Team Update -
Judy Dowd, Wethersfield UMC
In early July, our 22-person team had the privilege of visiting the village of Furcy. For some, it was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and for others it was a first exposure to a community so many of us think about every day.
Our group was a wonderful mix of high school, college-age and older “youth.” We were also blessed to have a last-minute addition to our team – a high schooler from New Jersey whose family fled Haiti after the earthquake but visit every summer. His parents had approached Brulan Jean-MIchel, the Guest House manager, about a possible mission opportunity for him and our team was happy to include him. After the first few hours, it was like he’d been with us for years – and, he spoke fluent Creole - which was a huge help! Thanks to the generosity of the 4 congregations represented on our team, and friends who supported our trip, we were able to leave a real mark on the community.
We began with several smaller projects – repaired, sanded, and varnished the communion rail, built a cabinet in the storage area behind the sanctuary where they can now lock valuables, and repaired desks at the school.
Several local workers were hired to begin the larger project – building several of retaining walls next to the church so that a concrete slab could be poured, which would allow a large, flat area for community gatherings and youth activities. The Furcy community designed and dug the trenches and our group provided the extra muscle necessary to move the very large rock pile by the clinic up to the worksite.
We had a busy week of activities as well. We hosted a Vacation Bible School, where everyone went home with health kits they had decorated and filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, band-aids and antibiotic wipes.
We held two community meals, a game day, a gathering where youth in both communities were able to talk about their lives; and attended a community concert where we heard amazing talent and our group performed too!
And were blessed to have been able to bring several suitcases filled with shoes and clothes so were able to stock a “store” where the women came and “shopped” for all sorts of items. The favorites were shoes and towels!
We were also able to leave suitcases full of school supplies and backpacks for the elementary and middle schools; restock the medical clinic with some of the more common over-the-counter meds, soaps and washcloths and Days for Girls kits; and were able to leave money to fund another day of hot lunch every week for 108 elementary school children for the upcoming school year and money for curriculum and other needs at both schools.
But the best part was the time we had to spend as a team with old and new friends…
… and we are already planning our return in early summer 2019!
From New Hope UMC
New Hope UMC, Brunswick, Maryland, will be hosting this team of amazing children and adults for the evening. We are so looking forward to this time to share.
Haiti Orphan Choir –
Love Him, Love Them Sept. 12
Folks! Here is a chance to know and fall in love with the piece of our hearts that we have left in Haiti...right here in Brunswick!!! Put it on your calendar because you don't want to miss this. September 12th - Tuesday evening at 7pm at New Hope UMC 7 S. Maryland Ave., Brunswick MD. Free Will Offering to go to Love Him, Love Them.
We will not be hosting a team to Haiti for 2017 but hoping for 2018. We are also in prayer with all these upcoming storms that could possibly hit them that God protects Haiti from them. Much love and Gods Speed to all.
Jack Agnew – Eagle Scout!
As his Eagle Scout project, Jack Agnew, from Newtown UMC, provided more than 200 Sawyer Water Filters to the greater-Furcy community this past spring. He will be receiving his much-deserved Eagle Scout award on Saturday, September 30. Congratulations Jack!
Wethersfield UMC Fundraiser
Several days after the Haiti earthquake, Jude and Dadou Exantus, and their two children, returned to the US with Tom and Wendy under the TPS (Temporary Protection Status). Jude was then hired by the Wethersfield UMC as its Youth Director under a Religious Workers Visa and has served in that capacity for the past 6 years. Wethersfield is now seeking to establish a Haiti Missions position and assist Jude and his family toward permanent resident status.
The Wethersfield Church is sponsoring a fund-raising event, “A Taste of Haiti” to support this effort.
Haiti Partners Roundtable
Leaders of the Methodist Church of Haiti (EMH) have been invited to meet with representatives from a number of US-based Methodist Haiti Mission Partners in October in Vestal, New York. Included in this meeting will be Bishop Gesner Paul, Rev Marco Depestre (Church Secretary), and Brulan Jean-Michel (Guest House Manager).
The goals are to review current procedures and practices for VIM teams and projects, identify long-term goals for the EMH-VIM program, and develop a plan for achieving those goals. Tom and Wendy will represent Mountains of Hope at this gathering.
New Canaan UMC is in the process of developing a “backpack” ministry. Backpacks will be purchased in Haiti and supplies will be a combination of team donations and items purchased in Haiti.
Backpacks are made by a Haitian company which employs over 30 persons, pays fair wages, and uses recycled items in some of their products. One style incorporates 200 plastic bottles into a single backpack. More information will follow.
There are currently no teams scheduled to Furcy through MHH although we are hoping to send another medical/dental team sometime after the new year.
Even as we are still in the recovery phase of Harvey, Irma is now bearing down on the Caribbean and Florida, possibly the mid-Atlantic states. We are in contact with Bishop Paul and will provide updates to the MHH community from Furcy and other locations as they come in.
Please keep them, and all in the path of this storm, in your prayers.
Mountains of Hope Finance Update
We currently have enough funding to cover our commitments through the end of year. In a short time we will be sending out support notices and commitment requests for 2018.
Please remember that all funding for Mountains of Hope for Haiti and team projects comes from the generous support we receive from the New York Conference, member churches, and individuals.
All funds are held by the Frontier Foundation at the Conference Center and wired directly to the EMH Finance Director, Andre Rocourt. We are in close contact with Andre and receive updates quarterly or as requested.
On behalf of the people of the greater Furcy community we thank you for your continued support.
Donations to Mountains of Hope may be sent to:
The Frontier Foundation - 20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY. 10606
Thank you to all for your continued support!
Tom and Wendy