Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Also, please see this wonderful post written about GCA Director Brian Kelso by Reformed Seminary professor Mike Milton: http://mikemilton.org/2010/11/25/my-friend-who-walked-through-the-valley-of-death/
Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
This was my post from the summer when we started raising funds for the clinic: http://hsumike.blogspot.com/2010/07/building-medical-clinic-in-mirebalais.html
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I just talked with Karen and Frank’s knee surgery went very well. There was no damage to the ACL and the doctor cleaned up the knee and corrected some damaged areas. This is great news. Please continue to pray for Frank and his recovery (remember to pray for Karen too – she might need it more – trying to keep the “big dog” down for a couple of weeks.
My surgery this morning went excellent. The doctor removed the metal fixator (sp) from my right foot/leg. After surgery I was immediately walking with crutches. I praise God for this new stage of my recovery. I feel great. My goal is to dance on New Year’s Eve (and being such a bad dancer prior to my illness – no one will know the difference).
I continually thank God for His provisions to us. This has been a difficult Fall by the Lord has seen us through every situation. I want to again thank everyone who has helped us through this time. God is continually to bless us even though “we walk with a limp.”
I believe that we have striven with God and with men and have prevailed, we have seen God face to face, yet our life has been preserved. The Lord has touched our lives for His glory and even our infirmities (walking with a limp) bring Him glory and will bring Him glory all the days of our lives!
24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28 He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Peniel, and he was limping on his thigh.
Expecting Great Things from God,
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The primary goals of this team are threefold: First, we will be creating initial medical records with pictures, heights, weights, and dates of birth for the kids at all three locations. Second, we will be administering dewormer to all the kids at all three locations in addition to regular medical exams and treatment. In places like Haiti, intestinal worms constitute a long term and chronic risk for children and the poor. These infections can negatively affect all aspects of a child’s development: health, nutrition, cognitive development, learning and educational achievement. Fortunately, the treatment is simple and cost-effective. Finally, we will bring additional medical supplies with us to restock GCA’s medical inventory. If time allows, we will also run a field clinic at a refugee camp where GCA has been providing food and water about halfway between Mirebalais and Cange.
We initially had a medical team scheduled to be on the ground in Mirebalais in late September, but that team had to cancel at the last minute. As a result, this team was assembled very quickly and with very little opportunity to engage in advance fund raising. We really need people to pitch in to help us cover the costs of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Craig Moore is currently going through our list of existing inventory and making recommendations for additional drugs to purchase. Given the possibility that the current cholera outbreak could fester for years, we will also be bringing in IV fluids, tubes and needles and Oral Rehydration Solution. Finally, as always, what we need most of all is prayer – for the people of Haiti, for the GCA support staff and for the team members and their families.
If you are interested in helping out financially or otherwise with the team, please contact Gene Summerlin at email@example.com or send checks to:
December Haiti Medical Team
4000 Sheridan Blvd.
Lincoln, NE 68506
Friday, October 22, 2010
Hey man – it’s me! I’ve been home for two weeks and getting a little stronger each day. I using a wheelchair for now but hopefully I’ll be walking by the end of the year. All my organs have recovered. I’ve lost a lot of weight so I need to build up my body, do my physical therapy and go to doctor appointments. Please tell everybody how much I appreciate their love and prayers! All the doctors call me the “miracle man” and I remind them that God preserved me for His glory!
GCA is going great. I has been a blessing to see how everyone has stepped up. Everything is moving forward.
Thank you so much for your partnership with GCA.
Expecting great things from God,
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Brian is doing quite well, his kidneys are slowly starting to work again. He'll have surgery today on his feet. Only during surgery will the surgeon know the extent of what has to be done. They will remove the dead skin and hope that there is good skin underneath. He will lose some toes but is very content with whatever the end result. Brian's faith is strong through all of this, and it has affected all those around him: nurses, staff, dr's, friends and family.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Kim Rodriguez was released from the hospital without any indication of heart problems (praise God). The issue seems to be neuro-muscular at this point. Keep praying for Kim as well.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
"Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." -James 5:14
Monday, August 23, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Here's a recent Newsweek article on much of the problem and an opportunity for involvement here in Nebraska:
If evangelicals reading this are skeptical, I ask these questions: 1) is this the world the Lord made? 2) has the futility of this world come about because of human sin? 3) is the promise of the Gospel that sin has been put away (and is being put away) in Christ? and 4) doesn't God's creation await redemption in the same way as believers (Romans 8:20,21)?
