The last few days all seem to blend together. The end of a trip always seems to go by so fast and then before you know it, you are back in your daily routine. As I take time to reflect on this particular trip, I am humbled that God continues to use me and my family to show HIS love to people in other parts of HIS world. Between the three of us, we helped build a house, treat patients, hold babies, play with kiddos and more. Everything we did always ended in prayer and God got the glory. It was so awesome to be with an entire team of people that did the same . What a blessing to be given the opportunity to experience this with such an amazing group.
Now that I am back home and many people are asking about my trip, I am trying to condense my thoughts to 2-3 minutes and WOW is that hard. But when I am asked, I give them a quick recap of what my eyes saw over the past week... I couldn't get over the extent of the poverty! There were so many tent homes. I won't forget the smell of trash and sewage that fill the streets. So many people need help, many of them which are stuck way up in the mountain areas. I think that is why my favorite memory will be the day that we packed up all of our dental stuff and went to THEM! I will never forget the beautiful scenery as I sit in an outdoor classroom, straddling a school bench cleaning someone's teeth. It gave my heart such joy to be able to provide this luxurious service for them. The smile that they had on their face when I finished was unforgettable. I often prayed with them that the work that I did would help prolong their teeth for many years. I know God will answer them.
We appreciate all of your prayers for us as we travel. We would not be able to do this without you;-)
Thursday, February 7, 2013
So I got to go Mobile yesterday. And I mean really mobile. It was by far the highlight of the trip! We were in Deuxieme Plaines, that may be how it's spelled, about 40 minutes from Grand Goave. There was an awesome team complete with Alyssa and some of the other teenagers. We finished early and asked the pastor who is also the headmaster of the school if there was anyone else to see. Then Chris Hartman, an ER doc from St. Francis, thought or is there anyone who can't come to clinic that we can go and see? He immediately thought of three people who are sick and haven't been to church in a few weeks. Later I asked him how many people were in his church, and he answered 700! And he knew all of them! And where they lived, which isn't just around the corner! So we drove the bus and pulled off to the side of the road. The team got out and crossed the street, climbed up a hill to help a lady who had fallen and had severe back pain. All we had to offer her were pain meds, but that should get her back on her feet. The second stop took us about 10 minutes off the road, through a dry river bed, to an authentic Haitian house in the countryside. We met an 80 year old man who had been sick for a month with fever and pains all over. We gave him antibiotics and pain/fever meds which may or may not work, but it felt good to serve. The last stop was halfway up a mountain and over a makeshift bridge across what seemed to be a grand canyon gorge! Sticks and tin with some dirt packed together- a one person at a time walk for sure. We gave more antibiotics and pain meds to an 85 year old man who prior to that was walking up and down that same mountain. We then treated all 20 of the neighbors including their pig for worms and gave them vitamins! It was beautiful and exhilarating and humbling all at once. Besides being out of shape, I realized that is what I would love to do! Let me know who is coming with me! We just carried a bag of meds to the people who needed it most. We weren't sure if that was allowed, but thought it better to ask for forgiveness than permission!
Alyssa was awesome today! She took gifts to newborn babies around the town, which are abundant. She got to pray with about 50 of them. She then spent some time with me in clinic seeing patients. I asked her to pray for one of the patients at the end of the visit, and she nailed it! I was so proud of her!
Jaime's hand is about to fall off. She will have bruises for weeks from working so hard! She has some great stories to tell about Haitians wanting braces and whitening- on their lone tooth. And hitting on her!
One more night under the stars!
For Him Alone,
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
We had a chance to see our other set of twins yesterday! Surprise, they have an older sister who is 6 named Fedna. Their names are Federline and Federlynn. Their mom was very tiny and had to walk an hour to come and see us! At first the little boy was afraid of me. After the experience with our other twin boy I thought maybe it's a guy thing in Haiti, but he warmed up to us and let us hold him and played with his cars! The little girl loved her hat and jewelry and dolls! We almost cried as they walked off - mom holding one twin and the 6 year old holding the other one- knowing they had an hour walk home. Hopefully we can visit them on Friday. The dad was killed in the earthquake and their house was destroyed, so they have a temporary house right now. It is great knowing that the kids will have a chance to go to school and learn about Jesus. Their mom loves the Lord, so they have a good start! You hear this same story every day here in Haiti. There is so much need you want to sponsor everyone. (We saw a set of triplets which is unheard of here in Haiti. One year old and all healthy! It took all I had to not agree to sponsor them right then.) What a blessing from God to take care of a widow and be a part of God's plan!
Jaime did mobile clinic today where we pack up a truck with supplies and go to a church/school out in the middle of nowhere and treat all the surrounding people who can't make it to Grand Goave. She cleaned teeth on a bench using a school desk to sit on. She cleaned like 20 people's teeth and even got to pull a few! I think her hand is going to fall off. Alyssa and I get to go mobile tomorrow.
I saw close to 60 patients today from 1 week old to 40 years! It's funny how you never get tired until they are all finished. God gives you strength and energy when you don't have any more to give. That is even with a translator slowing you down and praying with every patient! And with no code red mountain dew or caffeine of any kind! God is awesome!
