Happy New Year from Haiti!
We arrived in Haiti just in time for Haiti’s Independence Day on January 1st. This is Haiti’s biggest holiday and we celebrated with family and friends with lots of fried goat and plantains! Zacharie had not spent a new years in Haiti for a long time so he was really happy to be able to be here to celebrate!
The evening we arrived I FINALLY got to meet Katheline (similar to Kathlene in English). For those who don’t know, she is the first orphan to join us at New Life Children’s Home. She is a beautiful, kind hearted, hard working, 8 year old girl and we are so in love with her already. God could not have blessed us more richly! She fits so perfectly into our family and we are excited to spend more time with her these next 2 months we’re here. I’m already dreading the thought of having to leave her, but she will be left in good hands with Zacharie’s family until we return.
Katheline dressed for school.
Less than a week after we arrived construction of the pavilion began! As always our work crew amazes me with their hard work and we should be laying the roof next week! The pavilion’s main function will be a cafeteria for the children that will provide a nice area to gather together as a family. The ceramic for the home is almost done and we are finishing up the plumbing! It makes my heart so happy to see these final details coming together in preparation to open the home to more children!
The Pavilion in progress!
View of our whole property – pavilion, depot storage/upstairs rooms, and children’s home!
We have really enjoyed the past two weeks of teams that have joined us here! The first week we had 13 men and women help us with construction of the pavilion and other maintenance jobs around the property. We were blown away to see the initiative you took to get as much done as possible and we really appreciate all you did! This past week we had a group of 10 (only one guy – Peter you’re a trooper!) and we had such a fun time together. They began painting in the children’s home and did a beautiful job! It always amazes me to see how God can unite a group of strangers in just one week! Hated to say goodbye to them! Both weeks went so well and we are excited for another group to come today! They will focus on building beds, tables, benches for the children’s home.
Both teams got to share a bible story and meal with the children in the community! The first team fed just over 160 kids and word must have gotten out the second week as we had over 200 children come! Every time it feels like Jesus feeding the five thousand as every last child found food – thank you Lord! This is one of my favorite ministries and I love to see the kids’ smiling & giggling faces when they walk out the gate! Both teams also had the opportunity to visit Mirbalais Prison. Juice, bread, and hygiene supplies were provided to each prisoner as well as the chance to pray with them. These men and women live in terrible conditions with not enough room in some cells for everyone to lay down at once. We pray that our visits offer hope and encouragement to change their lives for the better once they’re released.
Feeding the children
View of our painting & ceramic progress
A couple of years ago Alive Church Ephrata’s childrens program raised money to purchase appliances for the children’s home. Two weeks ago we got to purchase a 6 burner stove, refridgerator, water dispensor, outdoor gas grill (to cook larger pots of rice, etc.) AND put remaining money towards a new generator! God is so good and we can’t say thank you enough to Alive for their time & efforts to fundraise for us!
I am currently reading Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. It’s been the encouragement I need as it’s focus is a “hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough.” I love this quote I read today,
“Wild women have enough today – right now – because they have Him. Wild women know that He will bring the next meal because that’s what He does. Wild women appreciate the habitat He’s placed them in and the people He’s placed there for them to grow with. Wild women appreciate natural beauty, and they don’t find their identity in how their world is perceived. Wild women know that kindness and joy and freedom make them beautiful and make their faces light up. Wild women know that the aroma of Christ and the wind of the Holy Spirit flowing through their home make it sweeter than any candle they could find at Anthropologie.”
Sometimes I wish there was a handbook on how to be Haitian when you’re not or how to preach to a culture SO different from your own. Sometimes at the end of the day I think, ‘How in world will I ever be able to live here full time?!’ But then God shoves something in my face just like this. He WILL use you and He WILL guide you if you choose to follow the path he has laid before you. If you seek him you WILL find him. Even when it seems impossibly frustrating – like when you live in a dusty, dirty construction zone with a one year old or when there isn’t enough water to shower – God WILL lead you through it as he promises over and over in the bible. I pray I can learn to be wild in my relationship with Christ…to learn to love him and trust him unconditionally so that I can do as much as I can to serve Him and the people here in Haiti. And I pray the same for you. Trust Him and Be Bold in your relationship with God because no matter where you are you are in the mission field!
Just a cute picture of Abe feeding himself breakfast 😉
Thank you to all who read our updates and send prayers. We feel them and are excited to see what else is in store for us while we are here. Please pray for good health for everyone. Poor Abe had 4 teeth break through at the same time and has not been the happiest guy so we’re hoping his mood improves at the teeth finish coming in! Katheline has had a fever off and on and we are praying that we can control it with Tylenol and that it isn’t Malaria! We have had mysteriously chilly weather in the evenings and mornings here but it’s now starting to get warmer with the mosquitoes getting worse so we are asking for prayers for protection over the whole family as well as for team members!
Thank you again! We love you all! Bondye Benni Ou – God Bless You!!
Zacharie & Stevie Estime