If you answer "yes" to the four questions, then pray for success of initiatives like these. While they may not be the "final answer," there is value to exploring questions regarding how Haitians might grow in their understanding of environmental stewardship.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Six Months After Quake, Haiti Still Suffers (CNN)
Haitian Orphans Have Little but One Another (NY Times)
Haiti's Camps of Despair (Montreal Gazette)
At Grace Chapel, we are focusing in on building a medical clinic in Mirebalais:
We invite you to get involved with the building and the furnishing of the clinic. If you have questions about the project, contact Gene Summerlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
We invite you to get involved with the building and the furnishing of the clinic. If you have questions about the project, contact Gene Summerlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Our ministry partners had not been able to locate Michelle until recently but I just received this report from Gene Summerlin:
"Just wanted to let you know that the girl with the abdominal tumor we saw by the dam has been treated and fully recovered. The pastor got in touch with Marcel last month and GCA got her to a hospital for surgery. She is home and doing fine!"
Hallelujah! Thank you to all who prayed for Michelle!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Hey man, I'm doing really well. Frank's keeping me pretty busy, I've mostly been helping with medical teams that have come down and helping a Haitian guy Ricarto around the guest house. It's really beautiful; you won't believe it when you see it. I can't figure out how to send pictures on this thing but they're all on my facebook under mobile Uploads. I've been on dental for the past couple of days. Today the doctors from Cross Bridge saw more than 460 people not counting dental. It's been pretty awesome so far. We didn't get back till pretty late so I'm a little tired. I think I'm gonna head to bed. God bless, brother, say hey to Chris and Ben for me.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
You should can listen to it on streaming audio:
Otherwise, it is available for 99 cents on Itunes:
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Trey leaves for Haiti tomorrow. He will spend a couple days in Ft. Lauderdale and then travel to Port-au-Prince and then Mirebalais. Trey was with me in Haiti in early February. He plans to serve in Haiti with Great Commission Alliance through August. Trey's main responsibilities will be to accompany and serve various teams as they come to Haiti. Please pray for Trey. He asks prayer for wisdom and direction on how best to be a vessel of the Lord's love and mercy while he is in Haiti.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Or if you prefer to go straight to the Grace Chapel website to download the April 4th message:
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Let me just say this, I feel bad for the other people on this last plane between Dallas and Omaha. Man, are we a loud bunch! :-)
If you want to see the 60 minutes piece on Ebenezer and the story of Pastor Moise Vaval, here it is: Lost Children of Haiti Video. We are meeting Moise in a few minutes.
We just dropped off Frank Maiorana at the airport and now our Haitian friend Marcel Baptiste is taking us to Ebenezer. We will meet up with the other 29 of us at the airport to catch our 12:15pm AA flight back home. We will see many of you soon!
In this post, I'm going to share some marvelous things we witnessed yesterday. The hard things we experienced yesterday take me to a place of silence for now, so I will not share of those things yet, but the marvelous things ...
First, we saw the man again who had placed his faith in Christ yesterday AND we saw his two daughters: they were looking much better, even walking around! They looked 100% better. Praise the Lord. The girls simply needed food, hadn't eaten in a long time, but the girls ate our Cliff and Luna bars. This family lives right by the GCA property. The man has just placed his faith in Christ: I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of his profession of faith. He even said to our team, "my wife is not yet ready to be a Christian, but I am". Pray for this man. I don't know his name, but pray for the Word of God to take deep root in this man. Some of our locals will have a chance to study the Scriptures with him.
There is a secondary and amazing storyline developing with the former witch doctor who received Christ on Thursday. The man has two sons. Caitlin Baker met the first boy last Wednesday night. She had no idea who he was, but she noticed a hardness to the kid. He was cold and joyless. The boy's father received Christ on Thursday. Caitlin saw the boy again on Saturday and noticed a visible change in the boy: he was smiling and tender. His heart simply seemed lighter and more full. Caitlin then made the connection that Jesus' Kingdom had come to the boy's house, that this same boy she was intrigued with a few days earlier was actually the son of the former witch doctor.
I also said there was a second son. After worship on Sunday, we ended up on a long hike through the countryside of Mirebalais. It was hot, but also breathtakingly beautiful, but I had one primary concern. Was my wife Tanya doing OK? Tanya had scoliosis surgery when she was a girl and in recent years she's lived with a lot of chronic pain. Was she OK as the hike turned out to be a long one. I was in the middle of the pack on a narrow trail. Remember, we have 34 people, plus a number of Haitians walking with us. In a word, I got split up from Tanya. Tanya ended up near the end of the pack, except for Rob Hemmer who basically decided to carry up the rear and watch after Tanya ... the Lord bless Rob Hemmer. So I'm on pins and needles waiting at the top of the hill, watching Tanya come to the end of the hike, wondering if every step is excruciatingly painful. She's tough as nails though, so I also know she won't complain, but I know she lives in constant pain. As she is walking up the hill, she is doing so arm-in-arm with a Haitian boy who has bowed legs and possibly cerebral palsy. Tanya has a smile on her face. I ask, "is your leg OK (it's her right leg that gives her fits)?" She smiles (not a forced, but a relaxed smile) and says, "my leg feels fine, but my buddy's legs are really hurting him right now". The boy and Tanya had been helping each other walk up the hill. It's the first time in the last five years I can remember that Tanya was walking with someone who could truly understand her leg pain, and it was a Haitian boy (it's 5am right now, Ben Loos and Craig Moore are sound asleep in our darkened room, and I'm blubbering like a baby right now). Tanya saw the boy again yesterday and she lit up like Clark Griswold's house on Christmas day. I also learned yesterday that this boy is the other son of the former witchdoctor who gave his life to Jesus on Thursday.
