CONSTRUCTION IS UNDERWAY!
Wow, it's been WAY too long since I updated this page, but there is finally good news to share! Everyone has been SO faithful and generous to give to this little project. We've been collecting funds for a few years now, while Pastor Val and his son, David Val have been hard at work in Haiti sketching up their plans, working with an engineer and getting the site prepared for the building project. Our engineer is Msr. Tingue, and he is doing a great job creating a new space for the kids at Val Children's Home to safely sleep, work and play. Construction got underway in the early fall of 2017 and is now about 50% complete!
Below, you can find some photos of the progress. One thing that we are SO happy about is that the entire labor force, engineering, and general contracting is completely local. And all materials are Haitian as well. We see this as a huge benefit, providing much-needed jobs in this community, and investing in the local economy by purchasing materials in country.
In July, I will be leading a group from our local church to visit Pastor Val and the community at Bongnotte, and we hope to celebrate the opening of this building with them! We will spend one week learning from each other and providing a dental clinic.
We still need approximately $20,000 to complete the building project. Would you consider participating? Here are the instructions for giving online through our church, King's Park International Church in Durham, NC:
Instructions for online giving:
- Click here to go to KPIC's giving page.
- Select LOCATION: "King's Park International Church"
- Select FUND: "Other Offering"
- Select AMOUNT: (your donation amount)
- Select MEMO: write "Pastor Val"
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS TO THIS COMMUNITY IN HAITI. May God richly bless you and your family!
"We need a new home!"
It's been 2 1/2 years since my husband Kirk and I were able to make a trip to visit Pastor Val and the folks in Bognotte, in the Leogane Plain south of Port au Prince. It's been 4 YEARS since the earthquake. So much has happened, and we were pleased to see progress in many areas around PAP and in the countryside. No more tent cities. Trash is getting cleaned up. They were even pouring stamped concrete sidewalks in Petionville!
But our lovely little friends in Bognotte are STILL WITHOUT A PERMANENT HOME. We were able to erect 5 small plywood "houses" right after the quake to get them out of an army tent, but they are still there. The little buildings were meant to last a maximum of 5 years, so we are coming up on that quickly. They are not secure and very inadequate, housing up to 8 children in an 8'x10' shack. Another organization began construction on a dormitory, but was unable to complete it past the foundation slabs. So there are the beginnings of two buildings, and they are just waiting for completion.
We researched the cost and have procured the services of a local contractor: $60/square foot using Haitian materials, labor and professional services. The larger of the two slabs is 1500 square feet. We LOVE the idea of infusing funds into the local economy, and providing employment to the community by keeping the materials and labor Haitian.
Would you be willing to purchase a square foot ($60)? Two ($120)? Ten ($600)?
Tax-deductible donations are being accepted for this one-time fund-raising drive now at our church, King's Park International Church (kpic.org).
Instructions for online giving:
- Go to: https://giving.onthecity.org/kingspark/uauth_giving/new?city_account_id=1510
- Select FUND: "Other"
- Select MEMO, write "Haiti"
OR if you prefer to write a check follow these instructions:
- Make check to "King's Park International Church"
- Write "Haiti" on the memo line
- Mail to:
c/o Kirk and Kellee Metty
661 Cedar Grove Rd.
Pittsboro, NC 27312
We hope to begin construction this summer as the funds begin to come in. Could you take a moment and donate today?
THANK YOU SO MUCH! We'll keep you posted on the progress...
Construction and Micro-Loans
I just returned from another short visit to see my friends in Haiti and see how we can best encourage and help them in their efforts to bring recovery and improvement to this beautiful land. It was encouraging to see continued progress on Pastor Val's site in Bongnotte. A new church is almost complete. Temporary housing and school buildings are in place. Children are healthy and well-fed. There is still a long way to go, but each time I hike up the hills behind the orphanage, I look out over the beautiful countryside and think that this is the future of Haiti, out here, where the quality of life is so much better than in the city. I hugged some kids I have seen for years at the orphanage, and saw some new faces. Two little boys (brothers?) clung together, the older one who was maybe 4, taking care of the little two-year old, sharing his candy and holding his hand everywhere they went.
