This was our first trip to Haiti. We tried to go before but circumstances always held us back - until now. I had tried to prepare for the trip. I had seen photos... however the extent of the poverty and devastation was beyond my comprehension. Can we really make a difference with so much sorrow and need?
Then we saw a house in the process of being built, started the one that we came to build and watched the foundation going in for the next house. We saw the faces of children, first looking so serious and shy, slowly daring to come, play, sing, talk. Next the women, mothers proud to give us their beautiful little children to hold, trying to converse with us with their Creole, a little English and our broken French dredged up from the recesses of our brain - but we did connect! The Haitian men - working so hard - digging foundations with shovels and pick axes, all the cement, gravel, water being carried up the hill - cement mixed in a cement mixer run by a generator and a bucket brigade to pour the foundations.
Then we figured out who would be living in the houses - their grateful smiles made the whole trip worthwhile.
I realized that this trip signified for me just how the Lord works - we look at all the sin and darkness in the world and think it is overwhelming. But the Lord looks at the people - working through families and making a difference in the individual lives of each person.
So were we able to make a difference to everyone in Port-au-Prince? No. But we did make a difference to the village of Gressier, and especially to the family of nine who will be living in a new home.
Do I think it was worthwhile to go? Absolutely! I thank God for allowing us to be a part of a miracle for this family. I want to go back!
AB - Canada
Of course! - I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to go to the Nashville airport to fly home. When I printed off my ticket, though, it said I wasn't leaving until the next day. So, I went and asked a lady working about it, and she said my original flight was just canceled. I was disappointed, but she got me on another flight that would not get home until later, but it was better than waiting until the next day.
On the first flight to Charlotte, NC, I prayed that God would bless me with an opportunity to spread His word on my way home. He answered that prayer (with a little twist) when I flew from Charlotte to Dayton. I sat next to a man on that flight who had been in Florida on a business trip. We talked the entire flight about our family, occupation, and more. He mentioned that he had been in the Air Force and was stationed all over the world. So I asked if he had been stationed in the Philippines by chance. He said yes, so I got to telling him about the mission trip I am taking to the Philippines this summer.
That led to me talking about going and having been to Haiti. Then, as the plane was landing, Jerry handed me a hundred dollar bill! (I hadn't even told him I was still raising money!) I was thrilled and gave him a big hug. He also said he would be glad to support my future mission trips. After this occurred, I knew there was a reason I was on that flight and not my original one. The Lord works in mysterious ways!
Dayton, OH - United States
Wow, what an exciting Week in the Caribbean! I am grateful to all those who sent us with their prayers, contributions, and love.
We were on the go from the moment we applauded our pilots for landing us safely at the capital city’s airport until we hugged our hosts goodbye. We saw every kind of car from every era, all fitted with diesel engines. We watched the sun and the full moon rise from our 3rd-floor balcony. We drank sugary espressos at every home we visited. We watched baseball on TV and cheered the neighborhood boys playing soccer in the streets.
A custom that we practiced was to touch right cheeks and “air kiss” everyone in the room, the typical form of greeting. Imagine my surprise when I was halfway around a room and the man I had just air-kissed said, “Hi, I’m Billy!” We had stumbled upon a group of Baptists from Georgia!
We visited churches in the capital and three other cities. Some met in homes, one had a brand new sanctuary, another met in a renovated single-screen movie theater. The common theme in all these places was the people, with their lavish hospitality and their strong, steadfast faith. They were very receptive to Ken’s and my testimonies and to Pastor Randy’s sermons and leadership workshop. Pastor Randy translated beautifully for us.
These people have a wonderful energy and enthusiasm for God. One church had to wait ten years until they had all the funds and permits to build their sanctuary. Until then, they decided that a church wasn’t just a building and invited everyone in the neighborhood to the services held in their homes.
Every service and meeting was punctuated by cries of Amén, to show praise for what God was doing. When we sang in English “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “God Will Make a Way,” the CD was drowned out by voices joining us in Spanish. ¡Amén! One church had 50 children in their Sunday School. ¡Amén! We found a restaurant where every employee but one was a believer. ¡Amén! Lidia, a dear sister in Christ, has lost almost every family member through a series of illnesses and misfortunes, but she still opened her home for one of us to spend the night. ¡Amén! A nurse I met is a part-time missionary in another part of the country, with a dream of serving the Lord full-time there. Liana, an eight-year-old girl, wrote a song, Sólo Cristo (“Only Jesus”). ¡Amén! In another church everyone was introduced by their role in the congregation as well as by their names; they are proud of how they serve the Lord. ¡Amén! As I write, five new believers are being baptized. ¡Amén!
