Monday, March 22, 2010

lespwa fe viv: out of hope comes life

A few things:)

1. Ah! I hang my head in shame because it's been so long since I've blogged...and what a crucial time to miss posting. But in an effort to catch those who aren't sponsors up on the last 4 months, below I've posted the monthly newsletters going all the way back to December.

2. From now on you'll be able to find future monthly updates about what's going on in our relationship with Haiti here typically within the first week of the month (along with extra blogging here and there) keep coming back!

3. Shameless plug: Chasing Canaan's single, "Deep" is now on iTunes and you can buy it with all proceeds going to help The Global Orphan Project's efforts in Haiti. 99cents...that's a coke for you, 3 meals for them. Tell your friends!

4. Count down to be back in Haiti: 24 days!

5. Read on friends, and thanks for connecting with us...there's much to talk about and tie into.

March Sponsor Update

Dear Sponsor,
There is a song by Natalie Grant called "Our Hope is Unchanged" whose lyrics start out: "You would think only so much can go wrong, Calamity only strikes once, And you assume that this one has suffered her share, Life will be kinder from here, Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years, Sometimes the sky rains night after night, When will it clear? But our hope endures the worst of conditions, It's more than our optimism, Let the earth quake, Our hope is unchanged."
And in light of the continued shakes in Haiti's country side, the recent earthquake in Chile, and last week's 60" flood in Les Cayes, there are very few combinations of words that I can think of that capture this season. Be near, Lord.
I have received many emails from Pastor Jean at Bighouse assuring us that the kdis and the orphanage were not harmed or damaged during the recent flooding; however, Pastor Jean and his family lost their house, but thankfully have been provided a new one. Keep them in your prayers.
A meeting is taking place in Haiti this next week among those in Les Cayes and Joe Knittig from The Global Orphan Project to discuss in further detail the expansion of Bighouse in the very near future. Since your last monthly update, we have gotten 36 new sommitments for sponsorship of the newly orphanaed that will be joining our Bighouse Family. Thank you, thank you for your quick and gracious partnership. We have "enough" to expand for the 100+ that was mentioned in February, however we and the GOP team are confident that for every sponsor we have, there will be an orphan, and for every oephan we have, there will be a sponsor. All to say, if someone else you know is interested in sponsoring, we definitely are interested in their partnership!
American Airlines started flying commercially again on February 19th which means team planning on our end has begun, and we couldn't be more excited about the idea of getting our feet back on Haitian soil. Hu Debo will be leadin the medical team down the Les Cayes during the week of April 9th to offer a mobile medical clinic to the Bighouse Community as well as other surrounding communities. I will be joining a team through The Global Orphan Project for a few days on April 15th to go and work in their Transition Village in Port au Prince where many of their blogs are written from ( We have been anxious to go back since we left and are blessed to be able to do so, thankful for your prayers and grateful to be able to return with more stories as to connect you in a deeper way to our family in Haiti.
The Global Orphan Project is moving toward the building of ten additional orphanages in the Port au Prince area and thankfully have churches in the states that have already committed to being Village Sponsors (like we are for Bighouse). They ask us to pray for the upcoming rainy season, as many people are now living on the streets, and disease will be the next threat. They have told us many stories of hardship and restoration, repulsive suffering and indescribable healing. Above all, we are loved and God is good and He is always, always in the business of redeeming the broken in the world, from our hearts to the Earth's geographic plates.
I am confident that we will all continue to be amazed if we stick around.
Bless you,
Britney Winn
Haiti Liaison
FUMC Shreveport

