Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Doing the best I can 

...because that’s all I can do. A friend recently shared this with me. “Do the best you can, and when you know better, do better”. It was a really good reminder for me. Sometimes living in a different country, speaking a language I’m not fluent in about things I feel an inadequate knowledge of to people of a different culture has my brain hiccuping. I’m thankful every day that with Gods help, I can do the best I can - for Him.  

I started doing th Blood pressure program last week and I’m loving it. I thoroughly enjoy the ‘lil grandmas and grandpas I get to interact with every day. Even the stubbon ‘lil guy who come late for his appointment and obviously hasn’t been taking his meds and claims to have taken them every single day with lots of water. I preached at him about their importance for his well-being and he promised to come on the day of his next appointment with a gift of chocolate for me. Pretty sure that was an attempt at making a brownie point with his new Mis. Maybe a chocolate brownie point?:) 

         This is me working this morning. 

    And this is me and Mr. Chocolate 

I’m having trouble getting the photos to post so hopefully they go thru this time. Sorry about that. :-/ 

I know we say this often but please do pray for us. We need it. -Mis Emma 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Change and God's Faithfulness

The last couple weeks at our little clinic have been filled with change. And there is more just ahead. The months of November and December are bringing quite a bit of staff change here, which is both difficult and good at the same time. So far, James and Katie Erdley left for home on November 16th, at the end of their term. Ben Lapp arrived here November 1st to begin preparing to fill James's spot. Ben has been doing great and adjusting well. There is another girl coming this week to fill Katie's spot, and then another girl coming in early December to fill the vacancy from my upcoming departure... incidentally this is the last blog post I will make here! That fills my heart with sadness and many mixed emotions. But back to the staff... Autumn Stauffer who was here for 3 months earlier this year and then returned to the States for a while due to health reasons, is returning as well, in early December. So currently, there is much shifting around and flexibility of filling in the cracks and doing what needs to be done to help things go smoothly right now. We were blessed to have Whitney Smith, a former staff member and head nurse, return to help us out for this month of November. It was a life-saver for us and help beyond measure to have her here faithfully pitching in and lifting the load. We had a lot of rain this month... it had us getting creative trying to dry laundry and stuff, but it made for some very short or non-existent clinic days... which was a welcome break. At the moment we are seeing some sunny days again...and large clinic days. But God is just very faithful and is supplying all our needs! An answered prayer since last time I wrote is the trail/road between our location and Ti-Guave... it has been repaired and even some larger vehicles have been able to get through now, so that is definitely a praise report. Please pray that throughout all the changes at clinic currently and in the month ahead, that God would just continue to give the needed strength and grace. Pray for the new ones that they would learn and adjust fast, and for Kayla our head nurse (by the end of December she will be the only American staff member at clinic who's been here longer than a few months) that she'll have abundant grace and wisdom as she continues to hold the course here and works with a new team. We know... that our God is faithful, and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever... and we rest in that.

One morning at clinic, the staff were in a jolly, picture-taking mood. This is Madame Daniel (a cleaning lady) and Zitha (one of the pharmacists).


Then a few others had to get in the picture... Madame Leger (the other Haitian pharmacist), and Kadet, one of our gate guards.



We had a very sad case appear at clinic early one Sunday morning... a local young man who we know very well and who had been caught stealing, was brought to clinic. The story was that he had run from the authorities and fell in a wooded area, giving him some serious cuts and trauma to his face. He had a lot of bleeding in his mouth, scrapes and cuts in a few other places, a broken jaw, and was hurting all over... could barely walk, and barely talk. This was a young man that we knew had stolen from us, and broken in to the clinic... and here we were, bandaging his wounds as he was in custody and on his way to jail. In a quiet moment outside the clinic as he waiting to be transported to Ti-Guave, and we had just finished bandaging him up as best we could.... he asked me to pray for him, among his parting words. Would you all please join us in prayer for Dennison, this young man? He has heard much truth and I pray these difficult circumstances in his life will cause him to seek Jesus as the true help and fulfillment he seeks. I won't post a picture here of how he looked that morning, in respect to the people who dislike graphic pictures of injuries....but please just pray for Dennison with us that God could reach him through this.

Another kind of disturbing moment we recently had at clinic was when a large snake (very rare for Haiti and our area) was discovered one evening when we went to check on patients staying in our hospital. The creature was draped over the shelves where we keep all the patient charts, and thankfully James swept the area with his light before just walking over to the shelves. After some back-up help was called, and a machete appeared, the boys made quick work of him.... and we all shivered and sighed. =P It was a bit unnerving, making us wonder if there would be more, but so far we haven't seen any of his kin.


This is Ben, currently the newest staff member.


This sweet couple braved the rain one day and came for their blood pressure program rendezvous together.