As my Caribbean friend Catalina would say, “We no rich, but felices (happy), because Espíritu de Cristo (Christ’s Spirit).” I want more of that Spirit! ¡Amén! And all God’s people say AMEN!
Dayton, OH - United States
On my recent trip to Uruguay, we attended the "Golden Grannies" Bible study, as Gail Leroy, OMS missionary, calls them. She has been teaching the Bible to these ladies for about three years. Two years ago, most of these elderly British women had a hard time finding which book the Scripture was being read from. Now they are finding Scripture with ease.
Steubenville, OH - United States
I met Mirel two years ago in Uruguay at a Bible study led by OMS missionary, Lisa Hamilton. She wants to be baptized and join Christ Church. Two years ago, her husband rarely came to church. We have been praying for him and her son to draw closer to God. Her husband regularly attends church now. God hears our prayers. It is good know that God is working.
Steubenville, OH - United States
As I experienced Haiti I was struck by the incredible brokenness of a people and a country. We went to provide a family with a home, but it seemed impossible to make any kind of difference in the face of such incredible need.
As we were there longer and engaged with the local people the despair began to fade. God started opening my eyes a bit wider to see a little more clearly who He is. We are a broken people with a gracious, loving and faithful God.
We seek to give hope; He is Hope. We seek to love like Him; He is Love. We seek to relieve suffering; He will eliminate suffering.
As we sought to be the hands and feet of Christ my prayer was and is that people were pointed to Christ, the One who will one day wipe away every tear and restore creation.
AB - Canada
What a team! We could write a book... hope many are writing in their diaries.
Today we worshiped in a Haitian church. Nothing like it... a praise service. Our team sang in English and Creole.
Last Friday and Saturday we traveled an hour to Milot where about 300 of the disaster patients are being treated in a sort of MASH unit set up across from the hospital... six tents and two rooms with all adults. There is a separate section for children. We are all in different departments... operating room, ICU, wound care, pediatrics, etc.
It looks as if we will go again Monday and Tuesday this week since the need is great there.
Thanks for your prayers... we feel them.
Rejoicing in God's faithfulness,
- United States
What blessings we continue to experience here in Haiti! Yesterday (Tuesday) was definitely one of the most exhausting, but rewarding days since our arrival here over 2 weeks ago. Our entire team loaded onto the back of a livestock truck, along with several Haitian interpreters, staff and supplies from the Bethesda Medical Center to set-up and operate a mobile medical clinic in the village of Mango Bridge. We were so thankful to be able to go on this particular mission, because the possibility of rain had threatened to cancel our plans. As storm clouds gathered on Monday evening we spent time in prayer as a group that the Lord would keep the rain away until after our clinic was over. We knew that many people would be unable to come to the clinic (or that we might not even be able to get there) if heavy rains came. What a blessing it is to see prayers answered immediately! God blessed us with dry weather the night before and day of the clinic. Almost as if on cue, the clouds started to roll in as we were packing up the mobile clinic at the end of the day and the rain began when we were just a half mile from being back to the OMS campus.
Once we arrived at Mango Bridge we set up 4 consultation areas (3 doctors and 1 nurse), 1 chiropractic treatment area, vitals station (blood pressure/pulse), 4 prayer/evangelism stations and a pharmacy. With the strength and grace of God we were able to see, treat and minister to over 200 people! If you speak to each person on our team you will get a different story about what impacted them most at the mobile clinic. I would like to share with you my story...
At the end of the day a woman entered my consultation "room" to be seen. She had serious scars on her face, neck and right arm. But most distressing of all was her left hand. It was severely swollen and deformed, rendered unusable, and had several open wounds with obviously necrotic tissue. She explained that she had fallen into a fire in June and was severely burned. She then also showed me more scarring on her back and chest. With the help of some people in her church, she had gone to the government-run hospital in Cap-Haitien for treatment. They were able to provide treatment for most of her burns, but recommended that her left hand be amputated. As a single mother of three children, she could not accept this treatment plan as it would render her unable to perform many of the daily tasks that are required of her. So she returned home.
