Sunday, November 13, 2011
We started out earlier today so we could tour the storm damage. It's impossible for us to get the full effect without having seen the city before the tornado. Many areas have been cleaned up pretty well, some have even been excavated. Other areas have had little done since the tornado. We were driving along and suddenly in front of use was a huge building in total destruction, it was the high school. If there had been anything going on the that school when the storm hit the loss of life would have been horrific.
As we started down the street we could see across the valley to the hospital. The damage to the hospital wasn't as horrific as the high school. But with the mental images of a hospital as a place of safety and care, it was equally as unsettling.
On our way back we happened on to the church where nothing was left standing except the cross. The cross is still standing in the empty lot.
We arrived at the distribution center and spent the morning stocking for the coming week. The weekends tend to be when they get the most volunteers, but the fewest shoppers. So they try to get things stocked up as much as they can for the coming week.
There was another group that arrived today from Tenessee. This afternoon Joe and Travis drove the Penskey truck and went with the Tenessee group to move a family. The described it as "Hoarders, Burried Alive". They were anxioius to get back to the hotel to shower.
In the mean time the rest of us went to Lowes to buy bungee straps to keep the tarps down on the materials stored outside. The wind continues to blow here, 40 mph gusts were predicted for today. I belive they were every bit of that, and frequent.
They have a great deal of things stored outside. Many of them things that really can't tolerate a lot of moisture like paper towel and toilet paper. We spent a lot of extra time making sure things were double tarped, bungeed and weighted down to protect from the constant wind and the threat of rain overnight.
We took a trip inside the church to use the restroom and happened to meet the pastor in charge of their relief projects. His name is Roger and we can contact him to get connected to help again at the distribution center and for construction projects. Working at the distribution center is a great opportunity for prayer warriors. Prayer with the survivors is a big part of the shopping experience and people who are comfortable praying with strangers is important.
We're planning to start for home at about 6:30 local time in the morning. It will probably be between 8 & 9 when we make it home since we will probably have to stop to eat at least once. I'll update you as we get nearer to home.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Yesterday was a great day. The ladies delivered the food they bought, then we all went to work for Dr. Ken who used to be the director of hands and feet but has now started his on clinic for infant baby well care which is awesome. Very much needed in this area. We didn't see much else yesterday. Celebrated Chuck's birthday with a pizza party with all the kids. That was fun see all the smiles.
Getting ready to head out and finish helping Dr. Ken this morning, then is off to find Charlotte to goto tent city. Short and sweet this morning. Love ya all. Love God Love People Period.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
"Good morning SonLight family & friends & loved ones. This morning I woke up early and had the opportunity to come down to the beach. Such as amazing and peaceful place that God has created. I sit here and look at this amazing view and just think how often we/I fall short on thanking God for all He provides. I truly love this place. The smiles on the face of the Haitians tell everything, these people so much just want to be loved.
Yesterday was a great day. We spent the day repairing Greg's truck which was in really bad shape. We also repaired the BUV (for those of you who know what that is) which was also not running. We have fixed everything that Chuck asked us to look at and by God's grace we have extra funds left.
We were able to move and wire a generator at Jessica's so the girls would have power. The ladies went to the market and bought rice, beans, puree, spaghetti, and oil. It was divided up six ways and the ladies will be delivering it to six families today.
Thank you everything for the prayers and support. Love God, Love People, Period.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
"Good morning SonLight. Things are going great here. We were able to spend the day working with Greg and his crew at the new village. Boy was it hot! No shade at all. The ladies spent the morning at the formula program and at the school. We spent the evening driving around looking for parts for Greg's truck which we will fix today (tie rod, ruptured brake line, new brakes, new tires, etc).
Things are starting to look better around Jacmel, trash is gone and the debris on the side of the road is being cleaned up. This makes my heart feel better. As Chucky says, "one Haitian at a time". Please pray for this little special young baby named Jocelyn. She is only 11 months old and was brought to the house with full blown aids. She is so precious and full of life. I get tears in my eyes every morning when I hold her.
Once again, we're sorry for no blog. I will keep Pastor Jason updated. We love you SonLight Family.
Love God, Love People, Period."
