Monday, November 2, 2015

MOVIE MONDAY - Week 6: English Class

For the past 18 months, Renee has taught two classes each week of the advanced level at Destiny English Academy. This is an English school that was started by a local Haitian. He approached Renee when we first moved and asked if she would consider teaching. She works with advanced students on pronunciation, speaking and listening skills. Most students in these classes are adults, or teenagers. There are many teachers, some local officials, lawyers, and other local Haitians who are trying their best to learn English. 

With the other responsibilities that Renee has taken on with other schools, just this month, Renee has started holding two day seminars once a month instead of weekly classes. When teams visit, we also hold "talk nights" at a local restaurant/cafe so that the students can practice their English and the teams can learn more about Haitian culture and develop relationships with the locals.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


We'd like to introduce you to our new puppies!!!
From left to right, we have Arya (are-ee-u), Axl, Duke and Layla
But...Sesame Street's famous song..."one of these things is not like the other..." comes to mind when looking at this picture!

Here's the story:
We knew Tessa was pregnant and going to have puppies any day. Well, last Tuesday, the kids and I got a call while we were at school saying that Tessa had two puppies! So we quickly packed up our stuff and came home. The puppies were so tiny and they were out in the backyard and Tessa was not being a good mom. She was in the house and not taking any interest in the puppies. We had to make  her lay down so the puppies could nurse and we had to watch her to make sure she wasn't too rough with them. Well, one of the puppies was very sick and he died that night. We had to leave to go to Port au Prince for a couple days and feared that Tessa wouldn't take care of the puppy while we were gone. Well, when we returned, the puppy was still alive and seemed to be in good health, so Tessa managed on her own. 

Fast forward to this past Saturday, just 4 days later. We were getting ready to head out for the evening and Morgan noticed that Tessa was in labor! I've never heard of dogs having puppies four days apart! (because they don't!) Well, that night, Tessa had 4 puppies...two boys and two girls. One of the girls was a stillborn and after trying to get her to breathe for about 20 minutes, we gave up.  Needless to say, these new puppies were twice the size of the 4 day old puppy that we'd been taking care of! So, we decided to look at our security footage and realized that a mom and son snuck into the yard Tuesday morning and put these two puppies in our yard! So Tessa was caring for two orphan puppies! We weren't sure how the other puppies and Tessa would treat Layla, but thankfully, since she had a 4 day head start, she seems to be doing well and she has been accepted by the puppies and Tessa.

Here are Duke and Layla. Duke is a BEAST. Layla is our little orphan pup..and apparently she's a bit shy in this picture :)


 Arya & Axl

 You can definitely see the size difference...and Layla is the oldest!

Layla's eyes are starting to open!

Oh...and just so you don't worry...Tessa has been a GREAT mama...after giving birth to her REAL puppies!

Monday, October 19, 2015

MOVIE MONDAY - Week 4: The "Airport"

This week we're taking you to our little "airport" on the island! It's really just a little dirt runway right on the coast. Some days we have 3 or 4 planes come and others we might not have any. Some planes come to take sick or injured people to the hospital in Port au Prince, some bring money to the banks, but most are transporting visitors to and from the island. This is also one way that we sometimes travel to Port au Prince for our monthly grocery shopping trip. It is a much quicker way to get to Port au Prince...only about 25 minutes from take off to landing! Definitely beats the 1.5 hour boat ride followed by another 1.5 hour truck ride into Port. Let us know your questions! We'd love to answer them!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Let's Celebrate!

WOW! In just one month, we've been able to raise 43% of what we need for next year!

Your support, encouragement and trust in what we are doing here is overwhelming. We are so thankful for all who have decided to partner financially with us on this journey.

But...we still need more help. If you have been thinking about signing up, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We would love to share with you more personally what God is doing in Haiti.

We have a goal to hit 50% in the next week! Can you help us?!

Please click on the link below to submit your one time gift or monthly pledge. Payments are not necessary until January 2016, but we NEED the pledges as soon as possible so that we know how to better plan.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Movie Monday - Week 3: The Market

This week, we're taking you to the local market!! This market is open every day of the week from sun up to sun down. You can find different things at different times of year. There are different parts of the market...fruits, vegetables, meat/fish, clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. Our family basically uses the market to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables or random things like a padlock, or some rope. We purchase our flour and eggs at different "house stores" along the street. Then, about once a month, we do our main grocery shopping in Port au Prince. I hope this makes you appreciate your next trip to Walmart!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Two years...

Two years. It's been two years ago today since we landed in Haiti after we decided to move. These past two years have changed us all in more ways than we can say. These two years have been full of growth, joy, sadness, and many challenges...but we wouldn't trade it for anything. 

