While we were in America for the month of July we had an incredible team of people here who looked after our children and kept them safe. Matt and Cara (along with their children Kaylea, Dean, and Joel) helped us out immensely as they contacted us whenever there was an issue, had our kids participate in the activities of the American teams that came down, ran the evening service each night, and just in general made sure our kids were taken care of and loved while we were gone. They did this while at the same time taking care of teams from America and making sure their ministry plans were carried out.
Our house moms did an incredible job of taking care of any daily needs, making sure the kids were getting along, and keeping things running just like they did while we were here. They also provided a love and consistency that can only come by being a part of the our children’s lives each and every day. Our other employees, Marjorie, Lener, Giselle, Julihomme, and our tutors made sure that the needs of our children were always met and took care of any issues that arose.
In addition to this, we had 4 people who gave time out of their summer to come and fill in for us while we were away. Brad Henry, one of our sponsors and someone who has helped our ministry in numerous ways came down for the first 6 days we were gone to fill in for us. Allison Davis, the Executive Director of Hope Rising, came down for 10 days to take care of the children and to help Matt and Cara while we were gone. Finally, Martin and Emily Hale (from NEO Church in Ohio) who are also sponsors came down for the final 10 days of our time at home. I was a little jealous that Martin got to teach the kids to play basketball while I was gone, but they did a great job of watching over and loving our children. It was great that these 4 men and women took time away from their own vacation and out of their own summer to come and take our place caring for our children.
Finally, our house mom manager, Gina, made sure everything ran smoothly and took care of any big problems that arose while we were gone. The addition of Gina to our team down here could not be overstated as her influence has changed All Things New for the better. She does things we did not even know we needed, gives advice that we did not even know to ask for (in a good way), and provides us with knowledge of how to take care of children in a culture with which we are not overly familiar. We know that when we are not here, we leave our children in good hands with her leading our house moms.
It was truly the first time we have ever left the kids for an extended period (1 month this time) and felt completely confident that our kids were safe and loved. We could rest, sleep, and be together in the states for the first time without constantly worrying about our children, and it was an amazing feeling. That is not to say that we did not think about them or worry about them, but that is to say that we knew they were loved and we knew they were safe. Thank you for helping us get to this point in our ministry where no matter where we are, our kids are safe.
On a related note, elections are this coming Sunday here in Haiti. Please be prayer for the country as over the next 3 months almost every single political office will be chosen for this nation. Pray for wisdom for the voters, strength for the candidates, and especially safety for the people of Haiti. Election time can be quite contentious here and we are hoping for a smooth process.