One afternoon I went to clinic to put a bandage on a small wound that looked like it might only take a bandaid or something slightly bigger. As I cleaned the wound I noticed a small piece of straw in the one corner of it. When it didn't brush off I got a small tweezers and tugged a bit. When that didn't work I got a bigger tweezers and pulled a little harder. To my surprise the tiny piece of straw got bigger, and bigger, and out came a piece of cornstalk a few inches long! The 9 year old boy claimed he had gotten the wound from a fall 8 days before and didn't know there was anything in his leg. So.... that was a fun and satisfying conclusion. ;-P


This is a sweet baby born at home, to one of the ladies who followed our prenatal program during her pregnancy. Always a delight to see healthy moms and babies after a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Now I must bid my farewell, to this blog and you, its readers. Soon...too soon... I'll be leaving this beautiful place and its people. Thank you for enduring the long blog posts and sometimes gruesome pictures. ;) Please keep praying for Haiti, this clinic, the staff, these patients... all the people affected by the work here. Prayer is powerful, and we depend on it more than you know. And thank you, again.


-Mis Sharon

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Si Bondye Vle

“If God Wants/Wills.” This phrase is heard often throughout the day in our little clinic. It is a facet of Haitian culture that can become very commonplace to those of us that work here.... but it is one I never want to forget, even when I return to the hustle and bustle of American life some day. As I give out rendezvous for people to return in a week, 2 weeks, or a month, for their check-ups... a very common phrase at the end of stating their tentative return date, is “si Bondye vle”. If I forget to say it, the patient will often say it for me. It doesn't really matter if the person is a Christian or not, they will say this. I'm not sure how much they think about what it means, as it is such a habit in the Haitian culture. But as Christians, this can actually have significant meaning for our lives. Such a simple phrase... if God wills. Yet, this is so much the reality, especially in Haiti. We make plans for our lives, but hold them loosely, knowing that ultimately it is God, Who is in control of our lives and the details of them. Here, when things don't always go right, or as planned, we often have to be especially flexible....we DON'T always do what we planned to. Some days, one unforeseen problem arises after another, and it's easy to be frustrated, or stressed. But if we can just rest, and trust in God's constant care and faithfulness....and allow our hearts to truly accept what God wills for each day, and learn the lessons of patience and whatever else He needs to teach us... this brings peace. So that's just a recent random lesson I have been thinking about, for whatever it's worth. =)

Things continue to go well here, despite bumps and bruises along the way. OK there actually really haven't been many of those last items. =) In September things picked up at clinic and we had some bigger days with over 100 patients. One of the Haitian nurses was off for 2 weeks of vacation, and our American pharmacist (Autumn) is in the States currently for health reasons, so it left the rest of us working longer days at times to get things done. But overall it really has gone very smoothly and we can't complain. We often have one or two or more people staying in our hospital room, with more serious illnesses. Lately there have been a lot of people coming in with flu-like symptoms.... coughs and colds. A few moments in different recent days I have stopped in the middle of writing a chart and just listened.... to the chorus of crying, coughing, howling children out in our waiting areas. Some days it can make a person feel like groaning when about 5 or 6 of them are going at it at once, but we always make it through, and even with our hearing and sanity intact (ok that's questionable, but nevermind!).

I'll just go ahead and confess it... this blog post was partially written ever since September when I was on the schedule to post and didn't. Y'all can come lodge your complaints in person with the customer service department here...that way I get to see you. =) So by now, most of October has already rolled past and it's hard to believe we're nearing the month of November. Currently Kayla, our head nurse, is in the States for a furlough. That leaves James and Katie and I here for clinic, at the moment. The month of November will bring more staff changes as James and Katie leave at the end of their term, and more new staff join us. We know that God will be faithful to supply our needs, just as He's done before....He's been so good.

Here are a few pics from the last number of weeks...

We have had a regular stream of births the last while, which supplies us with...cute babies to hold! ;-) Often there are moments in births where I breathe a prayer... and kinda hold my breath each time, waiting to hear the brand new baby cry. And when it does.... I always have to thank God. Every single safe birth and new life is a miracle straight from Him.




This is a very real life moment from clinic. Katie does a superb job at dealing with the many impatient blood pressure patients who attempt to barge through our door immediately after prayer every morning at clinic. They all think they need to sit on the first chair, or at least ahead of the person who came in just in front of them...they literally push and shove and sit on each other at times, in order to get ahead in line. This one dear lady did not one to listen to Katie's directions one morning and began to give a long and dramatic explanation of why she couldn't listen to what Katie was telling her to do. Dear Katie patiently listened and dealt with the sweet but impatient little lady... and I couldn't help but grin at the little lady's sincerity in her imploring, and Katie's abundant patience in spite of being a little frustrated....she couldn't help but laugh too, by the end of it. The lady was so cute and was pleading her cause so valiantly! =)



One morning I had a little visitor helping me with prenatal appointments. =)



Mis Kayla, seeing one of her many patients.



