Madam Dessalines

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This afternoon I learned that a dear friend in Basen died this past week. I first met Madam Dessalines in 2011 and have visited her during each of my trips to Basen.  She was always so happy to see me and I loved to just sit with her and listen to her stories. We would sit side by side, often holding hands.

She was an amazing women who was raising her three orphaned grandchildren. Over the years she had become more frail and suffered from leg and back pain. Years of laboring in her gardens, washing clothes by hand at the river and cooking over a pot sitting on stones on the ground had wreaked havoc on her small frame. For the past two years she was unable to walk to Mass. Always when we spoke she mentioned the Lord and how grateful she was for His presence in her life. No matter how difficult her situation she found comfort in knowing that God knew her every need.

Please keep her grandchildren in your prayers. Her grandsons are very young and I wonder who will care for them now. Their names are Tchembert and Aslet and both are students at the school at St. Laurent. Her granddaughter, Rose-Berchise, lives and attends school in the nearby city of Gonayiv. My heart aches for them.

 

Compassionate action.

One of the tenets of the Mercy Beyond Borders Scholars’ Program is Compassionate Action. Each of our secondary school scholars is required to volunteer for two hours every month helping others in the community. One option is tutoring students from a local elementary school.

A few weeks ago, early on a Saturday morning, several of the MBB scholars were joined by students from a nearby school. After the session began a few more scholars and students straggled in. The last elementary school student to arrive appeared a few years older than the rest, likely as old as some of the scholars. He had a deep voice and some facial hair. The last MBB scholar to arrive was a tiny girl, probably one of our 7th graders. They seemed an unlikely match so I asked another scholar to join them.

They sat side by side on a school bench and the boy sheepishly said he’d forgotten to bring his Math textbook. The girls were undaunted, quickly took his notebook and began writing numerical problems for him to solve. They sat together, arms touching, and quietly worked for over an hour. When the session was over the scholars went on their way. I watched this student, this young man, walk around the room. He stopped before each poster displayed on the wall and read it. I could sense, even feel, his thirst for knowledge. After he’d made his way around the room he quietly approached me. I asked his name and learned that he is 15 years old and is in the 5th grade. In barely more than a whisper he asked, “Can I come here every week to get help with my lessons?” I managed to hold back the tears that came to my eyes.

The scholars in the MBB program are among the brightest students in this area. To enter the program they must have graduated at the top of their class while in elementary school. As MBB scholars their secondary school tuition is fully paid, most of their books are purchased and if they do not live in the local area they are eligible to live in one of the two boarding houses. They are truly blessed to be given this opportunity. For me it is just as important that they are also learning to be compassionate members of society. They may not know that this young man was older than them, they most likely don’t know why at 15 he is only in the 5th grade. But they do know that they helped him. And I am proud to say they did it without ridicule and with respect.  This is compassionate action.

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God’s grace is enough.

Your Grace Is Enough is a song that brings me great comfort. It has been playing in the back of my mind during this long and emotional week, reminding me of His love for us. We all face times of hardship. Sometimes we wonder how we can continue or how the people around us can cope with the challenges they face. His grace is enough if we allow it to penetrate our minds, our hearts, our souls. We are never alone.

Last Sunday there was a horrific accident just outside of town. A bus carrying a load of people was traveling from north of Gwomòn to Port-au-Prince. The bus flipped on its side and continued down a steep, long hill dragging people as it went. There were many fatalities and the injured were taken to several different hospitals. Several were brought to Alma Mater Hospital here in Gwomòn. We arrived to help in whatever way we could and I was shocked by what I saw. There were dozens of injured people, many of them lying on benches in the outside corridor which typically serves as the waiting area. Many were bleeding, crying and moaning. Others were sitting up. All of them were covered in dust from head to toe.  In shock, the look in their eyes was full of pain and disbelief.

