God is bringing everything together in almost unimaginable ways for us and the 16 boys in our Transitional Program. The boys are very receptive to us, trust us and are eager to work and learn. (Us refers to us on the ground… Carmelo Francois Jerry, often referred to as Melo, myself and the team of people we know and don’t know who are prayerfully and financially supporting us on the ground.) Melo has worked with the boys in the past and is highly respected by them. He was born in Haiti, educated in the States and returned to Haiti almost ten years ago when he was 20.
At least one meal a day is provided to anyone of the boys who come to my house mid day… or any other time they are hungry. Typically we are cooking 5-6 cups of rice per day and one cup of beans. Spaghetti, eggs, sandwiches,fruit and other things are also served but rice and beans are the “staple.” Prayer and discussion occur at each meal.
Education is a key to success, so much focus is put on their educational needs, making sure that they have and do what it takes to succeed in this area. A number of the boys are either not passing or marginally passing at school this year. We visited with the boys to find out what their needs are and are working to find ways to propel them to success.
We have secured a tutor who has agreed to tutor each weekday evening from 5pm – 7pm in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English and Creole. I am also available to work with anyone on their English skills.
We have implemented a “pen pal” program for any boy with the time and interest in corresponding with an elementary class in Nort hwestern Iowa and also the 3 children of a single mom in Des Moines, Iowa. So far, two boys are participating in this program.
We have a weekly Challenge/Incentive program that starts February 1. The boys will be given challenges each week in Bible verse memorization (both Creole and English), spelling bees (English), math problems (focusing in the area of budgeting) and reading comprehension. Each month there will be a “big event” outside of Port au Prince where the top 4 participants will have fun challenges like tug-of-war, 2 and 3 legged races, obstacle course, scavenger hunt, etc. where prizes will be awarded.
We have been in communication with the Director of the school they attend, as well as their teachers, regarding attendance, progress, needs, etc. and provide incidental financial support as needed. We assist in scheduling and transporting boys to necessary medical and/or eye doctor appointments and provide incidental medication as needed. We are also working to secure necessary legal documentation for the boys. A Haitian needs to have certain documents in order to secure future employment, purchase vehicles, homes, etc.
We attend weekly church services together and weekly prayer meetings. Daily Bible readings occur also… sometimes in a group setting, sometimes one-on-one and sometimes individually.
We have seen marked progress in the past few months regarding their ability to make their own choices and live with the consequences of those decisions, taking financial responsibility, working out conflicts or potential conflicts between themselves and others. Several are taking steps to long range planning, thinking of their future rather than just of what is happening today.
We have implemented an outreach program where they “remember where they came from” and serve others on the streets. We will help to broaden their horizons by visiting various points of interest in their country, both inside and outside of Port au Prince.
We are able to do all of this because God called us to it and because you have responded, in faith, to God’s prompting in your life for prayerful and/or financial support. This is an incredible journey and we are blessed to be serving together with you. Thank you!