Here is the picture of Tanya walking with the boy and Rob Hemmer behind her:
I'm broken friends. A lot of us are broken because of the things we've seen, but God is with us.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Pictured are Dr. Dorthea Jacobsen and RN Deb Knight with the woman's sister. Dorthea and Deb were the woman's primary caretakers. The woman said to our team, "My sister would be dead if it wasn't for you all. Thank you for saving my sister's life." Deb Knight is crying.
Some were rejoicing in the witch doctor and his neighbor's new professions of faith. Others were a bit more skeptical. Of course, there is always the possibility that the witch doctor saw the money that was coming in at the GCA property and said, "it's a great time to be a Christian".
What about the second man? What really bothered a lot of the team members was that his girls looked sick and emaciated, while the man and his wife looked somewhat vigorous. Why? Has there been abuse? Is food being withheld from the girls? We left a lot of protein bars and water with the man and when we left, one of our team members said with a fierceness in her tone, "he better damn well give that food and water to the girls" (instead of consume it himself or sell it on the open market). Not only were the words of this team member appropriate, but they reflected the heart of Jesus when he gave a fierce warning to anyone who would dare to cause little ones to stumble.
So all this puts us in a tough spot emotionally. Do we rejoice in this man's profession of faith in Christ? Or do we let the questions around his girls' health bring suspicion and a demand that clear answers come forth. In a word, can we celebrate this man's profession of faith, if we suspect he has not been caring for his children (or even worse, has been abusing them)?
Let me start with this man and then next I'll share thoughts about the former witch doctor. Let's begin by looking at some foundational truths at the core of Christianity.
1) God is merciful and saves sinners.
2) God is just and destroys sinners.
Miroslav Wolf and his family suffered greatly in the Balkans in the 80s. Wolf once wrote that it takes the quiet of a suburban home in the West to embrace the notion that "God does not judge," or that He is a God of mercy but not of justice. Wolf wrote that; however, in lands sun-soaked in the innocent blood of men, women and children, where injustice often seems to get the final word, belief in a God who "does not judge," invariably dies.
3) We always rejoice when people confess faith in Jesus Christ.
4) We always "wait" for the fruit of Christ to emerge from a genuine conversion experience.
5) We also "work" for that fruit as well through discipleship and pushing people into accountable community.
We can be so individualistic in our emphasis on "receiving Jesus into our hearts," yet so much of Scripture would have us believe that you cannot receive Jesus the Head without coming into connection with the Church His Body ... no "wafflehouse Christianity" here (don't get me wrong, I like waffles :-)).
So with the man and his girls, We MUST celebrate that he has confessed the name of the Lord Jesus! That is an awesome thing. There is power in the name of Jesus! Yet, we must also move into this man's life with questions of accountability ... what does it mean now that you have given your life to Christ? what are your new priorities NOW in relationship to caring for your family and others? How will you now enter a life of ongoing repentance and daily trust in your Savior who has made you His? What needs to stop TODAY? And what needs to start? At Grace Chapel, membership vow #3 kind of sums it up, "in reliance on the grace of the Holy Spirit, do you promise to live in a way that is consistent with a follower of Jesus Christ?"
So one of our Haitian brothers Gie will do follow-up with the man in a couple of days. He will begin to study the Bible with the man. You see, ultimately only God knows the heart; yet, we sometimes forget in our rather narrow and cloistered world that God is in the supernatural business of delivering people who are in complete bondage to sin. He takes those living in darkness and brings them into His wonderful light. God is merciful and saves sinners.
However, if this man is truly perpetuating abuse on his girls and he refuses to repent of it, after having confessed Christ, then woe to this man. He will be punished eternally by a Fierce and Holy God who does not tolerate the abuse of children and the defenseless. God is just and destroys sinners.
What about the witch doctor guy? Again, ultimately we don't know a person's heart, but have we become so calloused that we can't celebrate a man who says, "I am now free because of Jesus!"? Nobody likes to be duped or have the wool pulled over their eyes, but isn't cynicism ultimately a way of seeking to maintain control, ... when we are not in control?
I imagine in the NT Church, the supernatural activity of the Spirit must have come at the apostles so quickly, that only later would they be able to look back and say, "wow, really, ... Jesus is truly building His church like He promised He would".
