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Friday, February 6, 2015

Last Goodbyes



I am exhausted!  What a long week.  I know why I only work 4 days at home.  I am physically and mentally spent.  Today I only saw about 20 patients thankfully.  Throw one more circ in to make an even dozen this week!  And that was all by 10am. 
We got to dedicate the house we built for our other sponsor family.  It was a blessing to see how thankful the family is, although we can’t get the twins to smile for anything.  They come to us and let us pick them up and hug, but they won’t crack even a grin.  Maybe next year.  I told you earlier in the week that the mom is pregnant.  Well today she told us there are triplets!  We are not sure about the ultrasound techs at the hospital she went to, but if it is true then this will be a difficult one.  Triplets rarely survive in Haiti, so keep her in your prayers please!  The kids were wearing the new clothes we gave them, and I was able to show mom the water filter we brought from Jaime’s dad and Jane. They were pretty excited about that!
Then this afternoon we maneuvered to get Emmanuel to translate for us when our other sponsored kids came.  Mom only brought Fedna and the twins, so we walked them back home.  It is probably a mile to their house from Lifeline with the last quarter mile uphill.  They were so happy to see us.  Johnny and Natalie were there too, but Francesca was out playing.  They sang for us and the kids played for a while as I was talking with Claire.  She said they hadn’t eaten for the last 2 days.  She hasn’t been able to find any shoes to sell at the market, and her brother who helps them has not been able to find work either.  It broke my heart!  I gave her the money from the girls at the office, and she started to cry and just gave me a huge hug.  I told her that we will never leave her or stop supporting her family as long as she needs us.  We will need to get a table and chairs and 2 sets of bunk beds for them.  Extra food each month would help too.  I told her we would pay for her oldest kids to go to English class so they can be interpreters someday! (and talk to us)  It was such a blessing.  As we left, I gave them a can of peanuts and some gum, which is all I had left of the snacks we brought.  Like I really needed any of them for myself.  I was thinking she could sell any of the shoes or clothes that didn’t fit, but Emmanuel put me in my place.  He told Claire that she should give them to others who don’t have any clothes since they were given to her from us!  He has amazed me all trip with his wisdom and generosity toward his people.  I feel bad I don’t have more to leave with him to give out to his church body.
This is why I come here.  I learn lessons about faith and God each time I travel to other countries.  The people look at things differently than us.  They always tell us how much they appreciate us just coming down and showing God’s love to their people.  The say they have nothing to give back except prayer and love-I’ll take it!  Charlotte and Thomas, our friends from church have been here with us.  They have been fun!  All the translators love Thomas.  He cracks them up.  Charlotte has fit right in like a veteran.  She has pulled a tooth, taken out a lipoma including stitching up the hole, went into the bush to treat sick people that couldn’t come to clinic, built houses, visited her sponsored child’s home, and worked clinic even seeing some patients on her own!
It’s been a great trip.  Everyone keeps saying, “Where is your wife?  When will she be back?”  Reminds me of Cambodia!  I don’t know why she wasn’t feeling like God wanted her here this year, but I respect her prayerful consideration and listening to God.  Another veteran named Dr. Dana did not come this year either.  She felt like God wanted her to stay home with her sick mother.  We found out on Tuesday evening that she found her mother on the floor in the bathroom after having a stroke.  She was able to call 911 and get her to the hospital.  Yesterday we learned that her mother passed away.  If she had been in Haiti there would have been no way for her to get back home to see her mother before she died!  What a powerful lesson on listening to the Holy Spirit.  Keep her in your prayers please.
It’s always bitter sweet leaving, but I really miss my family.  I can’t wait until we can all come together as Belle and Blake get older!  There are tons of other stories to tell, but I won’t bore you anymore.  Ask me when I get back if you want to hear them!