I have wondered for a long time, why it is a relatively accepted practice in some places to give up your children, if you cannot afford to feed them. It is an affront to our middle-class American sensitivities to even imagine such a thing. It is a rare instance here in the US that a precious son or daughter is given to a relative to raise, due to death, incarceration or abuse. But very seldom do we hear of a child being given over to a local pastor with little explanation other than, "I just can't afford to have another mouth to feed."
This is not unusual in places that suffer from such a deplorable lack of income producing activities. So many heads-of-households lack jobs. Some may possess a decent amount of education, and even some skills, but nationwide, Haiti and other countries like it, doesn't have a healthy economy to create and sustain jobs.
The problems in Haiti are numerous, and I would not pretend to understand the all the causes, or the solutions. It is overwhelming to think about, and to look into the faces of happy children, and wonder what the future holds for each of them.
But, there are some glimmers of hope, and I believe some doors of opportunity are opening in the little village of Bongnotte, in Leogane Province. And we have the privilege to partner with some forward thinking locals. Perhaps Bongnotte will be a model for other rural towns to grow, coax people out of filthy, overcrowded Port au Prince, and back to their respective home towns.
Bongnotte is where our friend, Pastor Franklin Val has been pastoring a church for over 40 years and where he established Val Children's Home Care some 24 years ago. After visiting him and the children several times, I learned that not all the kids there are orphans. They almost all have some family, and some even have parents. So I started to ask why. Why do families give up their beloved children? The answer is simply that they cannot afford to take care of them. And why not? Because there is no work.
So what is the answer? Well, one answer is to help grow the economy and give people the tools needed to provide for their families. This can be done through a micro-lending program.
Pastor Val has been thinking on this. He selected 5 trustworthy men in his church that needed work, to partner with him in a motorcycle taxi business. This is the most efficient method of travel on the rutted and muddy rural roads. The idea is this: five motorcycles are funded from donations. The bike is then lease/purchased over a one year period, with the owner working off his low-interest loan for the bike. As the owner begins to make money as a taxi service, each month, he makes a payment, some of which goes to pay off the bike, and some of which goes into another account to finance other small businesses. At the end of the payment period, the man owns the bike outright and can keep all of his profits. The money can then be re-invested into another bike or small business venture, a service is provided to the community, and a family is provided for!
Another idea that is brewing, is the construction of a solar bakery. Bongnotte sits three miles from the main road, and is the gateway to many more mountain villages even more remote. Access to bread is non-existent, but is something that everyone wants. By building a bakery (using donated funds to kick-start the project), jobs and skills training can be provided. Everyone from the manager to the bakers to the sales force can benefit, as well as the community having some coveted bread. And it will potentially run on power/heat from the sun. Research is commencing on how this can be accomplished.
Further still, another friend is starting a business that will benefit farmers, produce better crops and provide income for himself. Again, it is being launched in the rural agricultural areas in and around places like Bongnotte, where there is vast verdant farmland.
What I especially like about this, is that the ideas were birthed by people to whom the culture belongs. It is not my idea, but the brain-child of a man who has labored in this community for the better part of his adult life. He knows what would work. He knows what is needed. We are just his friends who can help kick-start it.
My favorite quote of the trip embodies the feisty spirit of Pastor Val, who is 70 years old. While talking about his replacement, he said, "I am getting old. And I might only have 50 years left..."
I love that. May he live to be 120!