February Sponsor Update

Dear Sponsors,
Where to start...
First, thank you for being a part of this relationship with Haiti. All the news of the devastation and chaos that you've been reading and watching from the erathquake has no doubt been more personal than it would have been six months ago prior to our work in haiti and your agreement to come along for the journey. Thank you for your prayers and your donations; they are needed more now than ever.
Just a quick update from the past month. Hu Debo, Nycki Sorensen, and I got to Les Cayes to do follow-up & trip-prep work the Monday before the Tuesday earthquake. After finding out that all the kids and buildings at Bighouse were fine, three days after the earthquake we were able to evacuate out of the embassy in Port au Prince, taking us through the leveled city that the world has been watching so closely ever since. Taking advantage of the media that our being there brought about, we bounced the news' attention toward a tent city that we created called Cite' Lespwa (City of Hope). Sixty to seventy-five people flowed in and out of our tent city--that was set up on Centenary College's Campus--taking shifts to raise money and awareness for 7 days. We lived in prayer and solidarity as best we knew how in an effort to raise funding for immediate orphan relief. Thanks to the quick response of so many generous givers, this week we were able to write a check for over $75,000 that will go straight to The Global Orphan Project (GOP) who is on the ground currently in Haiti.
Let me tell you a little more about GOP. They have 18 orphanages in haiti prior to the earthquake, one of those being Bighouse--where your sponsor money goes to help. They took care of 2000 orphans before the quake hit, but now have jumped into the much needed action of finding and caring for the many new orphans that hvae been left after the quake. Currently, they are in haiti trucking in $10-$12,000 worth of food in trucks through the Dominican every other day. They are in a transition village east of Port au Prince and are finding 30 to 40 to 200 new orphans every day that they have to meet with food, water, and medical attention. This is what our $75,000 will go to help.
Les Cayes, on the Southern Coast where Bighouse is, has gone from having 300,000 in population to 450,000. The refugees are mostly injured and homeless. One hudnred and six orphans from a GOP orphanage that was damaged in Port au Prince have been moved to different orphanages in the Les Cayes are, and more are sure to come.
And this is how we are moving into action at Bighouse. Talk has been started about adding new dorms at Bighouse Orphanage so that some of these transition orphans can move in and have a place to live. It is felt that 100+ children will be at Bighouse with the necessary expansion project, meaning that along with the 80 sponsors that we currently have, we now need to find 20-40 new sponsors to help sustain these children.
Here's where you and I come in. We need to find new sponsors and quickly. If you know of someone that feels called and capable to support the children at Bighouse Orphanage at $35 a month, please encourage them to email me at:
We cannot do everything, but we can do something. And together, we will move into action to help in the survival and healing of Haiti. The people of Haiti will need our prayers far past our understanding, our attention long past our boredom, our funding far mroe than we realize, and our hope and dedication far greater than ourselves.
If you want to keep up with The Global Orphan Project and their current and updated relief work, go to: , and go to the blogs.
We do not know when we will be able to return to Haiti, as mostly NGOs, dignitaries, and relief workers are being allowed into the country. However, we are keeping up with Pastor Jean at Bighouse and Mrs. Virginia at the Guesthouse through email and The Global Orphan Project through email and phone.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email. And again, thank you for your prayers and partnership. They are anything but stagnant in this broken time for Haiti. But still her people sing and fight through the rubble, and we hold on to that.
Bless you,
Britney Winn
Haiti Liaison
FUMC Shreveport

