Report from Haiti
A week ago I (Jillian) returned from Haiti...and boy do I miss it already...
The continuous sounds of the busy streets.
The practice of going down with the sun.
Did I say pineapple already?
And of course the people. My Haitian family. Emmaus House.
My time there was short- only a week. Little Judah tagged along so most of my days revolved around nap times. Poor bud struggled with the heat, mosquitos, and teething the whole week long. Despite the fact that most everyone in Haiti thought his name was "Judas" and couldn't believe I named my son after the man who betrayed Jesus...he was still quite popular...as you can tell by these pictures:
While this visit was a time for me to reconnect with everyone in person, it also served as a time to strengthen our Haitian staff and provide them with tools needed in order to be more efficient. I brought along a few friends with me who each had specific skills to gift Emmaus House in these areas:
Missy, a long-time supporter of Emmaus House, is an elementary teacher from Washington state. I gave her the task of putting some organization to Gerome's office, creating a paperwork timeline board, cleaning out files, creating a grade book to keep track of grades, and helping our upcoming graduates complete their university scholarship applications.
Here is Missy explaining the paperwork timeline board to our boys. They were HIGHLY intrigued:
Anna, also a long-time sponsor of Emmaus House, came to lead our staff in a team building training. Taking some of the skills she has learned working for Chick-fil-A throughout the years, she did an amazing job helping our staff express the mission of Emmaus House in their own words, learn the value of working as a team, and identify personal strengths and weaknesses.
In the picture below, Anna had each of our staff read through the Emmaus House mission statement and then write and share what it personally means to them.
And last, but most certainly not least, Bethy, one of our board members from Nashville, TN, joined us. Bethy has years worth of experience working in Haiti, and having her there to help sit in on staff meetings and be a part of valuable conversations with the youth was so great! She led devotionals and helped our staff do a S.W.O.T (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis on the program as a whole.
Here Bethy is leading a devotional on spiritual gifts one evening:
The youth at Emmaus are doing really well. I had the chance to visit Jenny at her new home. And guys...she is doing SO GREAT! Her room is all pretty and purple. She is LOVING nursing school. She visits Emmaus House a few times a week just to stay in touch and still sees our youth every week at church. She is beautiful and radiant and such a wonderful example to our younger girls.
Both Max and Jackenson will graduate from secondary school this summer and both have dreams of attending university. Max wants to study medicine and Jackenson wants to become an engineer. I was able to have some good talks with them about goal setting, school expectations, and how to be good stewards of the gift of education. Please be praying for these boys as they take their final government exams. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these boys to attend college in Haiti, please EMAIL ME for more information.
Because Easter was right around the corner, we did an Easter egg hunt on our new property. The sun was crazy hot and there were a good number of goats grazing the land, but our guys sure had fun!
Overall, the week was wonderful and reminded me so much of why I loved called Haiti home for so many years. Although I was super anxious to get home to my family back in Tennessee, leaving Haiti about ripped my heart in two. I absolutely love that my job in life is to work for these youth. To love them. To empower them. To watch them grow up into young men and women. What a privilege and a gift it is.
It will be another 6 months until I return to Emmaus House. Next time I return there will be (Lord willing) a finished security wall on our property and a home being built. Max and Jackenson will have started university. We will have hired at least one more support staff. Possibly have welcomed in a few new students. So many changes, so much growth, and all so exciting!
Thank you to everyone who continues to support Emmaus House through prayer and financial gifts. The fruit of your giving is evident!