I just returned from a week in Haiti, spending the last few days at Val Children's Home Care. We had such a great time, and it is very encouraging to see some change, some hope springing up from the rubble. Especially out in the rural areas where Pastor Val is raising these children; people have generously given of their time, talent and finances to get on with it and do something. While the large government and non-government organizations try to sort out what to do with billions, small pockets of hope are appearing. If you've only got $10,000 to spend, it's easy to find a way to use it and use it well. A lot of what we hoped would happen this past year for Pastor Val has indeed been completed, and other things are underway. A brief synopsis of our few days in Bongnotte:
- Saturday - We met with Pastor Val and went to his orphanage outside of Leogane. The kids had a little program prepared and sang for us, and one of the songs was about preventing cholera! We hung out there for a few hours, painted fingernails, played with matchbox cars and bubbles and then went back to our guest house. The little houses we bought are up and occupied, and life is returning to a new normal there. Everyone is happy and relatively healthy. Construction on a new dormitory and church are underway, and plans for a new school, a food depot, a bakery and other development work are moving along as well.
- Sunday - We attended the 4.5 hour church service at the orphanage, with about 75 people in attendance. All of us preached. We were encouraged to see people of all ages, both men and women and their children there. There were several young men in their twenties that Pastor Val is mentoring. They have even planted a church even farther up in the mountains, about a one-hour walk from Pastor Val's place. There was a man in the church who is 109 years old and has been with Pastor Val for over 40 years. His name is Constant (appropriate!) and when I asked him what the secret to a long life is, he said, "Keep God in your heart!" We hiked up the hills behind the site, and had a lovely day, heading back to PAP in the evening.
To top off the week, almost as if God wanted to show off, I struck up a conversation with a man in the PAP airport Monday morning who is a pastor in the US, but is part of the church on Delmas 9 that took care of us the night of the earthquake! He recognized people in my photos, and knows Pastor Val! It was amazing. God is amazing.
So again, thank YOU for your interest, and financial support. It is thrilling to be a part of all that is going on with this little corner of the world!
One Year Ago Today: January 12
It's been one year today. You'll see it all over the news. That is a bit comforting, to know that it's not just me and those others that were in Haiti on January 12 last year that are still remembering. I remember thinking at the moment of the earthquake that it wouldn't even make the evening news in America. But I was wrong. The whole world turned its attention to this little Caribbean nation, and the whole world watched their remarkable response to tragedy: they lifted their hands and their voices to God, in worship and prayer. I spent a sleepless night on a soccer field with 2000 of them as they led us in a stunning symphony of prayer, praise, worship, scripture quotation and tears. One lady standing nearby must have been their worship leader, because her voice was so pure, so strong, so tireless. She sang for hours. When one group's praying quieted, another group picked up with a song. When they grew silent, someone started to quote Psalms. We heard Psalm 121 repeatedly. "I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth."
The lap of the Father.
One year later, what are my thoughts? It's only 8 in the morning, so I have yet to get through much of the day, but so far mostly tears, sadness, grief for the losses. Tears of thankfulness for my own safety of the safety of those I know. Tears of gratitude to be home with my loved ones. Lots of tears. These tears have made their appearance many times over the past year. At first, I was waking up in the night sobbing uncontrollably, and finding myself in the middle of my day having to stop and go be alone to cry for a while. And I found I couldn't get through a single worship service at church, when everyone was singing of the goodness of God, worshiping Him...it was too tender of a spot in my heart. I had truly tasted a mere sip of the glories of the presence of God and it overwhelmed me. As the year went on, I found I had to restrain my heart from going too close. I didn't like that feeling of having to hold back from experiencing God.
So this morning, I let it flow. Listening to music written by anointed songwriters and sung by golden voices, I wept. I weep for the great loss. I weep for the hopelessness. I weep for pain and suffering of so many. I weep for the children who have no parents. I weep for the lack of order. I weep for the magnitude of the recovery. I weep for the burdens my friends bear. I weep for the lack of restoration even one year later. I weep for the confusion.
But I also cry because of the example set before me of choosing to worship when all is lost. This has been a life altering lesson for me and every time I think about those people with their hands in the air walking through the rubble, I feel challenged.
Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I have been thinking a lot about goals, resolutions. I had some, but today I am thinking my Number One goal should be to train my heart and mind to worship in every circumstance. The immediate response. So if a rock hits my windshield, "thank you Lord." If I get sick, "praise you Jesus." If we lose our business, "God, you are good."
Lord, turn your eye toward Haiti today. Let your lovingkindness flow in that place in 2011. May the power of your Holy Spirit enable strong and good leadership to rise up and transform this small nation. May it be a testimony of your faithfulness, as your people join together and humble themselves and pray and repent for the sins of their nation - may you then restore their land to a shining example of your goodness. I pray that we will look back, many years from now, and see the hand of the Lord at work to build a nation of people that is a bright light in the world. And may I learn to turn to you with thanksgiving in every circumstance, in every blessing and in every trial. Thank you, oh God, and may your name be glorified throughout the earth.
It’s been nine months now since the earthquake in Haiti changed the lives of millions of people, including my own. Now we are reading reports of cholera threatening the city of Port au Prince, and we are feverishly praying for God’s hand of mercy to stem the tide of sickness that could further devastate the country. Thank you for your outpouring of love to a nation that most of you have never visited. It is a true sign of the love among the body of Christ when strangers help one another. This is the way it should be.
Just to recap the year: from January until July, we have been able to provide immediate disaster relief for the orphanage needs in the form of food, water purification, a large 20’ x 40’ tent for holding school, clothing, shoes, kitchen supplies, school supplies, and teacher salary assistance. Many Haitian pastors wanted to get the children back to school as soon as possible after the quake, but in reality it wasn’t until April or May that this was possible. Though it was under less-than-ideal circumstances, school re-opened in early May for the children at Val’s. My daughter and I were able to go and visit at the end of May, collecting more images and video of the situation, and seeing first hand the living conditions, which are appalling.
And…I wanted to give an update on what has happened in the last few months:
TRUCK: My husband Kirk and I were able to go and visit the weekend of July 30, and we were joyfully collected at the airport by Pastor Val in a brand new truck! Through the generosity of many, we were able to send him enough money to fully pay for this much-needed vehicle and for several years of insurance. He had been driving a clunker of an Isuzu Trooper, with no window crank handles, barely functional anything, and a dash of indicator lights that were constantly aglow. It was by sheer prayer that we were ever safely transported anywhere, especially during the earthquake. When he made his needs known about this situation, we hurriedly gathered the funds, and God was gracious to supply. It is a double cab, four-wheel drive diesel pick-up, “Great Wall” is the model name, a Chinese product.
SHELTER: Our initial goal was to raise enough funds (approximately $200K) to rebuild the orphanage complex that would house 50 children, staff, a kitchen and dining facility. There would also be space for several classrooms. As we began this effort in earnest, another non-profit came forward and offered to do it all, at their expense. We were very happy to have this offer and saw it as the provision of God. While we wait for this building to be constructed, which may take a long time, we felt the need to provide something immediately. We showed Pastor Val an example of a semi-permanent structure and spoke with him about the possibility of purchasing several of these “kits” that could be conjoined into one unit. There are several organizations building these types of kits in Haiti, and we were familiar with one in particular, Maxima, S.A. in Port au Prince. It was a win-win all around, because Maxima is a Haitian company which employs Haitians! We purchased 5 kits, and they were delivered to Pastor Val last week. As soon as they can put them together, which only takes a few days, the children can sleep indoors for the first time in 9 months! This will solve the problem of shelter in the short/medium term…the shelters are made of plywood, coated with a thick paint, and are hurricane and earthquake proof when put together correctly. They can only last from 3-5 years though, so a long-term solution is necessary.