By God's miraculous power most of her burns healed, although she is left with scars. But her hand was very severely damaged and had become infected. The infection has been so prolonged and severe that the tissue in her fingers had swollen to the point that the skin split open and I could see the bones of each of her fingers. There was obviously dead tissue surrounding each of these splits and also a large open wound on the back of her hand that had likely never healed from the original burn. I was moved to tears. I have never seen anything so horrific in my medical career. I desperately wanted to run away.
She explained how her husband had left her with their three children (ages 6-10) and she used what little money she had to feed and educate her children. She had no money left over for transportation or medical care for herself. She had not seen a doctor since August. She had a tremendous amount of pain, but sat stoically as I examined her mangled hand. More tears. More desire to run.
I spent several minutes emphasizing to this woman the extreme urgency and importance of seeking hospital care for this problem, knowing there was nothing medically meaningful we could do at this mobile clinic. I explained that while a surgeon might not be able to save her hand, they might be able to save her life. I wanted to get her out of my consultation room as quickly as possible, because her hand was disgusting to look at.
But the Holy Spirit tugged my heartstrings and clearly told me there were some things I could do to help this woman. I led her outside to pray with some members of our team and we prayed for miraculous healing. I then led her to the pharmacy area and gathered several supplies. Almost as an afterthought, I had hurried around the (permanent) clinic in the morning to gather some simple surgical tools and supplies (gauze, iodine cleaning solution, tape, scissors, scalpel, tweezers, ointment). These are not items that they typically bring on a mobile medical clinic, but somehow the Lord must have known I would need them.
I gave her an injection of an anti-inflammatory/pain medication and then began the tedious work of cleaning and debriding her wounds. To distract her I began to ask her about her family and she called over a beautiful young girl that she introduced as her daughter. She then showed me a photo of her with her three children. The photo was tattered and obviously a couple of years old, but she held it out for me to see as if it was her most treasured possession. As she shared with me the names of her children her face lit up with a tremendous smile.
The storm clouds began to gather, the rest of the patients had been seen and everyone was quickly packing up the pharmacy and other supplies so we could leave before it started raining. I continued to work and I could tell by the occasional flinches that this was a painful process for her. Once the wounds were cleaned the best I could and some of the dead tissue had been removed, I began to bandage up each one of her almost unrecognizable fingers. At one point while I was concentrating, the woman touched my arm with her good hand to get my attention, looked me in the eye and began to sing to me with the most angelic voice. More tears. But this time all I wanted to do was stay and sit with this beautiful sister in Christ.
I asked the interpreter what the words were to her song. When the woman finished singing she shared that she was singing Psalm 27, which was her favorite Scripture to reflect on when she is facing hardship.
The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger - so why should I tremble?...
The one thing I ask of the Lord - the thing I seek most - is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life...
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
It is only by a true miracle from the Most High King that this woman - who had so many reasons to be afraid, so many circumstances which could cause her to tremble, so many things she could ask of the Lord, and so many reasons to doubt the goodness of God - could sing these words.
It is only by a true miracle from the Most High King that this woman - a fearful, trembling, unequipped ob/gyn from Oregon, who has spent the past two weeks seeing medical cases that would cause many to doubt the goodness of God - could be shaped into a vessel to pour out His love to one of His hurting daughters.
Today I praise my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to serve His kingdom. I praise Jesus Christ, who came to unite us together in His name. And I praise the Holy Spirit who breaks my heart to the point of action, so that I would not miss my opportunity to bless and to be blessed.
Whatever difficulty you are facing today, hold tight to the promise of Psalm 27 - do not be afraid; do not tremble; you will live in the house of the Lord, and you will see His goodness while you are here in the land of the living.
- United States
Dear Bill - Sincere heart felt greetings in the all-worthy name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know that things are going well out here in Haiti; much is being accomplished, people are being blessed, and the Lord is being glorified and praised.
Time is fleeting by, and so much to be done. A life-time could be spent, and it would just be scratching the surface. Such devastation, and so much need! Oh! that more helpers would recognise the tremendous need, and respond. The Lord is no man's debtor!
