Golden years

I always thought this time of my life would be slower, and more peaceful than my younger years of raising my family.

Wrong! This summer has flown by.

We have had company continuously. It began with a visit from long term team members, Frank and Sue Smith. They are from Michigan and Sue heads up the Days for Girls project. They delivered more Days for Girls sanitary kits for the shipping container and then stayed and helped with the shipping container.

We then hosted Elwood and Anita Martin. They are American missionaries serving in our area of Haiti. They were in the states visiting. They collaborate with us on many of the workshops we facilitate. They have become some of our closest friends.

We had a visit from team members Janine and Chris Jones, and five of their six children. They are also from Michigan. They are both long time team members, beginning with Janine. Janine is a RN. She has traveled with us on many occasions. She with the help of her husband Chris organizes our medical missions and hold fund raising events to cover the expenses. We had a wonderful visit, allowing us time for future planning. Because she gave birth to the families’ only son last spring, the annual medical mission is cancelled this year.

A few days after they left we had a visit from Fr. Wilner (a Haitian Monfortan priest we work with in Haiti), and Sr. Pat Dillion (an American Religious of Jesus and Mary nun we work with in Haiti). We were delighted to share our home with them.

During their visit Theresa Patterson, her husband Warren, and their grandson Cole came to visit. Theresa is the head of the Parish twinning program. There was lots of interesting information exchanged. We had time to plan the upcoming workshop this October, and gather information for other things we are working on. This visit really helped us to focus on the work we will be doing this fall in Haiti.

Bob will return to Haiti at the beginning of October, along with Bill Eardmann, a new team member and horticulturist from New York, and Robert Fairchild, long time team member and engineer from Kentucky. They will facilitate an agricultural workshop October 5th, 6th, and 7th.

I will follow later as we are awaiting the birth of our 16th grandchild. I plan to stay and help our daughter, Haley, for a few weeks after the birth, and then return to Haiti.

Our School Sponsorship campaign is off to a slow start. So far we have only had 70 kids sponsored this year. This is down from 278. Although many of the sponsors are including money towards school lunches, and several churches collected during lent, our lunch program has only raised one third of the cost to feed the children for the year.

We are praying that people are just slow to respond. During past years we visit most of you at your church during the summer. This year we have not had the freedom. But we are scheduled to visit St. Gregory this weekend, and St. Andrew and St. Catherine next weekend.

We are also scheduled to be at St. Joe in Huntsville on the 3rd and the 4th of December. We will just be returning from Haiti, so those of your from Huntsville will have the pick of the Haitian art that we bring back.

We still have two weekends open, so we shall see. We do love seeing everybody.

The sponsorships are very important to helping the communities lift themselves out of the poverty they face. Being illiterate is much more than not being able to read and write. The problem solving skills and awareness of the world are just two of the many implications.

There is also the fact it is hard to pay attention in school if you are hungry.

Bob and I have been Blessed with work all summer, and this along with sales of Haitian art, and our plea for help with our salaries, we have enough to return to Haiti this fall, and a start for going back again in January!

With encouragement from our children and friends we will be starting a pledge drive this fall. It is a challenge to not know what our economic future is. We are trying to help the people of Riviere Mancelle to become self-sustaining but this is a slow process that really does require us to be there with them.

Although I have these concerns, I know that God always answers our call.

We have been very blessed, as have the people of Riviere Mancell. Faith is big, and being human it is hard to allow yourself to totally put yourself into God’s hands and trust everything will work out.

But year after year this is what we do. And year after year the needs are met. Our needs are met.

Thank you for your interest and your prayers,

May you also experience God’s Blessings,

Denise