OTHER DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS: It is our greatest desire to not only meet immediate needs, but to help solve more basic problems in this village. Many of the children that Pastor Val cares for do indeed have families. Some even sleep at home, but spend their days at the orphanage simply because their families cannot afford to take care of their most basic needs. Pastor Val feeds many more children than actually sleep there. The core problem is employment. There is very little beyond farming that is available to the average rural Haitian family, and while the women are busy taking care of children, washing clothes, and trying to find clean water and some food, many men are standing idly around the local gathering spots with nothing to do and no way to make a living. In addition to helping Pastor Val take care of the children, we want to help him develop some of his land and bring some opportunities to the village of Bongnotte. We have already sent some money to begin the following projects:
Bakery: One need that he alerted us to is the availability of bread. It is a long 3 or 4-mile walk down a muddy road to the nearest market, and the need for a local source of bread is obvious. Building a bakery would answer the need for bread, but it would also provide jobs and job training.
Food Depot: There is also a need for a food depot that could store food for the orphanage, and also be a source of supplies and food for the community. The employees of the food depot could therefore turn a profit for the orphanage.
Trade School: Education and training is also of utmost importance and we are now discussing the possibility of providing scholarships to worthy older teens at the orphanage to attend a trade school in Carrefour.
As elections take place (hopefully) in November and the one-year anniversary of the quake approaches, we anticipate a lot of violence and rioting in the city over the next few months. We have to decided to post-pone any trips until after commotion of the anniversary and probably will not go to Haiti until March. Please pray with us for a smooth election process and transition of power, as well as peace to reign in the country. Also as we watch the news of cholera beginning to spread, pray for God to end the epidemic and prevent it from getting into the tent cities. All of our concerns are based on the human observations of what is going on, however, our God is able to do all things and we are praying with this sort of faith. Please join us!
Slowly, good things are happening. It has been a little frustrating to watch and wait for change from here, where everything is so easily obtained and executed. Thank you so much for your abundant generosity. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care.
With much love and appreciation,
COPING WITH RAINY SEASON
Those were some of the most productive few days I've had since the earthquake. Pastor Val cleared his calendar for us, took no taxi jobs and we spent two full days together. We were able to discuss timing, funding, and project scope as well as visit the site and have a look for ourselves at everything. The main difference I saw since my trip in early May was the deteriorating state of all those blue tarps due to sun and wind exposure...and what havoc the rains have wrought. The first night we were at the orphanage, a huge storm moved in at dusk, sending simultaneous and terrifying lightening and thunder. We were all exposed to the danger and we huddled in the tin-roofed chicken house to "escape" being out in it. Sadly, some of the kids were cowering with their hands over their ears and their eyes tightly shut. The second night, as a similar storm approached, Pastor Val kept getting phone calls from people back in the city that he had to leave the area as soon as possible as the river was expected to rise to a point that would have trapped us behind it, leaving us stranded for days.
More detail can be found here, but the highlights of the trip were:
- We stopped and had a look at one of the semi-permanent structures that is going up all over the country. We discussed the merits and problems with these plywood houses made for a family of 6 - they are inexpensive, can be constructed in a day, are earthquake and hurricane proof but will only last for a few years at most. Pastor Val was going to visit the factory to talk with the staff the next week. This would get the kids under a roof and behind a locked door almost immediately. We have secured funding for several of these buildings to be conjoined to form enough shelter for 50 children.
- We facilitated conversations with key people about food distribution. Got some folks talking and helped clear up some misunderstandings.
- We were able to map out a way forward, starting with the semi-permanent structures. We discussed plans A and B and C (because things rarely go as planned!) and brainstormed about short and long-term development. Pastor Val is very mindful that these children will grow up to be adults in need of employment; so he is always talking about job training and opportunity.
- We were able to introduce Pastor Val to another aid agency that has a particular interest in children.
- We were privileged to visit a Doctors Without Borders hospital to pray for a 5 year old boy in a diabetic coma; he recovered a few days later.
- We prayed together and asked God for His leading and direction.
Again, thank you for your interest in this little corner of the world.
LOOKING FOR A GREAT FATHER'S DAY GIFT?
