St. James returned to work with the St. Joseph Family’s facilities in Jacmel, Haiti, which consist of Lekol Sen Trinite (St. Trinity School) and Wings of Hope, a residential facility for disabled children and young adults.
The purpose of the trip was two-fold – to work with the Wings residents, staff and teachers providing support and training (appropriate for those with special education or physical therapy experience, and those who enjoy and are comfortable working with special needs people); to provide light construction and maintenance type services, which can be almost anything. One item that may be on the agenda this year is building a chicken coop.
Here are comments from a 2016 mission to Haiti:
Dear Fellow Choristers,
Thank you so much for your donations and your prayers! We could not have done the work we were called to do without your help. I’ll give you a few examples.
The beautifully handsewn bibs were distributed on the first day just before lunchtime. We used the travel neck pillows to help residents have better head support while watching a movie on our first morning; what a difference for the kids who earlier couldn’t hold their heads up to see the screen! We cut up the yoga mats to line and bumper guard the sharp tile edges in the boys’ and girls’ bathtubs, so children won’t slip and caregivers won’t cut their arms and hands. We made new wheelchair seat cushions out of the foam mattress pad toppers. We rolled up the bath towels to use as pillows to support residents’ posture in their wheelchairs, wherever they needed it. We used an Enduracool cooling towel to comfort a young man during a seizure. The next day, he approached us before he had any seizures, asking us to dampen the towel and get it ready for him. Peter knew very quickly what his body needed, and I’m happy to report we didn’t witness any seizures that day.
Please know that your contributions to our mission trip improved the quality of life for 32 people with significant disabilities and for their caregivers. That is not insignificant; it is God’s work.
The purpose of our mission trip was to work at Wings of Hope, the home for mentally and physically disabled children and young adults which is part of the St. Joseph Family, based in Port au Prince. Our mission was two-fold – working directly with the Wings residents and providing training for their teachers and caregivers, and doing construction activities. In addition to me, participants were Dorothy Young, Sam Zimmer, Elizabeth Whitmire, Mary Page Nance, Judy Philpott, Jay West, Fran McDermott and Telius Brendle.
In terms of both projects accomplished and relationship building, the trip was extremely successful. Judy, a trained special education teacher, worked with the Wings residents and with the teachers to train them in the teaching of special needs children. Fran, a speech pathologist with many years of experience from raising her own disabled child, and Telius, a physical therapist, worked with the residents and their caregivers to teach them PT techniques, and were able to adjust a number of wheelchairs and devise techniques of better supporting the kids in their wheelchairs, making them more comfortable and generally improving their lives. The rest of us hauled rocks for foundations and concrete blocks for the walls of a new storage shed, and painted the 5 rooms of the Wings Guest House and some exterior roofs that had been added to the Wings building.
Every evening, we gathered before dinner for a debriefing, which consisted of a brief worship service and the sharing of people’s thoughts and feelings about the day’s activities. Many poignant stories of where God had been seen that day were shared, and more than a few tears were shed. One of the highlights of the trip was sharing in the 22nd anniversary celebration with the Wings residents and staff. It consisted of a worship service with lots of singing, then games and more singing followed by lunch. As a LEM, Judy assisted with the communion, and our two guitarists and mandolin player provided songs for the service as well as the fun time afterwards. It was a very emotional and spiritual experience, as was the trip as a whole.