Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Hope that you had a safe trip back home. It's been a pleasure and a blessing meeting you and serving with you.
I did not have time to address the team, so on behalf of my haitian brothers/sisters, would you please express our thanks/gratitude to them at your post trip meeting.
I want to thank them for treating us with respect and dignity, always doing the right thing, taking the needed approach to ensure the right treatment, and maintaining their privacy.
There was never any rush to care for any patient, every child/infant was carried and cuddled, tears dried, noses wiped. There was so much love felt.
These were delivered day or night by all the members of the team, no one was ever too tired to deliver what was needed to help.
I saw every member of the team as God's several parts separated but equal working together to unite all those parts into one whole with the ultimate goal to reach his kingdom where there'll be no pain/suffering/distinction/the haves and the have nots, because what we do for them we really do for God.
I heard them saying that they saw Jesus and hope in those faces. It's awesome and so true because Jesus does not wear 3 piece suit and live in mansions.
I saw so much humility and compassion and love for us and it was sincere.
Please thank them for us and convey this message to them.
May God continue to bless us, guide us.
May we never forget that all that we are and all that we have comes from God, so when we give to others, and do for others we're really giving back to God.
Thank you again,
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Well, we got going in our makeshift tent clinic only to see right off the bat a 22-day-old baby who was struggling with breathing. Dr. Al gave her a nebulizer treatment but she really needed to get to the local hospital so he sent her. We are still waiting to hear what happened to the baby. My wife Tanya and Christine Schuele who were caring for this child were amazing. I wear big sunglasses in Haiti because: 1) it's bright I the Caribbean sun but also because 2) I will sometimes have moments I can't hold it together, so prefer crying under the cover of shade; this was one of those moments. In fact, there are many pictures I choose not to post because they are far too sacred in my mind; this was one of the those situations. I choose to have this baby captured in my heart, rather than on film. I chose to cry out to God rather than point and click in that holy moment.
But then the day seemed to "smooth out" out a bit and we ended up seeing well over 200 patients, our "biggest" day by far. It was a good day. In the evening we debriefed and shared. Many thoughts were shared, mainly how amazing the Haitian people are, their thankfulness, patience and kindness. And then a lot of sharing went on regarding the amazing way in which our team worked together, loving one another well and collaborating to care for people. Dr. Halls said, "this week reminds me of why I got into medicine in the first place." Dr. Keith Miller shared as to how this was a new but amazing experience for him, to directly care for such people. I shared how much I admired each team member for their work and contribution. Gene Summerlin shared from Isaiah 53 about how Jesus himself was "rejected and despised by men" and then I was able to share from the end of Revelation about the healing of the nations is promised us and the Haitians. Also, opportunities to partner with GCA and future follow-up meetings upon returning from Haiti were talked about as absolutely crucial, that in some ways the post-trip meetings are even more important than the pre-trip meetings.
Well, so we're here at the PaP airport waiting to go home. I'm looking forward to seeing my kids but I have to say, what an amazing group and what an amazing time.
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
Friday, November 18, 2011
In addition to closing the gap on the construction costs, we are seeking to raise another $30k for outfitting the clinic as well as associated expenses with funding the clinic on the back-end (maintenance, utilities and ongoing expenses to run the clinic once it is up). If you are interested in partnering with us financially, please let Grace Chapel's Haiti Ministries Coordinator Gene Summerlin know at firstname.lastname@example.org . Blessings and thanks!
Also, we did see the girl with the skin condition again- she is looking much improved after five days- praise God! The docs are very encouraged.
On the medical side of things, we learn a little bit more each time we come. While Grace Chapel has oversight over GCA's medical arm, there is a huge learning process regarding how to best treat people here in Haiti. We've only been here in Mirebalais since early 2010 and the actual physical clinic is only now being built. However, Dr. Keith Miller and I had a very insightful conversation last night about finding what literature exists regarding providing meaningful medical care in greatly impoverished places like Haiti. You see, we can't just carbon copy medical practices in the US and reproduce them here in Haiti: one simple example, when you take Ibuprofen back home, what is a fairly regular piece of advice? Here it is, "don't take it on an empty stomach." But what if EVERYONE'S stomach in a place is likely "empty" most of the time? And what about where hydration is questionable at best? If there is inadequate food and water in a place, while well-intentioned, how many of our meds that we prescribe stand to be more harmful than helpful? To what extent might the kidneys get pummeled (that's a technical medical term you know? :-)), despite putting medication in the hands of people meant to help them?
In Kidder's book Mountains Beyond Mountains on Dr. Paul Farmer, Kidder documents how Farmer became an "international player" on the stage of world health. Farmer was finding TB flourishing and doing the worst kind of destruction in impoverished areas that had actually received minimal levels of medical treatment from outside groups. So there was a minimal, substandard level of treatment in those areas rather than NO treatment and TB became nearly untreatable in those regions that had received help. What was that all about? Well, what Farmer found was MDR TB (Multi-Drug Resistant TB) had ravaged regions where people had received medication for their sickness, but had not received the proper follow-up or accountability, where there was no viable medical infrastructure to communicate to the patient the absolute importance of following through with the entire treatment program from beginning to end, that taking the medicine, but then NOT to complete the treatment schedule, could prove more harmful than beneficial in the long-run (wow,... that was a long sentence). Bottomline; in those regions, NO treatment would have been better than some.
These are not easy questions but we have to ask them in an ongoing fashion, that we might actually do more good than harm; I know this is how Jesus wants us to treat the Haitians, in a way consistent with their dignity, their "honor and glory," as Psalm 8 says. So we're asking these kinds of questions and continue to need much prayer. Please pray with us.
Today we are back here at the Guest House site doing clinic where we did on Monday. We are hoping to see a young girl again that we saw on Monday, with a skin condition. Also, we plan on treating the GCA school kids as well. This is the case on Monday where we consulted our dermatologist friend in Lincoln, Geoff Basler.
Pray that we would finish strong today, that God would uphold us as we are tired emotionally. Also pray that God would be glorified and the Haitians blessed. Thank you friends. God bless.