We will be rebuilding the orphanage facility in the coming months. Architect John Hudson of 100 Fold Studio, a ministry devoted to offering architectural services to other ministries, predicts that once the funds are raised, this "orphanage-in-a-box" can be loaded onto shipping containers, and assembled on site in Haiti in less than three months. This hurricane and earthquake-proof pre-fab building, complete with walls, roofing, windows, furniture, plumbing and electrical components will be "constructed" in the US, then loaded onto several shipping containers. Once in Haiti, local labor will unload the components, and assemble them on the prepared site.
We must raise $200,000 to cover all materials, site work, shipping/customs, and Haitian labor. That's a bargain when you consider how many people will benefit from this building. The need is for 50 beds currently, but we will build for 80 as the need grows. Your generous donation is needed immediately.
Our local church is managing the funds for us. Please make all tax-deductible donations to:
King's Park International Church ("Val Children's Home Care" in the memo line)
and send to:
c/o The Metty Family, 661 Cedar Grove Rd., Pittsboro, NC 27312.
100% of all gifts are going toward the construction project.
We'd like to have this beautiful living quarters completed and the children moved in by September 30, 2010.
Thanks for your generosity, and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
Life AQ (after-the-quake): The New Normal
June 11, 2010
The oldest boy in the orphanage, Daril, 18, very articulately and humbly asked us in English as we were leaving if there was any way we could help them watch the World Cup (which starts today!). I was so moved by his request, that something so easy for us, is such a big deal to them. For a moment, I felt like the Queen, being petitioned for some great request. But for crying out loud...it's access to a television and some broadcasting! A simple thing, but this can be so difficult. So I looked at Pastor Val and asked it this would be possible with a little financial help to secure the TV. Sure, he said.
So yesterday afternoon, I got an email telling me that indeed the kids were going to be able to view the World Cup! I wryly told them to pull for the US in its match against the British tomorrow, and they said they would. :)
The biggest development since our return from this trip, is that we are in full swing with the rebuilding of the living quarters. I have secured the services of architect John Hudson and 100Fold Studio, which is a non-profit ministry providing architectural services to missions and church groups. Their genius is that they have designed an "orphanage-in-a-box," essentially four shipping containers filled with walls, roofing, sinks, furniture...everything that is needed to get a building up fast. It only takes about one month to assemble it in the US, and another month to put it together. It will be both earthquake proof and hurricane proof, and will provide needed jobs in Haiti.
While John's services are provided at no charge, the cost of the building materials and labor to load and assemble the building components, as well as shipping and customs costs will total approximately $200,000. Though it seems like a large amount, as a residential contractor, we build houses all the time for twice that much that only house a family of 5. So this is truly a bargain.
The children's situation is quite precarious. They are living in tents that are meant to be temporary and it's been six months of living in these conditions. At the same time, there is no kitchen, no plumbing, no electricity, and most importantly, no security. They are living out in the open, with no walls, doors or locks. I have felt the urgency of this situation like never before, since staying on their grounds with them for a few nights. Big storms have yet to arrive as well.
So if you would like to contribute to this effort, your donations are very welcome. Every dollar is going to pay for this building. Please see our GIVE page to make your donation today. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Thank you so much!
EQ Update: April 20, 2010
Like getting back on a horse after you fall off, I am returning to Haiti for the first week of May with my daughter. We will be spending two or three nights in a tent on the grounds of Val Children's Home Care, and visiting with the children and the folks in the surrounding community. We will be talking with Pastor Val about his plans to rebuild, not only the orphanage, but helping the people in the area rebuild their lives. There are at least 50 children that have come to Pastor Val for care; I assume the 100+ others that have also begun to look to Pastor Val for help, are all chipping in to help take care of each other. It is a rural community, and I get the impression they're all camping out together, sharing what they have. I look forward to spending some time with them and learning from them what their lives are like, and how we can help from a distance. I hope to be an encouragement to everyone, bringing greetings from their friends in America. I want them all to know, "We have not forgotten about you."