For Him,

Jeremy

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mobile Clinic

Mobile 
We got to go on mobile clinic again today.  We went to Leogane which I have never been to before!  Pretty scenic 1 hour drive there.  It is a church with a school on the grounds that Lifeline supports.  It is a medium size city like Grand Goave where we have been staying.  We set up camp in the church which was about 1000 degrees.  They started the generator to run the fans which gave us some air circulation at least.  Halfway through clinic, it ran out of gas though!  My translator and now oldest son Emmanuel gave them money to fill it back up so they can have lights and sound for church on Sunday!  He is so thoughtful. 
Luke and Alyssa worked with me all day.  They would bring a patient to me, I would take care of them, and then they would pray with them and walk them out.  They each prayed for over 30 kids today which means I probably saw about 70 or so!  They did awesome!  It was mostly healthy kids with minor colds, worms, and stomach aches again.  I would have a stomach ache too if I drank dirty water and barely had one meal a day!  If I could only do more.
My last patient of the day was a mom who had 2 little kids already.  You could tell she was struggling taking care of them.  She said the dad of the older child is not around and the younger doesn’t help out at all.  She was feeling weak and dizzy, tired all the time.  I remember having 2 little kids and feeling that way too.  I thought let’s just get a pregnancy test to make sure and give her some vitamins, drink more fluids like usual, no big deal.  Well the pregnancy test came back positive.  In the US, that is almost always a joyous occasion even if unplanned.  In Haiti, it is just another mouth to feed and take care of.  She was devastated.  The first thing she said was that she wanted to have an abortion!  My heart broke as did Emmanuel’s.  He started in on her right away like he always does.  He is a very strong Christian.  His dad is a pastor, and after he finishes dental school, he will probably help out preaching in the church too!  We both prayed hard and long and held her hands explaining God’s plan is not always our plan.  I kept thinking, “I will take the baby”, as I do 10 times a day here with kids who are being raised by extended family due to extreme circumstances.  Please pray for her to make the right decision and have the baby.  Pray for the deadbeat dads who don’t help out the families they create!
My doctor partner today was Chris Hartman.  He is an ER doc at St. Francis with a heart for the underserved.  I’m not sure what he is like there, but in Haiti he is just like me.  I’ve never been one for exact rules.  I like to push the envelope.  Don’t tell me I can’t do something because I will have to prove you wrong.  So we make a good team!  Just like 2 years ago when he was here, we went rogue into the community to see some people who couldn’t make it to the church to be seen.  It means so much to these Haitians that we take the time to go to their houses to see them.  A woman with bad heart problems needing a valve replacement that can’t be done here except by foreign doctors who don’t come very often.  2 women who had strokes and couldn’t walk due to the weakness.  Another with high blood pressure and diabetes who can barely get out of bed.  A sick baby with heart problems lying on a mattress in the middle of the yard.  We couldn’t fix anything.  But God can, and I know he hears our prayers.  Our translators were so grateful that we took the time to meet people where they needed us.  I know God was smiling down on us! 
Then when we got back to clinic, the surgery line was still 5 deep.  So Chris and I tag teamed a couple lumps to excise.  We took out a marble sized cyst from a man’s ring finger.  I got to practice my suturing and cutting!  Hopefully tomorrow I will get to do more.  I know I have 6 circumcisions to do!  Feel like I’m back home 5 years ago.  They took out a lipoma from a guy’s neck today that was 9.6 ounces!  Fun times.
We got to play some basketball tonight as well.  4 of us played with one Haitian on our team against some other Haitian dudes.  Full court on slick concrete.  I realized how out of shape I am quickly!  Thought I might pass out or have a heart attack, but I managed a nice three pointer and a driving reverse layup with the foul.  We lost but it was fun playing with Luke!  Scrub shirts are not good for balling though.
I am exhausted, so Good Night!  The week is almost over, I can’t believe it.
Wasted for Jesus,

Jeremy

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

HaPpY BiRtHdAy aLySsA

Happy Birthday Alyssa!
So Alyssa wanted to post her journal entries for you all on her birthday.  I am so proud of her heart!  What a wonderful daughter and person she is growing into.  I can’t believe she is 15 today!

