The Family

The Family
Justice, Logan, Jacy Klaire, Joy, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, Judah, Kerry, Jaxon

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fishing for Fisherman

We had back to back groups led by eye doctors the past two weeks. Dr. Lori Geddes and her family and our new friend Darrell came down from Minnesota to spend a week with us. We were able to do some eye care but much more than that we were able to some things done in the schools with Pastor Cesar and began the process of organizing things in the clinics. It was a great week and we look forward to seeing them back in Haiti.

One really cool thing that came out of that trip was a ministry to fisherman. I have been meeting with the fisherman that fish here at our backyard. I meet with them at 5:45 on Monday mornings before they go out for the day of fishing. I pray with them individually for safety and blessing. I am also starting a Bible study with them on how much Jesus loved fisherman. We are going to try to help them with some supplies they need to fish as well. We are going to try to get hooks, line, steel leaders, and other small tackle for them to use in their trade. They do not use fishing poles but instead wrap the line around a coke bottle and then hold the line in their mouths as they paddle. When we asked them to show me their typical setup, the first fisherman held up a line that had an old sparkplug tied to the end as a weight. These guys lead a tough life and have a tough job. The deforestation of Haiti has had its effects on the fishery as well. The silt that flows into the sea has covered and killed much of the reef. That has reduced the amount of sea life and makes fishing a tough venture. They usually end the day with a handful of small fish only a few inches long. They will eat what they need and sell the rest to try to get by. Their boats, which are carved out of mango or bread fruit trees, are called a bwa fouye. They all leak so half of your time is spent bailing water out. Pray that I can get to know them and that they will choose to accept Christ. I have had 3 show up for the meeting at 5:45 each week and about 10 show up at about 7! They all tell me they start fishing at 6 and I see them out there so they wanted to do it early but then they get there the typical Haitian hour late. They are operating on Joy's schedule!

Dr. Dennis' team helped us work on the benches for the church at St. Marc. It was hot, hard work but we got 40 benches built that were used in Church this past Sunday. Everyone was so excited to get the benches into the church. What a great day! They also helped me work at the clinic we are setting up at the orphanage.

(As I type this Josie Kate came up to me carrying a baby chick! She is our fearless animal lover. I bought a couple of Hispanola Parrots the other day on the street in PAP and she just loves them to death...almost literally!)

All of the kids are doing great. We may have an addition to the family but I need to get some things settled before we introduce her officially. Joy brought a little one home after spending the night in the hospital with her last Friday. Joy is at the hospital again today with a little girl who has a hip deformity due to an infection. We are seeing if a visiting orthopedic team can operate on her while they are here. Be praying for little Dianna.

The twins are doing better. Both sets are healthy and growing. We are so thankful for all of your prayers. They still have has the chickenpox right now... but we know your prayers are keeping them strong.

Our time is consumed now with getting everything ready for our big annual convention with eye care, medical care, pastor training, teacher training, youth sessions, and children's ministry. That all kicks off the week after Easter. Be praying for the team coming from NC to do that work. It is a tough week for them but we always see God do some marvelous things.

We are in the process of getting the orphanage certified with UNICEF and the Haitian Social Services. Once that process is complete, about 2 more weeks we pray, we will be certified to receive kids from UNICEF. I went and visited some of the kids in PAP last week and it broke my heart. Kids that lost parents in the quake and were injured. They have been staying in the hospital for the last 2 months. UNICEF has standards that are keeping them from being placed in an orphanage right now. Pray we can get through the red tape and help these precious children. We are getting closer. We still do not have any furnishings in the orphanage, or even electricity or a kitchen but things are coming together. The Lord is in Charge. And for that we are grateful!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What do Starfish Eat?

It was a good day. I spent the day in Port Au Prince getting supplies for some friends that will be coming to stay with us next week and help us. I also met with Dr. Price from Christianville and picked up the equipment for the lab where we will be making glasses. He also showed me some of the pharmacies where he buys medications.

There are more military personel in PAP than I ever would have imagined. I definitely feel safer than I ever have in the city. Some removal of debris from destroyed buildings and homes is occuring. The food distributions and things are starting to decrease so things are getting back to semi-normal. The biggest thing you see is that the tents that the people were sleeping in were made out of sheets right after the quake. Now groups have came in and given better tents. So now many of the tent villages all have matching tents. The problem is that I do not hear much organized talk of actually doing anything with all the people living there. Right outside of the city in the last 2 weeks hundreds of people have migrated to this one area to claim a piece of land to put their house. Right now they are tents but soon they will be wood and tin and later blocks. But there are hundreds already with one right on top of the other. No organization. No water. No sanitation. No plan. If it continues as it is going it will become another PAP slum that is ran by the gangs and the women and children are the victims. The lack of sanitation leads to diseases and nothing is any better than before. I pray the NGO community will organize and not allow that to happen. We will have to see. But any day that I get to PAP and get back home safely without an incident is a good day.

Josie and a gecko she found in her bed.

Joy and the kids were here all day today. I had our team here today painting and doing repairs on the room where our visitors will be next week. I got home and Jacy, Judah, and Josie were all holding starfish. A son of one of the guys that works here found them for them today. They were so excited. They wanted to keep them as pets and asked what they needed to feed them. It turned out to be a pretty good question...What do starfish eat? Then of course it led to the fact they could not find a mouth, or eyes, or ears, or a tail. But they all agreed they were really cool and we should let them go so that we could find them again some other day.