Fund raising efforts have continued, with or without us! Although the four of us ladies that were in Haiti on January 12 have had may opportunities to speak about our experiences and raise funds, there have been many other little surprises in the mail. I received a beautiful note from a Sunday School class of grades 3-5 girls in Iowa, who had a burden to raise money for Val Children's Home Care. I have never met these young ladies, or their teacher or anyone in their church! They collected soda cans and took them to a redemption center, where they earned over $600! Then they sent a check to SGI designated for the orphanage. What a blessing! And so unexpected. My friend Julia said, "That was God's way of letting us know that He has not forgotten about Pastor Val." So true. I also received a phone call this morning from an old friend, whom we knew in Haiti in 1985, who is speaking to a group of students today. They had raised some money and were looking for a place where they knew all of the money would go directly to helping people affected by the earthquake. Our friend suggested Val Children's, so we are looking forward to that as well.
God does indeed have His eye on our friends there, and He is making a way where there seems to be no way.
We have just purchased a truck for Pastor Val! Money has been raised over the last year or so for this purpose, and he will be driving it soon. This will greatly increase his ability to transport people, food and supplies, and will be used to be a blessing everywhere he goes.
I am so grateful to all of you who visit this website and pass along what you read about here. Your kindness and generosity will not be forgotten. May the Lord bless each of you as you give of yourselves.
Thank you, from the depths of my heart,
EQ Update: February 23, 2010
Aftershocks, earthquakes in their own right, continue to shake the ground. Again, people resolve to stay out of doors, and perhaps rightly so. It may be a long, long time before anyone feels safe sleeping inside.
Jon Metty returned home from his adventure at sea, aboard the schooner, "Liberty." (www.libertyschooner.com) The Liberty and crew delivered 10,000 pounds of supplies, food and medicine to Jacmel, Haiti. After a quick off-load, they set sail for Jamaica, where they re-fueled and stocked up on fresh provisions and crew. The trip took three long weeks, some becalmed days at sea, a broken steering mechanism, and danger at the port of Jacmel, as desperate people began mobbing the boat.
Though Jon did not make personal contact with Pastor Val face-to-face, they spoke by phone, and we discovered a few days later that he made it to Jacmel and retrieved most of the supplies intended for him. We still do not know the whole story on what transpired those first few days, but Jon did tell us that the very Mayor of Jacmel arrived at the dock demanding they give their supplies to him and his cronies. It was a precarious situation, and yet the crew was able to distribute most of the items to their rightful recipients. In desperate situations, things don't always go according to plan. And in Haiti, that is rare even on a good day.
So we are thankful for the safe return of the Liberty and her crew. And we thank God, too, that we were able to supply Pastor Val with a generator, refrigerator, car battery, some food and clothing, a gas grill, kerosene, tools, and baby supplies.
We have learned a lot of lessons about the delivery of relief supplies, and what the road/sea ahead looks like. Stay tuned for more updates on these trips in the near future.
Thanks to Philip and Sharon du Plessis and their crew for sharing their home and boat with the people of Haiti.
See our GIVE page for ways you can help.
EQ update: February 10, 2010
I've added some before and after photos of Val Children's Home Care, courtesy of Jeff and Rita Riedel of SC. They were also in Haiti during the quake staying near the orphanage and were able to capture these images of the damage. The first is of Pastor Val standing outside the buildings in July of 2008. The rest are of the current situation.
Thank you for your prayers and support. In time, we will be able to see all of Haiti rebuilt. The people are of strong character and the reports coming out of Haiti are that the churches are pulling together to serve their communities. We are committed to aiding in this process however necessary. The relief supplies that were delivered on the Liberty included tents, tarps, lanterns, grills, food and medical supplies. They will be camping for a long time.
We continue to communicate with Pastor Val to see how we can help him specifically and we are continuing our fund-raising efforts on his behalf.