The witch doctor guy tore down all his VooDoo relics. Understand this is no small thing as VooDoo is BIG business in Haiti. Maybe the man saw dollar signs with GCA and made a business decision in the middle of a "down economy" (times are rough in Haiti, the demands for curses and spells are down right now :-)). I don't know. But he professed faith in Christ! He professed faith in Christ! He professed faith in Christ! Doesn't that make us want to leap for joy? Christian, rejoice that the name of Christ is passing over this man's lips!
Now the hard and arduous work of discipleship begins. But remember it is the Lord who wills and works, bringing all things under His sovereign purpose.
It was a wild day yesterday ... still processing. Thanks for listening. Keep praying please! Today is our last day. We come home tomorrow.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It's been way too much to process, but I'll try a little to do so ... walking around in Haiti is so different from walking around in the States. I've always described coming to Haiti as "stepping into the world of the New Testament". The things we experience here are a far cry from our bland-brand of Post Enlightenment rationalism where we have placed an unbridled trust in our own faculties to make judgments about ultimate reality, ... yet we still find ourselves living quiet lives of desperation with so much brokenness and loss around us. In our fierce autonomy, we reject divine revelation as having any significance or relevance for our lives. I know some of you reading this back home think that the humanitarian stuff we do is good, but all this Jesus talk starts getting a little hokey. Maybe. Or maybe rather in our finitude, our judgments are rather skewed like an efficient saw cutting with great precision, yet pointed in the wrong direction (Cornelius Van Til). Think about it. What if God is present in a world He made and enters our world through flesh and blood, gives Himself a name, and then offers new life and hope to all who call upon Him? Hokey? Maybe, ... or, ... maybe not? Just think about it, OK? Peace be with you.
He testifies before our group, "I've asked Christ into my life and now I am free!"
He says he wants to invite as many fellow witch doctors as possible to give their lives to Jesus!
Yet the biggest "part" I prayed and wondered about was the humanness of this trip. What happens when you put 34 people in a pressure-packed, dusty, humid and less than ideal environment? What happens when they engage poverty on an entirely different level than anything most of us have ever seen? What happens when they get hungry and feel their "systems" to be a little off (Bryan Becker was sick yesterday and Dorthea Jacobsen not great ... Dorthea was feeling better after taking it easy on breakfast and Bryan Becker able to join us by dinnertime. Both are doing better, though I write this early, early Sunday morning and we could use prayers for how the group will be feeling today after another long, hard day yesterday).
What happens when you take 34 individual personalities to Haiti? Well ... I can tell you what has happened after four days of being in Haiti: servanthood, open arms of love, embrace and service in the name of Jesus. Everyone back home should be humbled and proud to be associated with these 34 Nebraskans serving in Haiti right now. Through this entire week, I have not heard one word of complaint, only joyful sacrifice and work for Jesus, for one another and for the Haitian people. There is so much JOY among your friends and family members who are here. When you take the midwestern work ethic and combine it with the powerful work of the Holy Spirit where the people know the work is not about them, you end up getting this wonderful explosion of service and love that flows from the glorious Gospel of Christ. Thank you for your prayers ... they are working.
We had a wonderful dinner last night where many of the students from PaP, who have been serving as translators, joined us. There was a lot of laughter, dancing and fun. The evening closed with Paula Baker leading 50 people in doing the "Hokey Pokey". Have a great day of worship! We are really looking forward to worshipping with the Haitians today.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Let me if I can explain the process. First, Rob Hemmer who is a former military guy does crowd control explaining through a translator that everyone needs to remain seated until their number is called. Ben Welstead helps with the crowds as well. Secondly, our nurses (Susan Hays, Jami Fulwider, Patria Rector and Carrie Davidson) do "intake" meeting with patients and recording their symptoms, etc. Thirdly, Katie Loos, Renee Welstead and Tanya Hsu, our runners, make sure patients get to the proper station. Some need to see a doctor (Jerry Rector, Dave Paulus, Al Halls or Dorthea Jacobsen). If they need to see the docs, Stephanie Gohl and Karen Sayer stay with the patients until a doc is ready to see them. Yet others are taken to the vitamin and Ibuprofen station (Jane Vander Broek and Shirley Moore). For those who need pharmeceuticals, they see Craig Moore (pharmacist) and Jami Pickering (pharm tech). For those with back or leg issues, they see Chiropractor Doug Vander Broek. Gene Summerlin and Tim Scheel run urine analysis and blood glucose tests. Deb Knight is a "mobile" RN currently caring for a pregnant woman three months along who says she hasn't eaten in a week: we have this woman on IV. Ben Loos and I fill whatever need is there ... weighing kids, measuring heights, praying over people and I blog! All our docs, nurses and workers pray with patients as they feel led. Everyone else runs VBS or helps where needed.
By the way, all this is taking place under one big giant mango tree.