We have SO many pictures of our life here over the past two years. I tried to quickly go through this morning (before school!) to try to do a little review. There is no way to show you how much we've learned over these past two years in one blog post, but I thought it would be fun to look back. 

Here we are...everything we own, all loaded up on a boat to take over to the island. I remember thinking...this is the smallest amount of "stuff" we've ever owned. Then,we got to the island and started trucking everything to our house and I was almost embarrassed driving down the street. Even though we had so little, we still had SO much in comparison to those we were passing.

Some of the first guys who introduced themselves to us...neighbors from our old house. We spent a lot of time with these guys and they were very helpful in our first months of learning Creole.

When we first arrived, the kids were put through the ringer. The Haitians were pretty used to seeing "blans" or white people, but they did not see many ti-blans...little white people. The kids were constantly being pinched, petted, examined and called to. They handled it with grace, even though it got to be pretty overwhelming. Here Jaron is at church...getting checked out :)

The kids adjusted very well, pretty quickly. I always say that God called their little hearts to Haiti way before he called Craig and mine. I am so thankful that He is in control!

November 2013

 Relationships is one of the huge needs in my life. We have been blessed with amazing relationships back home and I knew it would be one of the most important things here in Haiti as well. I'm thankful that we get to share in fun life stages with our friends here in Haiti! This is when Baby Brucinda was just born!

We also get to interact with so many teams who visit! This is one of our favorites from Canada. They visit every year (the group is a little different each time) and we always look forward to them coming! That's also the hard part of living here too. We are quick to love on people and open our hearts and lives to them. The kids too. Then, a week later, after you've just made a great new friend, they have to leave. Our lives are full of hellos and goodbyes...and many times tears from the kids.

Jaron's buddy at the orphanage.

 Taking some of the girls back to the village after Morgan's 8th birthday party (Feb 2014)
How many can we fit on the quad?? Haitian's would say..."One more!"

Small plane adventures! Not many people have to charter a plane to get groceries!

Rooftop picnics with friends! Ann, the lady on the right, was Morgan's kindergarten teacher back in the States. She first visited in May 2012 when we were here for 8 weeks. We are so thankful that she has a heart for Haiti and is helping with the Education Task Force of Okipe.

When you teach an English class and don't get paid....just a may end up being gifted a goat. Yup, that's what happened here! We ended up having our neighbors help us kill, clean and cook it. Then we had a big party :)

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of the kids at the village. This non-religious, work team came from Canada and as they were leaving, the kids from the village asked if they could pray over them. This is the ONLY time I've ever seen this happen on their own initiative. I love how the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts and how they were obedient. The team was moved to tears and I know it's a moment that they will never forget.

One of my roles! Teaching the kiddos...this was Oct. 2014...just after moving into our new house.

 We got to meet some UN soldiers who came over to help with "crowd control" during the elections.

Our little monkey! See Jaron way up there??

 This past January 2015, we helped another local couple here start a church. We now do two services, one in Creole and one in English. Craig and I lead worship for the English service each week. We're still working on the building :)

Celebrating the 4th of July on our roof with sparklers and singing patriotic songs for the whole neighborhood to hear :)

 President Martelly visited the island! That was a neat surprise to get to "meet" the President of Haiti.

 This summer, the aquaponics greenhouse went up! This month, we will start planting and adding fish!!

 Jaron...all boy and dirt...what more can I say?

 These kids and teachers make me proud. They have come so far and made so much progress over the past two years!

Hammock sleeping on the porch during the HOT summer months. It's much cooler out there!

Can't forget Fiona!

 These got a little out of order, but here, we're celebrating Mme. Soliette's 40th birthday!!!

 One of the many creatures that we find trying to make a home in our house...sorry, you come in, you DIE! ;)

 An adventure on the mainland up the mountain. Haiti is such a beautiful country!!

 Mme. Florence braiding Morgan's hair with "Haitian" hair.

 Just this week...the kids finally both got their school uniforms and to say they are excited is an understatement! They love being a part of the new school where there are other Haitian kids. Even though we have our own classroom and hours, they enjoy being in an environment with other students. It has made it easier to focus and get our minds in "school mode."

Well, I'm supposed to be heading out the door for school! I hope you enjoyed this random spattering of photos from our last two years! God only knows what is next for us. We're praying and trusting that His plan is perfect. Thank you for following along and encouraging us over these past two years. It's definitely not an easy place to can feel lonely so far away from friends and family. Sometimes you feel like you're literally on an island in the middle of the Caribbean...oh wait...we are ;) So make sure to drop us a line when you're thinking about us! It really helps to keep connected!!