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Good morning Sonlight. We still have very limited access to the internet. Everyone is doing awesome and having a great time. We got the generator running yesterday which is a hugh benefit for the mission. Thanks to Terry and John. Its up and off to church this morning with these beautiful people of Haiti to worship our Lord and Savior. Greg is doing some amazing work here, he is bringing two young men to church this morning for the first time. We drove to Jacmel yesterday to buy them some dress showes. Thank you Sonlight. We love you all. Love God Love People Period.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
We saw lots of people in oppressive heat and had a great time together.
Went to the border with Costa Rica today to a church there and saw a whole lot of people. Got to talk with the pastor and hear his inspiring story. Have met a lot of inspiring people young and old, including a great group of high school kids from Florida on fire for the Lord!
We're holding up well. A few minor illnesses here and there but nothing too serious. Lots of heat, wetness, fatigue, and joy serving the Lord.
Love you all,
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The guys spring into action. They begin looking for the tools necessary to change the tire. The proper tools were nowhere to be found, big suprise! Ryan Howe morphs into McGyver and begins to figure out how to get the spare out without the proper tool. As Ryan and a few guys go to work, the rest of us begin playing games with the kids, thankful for a little extra time with them. And that's when it happens...the Haitian tent camp residents come out in full force to help. My heart begins feeling confused, how is it that we have traveled all the way to Haiti to help it's people and we find ourselves in need of their help...The men bring out their meager, beat up tools and blankets for the guys to lay on. All that they had, their prize possessions for us to fix a tire! We toured the tent camp with no tangible help in tow...no food, clothing or bedding, only heavy hearts and loving arms. With no help given, the Haitians extend a kind arm of assitance to us. I will never understand why, but for that moment the kind, resilient and helpful Haitians rescued us!
So the American missionaries, those here to help, found ourselves on the receiving end. Humbled, confused and saddened by the reality, I waited in great thirst for our tire to be changed. I was so thirsty, but in my heart I knew the thirst I felt could not and would not ever compare to the hunger these people experience everyday. So, our visit to the tent camp with forever be seared in my memory...the day we were rescued by the Haitians!
Love and hugs to all!
If you live in the mountains of Haiti life may be different. If you're like my little patient yesterday you may be hours and hours away from hospital. Your parents unable to feed you much less transport you for surgical care. Knowing all of this, you look down, see your arm bone sticking out, pull your bone back into the skin, set the arm yourself, pull your shirt off and make a sling. A sling to support not only your compound fracture but also your elbow fracture, your rotator cuff tear, and your complete shoulder seperation. Your arm hurts a lot, but you go on. Six weeks later your bones are healing but you have a sore that won't heal, a sore that goes on and on and on.
Six months later your parents finally walk hours to drop you off with your aunt, who feeds you and walks you several hours to the christian hospital being built in Peredo. Newly constructed, still being outfitted with equipment, you see Dr. Jim.
Dr. Jim knows that sore are needs to be removed in surgery. Unfortunately the bone could be infected and may need more than we're equipped to do. We need an Xray which could be done in a nearby town but the Aunt has already spent money she couldn't afford to bring him here. Our surgical area isn't fully equipped, isn't as clean as we would wish, what is a missionary to do?
You do what you can. We explained the situation and proceeded to numb up the area. This tough little boy called out to Jesus, saying he would make it all better. We successfully removed the tissue and closed him up.
We rewarded his bravery with a chance to pick out some donated clothes and a toy. Leaving the clinic he had a smile, some stitches, some new shorts, tootsie rolls, and an invitation to have lunch with the school kids next door.
One less problem in a life full of them. It is my prayer that God will reward his aunt for her generosity and provide for him and his family. That people in the area will know God generously provides in the clinic at Peredo. That Peredo becomes a center for excellence in this beautiful town and country. Already people are coming cross the country to recieve low cost, high quality, compassionate care. Hopefully they will encounter our Lord who provides it all.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Dr. Henry and Dr. Kenner immediately went in search of formula. The clinic had three cans in storage, and two were expired. We took the one and only can of formula and mixed a few ounces to feed this precious little boy.
