Piton, Haiti: January 10-16, 2015
After more than 20 trips to Haiti, each one involving lots of sweating, it was quite a surprise to actually enjoy wonderfully pleasant weather last week with 10 other co-workers in Piton-a small mountain village discovered by Katherine Harrison through their community leader. I don’t think we ever broke a sweat the whole week! I guess an elevation of 6,000 feet is cool no matter where it is. Add to that the breathtaking beauty of being above the clouds, surrounded by mountains, and the turquoise Caribbean water over a mile below, and it was hard to imagine anyplace on earth any more beautiful. Until, that is, we once again faced the terrible contrast of the poverty of people who left their homes during the dark and arrived at our clinic late in the afternoon to receive the only medical care of their lives. We were honored to treat almost 500 men, women and children in the four days we were there. As always, we were struck by the greatness of the needs and the basics we were only able to offer. Tylenol, Tums, and vitamins seem so trivial that it’s always easy to question whether we are really helping or making a difference. As I’ve struggled with this question myself, I have to admit in most cases the answer is no. But then I remember the baby with an ear infection that won’t scream all night in pain and suffer hearing loss. And I remember the wounds we cleaned that won’t result in severe infections, and the eyeglasses we were able to give away that offered improved vision. And the elderly woman who slipped and fell walking down the mountain who was crying and now could barely stand. We put her into our truck and treated her first that morning with a large dose of ibuprofen to relieve her pain and muscle injuries. If treating physical needs was the only reason we were there would it be worth it? Would it be worth using hard-earned vacation time, leaving precious loved ones behind, draining savings, spending a week in less than comfortable beds, taking cold showers and eating …hmmm? Well, yes it is. It is indescribable joy to be chosen and called to be the hands, feet and mouths of Jesus to take His love, light, truth, peace and hope to those living in poverty. But, as if that wasn’t blessings enough, it is one of the most humbling experiences of my life to ask “do you know Jesus?” Their answers always amaze me: “no, I would like to, but I don’t know anyone to teach me,” or: “yes, but I don’t follow Him, maybe some day,” or, as I heard several times last week: “no, I follow Satan.” In the few minutes that I have contact with them, I likely can’t bring them to a point of conversion but I have the precious privilege of speaking His name, making it perfectly clear that He loves them, He died for them, and wants them to know and receive Him and His gifts. All I know is that He calls and allows me to plant the seeds of His truth which He will allow someone else to water and He will give the increase. Is it worth it? Oh, yeah!
September 2014 Mission Trip (more pictures below story)
On our recent trip to Haiti we had the opportunity to worship with a group of Christians in Grassier. We were told it was just down the gravel road a short distance and then up a slight hill. That should have been my first clue. “Up a slight hill a short distance” in my thought process means I can handle that with no problem. In Haitian thought process, it means about 100 yards on loose gravel and huge ruts at a more than slight incline! I made it up with no real problem, which I knew I could, but the entire time I was thinking about having to get back down.
Worship was all in Creole, but was so inspiring and we could feel their love for the Lord. Those of us on the back row had a translator for the sermon and many of the songs we recognized. One particular song they sang so beautifully was “How Great Thou Art.” We had been told to expect at least two hours, which was about how long it lasted. The building sits up on a hill so there was also a breeze which helped with the sweltering heat.
We intended to be as non-disruptive as possible and had even asked if it would cause any distractions for us to attend the worship service. We were assured they would love to have us. At one point they even introduced us and had all of us stand. One little Haitian girl about 1 1/2, even came and sat on many of our laps during worship. It turned out later she was the child of one of the Respire Christian School staff members.
Church was over and it was time to head back to the guest house. With Cheryl’s help, my hand on only her shoulder (so that if I fell I would not take her down with me), we started down the hill on the loose gravel road. That is when I heard a sweet voice come up behind me singing in Creole, “How Great Thou Art.” This lovely lady was as old, if not older, than me and she grabbed my arm with a grip that I could not have broken even had I wanted to. My Angel walked me all the way to the bottom of the hill singing to me and grinning from ear to ear. I thanked her and she smiled and took off home. I immediately wished I had gotten a picture of her but she was gone.
The next morning, as was our routine, we went to the Respire Coffee Shop for breakfast, and who should be in the kitchen working but my Angel! I went in and hugged her and got this picture. But that was not the end of our meetings, besides every morning at breakfast, the last day of the clinic she came in to be checked over. Now it was our doctors’ and nurses’ time to be her Angel.
Every day in Haiti brings reminders of God’s love for all his children and brings stories of how he uses all of us to minister to each other. I do know one thing for sure, when we bless as we’ve been blessed, it comes right back in so many unexpected ways-just as He promised!
September 2014 Medical Missions Trip (Respire – Grassier)
Our first medical trip to Respire was a success! Hundreds of children and adults were treated at the newly constructed medical clinic on the school property in Grassier. The missionary team had the privilege of worshipping with the local church and interacting with local missionaries and residents. There are lots of pictures to share, but here are just a few from our trip…..
July 2014 Inspection Trip
We have felt all your prayers this week as we traveled in Haiti visiting clinics that have expressed an interest in working with our team. Before we left we all prayed that we would come home with a clear picture as to what our next step would be. AND WE DID. Read more about it in the OUR FOCUS section of this website!