Hello community! My husband arrived safely back in the US on the 22nd with a treasure trove of pictures and info about the two Espwa Demen Christmas programs. Everything went very well and I am excited to share with you.
The trip was a big feat accomplished and luggage was a hassle to say the least. I am relieved it all went so well and there were no major problems. Because of planned protests and impending lockdown in country the last night in Haiti my husband had to stay in a hotel near the airport to insure his safe departure the next afternoon.
This year all of our students but one were able to attend the events along with a parent. Some of their siblings even came! It was a great turnout, much improved from last year! We couldn’t be more pleased and encouraged for the new year.
Christmas Program #1
Our first event took place in the smallest of villages in our program where we support 13 students a 3 hour drive from our home village. Along with my husband he brought a wonderful team of seven guys and two women for security and help with food and organizing the activities.
There were some bumps along the journey such as a tire that had to be changed twice and very expensive gas totaling $400 for two vehicles to make the trip there and back alone! But by the grace of God everything worked out in the end and everyone was blessed by their time together.
The event took place in a local school that offered the use of their building. Several of our students attend this school and it is a central place for all the students to commute to.
The Christmas story was shared along with encouragement for the year and prayer over the coming semesters. Food was provided by us and prepared by a host of our wonderful lady volunteers and some of the older students who pitched in. We handed out gifts packed in drawstring bags by all of our supporters here in the US and did a tie dye craft with the girls.
After the program there was time for the parents of students to ask questions and share encouragement from the progress they have seen in their child life since entering the program. Some of the students also stood up to say a few words in front of the group.
Christmas Program #2
The second Christmas program took place closer to home in our small farming village. 17 of our 18 local students where able to attend along with some of their siblings and friends. This program also took place in one of the schools where we have a number of scholarship students and volunteers.
The planned events where the same as the first program. On top of the regular activities we also gave out the rest of the donated shoes that were left there since the fall and some tee shirts that were donated.
Because of the worsening situation in our area we decided to pay the scholarships of 6 more students in struggling families that are not in our program. Some of these students will be joining the program in the near future and in need of long term sponsors.
Church Build Update
Thanks to a donation of $300 we were able to invest in the ongoing church build out in a mountainous region of Haiti with no roads. For the past few years we have donated to this church three times. For lack of time the guys the guys were not able to visit the location in person but sent their love and the funds ahead.
In the coming months we will assemble a team to go on our ministry’s behalf to check up on the progress and see the amazing work that our contribution has helped accomplish.
Thanks and Prayer Requests
We would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all of you who made this trip possible! We are overwhelmingly grateful to all of our sponsors both our longtime sponsors and those who have just joined the past few months. We pray that the Lord will bless you and your families this year and that you will see His hand at work in your lives in increasing measure. (:
Here are a few ways you can be praying for Espwa Demen throughout the coming months
- We are in dire need of a diesel vehicle in Haiti the near future. This has definitely been a long held desire but the rising gas prices have made it an even greater urgent need. Diesel fuel tends to stay lower priced and be more available in Haiti than gasoline. Please join us in praying about this need.
- We would love to see more of our students sponsored this year. As we add new students to the mix it is our desire that all may find sponsors so we can continue to expand the program. At the moment 15 of our 31 students have a sponsor. Join us in lifting up this need and please spread the word in your social circles!
- One of biggest dreams is for Haiti to be more stable and safe to make trips down with groups of our supporters possible! We are already in the process of arranging housing plans that would make this doable but cannot open up trip signup until something changes in Haiti. Please pray for Haiti as a country! Specifically for a change in leadership.
Rachel and Nelson <3