Artesian Program....teaching elders and their families how to make crafts that Americans will buy so that they can provide for themselves.  We have been learning an amazing amount and Hannah has continued to train the elders and adjust the program as necessary.  Here are some great statistics:

  • 13 Elders and 14 of their children participate in the program.
  • They have made 185 pieces of jewelry, notecards, bags, pillowcovers and more.
  • They have made $573 to help support themselves and their families.
  • Many of them have saved some or all of their money in lockboxes that we keep safe for them at Grace Village.
  • We have sold $711 worth of product to short term missionaries at the guesthouse and at the Healing Haiti golf outing.  Profits will be used to purchase more supplies and expand the program.
Here are some samples of the things they are making:

Two pieces of exciting news: 
We are working out the details to be able sell these items at the Feed My Starving Children Gala on November 8th.
We are hiring a Haitian woman to run the program in Haiti starting on November 1st, so that elders and their families will be able make more items and therefore make more money for their families!
We are already seeing an impact in the lives of the people that are participating in the program.  One woman, Leronide (the daughter of Elie) has saved every dollar she has made in the lockboxes we provide for them.  She told Hannah that she plans to save enough by December to buy everything she needs to open a store that sells food staples on non-market days in Titanyen.  I love that through us, God can inspire and provide the opportunity for entrepreneurship that this woman would not otherwise have!

Heart Connection - Moms of Special Needs Kids

This was written by Laura Fixsen, a team leader in Haiti this week:
My word for the day was Instruments. I love how with every team God brings different varieties of gifts and talents. It is an honor to watch when a team member is obedient and open to God's promptings and operates in their giftings. At times it may be simple and overlooked but it is beautiful regardless. Today was one of those days where God used a team member in a powerful way as His instrument a...nd it was beautiful.

My good friend Anne is here for the first time. She has five darling children. Three of those children have special needs. I have watched her through the years as she and her husband have lovingly and tirelessly navigated through the world of special needs.

Today we visited Jude Jean Paul who was a typical child until epilepsy rocked his world along with his mother's world. He is now 20 years old. He can not eat on his own, sit up on his own, or walk on his own. He can not speak. He wears diapers. He is confined to his bed. His mother tirelessly and lovingly tends to his very demanding needs every day. When you look into her eyes you see the weariness. What must it be like in a 3rd world country to care for a child like Jude? In Haiti, it is very common to abandon a child with special needs. Jude's mother acknowledges through her actions that all are created in the image of God. Jude is a child of God. She would not abandon him.

My dear friend Anne, tenderly stroked Jude's arms and face while our group sang worship songs. His mother who had distanced herself from us by escaping outdoors inched her way to stand in the doorway directly across from me as we were singing. Her eyes were closed and I could sense the heaviness of the burden she carries.

Anne and I stayed back with our translator to talk with Jude's mother. Anne shared about her own 3 children with special needs and how difficult it has been as a mother to care for their needs. She shared how tired she gets and the many sleepless nights that she has endured. She told her that she understands the difficult task that she was enduring. All the while Jude's mother listened intently as tears streamed down her face. She asked Anne questions. And they communicated with each other on a level that very few people could. All cultural barriers were torn down. In that moment Jude's mother was not alone. She had someone who understood her. A kindred spirit. Anne encouraged her and praised her for her commitment and loving care of Jude. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have witnessed.

God says that He will use every circumstance that we endure in our lives for good and for His purposes. This was beautifully displayed in living form today in a tiny house in Haiti. While a young boy lay paralyzed and mute, covered in bed sores, snapping his jaws to communicate his hunger, his exhausted, spent, and weary mother was receiving an embrace from her loving heavenly Father through my friend Anne. Anne has spent years enduring hardship and exhaustion of her own. No one else on our team could minister to this mother on the level that Anne could. Today God used her to be His instrument. To be a soothing ointment to a weary soul. Isn't our God amazing?