Tomorrow we go to the Artibonite Valley to do an eye clinic screening of some of the people from the mountains with another missionary friend of ours. The whole family is going which is always a big deal. We strap Jaxon in the stroller and then strap it down to the bus where they used to strap in the wheel chairs for handicapped kids. It works out pretty good. We will see hundreds of patients and give them glasses and screen them for eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. Any one that needs further care will be scheduled to come down and see me in our clinic. I received a donation of these really funky glasses that you inject serum into the space in hollow lenses and you can control the power. It is cool technology but we will have to see how well received they will be by the people. I will be trying them out tomorrow. I will take some pictures of the process and share how it goes. I am a little skeptical but I have read about them being well accepted in other places.

The cat in the stroller is our anti-rodent pest control agent. We had a huge rat in our house one night and Joy woke up the household standing on the toilet screaming. The rest of the night was spent in "prayer"! The next morning we mentioned that we had a rat and needed a cat. In a couple of hours a guy showed up to sell us a "cat". This little thing is smaller than the rat! A couple of nights later I trapped the rat behind a piece of furniture and me and our nightwatchman Charles chased him around the house for a while until Charles took care of him with his machete. Joy has slept a little better since. The cat was no help though. The rat walked right behind him to enter the house! He is still in training! But the kids LOVE the little kitten. If it survives Josie Kate's headlocks I think it will make a good rat deterent in the future. (Judah and an eel he caught while we were fishing.)

The mission is coming along well. Next week we will begin setting up the lab and the clinic. We will also start building the room for the generator and the covered area to eat. We have a lot of work to do to get an area usable for a detached kitchen. So we will get that going as well.

Our friends in NC are putting together a container to send over to get the orphanage and the rest of the mission furnished and equipped to begin operation. We are praying that can happen quickly so we can get the things out of customs before it gets too much back to normal. I have a doctor in Pennsylvania that has donated the equipment I need for our other eye clinic I just need to get it shipped directly to here or get it to NC and put on the container. If anyone has any ideas about that let me know.

We have a meeting tomorrow afternoon with the aunt of a little girl who lost her parents in the quake. I don't have any details yet but we are still waiting on God to begin to send us kids. His timing is always right.

Both sets of the twins Joy has been caring for are doing good. The mothers are healthy and the kids are growing. Thank you to everyone that sent formula. It is much needed.

We had another one of the people that we have been working with accept Jesus as his personal Savior this past week. I am meeting with two of the new converts every morning at 6:30. The newest convert, Charles, is my age and can't read at all. We are listening to the creole Bible on CD and he loves it. I am so grateful God is giving me the opportunity to disciple them and invest in them. It is awesome being a part of God's plan to save the world!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Which is Better One or Two?

It was a good day. I started our regular scheduled clinic days at our clinic in St. Ard today. The clinic is based in a mission hospital about 25 minutes from where we live. We have seen patients there before but not on a regular scheduled basis. It felt great to get into that today. I have seen thousands of patients since we got to Haiti but it has been as screenings and with rudimentary equipment. Today I got to do eye exams very similar to the ones I performed on patients back in the U.S. before we moved here. We have a great clinic set up and we are in the process of getting a lab set up to make glasses here as well. I should have had that already done. Because of my procrastination and being so consumed by other ministry that I did not go to retrieve our equipment for the lab when it arrived in country at another clinic near PAP. Now much of the equipment is covered with rubble from the quake and we do not know how much will be usable. Lesson number 638 learned in Haiti: Never let valuable equipment sit in someone else's warehouse an earthquake could destroy it. Ok...lesson learned!

I would appreciate your prayers too because the other hospital where we are going to have a clinic has began work on finishing the rooms where our clinic will be. It will only be a couple of weeks and they will be ready. I do not have the equipment to put in the clinic yet. I need to find the equipment and get it shipped as quick as possible. Right now I can get medical equipment shipped in without having to pay customs for it. It would be great to get that done in the next couple of weeks and get in before that ends at the end of March.

The "mission" is coming along. That is what we are calling the location we have secured for the orphans, and the team rooms, our ministry office, and a place to see patients on an emergency basis. We have some people in the states working on shipping a container to upfit the entire place. I will be letting people know the details of that as they develop. We have had the opportunity to accept a few kids but not what we feel God has in store for us. We are still waiting for Him to send us the kids He wants us to have. Keep that in prayer.

The refugee camps are getting complicated. The people are tired of staying there and now school is getting ready to start back and they do not know what to do with the refugees. The group of young people that started the camp want to build build 60 wooden and tin houses on about 2 acres for the people to live in for two years. I have talked to them about it and just see many problems with the plan...sanitation, water, diseases, long term planning, dependency...and the list goes on. I want to help the people find a long term plan for each family and not be dependant on someone else for 2 years in slum conditions.

We are excited to see God moving in the lives of people. The man that is in charge of the property where we live and the girl that has been helping Joy some with the kids and everything have both made professions of faith in Jesus Christ in the last two weeks. Pray for Nabal and Meray as they begin their new walks of faith.