Thursday, May 26, 2011

Haitians to the Rescue!

It was hot, I mean hot. It was humid, super humid. We were finishing up our walk through the most despicable place on earth with many little "helpers" in tow.  As we rounded the corner close to where our truck was parked, my mind raced to make sense of the horror I had just witnessed.  As we approached the truck the children began to line the bumper. A grown up signaled for them to scatter so we could load up.  That's when we saw it, we had flat tire! 

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 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!

Running boy

7 years old, running, playing. Like most kids having fun but on his own. A fall, broken bones. Bone sticking through skin. You and I would be go to the ER, have surgery, probably IV antibiotics, splint, rehab and life goes on.

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

Number 26

We (medical team) left the orphanage for the clinic at 815am. We traveled along the beautiful coastline just as we had for the past two days. When we arrived, Haitians were waiting patiently for clinic hours to begin. The first three hours were pretty routine; Dr. Jim, Dr. Randy, Dr. Henry and Dr. Kenner (Haitian doctors) seeing patients, Diane pulling teeth, and Mary and me filling prescriptions in the pharmacy. As I was filling a routine Tylenol prescription, Dr. Henry called me into the exam room. There sat a very young mother, with what looked like a newborn baby sleeping in her lap. As I looked closer, I realized this baby was seriously ill. Dr. Henry explained that the baby was born about 18 days ago and had not been eating. The mother had informed him that she was having problems producing milk and did not have enough money for formula, so she walked two hours to the clinic to have the baby examined. The baby had not been fed since birth, 18 days.

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".

Helping & Hurting

Up @ 5:30am, had pancakes, coffee & conversation, then off to the construction site by 7am.  Forming a line we passed LOTS of block to each other & up on the roof to continue the process of finishing the home for an elderly couple that came from the Village of Hope that had been flooded out (the one Jared refers to in his blog) It was HOT, but so rewarding to be able to be apart of such a great team including the Haitian crew!  Emilie & I are the only 2 girls on the construction team & the guys make us feel just like one of them!  Chuckie, who spent 24 wks last yr in Haiti & has been coming here for the last 3 yrs, is an AMAZING individual who is the most compassionate man, so soft spoken & loving & everyone knows CHUCKIE, as they call out when he drives past or is walking down the street, he really reminds you of how Jesus was, loving the children & humble!  He's a modern day Jesus :) After we finished at the worksite, Chuckie took us into downtown Jacmel to meet Charlotte, who was in charge of the largest tent camp in the Jacmel area!  What a powerful woman, so full of energy, assertive & strong!  She took us to the tent camp today & I couldnt believe it, these people are living in filth, feces, urine, they're starving & most are covered in scabies...I can't believe that our government doesn't do something about this & that they're government is to corrupt to care!  It makes me MAD, I don't get it...we wouldn't let our animals live in the conditions, so why would we be so inhumane to let men, woman & children live in it!  As soon as we got out of the truck I had 2 little ones hanging on my arms, holding my hand, playing games & all I could do was let them, love them & tell them I'm sorry.  All of us who visited tent camp today were followed by several children, pointing to their bellies, because they are so hunger & food is not getting there...where did all the money that was donated go?  There hair is red on the ends because they don't get enough protein & their eyes are yellow from jaundice.  This should NOT be happening, it's not right.  I feel ashamed for the things I have & nice home I live in & for the bed I get to sleep in.  These people don't even sleep when it rains because inside their tents its like a mud hole, a bacteria infested mud hole!  Sad, so sad!  So many question my motives for wanting to go on a mission trip out of the country saying, "why can't you help people in the United States?"  Well our people have opprotunity & the resources to be able to do something, shelters to go to, food banks to feed them!  Haiti doesn't have that, again the goverment doesn't care & prohibits them from doing anything.  The only help they get is outside help, people like our mission team, so that's why I do it, because if people from the outside didn't, then no one would!  All we can do is pray that God will help them find a way out, help as much as possible & do what Jesus has commanded us to do!!

"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."

Matthew 25:34-39

Humbly in His Grip,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kids, Kisses, Clinic, Chaos

Plane touches down in Haiti. Once again i am blessed with God giving me the gift of landing here. first impression PAP - much improvement. many areas from the airport construction to fewer tents in the medians of the city streets to actually seeing big machines moving the crumbled earth. as i rode through the city of PAP i thanked God for the few changes i did see.
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!

3 Feet from the Sun

Today the construction crew was able to make some good progress on the house in Village of Hope. The house is a duplex designed for a few elderly's about the size of most of your garages. We've been working on the roof which will be all concrete and ready for a second floor to be added if need be. The work was very tedious...AND HOT! The Haitian work crew are very hard workers, but today even they were dragging a little bit in the 100+ degree weather. It felt like Haiti was 3 feet from the sun.
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

Approaching Chunky Monkey Status

Today, Rachael, Mary, Cindy, Maria and I had the privilege to accompany Miss Linda to the baby feeding program.  As we approach the school I begin to see a number of women, some with babies and some without, waiting for our arrival.  My eyes meet a young woman's, she looks right through me.  I began to realize that the needs that we would see today are far beyond needs that I will ever experience. 

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!


The boy with crooked legs

The ride to Peredo is nothing less than beautiful. Drive along the coast, through three colorful little towns, then turn right and up the mountain to a little clinic oasis.

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 is a nine month old beautiful little girl. Having fevers and irritable since we arrived. Last night during devotion we got a call from upstairs - "We need a Doctor, we have an emergency!" With a glance, my good friend Randy dutifully went up to see her.

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

We traveled to Peredo today and met Pastor RoRo. We traveled in the back of a truck, standing the entire time. We had to stop along the "road", and by "road" I mean a washed out culvert, to pull another truck out of the river.

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 in Haiti

Yesterday was a long day. No sleep Thursday night, travel by school bus, airplane, and tour bus. 18 hours before we arrived at Damou Christian Mission yesterday evening and were greeted with lobster soup for dinner! Arrival was chaotic as expected. We saw many familiar face amongst the crowd of children, and we were introduced to many new children at the house.

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

At this time tomorrow, the Haiti team will be making final preparations and spending the last few hours with family before departing for Haiti! Everyone is very excited to serve in Haiti and to see what God has in store. I must say that preparing for this trip has been challenging. There are arrangements to make for church responsibilities, children, finances and work, for many. The most important preparation, however, is preparing my heart for this experience. I have really been burdened for the people of Haiti, their spiritual state as well as physical. It is my desire to see their suffering as Jesus would and respond with His love. I continue to pray that God will prepare my heart to see what I will see, experience what I will experience and to touch those that I come in contanct with. Please pray as we go that our team will not miss what God has called us to do because our hearts weren't ready! Thank you in advance for the prayers you send up on our behalf!!

For the love of Haiti,
Emilie Rains

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Come Follow What God is Doing

God is moving in big ways at SonLight Community Church! The Bible is being preached, lost are being found and Christ followers are being challenged to step out in faith. One way that Christ followers are stepping out in faith is by answering Jesus' call to "go and make disciples of all nations...". SonLight is currently involved in two nations, Panama and Haiti.

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!