From the Front Line
Pastor Lex and our team of Haitian nationals spent this week in Camp Perrin again in response to the earthquake's devastation in that area.
We are so grateful for the handful of Americans who responded to the need for medical professionals to serve the victims in Camp Perrin. Chel and Tony, who have served with us previously in Grand-Goave were joined by Robin, Cindy, and Aubree.
The team was from across the US and the logistics of travel were a bit of a nightmare. Mission aviation organizations (Missionary Flights International, Mission Aviation Fellowship, and Agape Flights) are currently flying into les Cayes regularly, providing transportation for relief supplies and personnel. We were so grateful to be able to take advantage of their services in order to have this team join us.
The need for medical care was great, as people who had been injured in the quake either never received any medical attention, or their dressings were in desperate need of changing. So many infected wounds were debrided. I won't share the pictures, but I was amazed at how thoroughly the team was able to do this. By the end of the week, we were beginning to see more signs of sickness due to the lack of clean water.
The water infrastructure in the mountain villages around Camp Perrin has been eradicated. Pipes have all be lost in the landslides. Pastor Lex met several times with various civil authorities to discuss the severity of the water problem and to share thoughts about how to move forward.
Chel and Tony both their encouraging thoughts after their experiences with MOHI this past week. I will share them with you at the end of this post. Tomorrow, Monday August 30th, Chel will be hosting an online video meeting via Zoom. Lex (from Haiti) and I (in Massachusetts) both plan to join in. We'd love for you to take the opportunity to hear Chel's perspective (and possibly some of her team members) from her time with us. It will also be the best moment for you to ask the questions you've been wanting to voice. You can join us using the Zoom app or send me an email and I'll send you the telephone numbers you can use to connect. Here's the link: https://zoom.us/j/93353674913
This group was rescued by helicopter 9 days after they were stranded by landslides. They had no access to food or water, except when it rained. We were able to provide rehydration solutions, food, water, clothing, and toiletries upon their arrival.
Lex headed back to Grand-Goave to preach this morning and to check in with our schools to make sure preparations are on track for opening next month.
Several of the staff at the Christian Light School campus have relatives from Maniche les Cayes who were affected by the earthquake. We were able to connect with them this week and provide them with food, toiletries, and sheets of metal roofing for shelter.
The babies in the Ravine enjoyed their weekday meals this week.
The clinics in Thozin have been staying busy with primary care while emergency services have been happening in Camp Perrin. We're so grateful for God's provision in each circumstance.
Here in Gardner, Massachusetts I had a great group of people volunteer to do some letter stuffing. We finished pretty quickly and enjoyed playing a game together before heading out. Lots of work AND fun in just a few short hours. What a blessing!
And because I love watching Pastor Lex with the kiddos...
Please remember us in prayer as we meet with civil authorities and begin forming a plan for our part in the recovery. This situation is far from over. We want to have the mind of Christ, recognize HIS voice, and follow HIM wherever HE leads.
I’m once again struck by God’s provision and His mercy as He cares for all of His people. After yet another devastating earthquake that has decimated the western and mountain regions of Haiti, there are still signs of hope when you take the time to see. Don’t get me wrong! The heartache, pain and suffering are palpable! But look deeper... Provision for funding for airfare, time and health to be able to leave nearly immediately, donations to cover over a quarter ton of medicines and medical supplies that our team carried down, transportation connections that are complicated on a good day that lined up to allow the team to arrive within a 20 minute ride of our base camp. A team that had the skill sets needed to provide pain relief and help healing. But most importantly, let me tell you about the resilience of the Haitian people. The grandson who wheeled the grandfather down the mountain in a wheelbarrow to have his wounds tended to. The breastfeeding mother, trapped with her family for 9 days away from food/water, whose baby was bright-eyed as the Mom continued to care for her child, even while her own body wasted. The father who brought his son for wound care with infected stitches who shared that his wife and 15 year old were crushed in their house-he and his young son barely escaping as the rubble hit against them as he grabbed the son to run. Neighbor carrying neighbor for care, the young assisting elders. Each beginning with “Bon jour”, and always ending our time with, “Mesi, mesi anpil!” The MOHI staff out in force at each clinic: assisting with registration, translation, pharmacy help, water purification, clothing and food distribution. They understand the need because they are THERE. They are ready, willing and able to step up immediately. This is their mission, a mission of Hope, a mission that is international.
Having just arrived home on the 26th, I have not had enough time to process my entire journey that began on the morning of August 19th. The devastation and suffering that I saw in Haiti is not easily explained in a letter or a picture. I have never seen such destruction before, and I found it overwhelming at times. Most of the homes were reduced to rubble, families were torn apart, and entire communities were cut off from basic needs such as food, water, and shelter.
It is difficult to share just one story because most of them are simply hard to put into words. During the week I often found myself in a state of disbelief and shock when patients would share their stories of loss and heartache. So rather than share sad stories, I will share with you a moment during the week that was truly inspiring.
Our team had completed a long morning of clinic and it was decided that we would pack our things and head further up the mountain to a small village. Here we found 40 or so individuals who had been without clean water or food since the earthquake. After completing our medical assessments and treatments of them, Pastor Lex gathered all the children into a line from shortest to tallest and began handing out bags full of clothing and toothbrushes with the help of his dedicated staff. The look on their faces was one of gratefulness and appreciation but what struck me the most was the look on Lex’s face. It showed a true desire to help people and showed what Mission of Hope International is all about.
After all of the children had received their bags, Lex then handed out food and water to all the adults in the village. I recall watching him closely as he handed each person four bags of rice. The look on his face was priceless: a smile from ear to ear as he helped people in need. The endless and amazing work that MOHI has done since the morning of August 14th is nothing short of miraculous. Lex, Renee, their family, staff, volunteers, and donors are truly making a difference in so many lives and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to assist them. I have often heard people say they are afraid to donate money to organizations because they are not sure where the money goes. I can say firsthand that I have seen where that money goes. It goes to save lives and help the people of Haiti in so many ways!!!!! Whether it’s in education, clothing, medical care, dental care, food, or in this case disaster relief, MOHI puts the needs of the Haitian people first. I am honored to be associated with this organization, and so should you!