Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Pam and Paul Vaculin
“It was August 2007, and I was finally able to catch my breath after another “successful” VBS! As the children’s director at my church, VBS was the most intense event of the year … a five-day extravaganza built on months of preparation, for 400 kids and 150 volunteers. I was blissfully exhausted and yet I had a nagging feeling, wondering if the kids would remember anything more than the theme song and the sno-cones.
About this time I felt an unmistakable nudge from God, telling me to use VBS as a platform for introducing Hands and Feet Project to my community. I’m ashamed to admit that I told Him NO. I explained to Him how overwhelmed I was, between my job and my family, not to mention my ailing mother for whom I was sole care-giver. But he kept nudging… and I kept resisting, and finally… finally… God left me alone.
Until the following February.
I was on my morning run and He brought it up again… out of the blue! I was blindsided! I thought we’d dropped it! But, inexplicably (to me), I just blurted out, “OK! Yes! If you’ll help me!” And the rest is history! From 2008 until 2013, when I stepped down from my job, our church collected countless items for HAFP (including thousands of diapers) and raised nearly $100,000 in cash donations. God was at work to accomplish His purposes! Just as important, over this time, hundreds of children… and adults… and I, personally… learned in a fresh way the joy of sacrificially stepping outside ourselves, and saying to God, “YES, I WILL GO!”
My first trip to Haiti was in early 2013, when Mark Stuart invited me to join a group he was leading. My “job” was merely to experience first-hand the place and people. I enjoyed the trip, but never really expected or even wanted to return. Then God stepped in again… in the form of an unexpected text from Mark in early 2016. Out of the blue, again! Mark’s text read something like, “I want to do a VBS in Haiti this summer, and I want you to lead it. Think about it and let’s talk next week.”
This time I said YES with no hesitation, and again, the rest is history! I have now been leading annual VBS trips, and even a Christmas trip… and the experience has been incredible! The kids, the teams, the staff, the fun, the frosting, the love, the saving power of the Gospel… a five-day extravaganza of pure and total joy! I’m so happy and grateful and blessed that my kind God wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and that He saw far more potential in me than I did! Hallelujah!! (And if you’re interested… we’re hoping to have dates for VBS 2021 any day now!)”
– Pam Vaculin
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Programming Director Fall Update
Throughout the pandemic, our team in Haiti did a fantastic job caring for the kids and campuses. In fact, following an almost six-month lockdown on campus, we can report that not one of our HAFP children or staff members contracted the COVID-19 virus. As you can imagine, six months of quarantine on campus with more than 100 children and staff took an enormous amount of patience and creativity. I am so thankful for our team members who faced each day with remarkable endurance and grace.
My five-week stay was packed full of new and exciting “next steps” for HAFP. I was privileged to facilitate the hiring of two new social workers, work closely with our team to step some of them into new roles of leadership, and lead an awesome team to conduct trauma-informed care training for more than twenty potential staff members for our up and coming Aftercare Program. Additionally, I met with our leadership to assess, analyze, and modify each of our current programs. In keeping with that, I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside our education support team as plans were made and steps were taken to expand the Little Hands Daycare, which is part of our Family Preservation Program. Finally, and maybe most importantly, I was able to sit down one-on-one with many of our staff to just support and encourage them emotionally and spiritually.
Though always exhausting, spending time in Haiti provides me with a renewed vision and passion for the work Hands and Feet Project does so well. My heart beats to see the children and families in Haiti learn and grow in the grace, hope, and knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
– Patti Bearden, Programming Director
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Amazon Wish List Update & a Big THANK YOU
The following are always woven into the celebration of our Savior…
Christmas Lights to reflect the light of Jesus to the world.
Christmas Trees to remind us to keep our focus upward.
Christmas Eve Meal to celebrate the gift of our Community.
Christmas Gifts as the Wise Men delivered to Jesus.
In an effort to make these things happen in 2020, Hands and Feet Project reached out to you for help in new ways. We established our 2020 Christmas Fund, we created an Amazon Wish List for Children’s Gifts, and adjusted our yearly Christmas Sponsor Letters with an online version! Your response was incredible and encouraging! Within a few weeks time every Christmas gift was purchased and on their way to Haiti.
419 Individual Gifts Purchased
$6,244.87 Value Donated In-Kind
$2,420.00 Cash Donated for Christmas Celebration
We are humbled and grateful for the support that you all have shown the children at Hands and Feet Project. Keep an eye out for photos and updates throughout the holiday season, so you can celebrate the joy and anticipation of Christmas with each child and young adult in our care.
-Andrea McGinniss, Executive Director
Donate to the Christmas Fund