Dr. Katie was seeing blood pressure patients one day. (OK she just borrowed the Dr.'s coat. ;))


One day when one of our cleaning ladies didn't show up to help clean the clinic in the afternoon, Reynald and Kadet decided to pitch in and help sweep the floor. They did a good job, and had fun doing it. =)



One morning we accidentally matched in gray scrub tops, so we had to take a picture! =) This is Katie and I with Madame Leger, one of our Haitian pharmacists.



There are a few things you can specifically pray for here right now. One is the road and machine situation. There is a spot on the trail between us and Ti-Guave (the nearest town) that is nearly impassable with our machines. It has been too narrow to pass with a Land Cruiser or truck for the past several weeks due to rain and some other circumstances. Thankfully we have still been able to get out with our smaller machines/UTVs, to take out critical patients when needed. But the road is getting worse and we may soon not be able to get through with even our smaller machines. So please pray that the road will soon get fixed, and that we won't have any emergencies that have to go out if it becomes impassable. Also, one of our machines was wrecked in an accident recently, so until we can get another one to replace it, you can just pray that we don't get any critical patients that have to go out. =) Another prayer request is just a reminder I guess, to pray that we can show the love and spirit of Christ in the darkness around us here. It has felt especially dark at times recently, as someone has broken into clinic multiple times at night, not taking anything significant, but clearly looking for money. There was also a separate robbery at the mission compound as well. Sometimes it can feel discouraging when we pour our all into helping and loving the people here, and then they turn around and steal things and break in. People need Jesus. And so do we.... to consistently have love, patience, grace, and forgiveness in our hearts for these people...every day, every time the gate rings out with a knock for the 20th time in the same afternoon, every time we're so tired but heading to clinic at 3am to check on a lady in labor or other patient, again. All I can say is that the grace of God has also been abundant, and though we've been busy, there has been plenty of strength and wisdom from above for every need, and we're safe and blessed through each and every demanding day and situation.

Thanks for praying...and for your patience with our unfaithful blogging. =) Please keep praying for us even if we don't always post when we should! ;-) God bless you all richly, as you serve and share His love wherever you are.


-Mis Sharon

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Love of Jesus

The love of Jesus to me is greater then anything else I've ever known. 
These words to this very familiar song rang in my mind this week as we worked with people and tried  to show them the love of Jesus that is so great! In Haiti especially, there is a great recognition of God, and God most definitely exists to these people and they all might "believe" in him. But there's such a great lack of love for him. Just like anywhere. Oh God help us to show them your love so that they can learn to love you how your people are meant to love you.  



So yet another week has past by and clinic has began to pick up and become busier And busier. This time of year seems to always be a bit more busy because the Haitians gardens are either harvested,or are nearly harvested so therefore  they have more time and money on their hands to come to clinic. Thank the Lord for cayenne pepper! It's become quite the famous answer to making a child sneeze after they've put a been or corn kernel up there nose.  
(Miss Kayla administering the cayenne)


Between Thursday evening and 1:00 Friday morning, there were 3 babies born at clinic. 
(James enjoying one of them as company as we awaited for the next one to be born.)


( (Here's the 3 babies)
All 3 mothers were first time mom's.  
There was 1 girl and 2 boys. 
All 3 births went very well and all 3 babies are doing well. 


It can't get any better then when your 4 year old patient sleeps as you put stitches in!
She was the bravest little thing. 
She was on a moto (motorcycle) on her way home from school when her foot got caught up in the sprockets.
She's a very fortunate little girl. 
The cut was very long and deep,
but thankfully didn't cut any tendons. 
 She still has all movement and feeling. 


Sunday evening James and I responded to knock on the gate saying we needed to go to clinic for something serious. When we arrived, we witnessed a young 19 year old man sitting out side the gate at clinic and he was  covered from head to toe in blood. As the story came out, he had just been stabbed 2 times from a "friend"/ fight.
As we assessed him,we found that he did have 2 very deep stab wounds. One to the chest, and the other just below his shoulder blade on his back. 
Just as we were able to begin work on the first guy,we got news that another one was coming. So we quickly prepared for another. 
This time it was a middle aged man that had nothing to do with the fight,but happened to have been passing by at the moment and was hit on the forehead with a rock!
Both men are very fortunate. We were able to stitch both of them up, give them some meds for the pain,and then kept them for a few days.    We were able to explain to the young man how fortunate he is to still have life and that he's not just lucky,but that God spared his life because of his great love for him! He acknowledged that, but needs to hold it in his own heart. You can pray that he wouldn't forget that,but that God could use this instance to reach him in such a way and become his saviour!

Your prayers I know are never in vain. So please continue to pray for us as we strive together to further the kingdom of Christ.  
As always,we say Thank you!