I quickly realized that the scene which initially seemed chaotic to me was totally under control. The nurses and doctors had already evaluated each patient, IV’s had been started, there was a triage nurse in charge and everyone was busy doing exactly what needed to be done. Doctors were stitching wounds while bending over patients lying on benches, abrasions were being cleaned and bandaged. On the last bench I spotted a little girl lying by herself. Her eyes were closed and my heart skipped a beat as I approached wondering if she was alive. She had a IV and as I gently touched her arm her eyes fluttered open. She had gauze bandages on her ear, her cheek, her forehead and her left arm. Her shirt was covered in blood. Her hair looked grey from all the dust. I knew she did not get onto the bus looking that way. She is only six years old and her name is Mirje Carlide. As I sat talking with her she started quietly weeping saying her Mama had died in the accident. I was speechless and devastated and at a loss for words. I asked her to try to rest for now and told her the doctor would soon come to help her. I sat with her for about an hour until finally a young woman came by. Tamara is her 24 year old sister who was also on the bus and had been brought to our hospital with minor injuries. She did not know her little sister had survived. She did know their Mama had died and she was in deep shock. It took about two hours for her to get to the point where she was able to care for her sister. At that time I left them. The following day Mirje Carlide, accompanied by her sister, was transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away. They have since gone on to Port-au-Prince to be with their extended family. His grace is enough.

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The following Thursday morning I planned to go to Basen with my friend Anita to speak with Marie Carmel. Before we left we needed to pick up one of Anita’s patients who has been ill on and off since her twins were born nine months ago. She suffers from postpartum cardiomyopathy and needed to be seen by a specialist in a hospital several hours away. Her condition has deteriorated so that she is unable to walk or sit on her own. It was necessary that her uncle pick her up and place her in the back of Anita’s truck on a mattress. He and her mom sat at her side for the hour long road down our deeply rutted dirt road trying desperately to keep her comfortable. Germithe is 21 years old. Her twins are named Roseberline and Robensley and their six year old sister is named Islande.

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We arrived in Basen an hour later to speak with Marie Carmel and her family leaving Germithe in the truck with her family. We began the 25 minute walk up the mountain and after 10 minutes Anita hailed a passing moto driver who took us the rest of the way. It was very quiet when we reached the mountain top home. The yard is usually full of adults and children but we only saw my friend Mari, Marie Carmel’s mother. She led us into the house and lying on the bed was my emaciated friend, to weak to sit up, to weak to speak above a whisper. I wondered for a minute why we were there. Anita and I spoke with her, her mom and her daughter. We explained that Marie Carmel was scheduled for surgery the following day to remove the huge mass in her armpit, that the surgery was risky but her only chance of survival. We were there to make sure they understood that, other than a miracle, this was her only chance. No one was able to decide whether Marie Carmel should make the trip. Phone calls were made to her two other daughters but still no decision could be made. How to you choose death over the possibility of life? We could not wait too long as Germithe was waiting in the truck. With tears in her eyes, the youngest daughter, who is 30 years old, finally made the decision to keep her mom there in Basen, to let her die in their mountaintop home surrounded by family. She simply couldn’t let her go so far away. Although it saddens me to think yet another person that I know will lose their life to cancer I think it was a wise decision. Truly I don’t know that Marie Carmel would have survived the journey to Port-au-Prince but she deserved to be offered the chance.

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We hugged, we cried, we prayed and we knew, His grace is enough.

We returned to the truck sad and disheartened but we had another patient to care for so we composed ourselves and continued on the 4 hour trip to Mirebalais. When we arrived Germithe was quite quickly given a bed in the Emergency Room, ahead of many others who’d been waiting since the early morning hours. Her situation required immediate care. After taking some tests and waiting almost five hours she was finally admitted and we left for a friend’s house nearby for dinner and some much needed sleep.

It had been a long day, part of a long week. But His grace carried us through as it always does. We are both grateful for the opportunities God places in our lives to care for others. There is no greater gift He could give us.

Marie Carmel

I first met Marie Carmel in July of 2016. She is 53 years old, the daughter of a dear friend who lives in the mountainous community of Basen Manyan. This is her story over the past six months. It is a long story but will give you a glimpse into one of the many struggles in Haiti. Facing a medical crisis anywhere in the world can be complicated and challenging but trying to navigate the medical system in Haiti can be overwhelming. To complicate matters further the situation is often exacerbated by a patient’s crippling fear and superstition of doctors and medical procedures.

