Monday, March 8, 2010

Special Guests

March started with a real treat - Dr. Francisco Noel and his wife, Cecile, visited Knoxville. Dr. Noel is the Haitian director of One Vision, and they provide the hands-on care for the orphans I visited twice in 2009. Dr. Noel's visit was a busy one, as he spoke to several groups, including the students at CAK (the boys' school).

This year the children have been supporting the orphanage with their chapel gifts, Christmas shoebox gifts, and the donation of medical supplies following the earthquake. It was wonderful for them to meet Dr. Noel in person and to hear him speak about the quake, the orphans, and their needs.

That same week One Vision held a dinner to honor Dr. Noel and to share an update of the work in Haiti. Dr. Noel spoke so movingly about experiencing the earthquake firsthand, its effect on the orphanage, and its impact on the expense to care for the orphans.

On Saturday several ladies hosted a baby shower for Cecile. She is pregnant with their first child, and, as you know, they lost everything - including their house - in the January quake. It was such fun to watch her open the gifts and smile with such delight.

(left to right: Lisa, Ellen, myself, Cecile, and Deena. The ladies are teammates from my November 2009 trip to Haiti.)

Finally, on Sunday evening our church hosted a benefit concert to raise awareness and funds to support One Vision's work in Haiti. Dr. Noel and Cecile attended this event as well and spoke again about the project, the children, and their great need. Each time he spoke, Dr. Noel stressed that the amount of money it takes to care for these children on a monthly basis has tripled since the earthquake.

While their visit was certainly not a restful one, I am certain that those who had the opportunity to meet Dr. Noel and Cecile were blessed and the orphanage in Haiti became even more real to those who have never traveled there. It was a great joy for me to introduce Tim, Seth, and Reed to them, and it made me look forward to the day when they can visit the orphanage themselves.

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