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Our work in Haiti began in October 2000.  As one of five ladies who traveled to Haiti on a medical mission, a child would die while in our care as we sat at sea with engine failure, desperate to get back to Port Au Prince in order to get medical care for the children traveling with us.  It would sound much like something out of a television show if I told you that the doctor traveling with us fixed the engine with a paper clip, but that is exactly what happened.  With Port in sight we found ourselves being held at gunpoint, accused of murder.  The boat captain had sent word ahead to the authorities, a child that had died.  For whatever reason all of these things happened, it was the turning point that changed our lives.

From that point on we found ourselves returning several times each year needing a solution to help the women and children of Haiti.  Our solution couldn’t be complicated due to the conditions in Haiti. Our answer would come in the form of treadle sewing machines generated from a simple story in our local paper about what we had been doing in Haiti.  Our phone began to ring and to our great surprise we had thirty-eight treadle sewing machines and hundreds of pounds of fabric in our garage ready to be shipped.  It was an answer to prayer and a step of faith.

In November 2007, we moved our family and our non-denominational ministry to live full-time in Haiti.  It has become clear that our small woman’s program and sewing school has grown into something much larger, something we could have only dreamed it would be.  Within six months we have had to put limits on what we are doing due to space, funding and staff limitations.  We have twenty ladies in our prenatal program, twenty mothers with children up to one year in our early childhood development program, twenty in sewing school and fifteen in literacy.

In November 2007, they moved their family to live full-time in Haiti.  It soon became clear that their woman’s program and sewing school would grow into something much larger, something they could have only dreamed it would be in only two short years.  Dan and Sheila took their many skills, combining them with the desire to help others and using a very hands-on approach to create self-sustaining business for women in developing nations.  They have also done short-term work in Guyana and South Africa. Currently, their school in Haiti has one hundred fifty-nine students in sewing school, cooking school, jewelry making classes, literacy and assorted craft classes.  These students, plus thirty-four graduates are working full-time now and are able to sell their products in Haiti at the school store, on-line at the website store or by women here in the States hosting “purse parties”.