On this July afternoon I walked up the mountain to visit my friend Mari and offer my condolences on the loss of her husband seven months before. They were a dear couple who were truly devoted to one another. Each time I visited them over the past several years I was given gifts; usually watermelon from their garden and one year a large, live turkey. After Mari and I spent time talking and reminiscing, shedding some tears and praying together I prepared to leave. It was then that Mari introduced me to Marie Carmel who was sitting on the ground off to the side. Mari asked her daughter to lift her arm.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. In her right armpit was an external growth the size of an orange. I will spare you further descriptive details but will say that I was rendered speechless by the sight of this. When I composed myself I began to ask questions. I learned that the tumor had been growing for many months, that Marie Carmel had been to see a doctor and had been told that the growth could be removed. But she said she would not have surgery. She was too afraid. Too afraid to go to a hospital because she would die there. Too afraid to have anesthesia because she would never awaken. Too afraid of the unknown medical intervention that could save her life. I looked her straight in the eye and told her she was correct, that there was a chance she could die during the surgery. But I then stated firmly that she would more certainly die if she did not get the cancerous growth removed. She was not convinced. So we prayed and I asked God to provide her with wisdom, courage and strength.

I asked if I could take pictures to share with some medical people serving here in Haiti, mainly to offer her some professional opinions. I returned the next day with the news that several doctors and nurses also believed this was a life threatening cancerous mass. She agreed to my offer to assist her in seeking medical help, albeit somewhat reluctantly. She was willing to see a doctor but not yet ready to commit to surgery.

Within two weeks I was headed to Port-au-Prince with a nurse friend, along with Marie Carmel and several other women with cancer. Our four hour drive brought us to St. Luke Hospital for registration and consultation. The look on the physician’s face and on the faces of his two resident interns was not encouraging. Thankfully there is a beautiful chapel on the grounds where Marie Carmel and I took time to sit and pray after her consultation. The other women in our group began earnestly encouraging her to have surgery.

The following day we went to Bernard Mevs for scans, blood work, and a surgical consultation. Each of these were done in a different building, amidst throngs of people, long lines and confusion. The opinions of the doctors varied greatly, one saying he could do a biopsy, another saying the area was too vascular, another saying the entire growth could be removed. Follow up appointments were made and Marie Carmel agreed to return to have the tumor removed. Sadly not all of our patients that day received encouraging news yet still we prayed.

During Marie Carmel’s third appointment, while she was under anesthesia, the decision was made that the tumor should not be removed but that a biopsy be taken instead. After finally agreeing to the surgery this was discouraging for all of us, most especially Marie Carmel.

The biopsy was sent to a lab in Cap Haitian and only with repeated follow up did we finally get the results – after more that two and a half months. This delayed the onset of treatment which was discouraging and detrimental to Marie Carmel’s health. Several times I heard from friends in Basen that Marie Carmel was very sick and was getting weaker. My prayers continued.

Finally just two weeks ago, with the type of cancer identified, I was able to get medication for Marie Carmel. The hope was to begin oral treatment, reduce the size of the tumor before a team of surgeons arrive from the US in mid January. I headed to Basen with trepidation having heard of Marie Carmel’s weakening condition.

My walk from the rectory to Mari’s house was unlike any walk I have taken in Basen.  It was the first time in seven years that I was not accompanied by a group of children. It became a time of private prayer and a beautiful feeling of peace filled my heart. I prayed for Marie Carmel and for my dear cousin who was lying in a hospital bed in Virginia, she herself fighting for her life after a three year battle with cancer. It was not lost on me that God provided this time for me to feel His loving presence.

When I walked up the hill through the corn field I asked God to give me strength and courage to meet this challenge.  Mari was the first to spot me and quickly told me she thought I was too late, that her daughter was too weak to continue her fight. I walked into the tiny home and saw Marie Carmel lying on a mat on the floor. Her face and body were emaciated and her shallow breathing made it difficult for her to speak. My heart sank.

I spoke candidly with her and asked her if she thought she had the strength to make it down the mountain and endure the four hour drive to the hospital in Port-au-Prince.  She did not think she could manage the trip. I told her I had medication to try to reduce the cancer in preparation of her upcoming surgery but still she said no, it was too late. I cried as I told her the biopsy should never have taken so long, that I was so sorry. Again we prayed. I asked if I could take another photo for my nurse friend. As I left Marie Carmel asked me to tell the nurse who had taken her to Port so often that she was grateful for her help and that she continued to pray for her.

I left the house, angrily threw my backpack to the ground and walked to the edge of the yard looking out at the beautiful mountains with tears streaming down my cheeks. Mari came over and placed her arm across my shoulders. The mom of a 53 year old daughter who is dying was comforting me.

I was alone again on my trip back to the rectory. I was sad for Mari and for Marie Carmel and wondered what God’s plan was for them. I contacted my nurse friend, sent her the new photos and explained Marie’s weakened condition. She agreed we were probably too late. Our spirits were crushed and the injustice of life for a Haitian hit us hard.