January Sponsor Update

Dear Sponsor,
I received an email from Pastor Jean (onsite at Bighouse Orphanage) a couple of days ago, and he says that the children say to tell the teams, the congregation, and the sponsors that they love them, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Our youth mission team just returned back to the states on the 1st from their week-long trip to Les Cayes. We are so proud of all of those who were able to go and all those who made it possible for the trip to take place. Since the Bighouse kids were out of school for the holiday week, the youth were able to put on a mini-VBS, a one-day soccer camp, and help in the beginning construction of a playground area! They report that the latrines and showers (which the November team helped begin) have been finished, and a dining pavilion complete with tables has been built to give the kids a place to eat and keep them away from the cooking fire! I will be taking a follow-up trip in the next month to check on everything, and Hu Debo will be leading a team down in February to conduct a mobile medical clinic.
Other exiciting news from our end is that we have recently become aware of the involvement of The Global Orphan Project at Bighouse orphanage and are moving toward partnership with them as we combine our mission teams and donations with their knowledge of Haiti and organized orphan care. This will look no different for our sponsorship program than it does now, we will simply be working with an experienced organization who is dedicated to helping orphanages and their leaders move toward self-sustainment. This is great news for our Initiative and for the people in the Bighouse community, and we look forward to our relationship with them for the betterment of the children's lives.
As we've emerged into the first of a new year, my mind is blown as I think about the journey that we have been on over the past few months. We have heard team's reports of the orange-haired, lethargic, and malnourished children from Haiti; and we have heard team's reports about the phenomenal energy boost due to consistent meals. We have heard stories of the affection-deprived kids who love to play with the Americans' hair, and we have heard stories of the painful shots that kill the worms. Suffering and beauty walk as hand in hand as compassion and risk, as love and selflessness. And we have foudn them all in this place. Thank God He has so creatively and mysteriously rumbled His inviting whisper our way, daring us to come along, and promising that our lives will refuse to stay the same once we've encountered this side of the Kingdom. It has been an exiciting, inspiring, and unpredictable journey; and the flooring news is that we've only just begun.
Again and laways, thank you for your giving and your interest in these stories. If you ever have any questions or would just like to talk mroe about the movement we're a part of, please don't hesitate to contact me. Happy New Year and God bless you!
He loves us,
Britney Winn
Haiti Liaison
FUMC Shreveport
Ps. If you recieve an extra card in your newsletter, your sponsor child was an economic orphan who has been reunited with his/her family. If not, your sponsor child is still a resident of Bighouse Orphanage. We celebarte the fact that these children are once again among relatives who can care for, nurture, and enjoy them, though we recognize the personal attachment among our sponsors. As your donations go to the entire project, we encourage you to continue in your praying and giving, as new children have been taken in at Bighouse and are now getting food and medical attention because of your partnership. Thank you all!

December Sponsor Update

Dear Sponsor,

Though when you receive this letter our November team will have returned to the states, I currently am writing this on the groudns in Haiti. I am sitting here in Le Belle Maison Guesthouse, humbled and grateful as I think about how the Lord has invited us to come along and how you have said, "We'd love to come too!" Thank you for your interest. Thank you for trusting. Thank you for risking compassion. And thank you for praying.

With every trip, with every meeting, with every conversation attempted through the language barrier, with every project completed, child healed, and vision spoken, we are learning and growing. So dear friend, as we learn and giv and go, I would love it if you would continue to walk with us in this great adventure that has brought us together with this little place called Bighouse.

Many wondeful things are evolving and emerging out at the orphanage and the community that it belongs to. Short-term goals are shaping new hope as they get checked off, and long-term goals are rounding the corner faster than we could have imagined.

Some of these blessings are:

1. A couple of small gardens have been planted in the back of Bighouse yielding their very own eggplant, peas, pumpkins, and okra. This is exciting and helps us possibly move furth toward self-sustainment.
2. The building of eight latrines and eight shower facitilies has begun and will be completed soon. This offers much greater sanitation and privacy for the kids. Thank you to our November Team who helped get this project rolling!
3. School is still in process and the teachers recently received some desks and storage space.
4. The Youth's December Team (going down in just a few weeks) will be building playground equipment on site, and a church out of Kansas has already committed to funding and building the dining pavilion next spring.

Also, some of our long-term goals (which include reintegrating as many kids as possible back into homes where they can be properly nurtured, and reaching out further in community development in the area) have already begun!

1. We celebrate the fact that some of the children (economic orphans) have been reunited with their families as the community continues to heal and grow out of the tough deprivation that the three hurricanes caused last year!
2. And, conversatio nhas begun about extending the school as to invite community children into an opportunity of affordable education and potentially making Bighouse a healing and hopeful distribution hub for the community that so desperately needs it.

Just a reminder, the money you give each month goes to all the efforts at the orphanage as a whole. Your gifts are providing medical attention, 3-meals-a-day, and enabling many of the goals mentioned above. Your partnership is, little by little, transforming an entire community! SAbove you'll find a handful of pictures of some new faces for you to learn, connect with, and pray for, and some photos of a few of the projects that are taking place! Our goal as a "sponsorship effort" is to connect you as best we can to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We hope and pray that this takes you there a little more each time.


Britney Winn
Haiti Liaison
FUMC Shreveport

Photos taken by Jason Kay, November Team '09