               Mis katie 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ordinary Days and Emergency Runs

Hello again from Haiti! It seems like the past month flew by like a flash, and here it is my turn to blog again. Wait... I guess I was super late last time, so it hasn't quite been a month. And this time I am determined to not be QUITE so late. So here goes.... =)

Sometimes life at clinic just turns into a big blur as the days fly by, and I can sit here wondering what I should ever say that could possibly be interesting to you all. But I will attempt to remember some of our recent activities.

One case we had recently jogs my memory in particular. There is a young man named Anglade who lives right here in our neighborhood in Aleg. He is in his mid/upper teens I believe, and well known to the community as a somewhat bad, or just pretty ungodly, young man. He has done things publicly that are just cruel, for no reason... and it is known he is not a Christian in any way. He showed up at clinic one evening around 9pm, with moderate to severe abdominal pain, and no other clear symptoms, except maybe a slight fever. We suspected a UTI and possible gallstones so sent him to sleep at his house after taking some meds to help him get a little more comfortable. But... the next morning, he returned, a little worse. This time he appeared to be starting into shock and was still in severe pain. Kayla began to suspect something much more serious was going on, and after some good work the helicopter came in to get him and transfer him to an excellent hospital. That morning found just Autumn and I working at clinic along with the Haitian staff, due to Katie and James being away for the day... but it all worked out, and clinic went pretty smoothly. The Haitians were doing a lot of talking and wondered if God was punishing this young man with his illness for some of the bad things he has done. They were very worried he would die (which wasn't totally an impossibility). We didn't hear much at first, but we have now gotten word that he has improved and actually been discharged from the hospital, though he hasn't yet returned home. James was actually able to travel out and see him at the hospital while he was there, which hopefully spoke to him and encouraged him. We still are not 100% sure what was wrong with him, although it sounds like it may have been a perforated bowel or something similar and serious. Whatever the case, we are thanking God for how things worked out and that he gave this young guy another chance at life. Please pray with us for him, that God could use this experience to touch his heart and give him a desire to serve God with his life.
Another thing that happened in the last number of weeks is the changing of doctors. We have a good Haitian doctor who comes in every Friday to do consultations and help deal with all the more complicated cases we see and need advice or help with. Dr. Felix Laguerre has faithfully been the one to come up on Fridays for the past number of years. However, due to his upcoming marriage in the United States, he left Haiti the 8th of August. On his last day at clinic we had a little “fet” (party) to give him a proper farewell and thank you, and to celebrate his years of service here. It was delightful having all the clinic staff together for a party when nobody was actually running around trying to manage wild blood pressure patients, find a dossier, or any of the many various tasks we all do each day. We sang together and prayed together....several people thanked and blessed Felix for his work here, and then he also spoke and thanked everyone for all they do. It was sad to see him leave....but with the change, we also welcome a new doctor.... Dr. Luben (sp?). He is from Port au Prince, but cheerfully travels up here on Fridays and in the short time he has been here, he has done very well. So we are excited about working with him, and so far the change has gone smoothly. I will leave further introductions of the new doctor for some later blog post.

This past weekend ended up being a little busier than expected, but in the end it all worked out well... praise the Lord! A woman who appeared to be in the beginning stages of labor showed up Saturday night around 9pm. The only problem was, her baby was not in position to be born at all, and appeared to be slightly premature. We were able to give her some meds and get her labor stopped for a while but the next morning she was having problems again. So we made the decision to take her to Ti-Guave where they will be able to do a C-section for her if necessary. Just before James, Katie, and I left with the pregnant lady, another woman arrived, who had had her baby in the morning but didn't arrive til late in the day due to coming from an area a long distance away from our clinic. She was having some severe complications following the delivery of her baby, and before too long it was decided she also needed to be transferred out to a hospital to see a doctor. So the 2nd machine was on the trail not very far behind the 1st. Both patients were transferred safely to the hospital and were being taken care of when we left town again that evening. And after our little convoy back up into the mountains again in the dark, we were able to wash off the 10 layers of dirt and drop into bed again!

Now for a few pics yet.... =)

This sweet dad was just adoring his baby girl one morning after she was born. I think he was pretty much in love!


Every morning we pray together as clinic staff before we start the day. One morning, a few of the neighbor children sneaked in and sat with us for prayer.


Dr. Felix and his dad, Direk, who works in the office at clinic.


The new doctor, seeing a patient last Friday.



See.... sometimes our head nurse works so hard she just about keels over. So she has to go scrounge up some Mamba to eat, to help her keep working, poor thing. =P (OK so actually I believe she was giving these to one of the many malnourished children she sees and takes care of at clinic...something she does excellently, and nearly every day.)



That's a little update from our corner of Haiti. God be with you and bless you wherever you are! Thanks again for your prayer support...we always need it. =)
-Mis Sharon