Just on lunch break, I noticed a red van drive past our eating spot heading to the local Filipino store that we occasionally shop at. The lettering on the van said the name of their organization which is working in the Philippines. My wife being a Filipina, and having been a few times, as well as being involved in some missions work there myself, we had to pop over and meet these folks to see what’s going on!
We met the founder, Bill and his wife, Ghing, along with her mom. What a great family! They are so dedicated to helping the poor in the Philippines by sharing the gospel, providing medical supplies and treatment, along with a feeding program and other efforts.
I was reminded of Psalm 41: 1; “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him”
Bill’s generous spirit was overflowing as they were preparing boxes to ship and we spoke of shipping containers and providing medical treatment, etc. He handed us a couple of items for us to send to our work in Haiti stating, “freely we receive, so freely we should give.”
It was such a blessing to meet these fine folks and we look forward to whatever may lie ahead in the relationship as we strive to renew distressed lives in the various regions of God’s earth!
During our medical visit in December, several people sought out the medical team for some personal attention. Without any announcement, the word was out! After our daily student examinations at the school, we took the medical bag and responded to several needs in the surrounding area. One young lady, Nathalie, had an obvious malady in her abdominal region. The nurse decided she needed to get to a hospital for pictures of what was going on inside… The group quickly rustled up the funds and sent her in to receive the results pictured below.
So, Nathalie needs a surgery that she and her family can’t afford. We returned home and pleaded on her behalf while at River Spring Lodge and our friend, Kay kicked off a drive that continued at Life Spring in Worcester, MA and at Solid Rock Church in Albany, NY. After a few short weeks, all of the funds have been collected for the surgery and the medicines needed to go along with it!
I spoke with Nathalie this morning and she is SOooo thankful!! She has asked that everyone helping be thanked and she is praying God’s blessings on you!
There was a good mix of veterans and first timers, but everyone had a profitable experience! We had a list of priorities to accomplish starting with providing medical examinations to the school students. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort. We now have a baseline to compare with future exams to help evaluate growth and overall health.
We also had a building project to get done which was a success under the hot Haiti sun 🙂 The construction team was able to put a roof on our new depot as well as giving some building lessons to locals along the way. This building is important as we bring in goods and supplies for various programs.
There is so much to experience in visiting a different country with a different culture and language and life experiences. There is always a give and take of each others lives; we can often help address some issues of poverty and illness and so on but the Haitians often display a lifestyle of resilience; overcoming the seemingly unending barrage of adversity.
Maybe you should consider joining us on an upcoming trip! 🙂
For over 30 years now Lucy Vanderhoof has been traveling to Haiti to work in the non-profit sector. For the past several years she has been volunteering with Project Nourish. Lucy loves ministering to the women and children most. Although she has mentioned that she’s “too old” to go back several times, it seems she’s often one of the first to enlist in the group trips. At 84 she’s still going strong and ready to join the action in an upcoming trip! “I’m not ready to give up”, Lucy says, “…I still have a great heart for Haiti.”
Seeing how excited she still gets talking about Haiti and knowing that she loves the people in Haiti, we anticipate having her on several more Impact Group trips in the future. Keep it up, Lucy!!
If you haven’t gone on an Impact Group trip consider this an encouragement to go! So many lasting relationships come from these trips. We have seen people grow up over the 30 years and our friendships have grown with them. Some folks have bonded on a trip and realized the impact of sponsorship so they became a sponsor and continue to correspond and develop meaningful friendships. Just making the effort to share what we’ve been blessed with whether it’s wealth or a skill or talent or simply being a friend has enduring benefits to each party involved.