I did not sleep that night. I wasn’t sure of our decision. What if the Tamoxifen could help, what if the iron supplements and vitamins could increase Marie Carmel’s strength? The next morning we decided we needed to try. I prayed that Marie Carmel would feel the same way.

I headed back up the mountain with the medication. Once more I walked alone, comforted by the silence, praying for God’s guidance. As I reached the clearing at the top of the corn field and looked across the dirt yard I spotted Marie Carmel squatting on the ground wrapped in a blue towel (the picture on this post). It was breezy and cool. I held up the bag of medication and she smiled so beautifully. Her eyes were filled with hope. She was willing to try, to fight for her life.

Three weeks have passed. I have not been able to visit Basen so I don’t know if the medication has made a difference. But I will be there next week with the nurse because Marie Carmel is on the surgeon’s schedule for January 13th. I pray that she has regained her strength and we can get her down the mountain.

I know this was a long post. Writing for me is a way to process, understand and learn from what I encounter in Haiti. It is also a way to ask for your prayers for the Haitian people who suffer in so many ways. The grip of poverty, superstition and fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.

 

 

Klas Patisri

In October of 2016 Lavi Soléy, a center for women in Gwomòn, expanded to include baking and sewing classes. The center is one of several programs supported by Mercy Beyond Borders, all of which are focused on forging ways for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect and lead.

On December 15 and 16 the baking students had their mid-term assessment which included both written and practical exams. On the day of the practical exam the women arrived at 9:00 a.m. to begin preparing their recipes for exposition and judging at 3:00 the same afternoon.  The Center was abuzz with activity, laughter and delightful aromas. No box cake mixes for these women; instead they beat butter or shortening with sugar for up to four hours to ensure its’ creaminess.  Here is a short video clip of some of the women preparing their recipes.

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The end results were delicious. I served as a judge and admit to eating far too much! After changing their clothing for the presentation, one by one the women processed into the room to show off their work. Some danced their way into the room while others shyly walked in. All were smiling, proudly wearing the M.B.B. Lavi Soléy uniforms. They are happy and proud to be learning a skill that will provide an opportunity for them to earn a living. And I am happy to play a small part in the process.

Jude

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I met Jude last weekend while on a walk around the neighborhood. He was in the process of making a truck. His materials consisted of small pieces of aluminum, plastic soda bottle caps and a rock, his only tool. With the rock he was patiently forming a fold in the aluminum so that he could wrap one piece around another to secure it in place.

When I asked Jude if I could watch him work and take some photos he smiled brightly and asked if I would like to see a completed truck.  As soon as I said yes he quickly jumped up off the dusty ground, climbed up onto a nearby structure, scurried across the top of the roughly made wooden frame and out of sight. He came back several seconds later with this amazing work of art.

20161218_091555Jude, who is twelve years old, was proud of his work and delighted that I was interested. He had a small group of friends sitting and watching him, learning from their bright friend.

Haiti is a country full of creative people; people who take scraps of different materials and form them into useful objects, people who make do with what they have, people who find a way no matter how dire their circumstances may be.

I hope I am always amazed by this, that my wonder never ceases, that instead I, too, am inspired to reuse or re-purpose the things I have. I appreciate the lessons I learn here in Haiti and love that even a twelve year old boy named Luke can inspire me to live differently.

Fishermen

20161125_062005.jpgMy morning, Friday, November 25, 2016.
It is dawn. There is a small boat twenty yards off the coast. Two guys stand on the shore pulling in a huge net. A third guy is swimming underwater helping at the far end of the net. I watch as together they pull the net for 12 minutes. Then the third guy swims to the shoreline. When he sees me he swims toward the boat to retrieve his underwear. Naked he runs up the beach to put them on. Only then does he come to assist in the pulling. Finally the net is in. It appears empty. But I see some movement, some small fish flopping back and forth. They are small enough to be picked up with one hand and thrown into a bucket. Maybe 15 small fish. The third guy then swims back to the small boat, hops in and while standing he paddles to bring the boat closer. The net is loaded into the boat, another 10 minutes. When they finish, with a beautiful, warm, broad smile the third guy stands up, waves and calls good bye in his lovely kreyol accent. I bid them farewell and wish them luck. As they paddle away, two men are rowing and the third is bailing water from the boat which obviously has a leak. They paddle out for maybe 5 minues, drop the net and begin again. Ayiti, how I love the lessons you teach me ~ perseverance, patience, joy and gratitude.

