Our Haiti team is on the ground the week of April 12th. We'll be posting daily updates here. Please check back daily for the latest update.
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27
Today was our last day in clinic. After worship, Jacob led the patient group in prayer and we headed to our work stations: Tara and Ryan in Johnny's Kids and the rest of our team on intake for both medical and dental clinics. After clinic we visited the local orphanage where 35 children live and attend school. We cannot share the pictures and videos of these orphans through social media due to the risk of child trafficking; however, those precious faces and sweet songs will be engrained in our hearts. Each of us would have brought one or two home if allowed. The great news - their living conditions are far better than the others living in nearby villages. They are cared for, educated, and learning all about their Heavenly Father.
At some point this week we have all made the transition from what can we do this week to what is God asking us to do with all that we have experienced. What is our purpose for His Kingdom? When you see us do you see Jesus? We have been challenged to live beyond ourselves, to invest in eternal treasure, to care for the oppressed, to go, to do, and to make disciples. Please continue to pray for this team and the transition back home. Pray that we will not forget what we have experienced and each one we had the opportunity to sit with, care for, and pray over. May our hearts be radically changed and our joy be contagious.
For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
What have you done today that required faith? What an impact this question had on our team today. We received our assignments first thing this morning: Amy in medical lab, Ryan on intake, Scott in Johnny's Kids, Andy in dentistry (he actually pulled a tooth), Tara in Hearts for Children, Jacob on the prayer team, and Kathy in skin disease. Over 470 Haitians have been treated in the medical clinic in the past three days - each one hearing the gospel and being prayed over individually. At some point this week we have all been asked to serve where we didn't feel comfortable. How faithful is our God! What comfort and peace He gave us in each moment.
This afternoon we traveled to the village to visit Annette, a special needs woman. Annette has been locked up in an old pig barn. A boulder holds the door shut to prevent her from getting out. The presence of voodoo is strong in this village. It didn't take long for us to realize that we were not welcome there. We were surrounded by men, women, and children as we removed her and circled around her to feed her, change her, and pray over her. Thank you, Lord, for breaking our hearts for what breaks yours.
Today we have seen God protect, heal, provide, strengthen, and comfort. Our prayer is that the people of Haiti will be radically changed for His Kingdom and that we will continue to be obedient to His calling.
What a mighty God we serve! Today we had the opportunity to love on, pray over, and provide medical care for those with disabilities both at the clinic and out in the villages. It is common in Haitian culture for those with special needs/handicapped to be abandoned or locked up without food or water. Those who remain in homes are often facing unsanitary conditions. We were joined by our five Johnny's kids for worship this morning and spent much time in prayer for them. How amazing to hear prayers and praise in Creole and English simultaneously. After worship we served in the skin care clinic, intake, Hearts for Children, and medical lab. After our Creole lesson we continued our medical village visits to continue working with special needs patients. The conditions were heartbreaking and yet they radiated such joy. God stretched our team today but He was with us, gave us strength, and used us to love the least of these.
Please pray that God will continue to work in and through us this week and each day that follows.
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19
This was our reminder this morning that we want to be like Jesus - to preach the good news and to serve and love the oppressed as He would. Our Bible Study was followed by morning worship with the Haitian Live Beyond staff. We were then separated into different teams. Andy served with Johnny's Kids working with five children with disabilities. Jacob and Amy spent the day with Hearts for Children teaching multiplication and basic English conversation. After Momma Vanderpool shared the gospel with the 170+ patients upon arrival to the medical clinic, Ryan and Kathy took and recorded vitals (and held babies) and directed patients to the appropriate station. Scott and Tara prayed for each patient individually before they were discharged. After a very short break, we loaded up and headed into Penigo, a nearby village, delivering food and medical care to those unable to travel to clinic.
Team Praises: Relationships built with locals; Dr. and Momma Vanderpool who are examples of God's love - giving up all they had to provide a place where many can serve and be served; team connection; witnessing pure joy in the faces of the special needs children who live in oppression.
Team Prayer Requests: woman with positive pregnancy test who is refusing maternal care (most likely not intending to keep the baby); two year old with Hydrocephalus who will not live for more than a year here but would be healed with a simple surgery if in the states; kids in Hearts for Children to follow Jesus; abandoned children to be loved and cared for; Body's (Haitian boy) legs to be healed, seven children whose father passed years ago and mother just died recently.
We started our day with a time of praise and worship with the locals. When the Americans were asked what it is we fear, we were quick to answer lack of money, illness, and security. When the Haitians were asked, they were quick to answer that with God they fear nothing. So convicting and so humbling. They know true joy! The rest of the day we packed up bags of rice and beans and delivered them to families in the local villages. One stop on our journey today took us on an intense hike up to the top of the mountain guided by Farno (17) and Stevenson (12), both part of Live Beyond's At Risk program. They had many laughs watching the Americans struggle to the top - something they do with ease. At the top we visited with Maize, a former voodoo priestess, who has serious burns from intentionally walking through fires. She now knows the Lord as her personal Savior! Please pray for our team to have intentional interactions tomorrow as we serve in the medical clinic, literacy classes, and maternal care.
Great day with pretty seamless travel. We met up with a group from Jackson in Atlanta and then headed into Haiti. Dr. Vanderpool met us at the airport and pushed us through customs without any questions. Our trip to base was about 2 hours and like nothing I have ever seen. We were greeted by a group of Haitian boys on base - biggest smiles! They are a part of the new literacy program for extremely at risk children. We practiced their newly learned English greetings, prayed, and sang with them. We are now settling in and looking forward to worship in the morning. Please pray for opportunities to share the love of Jesus tomorrow in nearby villages.