Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Small Beginnings

The most heartbreaking experience I’ve had during my time in Haiti, has been the sight of children and babies brought to One Family Children’s Home malnourished or even at the brink of starvation. I’ve seen this over and over. And one of the most common reasons that a parent surrenders their child to One Family is food insecurity.
It’s hard for us in the developed world to truly grasp what food insecurity means, much less what it looks like or feels like.
There are children in the neighborhood where we work in Haiti who only eat once a day, and sometimes go two whole days without any food at all.       
We might have a little insight into that. If you’ve ever had to fast for bloodwork or for religious reasons then you have an idea of what it’s like to go 12 hours or a full day without eating…but you knew it was going to end. You knew that once the bloodwork was finished you could make up for lost time. You knew that once the clock struck whatever o’clock you were going to eat.
These kids never know. They never know if they’ll have enough, or some, or nothing. That’s messed up. That’s a hard way to live. That’s reality.  
So I encountered these children, kids in the neighborhood who came to school hungry and kids from the community who arrived at the orphanage skinny and sick, and they haunted me.
And then one day my family was having breakfast, bread and eggs, made by a woman from church who cooked for us. And I started thinking about her. Her husband was an unemployed, raging alcoholic who routinely drank her entire paycheck, yet her three children were healthy and chubby. And so I asked her how she managed this. And she said that when she was a young girl, her mother had taught her to garden and tend livestock. Now, as a mother, she makes it her priority to maintain a garden and raise goats and chickens to keep her children healthy.
Beautiful, brilliant, and simple.
 So we started talking and dreaming, “How do we take what this mother does for her children and put it into practice for the children who live at One Family.”
And we came up with a farm.
The vision for this farm is that it will provide fruit and vegetables and livestock to broaden and improve the diets of the kids at One Family. The excess fruit and vegetables and livestock will be sold to provide a new revenue source for the orphanage. But more important than either of these benefits is that the children of One Family will be given a place to learn about agriculture and animal husbandry, so that when they grow up and have families of their own they know how to feed their families. They will leave One Family knowing how to keep a garden and tend livestock and keep themselves and their children healthy and chubby.

The farm is almost finished. Phases 1(building a 12 foot wall around the perimeter and installing gates at both ends) and 2 (digging two wells, purchasing pumps and generators, and tilling the land) are completed and phase 3 is ready to begin.
Phase 3 includes the construction of a small house for the workers who will tend the land and animals and a depot to keep the equipment safe. We are $17,000 away from making phase 3 a reality and putting the farm into production.   Would you join us in breaking the cycle of food insecurity for these kids and their future families?  You can make a donation here or email me. 
"Do not despise these small beginnings, 
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin" 
Zechariah 4:10

Friday, October 17, 2014

2nd Annual Art Fair


The 2nd Annual 1013 Missions Art Fair is November 22, 3-6pm!  Be sure to mark your calendar and don’t miss this opportunity to support artists and craftsman locally and in Haiti, while supporting 1013 Missions at our only fundraising event of the year!  We have several ways to get involved:

Bring a friend and your Christmas shopping list!  You will find beautiful, creative, and most of all, purposeful gifts for everyone on your list.  Support the work of 1013 Missions & One Family Foundation by purchasing items crafted by Haitian hands.  Additionally, we will feature many local artists, craftsman & vendors for unique gift options that support real people right here in our community.    Help create a wonderful Christmas celebration for the 67 orphaned and abandoned children at the One Family Children’s Home.  Participate in our raffles.  Sample Haitian coffee, and enjoy holiday sweets.  There is a $2 suggested donation for entry to the Art Fair.

We are in need of several volunteers to help with the set up, tear down, and operation of the Art Fair.  If you’d be able to donate a few hours of time to helping us make this a fantastic fundraising event we'd truly appreciate it.  If you'd like to volunteer contact Jen to sign up.

