Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roque mobile clinic

Last weekend was such an answer to prayer, thank you all for keeping this trip and everyone involved in your prayers. The Lord blessed this time in numerous ways, and we cannot thank Him enough for how He proved Himself faithful and powerful yet once again. We give Him all the thanks, honor, praise, and glory for doing abundantly more than we could have imagined, according to His power that is at work within us.

Our team of 10 left at 5:30 am on Friday morning in the back of a long bed truck. The early start, 2 and a half hour ride, plus the chilly wind blowing in our faces did little to dampen our spirits. We sang, danced, and laughed the whole way there.

Crazy Mammy and Pappy Love...I now know where their kids got it.

When we got to the place where we were leaving the truck to start the trek up the mountain on foot, we loaded up all the medicine on to donkeys and horses, and started up the mountain. It took us about an hour and a half to reach Roque and on the way we got to see some pretty amazing scenery, as shown here...
We arrived about 11a;30 and Pastor Christian was there to greet us with his huge smile, along with the rest of the town. We got all of our stuff unloaded and then were served a wonderful Haitian meal to help give us strength for the rest of the day. After we ate, we started to get everything set up. We were going to have the clinic in the church, so we made different stations for the pharmacy, vital signs, wound care, and consultation with Dr. Rodney.

We also planned to do a VBS program for the kids, so I had a group of us go separate all the candy, treats, little books about Jesus in Kreyol, coloring crayons, and a picture so they could hand those out to each kid at the end of the VBS. We started seeing patients almost right away. First the people were given a little card with a number on it and we started with the person who had ticket #1 and went from there. After that, we had a few people making charts for each person, then they would go see my mom to get their vital signs checked and recorded.

After that, they went to see Dr. Rodney to get consulted and get a prescription for the medication they needed.Then they would come to Vedane and I in the pharmacy to get their meds.
In the meantime, we had John, Rachelle, Josephine, Jacob, and Kate counting out and filling bottles of medicine. We had a great system going and were able to see over 100 patients just that Friday afternoon.

We didn't stop till after dark, then picked up all the meds so they could set up for the church service that night. We went back to our rooms to get washed up for church at 7. We went back to our rooms, which had been so nicely prepared in advance for us, had a little rest, then went to church where we sang, prayed, gave the Lord thanks for all He had done for us that day, and then listened to Pastor Carlos preach the Word.We had dinner after that and sat around the table laughing and talking till we could no longer keep our eyes open, then went to get some rest before the long day ahead of us.

Saturday morning we started the clinic at 8 after we finished breakfast, and by the time we got to the church, there was already a huge gathering of people waiting to see the doctor. We quickly got the pharmacy all set up and began seeing patients right away.At 10, Wadner, Kate, Rachelle, Jacob, and Josephine started the VBS. They taught the kids new songs in both Kreyol and English, memorized a couple verses, told them the story of the birth of Jesus using a flannel graph with pictures, did a craft, and then handed out treats for everyone at the end. I was able to leave the pharmacy for a bit to go and take pictures and see how everything was going. I could hear the kids singing at the top of their lungs before I got there, and it was fully apparent that the Holy Spirit was alive and well in that school room. I stayed for awhile and watched Wadner direct and teach these kids with love, compassion and skill that could only come from the Lord. I knew without a doubt that Jesus was rejoicing at the pure blameless worship of all those little hearts. I will continue to pray for these kids to grow stronger and stronger in their faith and grow deeper in their relationships with the Lord.We took a break for lunch, then were right back at it until well past dark. We didn't stop until every last patient was seen and treated, and then gathered together with Pastor Christian and prayed giving thanks, glory, and praise to God for the 400+ patients that were seen and treated. We prayed for each person who had come, that not only would the medicine we gave them would help them to heal physcially, but that they would continue to be changed as a result of seeing the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives and in those around them.

The rest of the evening was spent eating, talking, sharing, laughing till we cried, and finally exhausted, going to bed.