With a syringe in hand, I began to feed the lethargic newborn. At first, he had no interest in eating this foreign tasting milk. But after a few minutes, he was eating like a professional. He took the first syringe rather quickly, but slowed down when feeding him the second syringe. His little belly was not equipped for large amounts of formula.
As I was feeding this little one, the weight of this situation fell upon me. This baby's mother walked two hours to see us! She loved her baby so much, she knew if she didn't, he would starve to death. It was at this point I began to cry. I cried and I prayed to watch over this baby and help him grow, help him survive. I noticed Laura standing beside me at that moment and her sweet smile made me cry even harder. I told her his story and she knelt down and prayed with me, the mother, and the baby. We cried together, we fed the baby together, we continued to pray together.
In the meantime, Dr. Kenner had made a phone call to Tina. He had arranged for the baby and mother to return to Jacmel with the medical team where he would be fed and cared for at Miss Tina's orphanage. We finished our final tasks in the clinic and Diane, Mary, the baby's mother, and myself piled into Dr. Kenner's vehicle for the bumpy ride back to Jacmel.
Forty-five minutes later, we were pulling onto Miss Tina's property. The construction crew and Chuck opened the gate and welcomed us with open arms. We showed Miss Tina the beautiful new addition to her family, whom she had already named Josiah, and whisked him away upstairs to feed him a bottle and bathe him. While Diane and I were feeding and bathing Josiah, Tina was speaking with Josiah's mother. His mother explained to Tina that she could not care for him and her other two children at home anymore. She had no money and her husband had died in the cholera epidemic right before Josiah was born. She knew with no milk production and no money, her baby would starve to death. Previously, she had tried to give him to another orphanage, but they refused because they had no room. The two hour walk to our medical clinic was her last resort. The mother willingly gave baby Josiah to Tina, and Tina in turn sent the mother home with food for the other two children. The mother so grateful, cried and thanked Tina multiple times.
Josiah is now sleeping, with a full belly and clean diaper, ready for our evening devotion. Another wonderful addition to Miss Tina's family. A precious gift from God. "Number 26".
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger & you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick & you looked after me, I was in prison & you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger & invite you in, or needing clothes & clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Humbly in His Grip,
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
ahh, the mission and the KIDS! i was so excited to give hugs and kisses! instantaniously i knew names and saw new faces. the shock of seeing Ezekiel... WALKING! hands raised in praise, thank God! he was knocking on deaths door a few months ago and now he is charging head first into his future that God hs in store for him. little jamesly who hardly had any muscle control is crawling, pulling himself to his feet and interacting with his quick smile and laugh with everyone.
i was ready for the new faces like little jon eddy who spent the church service sleeping on my lap and smiling huge while awake.
in preparation for this trip i prayed much for the ability to be able to be in the moment, and see through His eyes and be His hands and feet.
I've been blessed to be able to spend time in the medical clinic in Peredo with pastor RoRo. the clinic struck me as one built by Gods love, giving honor to those in the surrounding mountainous area by giving them a place to visit doctors and be treated with respect and honor. haitians must walk sometimes hours on the rough terrain- sick- with a hope of being there early enough to see the doctor on that day. if they were too far back in line, they will be told to return the next day. although my heart aches for their suffering, i know that the volunteers are doing their best in being able to determine the immediate needs to allow the docs to see them.
market day- chaos.
filth, crushing crowds, noise. ive experienced market twice this week. once on foot through the crowds in jacmel to purchase vegetables for the mission house. the second time in vehicle with my husband at the helm steering us through the throng of people and their wares. getting just the right spot to set up your display of goods is of utmost importance. even if that means setting up in the middle of the street. so while driving, we waited, with 8 in a vehicle, for the vendors to move their goods in order for us to pass through. the crowds walked past, the horns honked, the voices raised in question and all the while we were waiting in a see of people. a 45 minute scenic coastal drive to peredo turned into a 2 hour heart pounding, patience testing experience. many praises to my husband for remining cool- calm - and collected throughout the whole ordeal!
praise God for this amazingly humbling experience of life in Haiti!