Love and blessings to you all!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Movie Monday - Week 2: Our Water

I hope you had a great weekend and that your Monday is off to a good start. We know that Mondays can be a little "blah," so we decided to give you something to look forward to on Mondays!  We're calling it, "Movie Monday!" 

We want to show all of our friends, family and followers back home a little more about our life and what we do in Haiti. So each week, we'll make a short video showing something new. Last week, we showed everyone our "Drive to School." This week, we want to show you a little about our water.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Just What Do You Do??

As we've been reaching out to churches and people to ask them to partner with our family, we've been asked some questions that I think might be beneficial for us to share with all of you!!

We love to share about what it is that we do here. This is our passion. We forget that our day to day life, even though it seems normal to us now, is still rather interesting to the rest of you!

Just the other day, my mother-in-law posted something on our facebook that rang true to me...

"Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress; 
working hard for something we love is called passion."

Haiti, this is our passion.

So what do we do??  We sleep in until noon, on our beautiful little slice of paradise...and then cruise around joyfully on our moto all day...with a stop or two at a couple beautiful beaches!!

Right??! Just kidding :) Even though we do tend to visit the beach and share photos of many of the blessings of living in a beautiful tropical country, we want to give you an idea of what else we do around here. 

Description of Ministry
Located on a remote island in the Caribbean, La Gonave is home to close to 200,000 people who live in extreme poverty. Our primary work is done in the city of Anse-a-Galets equipping and empowering a local Haitian woman to care for over 80 orphans. In addition, we have helped to plant a church, lead weekly worship, teach English and are working to start new business endeavors to help the local economy.

What is the primary vision and mission for your ministry?
To equip and empower the people of La Gonave to live sustainable, God honoring lives. We do this by creating relationships with the people of La Gonave so that we can know and understand their needs and gifts/abilities. After that, we connect people worldwide to help us train, teach, and disciple to meet real needs of real people.

What needs is this ministry trying to address?
Orphan care, spiritual growth, economic development/vocational training

Key Results of last 12 months?
Hosted many teams, connecting them to the needs and ministries in Haiti
Raised remaining monthly operational financial need for the Children's Village
Increased donor retention from 23% to 65%
Planted a new church with 30-75 in attendance
Weekly advanced English classes

Developed new key partnerships including a new commercial aquaponics system for agriculture at the children's village

How many people did you serve during this past year?
It's hard to put a number on this question. We have served hundreds in many different ways. There are over 100 staff and children at the Children's Village. There are close to 100 who attend the church that we planted. Renee has about 20 in her English class with up to 50 attending talk nights. In addition, we have people show up at our house daily with some sort of need. Sometimes, just a drink of water. We have built relationships with mayors, local business owners, pastors, other missionaries, visiting team members, etc. We interact with and help serve about 300 people annually who visit the island on short term mission trips.

What discouragement/frustrations did you face last year?
Where do we begin?! ;) The continuous clash of cultures is something that leads to frustration. Things that seem very simple and common sense to us most likely are "foreign" concepts to the people here. Training takes A LONG TIME. We get discouraged when we feel like we were making good progress and then suddenly things fall apart. Classic two steps forward, one step back. Illness is a huge source of discouragement. When our bodies are physically ill, we tend to become emotionally and spiritually drained right along with it. We have frustrations with visitors who come with sometimes the wrong posture and motives. The process of discerning the next steps for our family has been difficult.

Do you have any prayer needs?
-The next steps for our family as we step out in faith that God will provide for our financial needs as we continue full time here in Haiti.  We have been blessed to have been able to have our first two years covered financially through a work contract. Starting January 1, that contract will be over and we will be relying on the financial support of our partners.
-There are so many needs and so many demands. We need wisdom to know where to invest our time and energy. When to give and when not to give. When to say yes and when to say no.
-We desire to create local businesses to help us become more self sustainable. We hope to be able to cover a large majority of our own expenses by the end of 2016.
-Unity and vision with all who we work with.
-People finding freedom in Christ and not being bound by the chains of religion. That people would experience the power of the Holy Spirit and see that God is more powerful than Voodoo.

-New Primary School building project at the children's village: wisdom, vision, plan, finances, execution

What are your planned objectives for the coming year?
Continued: Okipe Chairman & Liaison for the Children's Village, language learning, relationship building, teaching English, hosting teams
New: Making Okipe an official 501c3, Vocational training for children aging out of the village, business start ups, primary school building

Describe your ministry's greatest need(s) in meeting your planned objectives.
Even though we have a good grasp on the language, becoming more fluent will allow our relationships to deepen. Also, if we do not have enough finances, we will not be able to stay in Haiti full time which would greatly impact our ability to meet our objectives.

