Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Shoeboxes, Haiti trip 2

 We had put all the contents of the shoeboxes in 2 quart baggies when we were in the States so that it would travel better, stacking shoeboxes into suitcases too.  Now it was time to repack all the items into the correct boxes.

  We decided to wrap all the lids with Christmas wrap (some were already wrapped).

After we were done, the next days were spent handing out the shoeboxes to each class of children.  The 2's on one day, the 3's the next, etc.  Hope would gather 3 children at a time from each class and we'd give them their shoebox to open.   Some of the children were so excited; others a little bewildered perhaps.  As if to say "for me?"  Kids would blow the horns they received or pretend to drive the little cars they got.  What joy for each child!

Hope would ask what their favorite thing was.  For many, it was the sunglasses!  One child from last year told Hope "soap!"   Many of the girls loved the dolls they received!  Many loved the candy canes!

The Awana girls sponsored this girl.

These girls jumped into Hope's arms and cried with joy.  I did too.  It was very emotional!

 The cool thing about this trip was seeing my own sponsored Christmas shoebox children receive their gift from Al and me!

We special packed this crown so it wouldn't get broken in transport. 
She loved it!

This was the boy we had last year! 

Hannah's family's little girl

After each group would open up their boxes, they would go back to their class with the promise that they could take the shoeboxes home with them at the end of the day.  

 Parents were assured that each child would receive a shoebox - each class on a separate day.

Besides shoeboxes, we also purchased uniforms for all the children.  A local tailor was found who sewed all of them.  They didn't all arrive until the last day (and a few missing, but will come soon.)

I was brought to tears when the gates opened and parents saw their children in their uniforms.  They were so excited and surprised.  They clapped, cheered and some jumped up and down!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Trip to Haiti - 1

We have been a part of Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse for several years, but the past couple of years, we have done a similar Christmas shoebox ministry with Maranatha Children's preschool in Haiti.   Hope had been an intern there for a couple of years and she saw the needs of the children there and began a shoebox ministry for them.
  Here is the Haiti team, which included myself and my granddaughter, Hannah.

It began last fall.   I had thought about taking Hannah to Mexico with our church team who serves at a children's home there.  But then Sophia told me that Hannah really wanted to go to Haiti.  That very evening, Hope posted on FB that she was looking for a team to go to Haiti.  I asked Hannah and she was so very excited about the opportunity!

Preparing sponsor cards for people to make shoeboxes for 
and/or purchase uniforms for.

127 shoeboxes were given and uniforms purchased!  
Thank you, generous people!!  

We had a packing party.  
The contents of the shoeboxes were put in 2 qr. baggies.  
Names were placed on them.  They were vacuum sealed for packing into large suitcases.
Shoeboxes were marked and stacked into suitcases.

I am planning to take Sophia to Japan hopefully one day.  And the Arkansas kids - we must plan a trip too!  Sophia asked Claire, age 4, "Where would you like Nana to take you?"

"Antarctica!" was her reply.

Hannah was counting down the days until it was time to go!
And finally it was time!  We were up at 2AM to make an early flight.
Thank you, sweet husband, for getting up so early to drive us to the airport!

All but one suitcase made it!  (It was found at a later day.)
 Suitcases and people put in the back of the pickup.

Driving through the streets of Port Au Prince.
 Goats, trash, people and cars every where!

The homes have walls around them.  There is barbed wire or cut glass at the top to keep thieves out.  Each place has a metal gate.  When we arrived at the compound, the missionary honked his horn and the gate was opened to let us in.

We were shown to our rooms.  Sarah, Jayden, Hannah and I would share this room for the coming week.  Hope and Kayleigh were right next door in an enclosed porch.  6 girls - 1 bathroom.  But at least we didn't have to go to an outside john!

more to come....