Every day there is a steady stream of Jacmel residents that stop by the worksite to visit "Chuckie and the Gang." The language barrier is difficult while we work but hilarious while we visit. Jonesie (John D) and Shugie stop by every day after school. Their visit today ended in a water fight! Jonesie speaks 3 languages and thinks he's a hip-hop star. Shugie calls Chuck his brother and currently has a machete wound on his hand that we've been treating. His uncle wacked him for reaching across the table for food. These two teens would fit right in with our youth at SonLight!
Haiti is a beautiful country. We're building our house on a small lot nestled between Miss Tina's school, a voodoo priestess's house, the Hands and Feet Orphanage (run by the guys from Audio Adrenaline), the old Village of Hope flooded during last year's hurricane, and the base of a beautiful mountain.
The work is hard. The conditions are horrifying. The country is broken. But these kids we're staying with are adorable, fat, healthy, and learning. The folks here eat lobster like we eat chicken and we get to cool off in what might as well be our own private Carribean lagoon! And if that weren't enough...we get to see what God has been doing here. In every interaction we have with the missionaries, pastors, students, and locals we hear that God is good and that God is healing this broken country. More importantly God is saving individuals and we get to join in the work!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Once inside, the women begin lining up. Maria began helping Linda get organized as the the rest of us got a tour of the school given by Pastor Maxi, the most gigly man I have ever met. After our tour we joined Maria and Linda to distribute formula. There were many beautiful baby's and their mama's. It was startling to see babies that are 12 months old weighing 12 pounds. We also saw a little baby boy who is 15 months weighing 13 pounds. I was presently suprised to see many babies reaching chunky monkey status. There were a number of babies that weighed in at our above healthy weight. What a testimony to the success of Tina's feeding program!
Today was filled with many other blessings! I hope to share more in times to come! Love and hugs!
Newly built with 2 surgical suites, a Dental office, Optometry office, Pharmacy, and several exam rooms. A clinic newly open, already busting at the seams.
The work here is different than in rural Panama. A more complete formulary, more surgical capabilities, a good reputation increased the variety of things we saw. Today was wound day - A machete wound, a woman who was run over by a motorcycle, and an elderly diabetic who scraped her foot. The diabetic was in real risk of losing her foot and had to go to the Cuban Hospital nearby. The others had surgery in the clinic.
We saw one child with crooked legs, bowed out, limping into the clinic. A diagnosis list in the recesses of my mind, weak from lack of use. Randy and I put our heads together and were saddened that there was little to do for him. No treatments availble, only encouragement to cope and maximize life in a culture too poor to care for the weak and downtrodden.
A picture taken and a heart filled with questions. What will become of him? Will his community and family love, support, and care for him? Will God lead him into a gainful career or will he suffer from the inhumanity of man all of his days? I fear the latter and pray that at least he may encounter God in a saving way in this beautiful clinic and town. A beacon of hope in a dark land.
Our team is well. We're having a great time and we are all healthy. We appreciate your prayers as we continue the work. Naomi is improving slowly.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Naomi had developed an abscess on her hip. Probably a bacteria we all have on our skin. A bacteria normally harmless, but in this case invading the skin and creating a trapped infection. An infection that needed to come out. We knew what needed to be done but knew it would be painful for all of us.
We got the medical bag and started attending to Naomi. First - a stick intended to relieve pain. Second, an incision into the cavity with an expected squirt of nastiness. Third, the hard part - massaging the tissue to express all of the toxic material. Each touch causing pain, tears, withdrawal. Tears of pain from a girl with too much pain in her life so far. Next, a repeat of it all in a second area. Pain, tears, and pus, and relief.
Tina said it amazes her that whenever they have a need, God supplies it. What an intimidating though beautiful thought - God knew the pain and need would be there and allowed two humble docs the pleasure of helping a baby. He could have healed her without us, could have prevented the infection, but chose to use us to minister to her and her family.
This morning Naomi is not all better but is a little closer than yesterday. Please pray that God will heal her, that no more pain will be needed, and that we will have the wisdom to know the right things to do at the right times. Pray that when God supplies a need any of us can supply, we will recognize it and have the courage to meet it.
Thanks for your prayers! Love you all.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Pastor RoRo started a church in Peredo about 2 years ago with $500 and a vision from God. His church now has about 250 people that attend every Sunday, a school with 167 students, a feeding program that feeds 1200 children daily, and a medical clinic that treats 80-100 people every day.