The next morning, the Hubele family, my mom, and I all took a little hike further up the mountain to see a reservoir that John had helped build a few years before. We were able to get high enough to get a beautiful panoramic view of scenery that the Lord had created. I praised Him for the work of His hands, for the beauty we can still see amidst all the ugliness of this world.We got back to the town in time to eat and head to church, where we listened to Dr. Rodney preach from Isaiah, reminding all of us that no matter the situation or circumstance we find ourselves in, the Lord will NEVER leave nor forsake His children. Despite the hardships, trials, and sufferings that we endure in this life, there will come a time when we will dwell with Him in paradise and until then, He will continue to walk side by side with us everywhere we go. We were all encouraged and thankful for that simple but powerful reminder of our God with us always. Before the service ended, the whole church prayed for each person on the team individually and gratefully thanked the Lord for sending us to help remind them of His faithfulness in their lives. They had all the children come dressed in matching uniforms to sing a couple songs for us, one of them being the one we had taught them during VBS.They served us one more wonderful meal and prayed for us before we headed back down the mountain. We had some aches and pains and were tired from the long weekend with not great sleep, but we were all filled with the joy of the Lord, thankful for how He had demonstrated His power and love and faithfulness throughout the weekend. We new that it was Him who gave us the strength, Him who protected and provided, and Him alone who made all of it possible.
I don't know why I am always blown away when I witness the Lord's power at work here, because I know He is faithful to all those who call on Him in truth. I am thankful for the beautiful people of Roque, for how the Lord used them to encourage all of us, for their steadfast and strong faith that is a testimony that all we need in this life is the hope, love, and joy we find in Him. I am thankful too that my mom was able to come be a part of something like this, it has been great having her here again. I know Haiti will forever have a place in her heart, as the Lord has allowed her to get to know people here, build relationships, and experience the culture.

This weekend went so well, we decided to plan a day clinic this Saturday in a zone about 40 minutes from the compound called Goden. We are taking about 20 people, the majority are staff from Bethesda. We have been working hard this week to get everything ready, and we will leave at 7 tomorrow to start the clinic at 8. We are going to do VBS again and are expecting about 100 kids. Please keep us in your prayers, that this clinic will be a testimony to the glory of God for each patient and child who comes tomorrow. Pray for us the prayer the apostle Paul asked for in Ephesians 6:19.....

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mobile Clinic

I am so thankful that my mom made it back to Haiti safely yesterday. She is going to be here for 2 weeks before both her and I are headed back to the states. My time here in Haiti quickly coming to an end, and I can honestly say that it is going to be bittersweet. In some ways I am more than ready to never smell the stench of cholera again, get called "blan" wherever I go, and just be able to blend in without constantly drawing attention to myself. On the other hand, I am terribly going to miss seeing Dr. Rodney, Vedane, Wood, Oley, and Alisha everyday, all of my friends in the clinic, and the other relationships I've made here with both the missionaries and the nationals.

I am trying not to think too much about that yet though, there are still many things I feel the Lord wants me to do here before I leave. One of those things being a mobile clinic to a place called Roque. It is about a 3 hours drive from the compound, and then a 2 and a half hour hike up a mountain to get there. Julie had done a couple clinics up there before, and we had both decided it was something we had wanted to do before our year in Haiti was up. I knew I wanted my mom to be able to experience this trip, so I planned it for when she was going to be here.

We are leaving tomorrow morning at 5 am in the morning with a team of 10: Dr. Rodney, Vedane, myself, my mom, Kate, Wadner, and the Hubele family of 4. Dr. Rodney and my mom are going to consult patients, Vedane and I will primarily be in the pharmacy, Wadner will do some translating and evangelism, John Hubele is going to drive all of us up there and help with various tasks, and Kate and the rest of the Hubele family are going to do a VBS for all of the children. We are going to do a half day clinic tomorrow, all day Saturday, and head home after church on Sunday.