Today is February 3, 2015, my 15th birthday.  But, that is absolutely the last thing on my mind!  This is the third birthday I’ve spent in Haiti, and I wouldn’t want to spend it anywhere else!  I am so thankful that I was able to travel to Haiti this year! (especially with my brother Luke)
I didn’t  have time to write something for the blog the first couple of days, so I would like to share a few notes and thoughts that I have written in my journal so far for this trip. 
After going on multiple mission trips to the same places, it is easy to forget what your first reaction and impact was from seeing the poverty.  Yet, it hits me hard EVERY time I go down to Haiti.  I pray that God humbles me every time I step foot in Haiti and sure enough, I was heartbroken when we arrived.
These were my thoughts on the 2 hour bus ride when we first arrived and the first day here.  When you first enter the country you can hardly speak because the poverty smacks you in the face.  Trash completely lines the streets, roads are cracked and bumpy, houses are shacks, sewage flows along the side of the roads, and people flood the area all looking at the “blancs” on the big yellow bus.  And there is the famous “Haiti smell”-a mixture of sewage, gas, trash, rotten eggs, plants, and burning garbage.  Yet through all of this, it reminds me to not look at the outside.  For as soon as I walk through the streets of Haiti, beautiful Haitians come running to you as if you are royalty.  They hold your hand, smile, and beg to play with you.  Looking into their sweet eyes is worth more than a million dollars.  You come here to bless them, but you are the one being blessed!  They show me an amazing example of what it means to be on fire for God.  They have so little, yet praise God in so many more ways than we do.
Friday Overview:
I am SO thankful that we got the chance to go up to our sponsor kids home!  We played many games with the twins, and they were so cuddly!  Their older sister kept saying “I love you” to me.  The twins gave us many hugs and high fives.  I can’t believe that at one point, they were scared of us!
Saturday Overview:
House building was INSANE.  We got a lot accomplished in one day.  And let me tell you, I am more sore from lifting buckets of cement, shoveling, and sifting than I ever have been in my APC weights class at school hahahahaha!  Another lady and I started power cleaning the buckets.  Everyone worked hard and I am excited to finish our family’s home!
Sunday overview:
Church on Sunday was amazing!  I love the way they worship!  They dance, shout, and lift their arms up while singing to our Savior.  The kids from the children’s home gave an adorable play that portrayed that no matter who you are, you can make a difference.  We also heard a few songs from a gospel teen choir.  I wish church was this exciting and enthusiastic at home!
Monday Overview:
We had another hard work day house building.  We are almost finished with the house, and I can’t wait for the house dedication with my family!  I also watched a bunch of surgeries that were so fascinating.  You can’t stop watching.  One of the neatest was a huge cyst on a man’s back.  Dr. Bill removed it and cut it open to see what was inside!
Tuesday Overview:
Today will be my first day working in the clinic this trip! J  I will be directing people to clinic rooms, praying for people at the infant nutrition clinic, and working in the lab!  We also will go to the church service at Jeanty, which is always one of my favorite parts of the tripJ  There will be dancing, singing, and holding little Haitians.  I’m telling you, our churches better step it up!
Overall Summary:
Seeing the streets of Haiti leaves me speechless and heartbroken.  There is so much that can be done.  So many ways that we can help!  And who wouldn’t want to help these people?!  It makes me disappointed in the United States and the selfish people that we live with.  I wish everyone had the chance to experience this trip to Haiti.  It truly is life changing, and has given me a new perspective on life.  Even the smallest complaints and worries that I think of make me cringe, for we have no idea how blessed we are in the US!  God has definitely been working through this medical team, and I am super excited to be a part of it!  I hope that I can continue to make many more trips down to Haiti, and I pray that more steps will be taken so that we can become more like the hands and feet of Christ!
LOL, that was not “a few” thoughts, but oh well!  Thanks for reading!



Alyssa

Monday, February 2, 2015

Devo Day


We all take turns doing devotions all week.  There is one in the morning and one at night, so there is a lot of Bible reflection.  If you know me at all, then you know that I am a fly by the seat of my pants, last minute, God will bring me revelation sort of guy.  Luke is just like his dad.  Unfortunately, Alyssa is not so laid back!  That is actually good for me though, because we had a pretty good devo tonight, at least from my perspective.  Besides me getting choked up and crying like a baby thanking everyone for parenting my kids this week and making them feel so at home and saying how proud I was of them for paying part of their way to come here and caring so much about the poor and being mission minded, we talked about the word Insane.  That is one of Alyssa’s favorites if you didn’t know that!  Luke talked about how insane it is that God created the world, and then He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  We say words like unbelievable and incredible when God can do anything, anytime, anywhere.  Then Alyssa talked about poverty and how insane it is how most of the world lives.  Americans waste so much and don’t help the poor like the Bible says to do.  It’s insane that we are adopting a child from another country-Haiti-and adding to our family after so many years(well Jaime is insane since she will have to take care of him).  God is so awesome, and we sometimes get caught up in the little things of life and forget how great he is.
We got to spend time with our sponsor kids today!  They have gotten so big.  Momma Patricia is pregnant again!  She asked us to pray that her boyfriend will marry her!  She is the one we are building the house for this year.  The kids and Charlotte helped build the house this morning.  Block wall day, which means they carried and hoisted a lot of blocks.  We will do the dedication on Friday.
Our other family came to church yesterday!  What a blessing to see them with their new outfits on.  Federline sat on my lap the whole church service.  Only three of the kids came though.  I asked momma Claire where the others were, and she told us they didn’t have nice shoes to come to church.  I was heartbroken that we didn’t give them the bag of shoes yet that we brought.  Simple little things that we never think of.  They feel like they are not honoring God if they don’t dress up for church in their very best.  I pray we can always give God our very best at whatever we do!
Luke is digging surgery!  Not like surgery back home, mostly taking out lipomas(fatty tumors) and cysts, not too major.  But he likes it nevertheless.  They told me today he was in there watching Dr. Bill take out a lipoma.  Afterward, they were going to pray for the lady and Luke said I’ll do it!  He whipped out a heartfelt prayer for her like it was no big deal and he does it all the time.  I almost cried when I heard about it.  They were impressed by his genuine prayer and courage to pray in front of all those adults!  Me too!  This easily beats anything they could be learning in school!
Insane for Jesus,

J