In His strength,
Jeremy, Jaime, and Alyssa
Monday, February 4, 2013
Yesterday was my birthday, and it was awesome that I got to spend it here in Haiti! To be honest I totally forgot that I was turning thirteen until my parents got up, hugged me and gave me a hot pink ribbon that said "Birthday Girl". We spent the morning at a four hour church service singing and praising God. They introduced the newcomers and we sang a lot of songs. One of our missionaries, Heidi, got up and sang the Lord's Prayer in her beautiful opera voice that amazed us all. Our sponsored kids even showed up for the church service with their mother, Patricia. I talked with the kids and they were all pointing at my birthday bow. They were so cute! I wish I could take them all home. Later that day, we took a bus to the beach where we relaxed after all our hard work we had done the past couple of days. We took a small handmade canoe to the island and we walked around collecting shells. When we got back, I got to try coconut milk. The man used a machete to cut it open and you sip it straight from the coconut. I talked with a lot of my friends and we had a great time. After our devotions that night, everyone surprised me with a cake and colorful streamers and other decorations. They even sang to me in Haitian Creole! I will never forget celebrating my thirteenth birthday in Haiti!!!!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
When you pray for something, you better be careful what you pray for, because God WILL answer it! My prayer for this particular trip was that I would grow spiritually and be stretched. I am not sure what I had in mind about the stretching part, but I really didn't think it would involve so many creatures. I love adventure, but when it tends to involve the critters that God put on our earth, I tend to stay clear. I thought I was doing really well, but last night did me in! We were on the roof of the dorm of this particular mission, and it is pitch black. (It really is a wonderful place to see the stars.) But, because it is so dark, a few people carry their flashlights around so they can see where they are going. Because I tend to be a klutz, I am one of them. I turned on my flashlight on the way down the stairs and just about stepped on a rat! Totally gave me the willies!! But then to make matters worse, the group decides to inform me of all the other creatures that are around. One gal says" oh yeah, I stayed in your room last year and there was a big centipede under my covers!", another chimes in and says that the tarantulas are horrible in that mission house and they were surprised that I hadn't seen their shadows on the wall at night. I am not sure if they thought that I would be comforted by those statements, but that was definitely NOT the case. You better believe that I searched my entire room and bed before going to sleep!! Then today we spent a couple hours at a Haitian beach. You can take a small make-shift canoe over to a little island and explore. We walked around the entire island, wading along the shore. Of course I would be the one to almost step on the crab! I won't go into the dogs that are here, for those of you who know just how much I really love dogs! I love going on these mission trips, and I want God to use me, but this particular one is definately stretching me out of my comfort zone. I told Jeremy that I didn't realize it was going to be so much like camp!! (Not that I was expecting a 5star hotel!) But as I reflect on this, I am remembering that God does not tell us that it is going to be easy, but we should still do obey! I AM willing to go!! In fact, I truly enjoy it! What a blessing to be able to interact with the people of these cultures. The joy that you receive from serving in these Third World countries makes it all worth it! However….I can't help but chuckle about all the little critters that i have seen over the past few days:-)
Isaiah 6:8 I heard the voice of the Lord say, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?", Then I said, "Here am I, send me."
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Keysha and Keyshawn
I felt like I was at the office today seeing 3 year olds! Three year old Haitian twins are just like those in the states. The little girl let us hold her, and Jaime carried her all the way to her house. Keyshawn, however, cried the minute he saw me and would not even give a high five as we left! Today was the day that the team was given the opportunity to meet their sponsored kids. Only 1 set of our twins came today, but it turned out ok since we were able to go to their house! They were absolutely adorable. Their dad has left and the mom has no job. They live with their grandma and aunt a few blocks from the school and clinic. We got a chance to meet the entire family-aunts and cousins from all over. We were swarmed the minute we entered the house. It broke our hearts that we couldn't sponsor the entire gang. The mom was very thankful when we told her she now had an entire new family from our office from the United States. We told her we would take care of them like they were our own children! Keysha loved the barbie and baby doll. Keyshawn clung to the car and football. (Even though they have no idea what an american football is, it was the one toy that our boys had to send with us). We will get to see them again on Friday. Hopefully our other family with twins will come on Monday so we can meet them as well. What a blessing to be able to be a part of this new family. We told them our job is to help raise them to love Jesus, and mom agreed. With all of our prayers, hopefully she will bring the kids to church and get involved.
Friday, February 1, 2013
Great to be back in Haiti! We arrived last night after a great flight and wonderful fellowship with the team. There are many newcomers as well as the usual gang I came to like so well last year. First setback of the trip as we got here- 15 of our 50 bags didn't make it! Worst of all, 2 of them were the coolers with all of our desserts for the week! After about 1.5 hours of sorting and figuring out which ones were missing and matching luggage tags with the Haitian airport staff, we found out they were still in Miami. They would get here the next day by 4pm! Dessert is part of the reason some of us are here, so that was a big bummer! God tells us to always look for the blessing even in the hard times though. Since it took us so long to get things organized and find the missing bags, it made it later in the evening. The airport customs staff were ready to leave, so they let us through without even asking about or checking our bags! What a big answer to prayer since they always question medical supplies and medicines sometimes asking for more money to pass them. Even better news, our bags did come through today with the coolers of desserts and everything was safe, edible, and accounted for!
Serving him faithfully,
Jeremy and Jaime and Alyssa