Sunday, May 1, 2011

Soccer in Haiti

One warm, Haitian evening, David and I picked up a soccer ball and walked over to the side-by-side soccer fields near the airport. A few street children hung around the goals, lethargically watching the American's with the brand new ball. We started kicking it back and forth, soon boys started joining us.
At first, each child was shy, then they noticed I had gum. I tore the long strips in half, so that they would go further, and we formed two teams. If anyone kept score, I didn't notice. We played for hours, they didn't have anywhere to go and I didn't want to leave them. By dark, we had 30 or 40 on each team.

I don't think I ever played a better game of soccer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We are currently working on two projects.  One is for newborns and I call it "Zimbabies" and the other is for girls 2 - 18 and Miriam, my 15 year old has called it "We've got your Back!"

The idea behind "We've got your Back!"  is that of a universal sisterhood.  Miriam hates to think that there are girls in the world without hope and so she has started to assemble 500 kits.  Each kit is rolled up and tied, to keep the items safe.  It consists of a toothbrush, 3 washable sanitary pads, a pair of panties, a comb and a beautiful flower hair barret.  They kits look like the rolled up holders that you keep paintbrushes or make-up brushes in.   Miriam is also sewing dresses.  We need donated fabric, light cotton prints and flannel, panties, toothbrushes and combs, the pick kind.  The liner in the pads, each girl gets three pads, is cotton batting, looks like felt.  We give each girl three, so that she can have one to wear, one being washed and a backup.  A group of young women in Firth, Idaho are making the hair barrets currently.  Thank you very much for that! 

Zimbabies focuses on the newborns.  Each kit includes a 4 oz baby bottle and extra nipple, 2 receiving blankets, 3 cloth diapers, 2 pins, plastic pants and 2 vests.  We would appreciate any of the above items donated.  The vests need to be newborn size and none of the items have to be new.  I just ask that they be in very good shape, no rips or stains.  

If you would like to donate money, we would use it to buy items you specify, or a nutrition and education program that we will be setting up in Zimbabwe in August, 2011.   Mr William D. Faler, Faler Law Office, an attorney in Idaho Falls, ID, is donating his time to set up the Non-profit 501(c)3 status of the Jesusla Foundation.  So your deductions will be tax deductible.

Thank you for your help.  Our goals are to reach every child that we can and give them hope.  Miriam's slogan is "Renew the hope of a people, and the heart of their country will Soar!"  Zimbabwe has a great heart and we want to lift it.  Please help us give these children the hope they need to have a future.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Christmas Revelation

This is my first post to the Jesusla Foundation. My life with Bernadine has blessed me in countless ways, but I would like to share a singular insight that I could not have acquired in any other way.

During our engagement, Bernadine had told me of her humanitarian work in the Haitian Orphanages in 2002. That was her first encounter, almost a reunion, with Jesusla. Without first-hand experience, I'm not certain anyone could possibly comprehend how demoralizing the orphanages were. The sheer numbers of infants overwhelmed the workers and volunteers. The sights, the smells, the sounds of crying and sobbing infants would devastate anyone. Hundreds of sick and ill infants, some lying in pools of diarrhea, all hungering for human touch and affection.

Bernadine described long days  holding, comforting, cuddling hundreds of babies, with hundreds of diaper changes. After a harrowing day, she and her 14-year-old son, David, would retire to the storage room they shared with a huge spider. After David fell asleep, she would pray and cry herself to sleep. She felt utterly hopeless. All her efforts were futile. She had accomplished nothing except to instill within those children a sense of "false hope." That false hope would ultimately be betrayed, and the children would be left with a worse sense of deprivation and abandonment.

After 6 years, those memories still haunted.

To celebrate our Wedding in 2007, we took a December Honeymoon trip to New York. We did all of the touristy fun things. We had attended a late Broadway play and were returning by cab to our hotel. It was snowing, traffic was murder, and the ride was endless. Our Cab driver was a Haitian; he had managed to move to New York and start a family. He was gracious, kind, and good-natured about the adverse conditions. Because Bernadine's experiences had provided me some insight into his background,I had already made a mental note to tip this Gentleman well.

In the course of our chatting, Bernadine volunteered her Haitian Orphanage experience. She admitted that some nights, after the lights were out, she would pray that a Tsunami would just erase Port Au Prince, and end the endless suffering. She voiced her deep sense of failure in not being able to permanently alleviate, or alter the future of those infants  to the slightest degree. She had abandoned them, leaving behind the worst possible bequest, "a sense of false hope."

Our driver listened quietly and thoughtfully. Finally he spoke, "No. No, you did not fail. What you gave those children was HOPE." The only deceit lay in our interpretation of failure.

He went on to emphatically state that, Bernadine had provided those children a priceless gift: The optimism that, at any time, they could treasure and realize the dream of something better.

By the tiniest shift in perspective from "false hope" to hope, Bernadine had created a miracle in those children's lives. She had left them with a permanent, priceless gift. Hope. What this brilliant, kind man had done was to give us, in turn, a priceless Christmas gift. The true meaning of Hope. The Creator's understanding of Hope.

Daily, I consciously try to cherish this lesson within me. It has hopefully stayed. By the subtlest shift in our perspective, in the most desperate of circumstances, we can often uncover a priceless treasure. True Hope is one of the greatest gifts we can offer to those around us. It is a pearl without price.

As an after note, the Gentleman refused the fare and the tip. That late winter night encounter with a Haitian Prince was another priceless gift. It was a choice privilege of witnessing true nobility of soul. An Angel. That is another story.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My desire to help others began when I was a very young child. When we lived in South West Africa (Namidia), I went to get groceries with my mother. Mummy had a little purse with a zipper across the top. She never seemed to spend her change and this little purse was stretching against the zip, bulging with coins. As we exited the shopping center, a beggar sat in a patch of dry, dying grass. His twisted limbs criss-crossed beneath him and his smile was toothless. My mother emptied the contents of this purse into his leathery cupped hands. His smile was like the sun.

One night one of my dad's work trucks broke down, on a mountain pass. The equipment on the truck could not be left unprotected. The driver asked to spend the night. He told Daddy that he would keep the load safe. My father noticed the mans thin shirt and knew that it would not be warming in the night. So he took off his jacket and gave it to the driver.

The lessons we teach our children are heard, but the things we do are heard in their hearts. The adage that “Actions speak louder than words” is true and the best teaching we can give is our example.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Needed little baby for this beautiful blanket

A very sweet friend of mine, Sandi, knitted this beautiful pink blanket for an orphan baby.  I am so overwhelmed at the love knitted into this.  Thank you Sandi!  You are an Angel and a perfect example of doing, instead of just thinking about doing.  When I told Sandi that I was taking 200 blankets to Zimbabwe for the orphan newborns, two blankets to a kit, she said, "well I  have lots of yarn, and plenty of time!"

So often, when I am thinking of taking care of millions of children, I think of the quickest way to accomplish a lot.  Making mass quantities of receiving blankets from flannel and serging the edges, is an example.  It is so wonderful when I meet someone like Sandi who will help me.  I never want an orphan to be another "project", they are babies, children, souls, people and every single one deserves the love that is infused in this beautiful blanket.

Sandi, I will wrap the first little girl we rescue in this shawl and kiss her little face and she will be named for you.  Thank you.