Are you setup for short-term teams? If yes, how many teams have you had since 2012?
YES! We interact with teams on a weekly basis. We have personally planned and hosted over 16 teams, helping their time to be meaningful, intentional and beneficial both to the team members and the people here in Haiti. Okipe has had over 30 teams since 2012.

What is your ministry or mission organization's current statement of faith?
We were both born and raised in the Nazarene denomination and have been active members of a church our entire lives. Our sending church is Exit 59, a Christian Missionary Alliance church. We stand behind their statement of faith which can be found here.

How do you prefer to keep in touch?
We currently communicate frequently and have many people who follow our daily happenings via facebook. We also have a personal blog that will be updated monthly. A few people have requested email updates, and we can do that as well if that is what you prefer. We also enjoy being able to Skype since we feel this is the most personal form of communication.

WOW! Thanks for taking time to read this all the way to the end! We'd love to answer any more questions that you may have! We love sharing our story and lives here in Haiti with anyone interested.

We are currently 22% funded for next year!  Wooohoooo! We are still looking for people to give a pledge to partner with our family for 2016! If you're ready to get on board with us for this next year, please click here to let us know!! Thanks!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Should we Stay or Should we go??

The beginning of October will mark our 2 years in Haiti. We’ve always had it in the back of our minds that we would head back to the States after our two years were over. About 6 months ago, we made a trip back to the States to try to get some things planned and figured out for our return. We had hoped to return after that trip with a very clear idea of what would happen when we returned to the States. However, I think we came back to Haiti more confused than before. Craig has been working with the same company for 12 years and they have made a way for us to be here in Haiti and for Craig to continue working with them over the internet. This was an agreement for two years only. In April, they extended that agreement to the end of the calendar year. After that, we will either need to move back to the States to find jobs, or else find a way to raise support to stay here in Haiti.

The more that we thought and prayed, we really didn’t have clear direction either way. We didn’t feel like God was calling us back to the States, but we knew that our original plan was two years. Even though we have accomplished what we came to accomplish in these two years, we feel like our impact is just beginning. We are just now able to make deeper connections and relationships because of the time that we have spent here among the Haitians and because we have been able to learn the language. It takes so long to adjust to culture, learn a language and develop relationships. We feel that we are in a great place to make some real progress in many areas.

We are committed to Okipe and the Children’s Village. We are so thankful and proud of all the things the staff and children have learned and are implementing daily. They are truly running the daily affairs of the village on their own. This is a HUGE success. However, just yesterday, Mme. Soliette said that she “has big dreams for the community of Turtle Bay.” She just doesn’t have the resources. We want to continue to dream with Mme. Soliette. We want to help her as the children age out of the orphanage. We want to create new jobs and train the older kids in business and trade skills.

We have sat down and created a list of over twenty small business ideas that we think would work here on La Gonave. In order for a business to be successful here on the island, a person only needs to be able to profit around $5/day!

Future plans for the orphanage also include building a primary school and eventually adding more housing pods to be able to care for more children. Currently, Mme. Soliette cares for 82 children and the future housing plans will allow her to care for up to 150. She also opens up the primary school at the children's village to allow children from the community to attend who cannot afford to attend school anywhere else. This year, they have just under 200 children enrolled at the primary school at the village. Continued teacher and staff training as well as managing teams who interact with the orphanage are also weekly tasks.

Craig has also made several relationships with local business owners and is beginning to look into their systems and is starting to help them run their businesses smarter so that they can be more profitable. This is right up his alley and is something that makes him excited!

Renee has been teaching English at a local school and has the opportunity to teach at another school. In addition to teaching English, this past March, we helped to start an English speaking church service. Every Sunday we lead the worship and help local Haitians and other expats to worship together in English.

Even though we are involved in so many different ways, the people here in Haiti have no money to give in return for any of these services. 100% of what we do here in Haiti is on a volunteer basis. That is why we need people to partner with us. We want to continue to have the ability to work alongside our Haitian friends, but once Craig’s contract with his company is over, our funding will be finished as well. So, in order for us to continue our ministry in here in Haiti, we would need your help.

If you are willing and able to financially partner with our family to support our efforts here on La Gonave, there are two ways that you can give.

You may give online here –

Or you may write a check, payable to: Craig Janofski. 

You can send it to:
Craig Janofski
503 N Keal Ave.
Marion, IN 46952

Also, if you would like to give, but are not ready to donate today, please send us a message so that we know that we can count on you and what amount you plan to give!!

We would love to talk more with you if you have any questions, so please feel free to send us an email at Thank you so much for your prayerful consideration. This is a huge step of faith for us and we know that without all of you, this will not be possible. To stay up to date with our day to day activities, please follow us on Facebook!

Craig & Renee Janofski