The medical clinic treats basic maladies; worms, skin infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, hypertension, and pain. The clinic also performs surgeries, dental extractions, and uses the Kendall Optometry system for eye exams.
In addition to the medical clinic, Pastor RoRo and his team are building or have built a church, two dormatories, and a home for the physician (the physician has not been decided, but Paster RoRo knows God will provide). Paster RoRo's future plans are to move on to a new town in about six months and start this process again. He is building God's Kingdom, one village at a time, just as Jesus commanded us to do; If someone is hungry, sick, naked; feed them, heal them, give them clothes to wear- Tell them I love them and show them with your actions. "Whatever you have done to the least of these you have done to me."
We also met Cristella, a little girl in the village who had burned her legs in a cooking fire. The witch doctor down the road, instructed her parents to take batteries, open them, and put the powder inside the batteries in her wounds as a treatment and cure. RoRo found her crying alone at home while doing rounds on the homes in the village. He spoke with her parents and they decided that Pastor RoRo would take her to he hospital in Jacmel. At the hospital in Jacmel, the doctors said both of her legs would need to be amputated. He then called a Northwest Christian Mission who instructed him to bring Cristella to them. After a month with NWCM, she left for home with both of her legs and her first pair of tennis shoes. Cristella's entire family now belongs to the church and her father is part of Paster RoRo's team.
Thank you Lord that one little girl's legs are important to you. Thank you Lord for preparing me and allowing me the privelege of sharing in your work here in Haiti.
Shout out to Marie, Cork, and Danette @ home! Love you guys!
Arrival at the airport was much more organized this time, things are slowly improving in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake. More of the trash and rubble has been cleaned up, but the city is still dirty, smelly, and in ruins. The trip over the mountains to Tina's house was much improved as well. We had a good driver, plus all the people who were car sick last time made it through OK. Jeff sat in the back and got a little nauseous with a headache, but suffered well.
Mary and Erin got us all warmed up with an interactive devotional highlighting scriptures of encouragement and faith that we will need this week.
Today, the construction crew woke everyone else up at 5:30 local time, 6:30 Indiana time (Something to do with big Ed's biological clock) and we had dark coffee and Pop Tarts for breakfast. They are off to lift rocks now, while the rest of us wait to go tour and organize the medical clinic for the week. A few of the ladies will venture into town with Tina to purchase supplies.
Things here are good from a missions perspective. There are more kids in the home, recently rescued by Child Protective Services from a child trafficking ring that was running a fake orphanage. Praise God they have escaped such a difficult life and found a loving Christian environment. Thank God that he placed Tina here so long ago to be ready for a time such as this. God is good and he is Sovereign.
Please be praying that the work is safe but our hearts are not. We pray that God will stretch our faith through challenges we cannot meet without him. We pray we will have a greater awareness of how others live and a greater compassion for those less fortunate than us. That we will be brave enough to ask what our response should be to the things we see and the people we meet. What would Jesus call us to do here? Did he really mean all those things he said about the poor?
Thanks for your prayers! We're all safe and sound and God is in charge.
Jim and Laura
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
For the love of Haiti,
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Our partnership with Juan Rodriguez of David, Panama, passionate pastor and gifted communicator, is longstanding and rich with opportunities for involvement. SonLight sends a team each year to complete construction projects and a second team to hold medical clinics. For the first time this year, Pastor Jason has been invited to come and teach at the pastors conference that Juan holds each year. The purpose of this conference is to offer ongoing training for national pastors. Our partnership with Juan is treasured by SonLight!
SonLight also partners with Damou Christian Mission in Jacmel, Haiti. Our first team visited Damou last fall, following the terrible earthquake. The team's purpose was to complete the construction of a block home and to assist the individuals caring for children at Damou's orphanage. Our team's experience was completely drenched with God's hand of wisdom, direction and provision. To hear more of the team's stories first hand, please click the link provided on the right side of the blog.
Throughout the last few mission trips, a number of friends, family members and loving supporters have followed our teams at various places online. We wanted to provide you with a central location to follow our teams as we are following Jesus call to Go!