Some can’t make such a trip for various reasons like health, finances, etc. there are still ways to “be there”. One lady friend sponsored a child who grew up and now has her own child, now my friend is sponsoring the child! The mother (now) considers my friend as family. Although my friend is old and unable to travel, we have helped her to communicate through letters and apps like Skype. My friend Annie, who is in the Philippines, has helped by using her knowledge and skills to prepare necessary administrative documents which we email back and forth between her country and our PN office, tweaking as we go! Now, she has offered to use some of her assessment skills on site in Haiti and in the U.S. office. We are looking forward to her visiting our board, and traveling to Haiti with us, in September. We can all “be there”, we just gotta figure out how…
We at Project Nourish love to be facilitators of the long distance relationships created through our sponsorship programs. As someone who enjoys several such relationships that have endured almost thirty years, I can attest that they can be long lasting too!
In this picture we see Lucy and Ti-Carme. This too is a long distance, long lasting relationship. Here they are working together on organizing data they gathered on the presently sponsored children and their families, as well as translating letters that the children have just written to their sponsors. We will carry the correspondence, between the American sponsors and the Haitian children, in and out of Haiti and hope each budding connection grows into a life changing, long term friendship like those that we have developed and hold so dear to our hearts.
It is such a blessing to be able to work hand in hand with our Haitian counterparts in helping affect change in Haiti. The board of Project Nourish is shared by both American and Haitian affiliates. We are pleased to have these relationships developing and making a difference in the world.
We truly look forward to experiencing more and more of these powerful, life changing connections for ourselves personally and for many of you, our friends…
Was that wedding bells we heard?? That’s right! We certainly had a wedding a couple of weeks ago. Our son, James Vanderhoof married Linda Guerrier of BordMer. It was a wonderful time of celebration!
. The Ring Ceremony James & Linda
It was a beautiful ceremony with a couple of surprises for the audience. One was the nice sand ceremony; where each of the couple poured, from a separate bottle, different color sand into a taller bottle creating a unique blend representative of their two lives and cultures being blended together in a wonderful expression of love never to be separated or alone again. Another was that when they spoke their vows, which they authored themselves, James said his in Creole and Linda said hers in English. It was such a nice touch…
James and Linda have worked with Project Nourish in several programs including the distribution of shoes, feeding needy families, sorting & passing out clothing to children and orphans and in the interim housing project. It looks like they’ll be working together for a long time to come!
Susan and I are proud parents of James and our new daughter-in-law, LindaJ As are Roland and Benicia. We love them and are so happy for them and we wish them the absolute best!!
I had the honor of traveling with my daughter, Jaclyn on this last trip. It was just the two of us and it was nice. We started off together every moment, laughing, speaking Haitian Creole, and having fun. Then…she was off! She already made so many friends previously and seemed to make more by the minute. As I would walk around doing my daily business there was bound to be someone asking for her by name.
My 5 children have been to Haiti multiple times now and I’m able to see the impact it has had on their lives; the awareness of blessing here in the States, the difficulties in other environments, the priority of relationships, and so on. It is a beautiful thing. It is not difficult to get one of them to go on another trip that’s for sure!
We at Project Nourish will always hold a special place in our hearts for the sponsorship programs. So many long-term, fulfilling relationships have come from these programs. They have lead to international visits between families, business endeavors, and more! The little girl pictured above is shown holding a new doll she received from someone in the States. She wouldn’t let it go! Someone cared about her and showed it. Well you can also see, in the lower left of the picture, her mom happily looking on. The mom’s name is Natacha. She remembers when she was a little girl and someone cared for her and helped her along. Now, at thirty years old as she enjoys her own little girl, Natacha has a business selling food supplies, and a small house for her family to live in because a sponsor decided it was important to help her out. Now they have a relationship that has grown over a couple of decades! Who’d have thought that the decision to sponsor a child would lead to such a rich relationship?! Now there’s regular conversations enjoyed, visits to Natacha’s home, and friendships have been formed with her family and neighbors!
It starts with just knowing that someone needs your help; that the “poor” here are rich compared to what we see in Haiti, and doing something about it. Then you just follow your heart with a letter here and there, maybe a small token of love and care. Before you know it you’re talking about cultural issues, family matters, life concerns, and so on…you’ve made a friend! Of course some people join a group trip which allows for a face to face visit and the friendship blossoms.