It has been my pleasure and privilege, once again, to come from Wales to Haiti, to work alongside Michael Shaferly (who is doing a remarkable job) and a number of local workers, to serve the Haitian people, in the "Homes for Haiti" Project, and I am SO grateful to the Lord, OMS, and all my supporters who have "held up my hands", for this never to be missed, life-changing opportunity. Together, we can make a difference.
Matthew 25:31-46 puts into perspective that which is done for, and in the name of, the Lord, in Haiti.
Yours in the clutches of His Cross,
- United Kingdom
The best thing I did the whole trip happened today. I got to give a homeless family (mom, dad, 18 month old and 3 month old) a Rotary tent! I had told the group about our Stanford Rotary buying one of the $1000 shelterbox tents and sending it to Haiti. These were the tents we were using for the clinic! Cammie (a member of our team) came to me and said since it was a Rotary tent I could choose a family to give one to since they would not need one after tomorrow!
David and Pam (members of our team) had this family right there waiting. This family’s house was totally destroyed in the quake and they were sleeping wherever on the street the father could find that he felt was safe! I told them they could have the tent and the dad wanted it right then! I had to explain that we needed it one more day and he could come back around 3 p.m. tomorrow and we would help him take it down and show him how it was set up. This is the first time I really cried since being here! They were tears of joy for this family and a wish for 1000 more tents. God is so great!
Stanford, KY - United States
On Thursday, July 29, Jeannine Brabon introduced me to a Colombian boy names Samuel. He is 16. When he was 13 he went on a mission trip to Turkey taking Bibles to unsafe countries. We went to the Bellavista prison where Jeannine, one of our OMS missionaries, teaches the Bible behind bars. Sam and I were nervous going in with all the guards and security, but Jeannine wasn't bothered at all because she did it every week. The guards patted us down to see if we were hiding any weapons, checked our passports and took our fingerprints.
We went down to a room where all the Christian inmates were having chapel. As we were walking there Jeannine would point out people and tell us things like, "When he was your age he was a top pick for assassins to hire," or "When he was 10, he was selling drugs," or things like that, which didn't help our nervousness.
When we got to the room, they were all starting worship time and when they sang they jumped around and spun in circles and danced and shook their heads in the air and sang as loud as they could. They sang a song that said "I am free," which was significant because they were in Jail, but they had Jesus!
Afterwards, a bunch of them came to Sam and me and told us how encouraging it was to see us be Christians at such a young age. They told us stories of how they had come to Jesus in prison. One man told us he was innocent, but being thrown in prison was the best thing that had happened to him because he became a Christian there.
Two days later, my friend from Indiana and his dad arrived with another OMS missionary to join us. For the next five days our team planned to knock on doors and share Christ with whomever came to the door. We set out for our first time with the Evangecube. It is a small cube that has pictures of Jesus' death and resurrection on it. You can use it to share the Gospel message and then give people the opportunity to become a Christian. Our first town was a small coal mining town called Amaga, which had only one very small church. This was my first time to speak about Christ so openly, so I had no idea what to expect. I had an interpreter with me who translated into Spanish what I said. I was really nervous, but after the first person accepted Christ I was confident and not nervous anymore. That day I led nine people to the Lord.
Until lunch, we went door to door and shared our testimonies and the Evangecube with Colombians. After lunch, we were supposed to keep doing that, but instead we went to the mayor's office and shared with his staff. We then prayed with the mayor, and many of his staff gave their lives to God! We then went to the hospital and shared with some administrative staff. My dad and others were amazed that night at dinner, but I was confused about their reaction because this was our first day and our first mission trip. We assumed this happened all the time. Apparently, this was not a normal day. That was the first time one of these evangelistic teams had gone to a government building at the mayor's invitation! This was a great mission trip for me. It was all because we asked God to prepare people to hear the gospel - and He did! If you have never shared Jesus with anyone or been on a mission trip, why not ask God? He can use you just like He used me.
Micah - age 15
- United States
The ministry team [to Ecuador] has to be considered the most spiritual eye-opener that the Lord ever allowed me to experience. The biggest blessing for me was to be able to see our miracle-working Savior answer prayer. That strengthened my faith.
MT - United States
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