Visit www.sgionline.info to make your donation today. Thank you.
Feb. 4, 2010
Thank you for continuing to pray for Pastor Val and the children under his care in Leogane province. And thank you for all the donations! It's now been almost four weeks since that terrible day in Haiti. We have had good communication with Pastor Val over the last two weeks, and his spirits are high. Phone and email has been functioning well. We have also been able to keep an eye, literally, on the site through Google Earth, which is updating their imagery every few days. The children are all doing well, and they have made the chicken house their new, but hopefully, temporary home. They were able to pull some needed items from the rubble of the main buildings, and have a few mattresses, tables, bed linens, cookware, etc.
Pastor Val has communicated to us that he is now caring for upwards of 50 children and more than 80 others in the surrounding community. An 80-ft. schooner, the Liberty, is currently sailing toward Jacmel, Haiti on the southern coast. It is loaded with 10,000 pounds of donated supplies, and the crew has volunteered their time for this effort. Two-thousand pounds are specifically allocated for Val Children's Home Care and the church community there. It is expected to arrive this weekend, and then sail for home, with hopes to repeat the voyage at least one more time. Please contact Kellee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have donations for this second voyage. We need cooking oil, rice, beans, powdered milk, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, soap, laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, tents, tarps, air mattresses, and bedding. Cash donations are also needed for the boat's expenses. Please see the Liberty's website here.
We are working on a proposal to present to Pastor Val to assist him going forward. We are raising funds toward this aim, although the details of the buildings may change. It is our understanding that there will be many more children and families to care for in the future. We believe God will provide all they need, and we want to stand ready to be used by Him at the right time. Once again, tax deductible donations can be made to Strategic Global Initiatives.
Thanks so much for your participation!
I have just returned from a harrowing week in Haiti. Our plane landed one hour before the 7.2 quake hit, with the epicenter just a few miles from our little orphanage. Pastor Val picked us up at the airport and as he was gathering the last of the bags from inside, and we were sitting in his Trooper, it struck. He came running out of the airport, extremely shaken, but unhurt. We headed in the direction of the orphanage, but soon found the roads impassable. We turned around and spent two nights on a soccer field, earthquake refugees like the rest of the city's population. Everyone in Port au Prince was outside on the streets that night, as aftershock after aftershock rumbled the ground beneath us. The night, however, was filled with singing and worshiping as the church members that we spent the night with led us in beautiful praise to God in the midst of the chaos. In the morning we began using the supplies we had brought for the orphanage to treat wounds, some we could do nothing about but pray. We delivered two babies. We shared our clothes and food, and watched as God multiplied granola bars, trail mix and water. Pastor Val watched over us for two days like a father, and we eventually found shelter at an American Christian school. We were evacuated five days after the initial quake.
The orphanage: The buildings have all been lost, but praise God, THE CHILDREN ARE ALL SAFE! As are Pastor Val and his sister Yrma. They have been staying in a converted chicken coop. They had a well, but with the quake, things underground have been damaged. We do not know for certain, but we suspect the well may have been damaged. Someone at our home church gave us 3 water filters that each would take care of 25 people for a year. This was the hand of the Lord at the last minute. Those filters may save lives! We also gave Pastor Val everything in our suitcases that we had brought for him, so they have some med supplies, some candy :) and lots of clothes, school supplies, vitamins, toys, shoes, and other needed items. It is certainly not nearly enough, but we are praying the Lord will multiply.
If you would like to donate, cash is the big need right now. We have a non profit set up that will donate 100% with no admin fee to this cause. Please go to www.sgionline.info for more information and a link for donations.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR OUR PRECIOUS LITTLE ONES.
Val's Children is a site dedicated to Val Children's Home Care, an orphanage in rural Haiti. To learn more about the orphanage and how you can get involved, explore the site by watching videos, viewing pictures, and reading about the orphanage's history.