Driving here I struggled with the inequities of life, that as I passed by homes that offer little protection from wind and rain I can afford to go on vacation for a few days. I know that the money I spend on this vacation will provide a living to the many Haitians employed here. That knowledge does not eliminate my discomfort. It does however cause me to reflect upon what I am doing here in Haiti, to question if my presence is making a difference in anyone’s life, to ask myself how I can be more effective, to wonder what God’s plan is for me.

For today I will focus on the lessons I learned from the three fishermen. I will try to emulate them. And I will continue to search for a deeper understanding of His will in my life.

Farewell Rejeanne

I have written before about Rejeanne. Tonight she no longer suffers. This night she is free from pain, free from worry. Early this morning Rejeanne’s husband called me to tell me that his wife died in her sleep. It is my belief that when someone has a great deal of suffering on earth they are whisked to heaven on the wings of angels after they die. I believe there is no need for further purification of their souls. I am sure Rejeanne rests easy today because she is seated at the feet of Christ.

Every weekend for the past three months I made the trek up the mountain with pain medication for her. I sat by her side, holding her hand, massaging her swollen arm, sometimes in prayer, other times with tears streaming down my cheeks.  It was a gift to have this time with her, to witness her profound faith, to walk this final journey with her. It wasn’t easy. There were times when I simply had no words to offer. So I just sat quietly, hoping my presence meant something to her. As the weeks passed by it became more difficult for her to breathe or speak. Three weeks ago she simply repeated over and over “Mwen vle mouri” ~ “I want to die.” She was ready to enter into eternal life but patiently waited because she knew that God’s timing is perfect. Even in her great suffering as I prepared to leave each time she asked me to tell everyone in my household that she was praying for them.

This morning I walked up the mountain to Rejeanne’s house again. Friends and family were gathering outside her small home to pay their respects and offer support to the family. There was no money to pay the morgue. Instead Rejeanne’s body was carried outside the house and gently placed on the hillside. Her friends gently bathed her body and dressed her in beautiful white clothing. Her dear daughter Liz fixed her hair and placed a veil on her head which gently covered her face. I was deeply touched by the intimacy of this act. When they were finished preparing Rejeanne’s body it was brought back into the house and gently placed in a casket.  There was some weeping and some silent crying.

Then Rejeanne’s daughter Liz, who was at the house devotedly caring for her mom almost every time I visited, walked outside and sat down on the ground. She sobbed, her shoulders shaking, racked with grief. She let out a single wail and suddenly all the women joined her. The sound of women wailing really can’t be described. Frankly, I find it to be a beautiful sound, full of compassion and love and faith. I stood quietly watching and listening to this powerful outpouring of grief with my tears quietly flowing.

I spent two hours at Rejeanne’s house, my first experience with death in Haiti. I was welcomed into the fold like an old friend. Sadly I was unable to return to the house tonight where people will continue to gather and sing songs of praise and worship long into the night. Tomorrow there will be a funeral service and burial and I will not be there either. I suppose I have been saying good bye since the first day I met Rejeanne.

My household is going away for three days to celebrate Thanksgiving. There are many things for which I am grateful. Being given the opportunity to ease the suffering of this woman is most definitely on the list.

Bòn Dimanch

Bòn Dimanch! This is a greeting widely used in Haiti to wish someone a Good Sunday. And it was a good Sunday for me.  It is quiet at our house on Sunday as we do not accept people at our gate.  The other six days of the week many people come throughout the day for a variety of reasons. But on Sundays it is quiet and relaxing.  Most often we attend Mass on Saturday night so that people can sleep a bit later than usual.

This morning I did some laundry, cleaned my room, worked for an hour and then headed up the mountain to visit some friends.  My buddy Obenson took me on his moto as it is a 35 minute ride up and then down a mountain. The views are breathtaking. As we cruised down the hill Obenson cut the engine to save gas and the quiet was so welcome.20160809_090205

Talking with Denise clarified some things for me. She and her husband Bob have been coming to Haiti for many years and have spent quite a bit of time here over the past three years, several months at a time.  She and I have very similar thoughts about how to live here in Haiti, how to best encourage the people to move forward, how to help them without hurting them. We talked about this for a long time today.