In addition to our beautiful Haitian items, our Art Fair features local vendors of unique, hand made, creative, or customized items.   If you are an artist, craftsman, or consultant for such items, we'd love to have you join us.  Vendors are limited to 1 representative per organization or 2 per crafting style. Download the application here or email Jack for more information.

Restoration Farm is almost complete!

The walls are finished, the well is dug, the gates have gone up!  The last touches are tilling the land and planting the first round of seeds.  In a few months, the farm will begin producing its first fruits!  Thank you to everyone who has supported this project prayerfully & financially!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Restoration Farm Construction has Begun!

One of the primary goals of 1013 Missions is to help bring One Family Foundation (church, orphanage, and school) to self-sustaining independence, while improving the quality of life and future prospects for the community One Family serves.  Our major project this year is the construction of our Restoration Farm.

We are working with Pastor Kesnel to take an unproductive plot of land and restore it into a working farm that will grow produce, sustain a small herd of goats and a chicken coop.   The fruits of this farm will be used to enrich the diets of the children at One Family Children's Home, while providing the older children with the opportunity to develop the skills of farming, including selling these fruits in the market.  In a country with little industry,  life skills such as these provide the primary source of income for many Haitians.   Additionally, we pray the farm will eventually include a housing facility for the oldest children exiting the orphanage, but not yet ready for life on their own.

This week, thanks to generous sponsorships from An Orphan's Prayer and Community Christian Church Lemont Campus, construction on the farm has begun!  Please pray with us for the success of this project; that it may honor God and serve his people.  If you'd like to be a part of this project, you can make a donation through the PayPal link on the right.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mission Trips: Is this your year?

This year, we are offering 5 opportunities for you to step outside of your comfort zone, out side of the familiar and into Haiti.  

Why?  Because this is where life change happens.  This is where relationships- amazing, impossible, beautiful- are made.                                                                                                                               
Our mission partners with One Family Foundation, home to a church, school, and about 50 orphaned and abandoned children. We work alongside the Haitian leadership of One Family, not to control or dictate or even to finance, but to support, to encourage, to empower.                                                                                                               
Often, people feel driven to take a mission trip because they want to help.  And, we do help.  We bring projects, training, opportunity, fun, education and the love of Christ.  But, our primary goal when we step out onto mission is to listen and understand.   That may seem like a small 'mission' but, truly, it is the biggest mission.  How can we help if we don't know what is needed- really needed?  How can we know what is needed if we aren't willing to listen?  And how can we expect to hear the truth if we are unwilling to enter into relationship?  

Haiti is vibrant place with rich history and culture. It is a place, and a people worth listening to. You may be quite surprised at what you hear.                                                                                         Going on a mission trip begins with willingness:  willingness to answer that nagging call in the back of your mind, willingness to to be in the unknown, to be uncomfortable, to be vulnerable.  Once you are willing, the other obstacles become so much smaller.

So here is our question, our invitation:  are you willing to step out with us?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fighting poverty, one week at a time

On of the most exciting things to come out of the last year at One Family was the savings and loan program. The program is open to all members of the church. Each participant is required to pay about $2.25 per week into the program; once they have paid about $38 into the program they are eligible for a $125 no interest loan. 37 church members have taken advantage of this program and have used it to do repairs on their homes and pay for their children’s schooling, but the majority have used it to buy bulk goods and sell them at the market for a profit.
This is an amazing program, it encourages saving and investment while providing church members with an alternative to the predatory lending practices that are the norm in Haiti. The thing I love the most about this though is that the program is independent and interdependent at the same time. Independent in that it requires no outside help, no charity involved, just Biblical approach to money lending. Interdependent in that the program requires a loan applicant to be vouched for by two other Savings and Loan church members before they can borrow. Those two members cannot borrow money until the third has repaid their loan, therefore there is an added element of accountability to one another.

The picture here is from February 2013 and shows Pastor Kesnel explaining the Savings and Loan program to me.