This clinic is pretty much free...we ask each patient to pay 5 goudes which is about 12 cents, and then we give all the money back to the church. Pastor Christian has been working hard these past couple days to prepare sleeping arrangements, transportation for all the medication, and food and drink for everyone on the team. I have been on a medical clinic before, but still not quite sure what to expect. As Kate, my mom, and I sit here counting out the thousands of pills of various medications we are taking, I can't help but feeling a little anxious about making sure I've got everything we are going to need covered. But I know it is all in God's hands and I am trusting Him with all of the details and all the unknowns.

I would ask you to keep all of us in your prayers these next three days, that the people of Roque would be touched both physically and spiritually during this trip. I am confident that the next time I write it will be to tell of the many blessings and answers to prayer that we witnessed, to testify to God's faithfulness and the power of prayer.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Haitian Christmas

This past Christmas was unlike any I've ever had before and it wasn't only because I was in a different country and culture. There were many other factors including the replacement of blood relatives with my new Haitian family, substitution of classic holiday traditions with unfamiliar ones, and the unexpected responsibility of working in the clinic Christmas morning.

A couple days before Christmas, my good friend, roommate, and partner in crime, Julie, had to leave to go home due to some family issues that had recently come up. Kate had left earlier for a 3 week visit at home, meaning I was the woman of the house for a few weeks. Instead of staying in my house by myself, Vedane offered to let me stay with her fam in their house. Christmas is not as big of a celebration here as it is at home. They have a service at the church each night the week before and the week following Christmas. But there are no presents really, few if any decorations, no talk of Santa, and no Christmas trees. However, Vedane had put up a few lights and decorations and I had started talking to Wood about some of the traditions we have during Christmas like snow, lights, and Santa. Here they call Santa Tonton Noel, which in Kreyol means Uncle Christmas. On Christmas Eve I was explaining to Wood about Santa and that he was going to come that night and leave presents while we were sleeping. Well since he was never really told much about Santa, he didn't believe me.

My mom had sent some presents for everyone in the family, and Julie and I had bought some gifts for them when we were in the DR. I wanted to try and make this Christmas special for them, so I got up really early Christmas morning and went back to my house to get all the presents. I put each persons stocking and presents next to their heads so that when they woke up they would see it. Vedane opened her presents while we waited for everyone else to wake up. Finally we heard Wood screaming "Mesi Tonton Noel, mesi Tonton Noel, yeeaaaaaaa!" I went into his room, camera ready to capture the pure look of joy on his face. I got some great pictures of each of the kids that I will have to share with you all later, as I am having trouble getting pictures from my camera to my computer.

After everyone opened their gifts, I helped Wood put together his legos while Vedane made us breakfast consisting of spaghetti with chicken, salad, and fresh fruit juice. Although it may sound strange to have for breakfast, that is what they are used to and Vedane is a wonderful cook so everything she makes is great. After I finished eating, Dr. Rodney told me that they needed me to go down to the clinic to take an xray of a lady who had broken both bones in her Wrist. After I finished doing that, I decided to take a peak into the cholera house just to check how things were going. There was one nurse, Dr. Rodney's mom, trying to take care of about 16 patients herself. There were a few patients who had come early that morning or the night before who needed IV's started, and then there were IV's that needed to be changed and more IV fluids to be given. I decided to stay and help Dr. Rodney's mom until everything was under control.

Needless to say, Christmas was unlike any other one I've had before. Although I missed my family at home, missed the snow, and Christmas traditions, I had so many things to be grateful for. Being with Rodney, Vedane and the kids, watching the joy on all their faces, and knowing that despite our many differences, the love and hope that we all share as a result of the gift the Lord has given to us through His Son, was more than I could ask for this holiday season. I was just reminded that no bought present, no material thing that this world has to offer, or no amount of Christmas tradition could ever come close to filling me with that same kind of joy, peace, and love. I am so thankful for that gift the Lord gave me, and for His steadfast faithfulness despite ever changing circumstances.

Psalm 117:2
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

Psalm 86:15
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 36:5
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.