We as Americans have hurt the Haitian people over the past few decades. We have not always done it right. For that matter, more often than not we have done it wrong. We have sabotaged the sugar industry, the rice industry, the peanut industry ~ all while trying to help. We bring down teams of well meaning individuals who take on tasks which could and should be done by Haitians. We take away their dignity and their jobs. We ask for donations from friends and family in the States and collect ‘stuff’.  Then we proudly bring down hundreds of pounds of goods every year to give away.  The same ‘stuff’ that someone is trying to sell on the street to support their family. Again we take away their dignity and their jobs. We pay for children’s education but ask for nothing in return from the child or the parent. Again and again, we take away their dignity.

I have been a part of the ‘we’ of which I speak.  I have learned over the past six years what not to do. Thankfully I have learned.  Living here as Hurricane Matthew hit and totally devastated entire areas has opened my eyes even further. There are Haitians who have lost everything they had, their homes, their crops, their livestock. Yet they share what they have been able to salvage, pieces of tin or a tarp. They have begun to rebuild with whatever they can find. Some people are living under just the roof of the house as the walls have collapsed. They have invited others in who are not so lucky. These are capable, resilient, smart and compassionate people. They don’t need or want our pity.

There are grassroots organizations in this country committed to helping Haitians day in and day out, teaching them life skills and providing jobs. It is these organizations who walk alongside the Haitian people on a daily basis and who are most effective in the relief efforts. They understand the needs, they have the connections, they don’t line their own pockets with money being donated.

What a blessing it is to be here and to learn from those who have paved the way. I live in an area that did not suffer any devastation and I have not been directly involved in the relief effort. Sometimes that is hard. But I believe in the power of prayer and I know the importance of my role.

Please keep the Haitian people in your prayers. Bòn Dimanch!

It’s not about me …

I anticipated having more time to blog and keep you informed about my life in Haiti. For right now life is very busy and not at all what I expected. This is what has been happening.

I have been asked to stand in the gap as Directress of two large programs here in Gwomòn.

~ Lavi Solèy, a Women’s Center that opened in May which includes a literacy program, baking classes and sewing classes for 60 women.

~ Mercy Beyond Borders Scholar’s Program, a scholarship Program for one hundred forty three girls attending seven different secondary schools, forty nine of whom reside in two boarding houses we manage and run.

I have spent the last three weeks being mentored by the amazing and talented current Directress, Elisa Divoux, who left Haiti just this morning. Sadly her replacement can not come to Haiti due to health problems with her elderly parents. She has no idea when she will arrive but the Executive Director in the US thinks she is the perfect person for the job and wants to wait for her. The Executive Director contacted the Sisters with whom I live to ask if they could spare a volunteer for up to a year. So although these programs are unrelated to the work being done by the Sisters with whom I live that’s where I will spend my days for the next several months.

It is a daunting task, with a staff of 7 and two programs consisting of more than 200 people – none of whom speak English. Eek. This doesn’t feel like retirement! Even without the language barrier it would be overwhelming. I am hopeful that the replacement can straighten out her complicated situation and manage to come to Haiti in a few months. She has lived in Haiti before, for three years, she is fluent in kreyòl and has an understanding of the culture.

It didn’t occur to me that I would end up being a ‘boss’, needing to manage people, to challenge their work ethic, etc. Thankfully I have had a wee bit of time to get out into the countryside and be with the people. That is where I find my inner peace and joy, where I feel fulfilled and content, where I feel I do the most good. Thus far, we have raised enough money for a three year to have surgery to repair her club foot, we are providing Rx pain medication, soap and powder to a woman with advanced breast cancer and I am awaiting results of a biopsy taken of a large tumor in a friend’s armpit. During each of my visits I am able to pray for and with these beautiful people. I am very grateful for the financial and spiritual support many of you have given me to meet the needs here.

However, as much as I am fulfilled by these times spent in the countryside I must remember this is not about me, I must remember that I came here with no agenda, simply to answer God’s call. I must remember that for the months of July and August I didn’t have much to do and was feeling useless. I must remember that if God has called me to this task, He will also equip me.  I believe that with all of my heart and soul. And today, my first day on the job by myself, it was very evident that the Lord is with me on this journey, standing at my side. Some people needed to repeat themselves three or four times but eventually we managed to complete a conversation. Seems like a small miracle to me! These programs are amazing and I am blessed to be called to stand in the gap for the months ahead.

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Ayiti, mwen renmenw anpil!

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