Ok, this is funny…I just had a phone call and am now finishing this post. The call was from Natacha! She is excited to know that she will be seeing Jaclyn (my daughter) and I in a couple of days! That’s right…you guessed it…Natacha is “our little girl”. I hope you can enjoy a lasting relationship through sponsoring like my family has. You are making memories…make ‘em good!
Just look at these cute little faces! So willing to befriend us, making our trip that much more enjoyable… So many of the children we come in contact with seem to just want to know that someone loves them. It’s not at all uncommon to have several children rush over and want to be picked up and held. Sometimes as we’re discussing an issue we’ll be holding a little boy or girl and they’ll just quietly hold on for the longest time; sometimes touching the unfamiliar white skin of our arm or face with expressions of approval. At other times, of course, they’ll want to be lifted, swung, flipped, or some other exertive motion with a seemingly undying enthusiasm! I always tire first; no doubt. There is something in the eyes of children in this environment that is both so telling and so questioning…
We also make friends with people like the gentleman pictured below. He is one of the farmers in this subsistence farming area. He has a great sense of humor and is in incredible shape, as you can see in the picture! It’s all about relationship to God and man, or should I say withGod through man?! As Project Nourish goes to help in this poverty stricken nation, we’re learning an awful lot from the people we’re meeting and the friends we’re making!
Sometimes we have people tell us that they don’t know how to help, or who they can trust, or that their little bit doesn’t really matter, etc… Well we at PN can certainly relate! We have individually and collectively felt those types of feelings many times. But that’s where teamwork comes in. Some of us can take trips for some ‘hands on’ action, some of us can simply encourage others that their part counts and makes a difference! As far as the “my little bit” being insignificant, that’s a stifling mentality that we have to avoid. You see as a team our “little bits” combine and are effective. This simply doesn’t happen if we buy into the thought that it doesn’t matter and hold out; the needs on the other end remain. As an organization sometimes we’re overwhelmed by the awareness of the immense needs and can feel ill-equipped to address them. That’s just the time to roll up our sleeves and touch as many as we can! As we make ourselves available and stretch as far as we can someone always seems to come along side to provide the next piece of the puzzle. We are a team so let’s each do our part and make a difference together!
I don’t know how we’ll purchase land and build buildings and so on to meet the needs that we see but I assure you that we’re going to keep pursuing accomplishing just that!! We need the whole heart of the whole team to get it done. You and us together!
We had the great pleasure of meeting a man named, Yves working for Samaritan’s Purse. He was the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet. Long story short…he gave us contact information and helped set up our partnering with SP to provide some interim housing for some of our people displaced by the earthquake. What a Godsend! We’ve completed the paperwork, went through the necessary training and are preparing for the construction phase. We’re anticipating some very happy beneficiaries!! We need some funding for labor and transportation to make this happen. We’re hoping and expecting an answer to come from you…our kind friends and caring souls.
We have here some pictures of our meeting with Yves at the construction compound and of the type of structures being offered to provide shelter during this interim time of great need.
We hope you can join us in helping us make this become a reality! What a journey we’re on where we can see others in need and treat them like we would want to be treated if it were our turn. We are all partners in this thing called life…
We were fortunate to make friends with a new mom on our last trip. Her little baby was only a few days old and it was a special treat to hold her tiny body in my arms. This time around she’s a little bigger. But she was really sick and having difficulty breathing. Hearing the rumbling in her chest and seeing her gasp for breath was awful. We were able to get her medical attention and in just a couple of days saw great improvement! Thank God!! Seeing, and hearing, her clear up was a blessing.
I should remind you readers that it was someone’s donation that allowed for the doctor visit and filling the prescriptions. Without the generous donations there could have been a very different outcome. “Thank you!” all who are so generous with your hard earned money. Not all can take the trip and, frankly, not all should. But we can’t do what we’re doing without your financial help too! We all have a part and it’s beautiful to experience the harmony of that teamwork! This young mother would agree…