Friday, December 31, 2010

What a Year: Year End Thoughts from the BHM Field Director

What a year!!  It’s hard to believe that so many things could happen on one tiny island.  An earthquake, hurricane, cholera, and political tensions, all of which drew the attention of the world.   Yet as we think back over the year we stand amazed at the things that many in the world failed to see.  The very hand of God!!  It was visible in it all.  Each new catastrophe allowed us to witness the attributes of our Father’s love, mercy and care in new ways.   We are so grateful for the many things He has shown us this past year.    We are thankful too for the hundreds of people who responded with compassion and generosity in ways above and beyond our expectations.
   I think our greatest joy however, has been to see so many come to know Jesus Christ personally.   And others are finding that He truly is the all-sufficient one.  The storms of this life have caused many hearts to turn to God.  And we are so grateful for allowing us to see Him at work in such miraculous ways.   He has orchestrated each detail to bring about His will in the middle of so much pain and destruction.
   Our son Kyrk finished teaching through the book of Job in his Sunday school class and we were reminded again about the bigger picture behind what we see happening around us.  God is always there, protecting, calling, listening, giving direction, teaching, comforting, and working on our behalf to help us know Him more clearly.   What an awesome God we serve!!
  We have no idea what the next year will bring but we are firmly assured that what ever comes or doesn’t come, Our God is “in charge”.  He will have His way and we are so glad we know that we belong to Him.   “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19.   Pray that we will continue to be joyful and give praise as we meet the challenges of this coming year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pastor Neckar Preparing to go to his Eternal Home

Several months ago Pastor Neckar discovered that he had cancer.  Doctors have done all that they can and sadly there is nothing more that they can do for him and it will not be long before the Lord takes him home.  He has diligently served for several years as a supervising pastor for BHM affiliated churches.

Pastor Neckar is 66 years old and he became a lay preacher after graduating from the summer bible institute offered by BHM. After serving as a lay preacher in the Drouin church, he became the pastor there.  He served the church for 39 years and is also supervising pastor of the Drouin district.

Besides that, he served on the executive committee of the national church association (ASEBACH).

He and his wife were blessed with five children, who are active in law, doctor, nurse and administration. His wife attended nursing school also, because she wanted to be able to give medical attention to people in Drouin.

The dream of pastor Neckar was to have a hospital in Drouin before he died. Early in 2009, this dream was realized. A small hospital was dedicated on property given by the church/BHM.

Pray for Pastor Neckar, as he is preparing to go to his eternal home. And pray for his family, that they will have the strength to let him go.

Pastor Neckar (photo taken several years ago)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Praising God for peaceful days as cholera increases in our area

The past few days have been relatively calm.  We have once again been able to travel around.

The master's class which took place last week was able to finish successfully.  About half of the students who were staying here at the mission finished on Friday and then the professor willingly offered make up classes on Monday and Tuesday for those who were unable to finish the class last week.

Some school coordinators were able to come to the mission, so the director of education was able to hold some training classes.

We have been able to purchase needed supplies once again.  Due to the rains that we have been having every day we have not been able to send any more food to the schools.  Many of the schools that we still need to send food to are very remote and difficult to get to in wet conditions.

Our medical staff has been able to once again return to work and things are going well at the hospital and clinic.

The cholera clinic is receiving more patients.  As of this morning there were 19 people in the clinic.   By the end of the today Dr. Bernard had 70 patients with cholera and interned 35 of those in the cholera clinic.  Most of these people were from the communities right around the mission.  
Continue to pray for the people affected by cholera and that the spread would be contained.

Continue to pray for peace.  It is unknown what will happen in the next few days.

Here are some pictures taken today in our cholera clinic.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Unrestful days

Yesterday there were major disruptions with riots, demonstrations, tire burnings, vehicle burnings, rock barricades on many streets and roads all over the country.  Thankfully our campus was fairly quiet because people can't move very well!  Traffic can't move because of all of the blocks and demonstrations.

Here is an overview of how this unrest is affecting the Baptist Haiti Mission and the many ministries affliated with it.

This week we have a Master's of Education class taking place.  Many of the students who were coming up each day were unable to attend class yesterday.  The class went on, since about half of the students are staying here and the professor is here also.  We are praying that the other students will be able to make it up for class today.

The school coordinators were suppose to meet yesterday for training.  Due to the unrest they had to cancel this training.  The Director of our education program is unsure of when he can reschedule this training. 

The unrest has also affected our medical services, since nurses and doctors were unable to travel up here.  Thankfully many of the mission workers were able to get here yesterday if they lived within walking distance.   This is good for them because their lives can go on as normal and helps them to stay encouraged.

We were unable to send drivers to purchase needed supplies downtown and we were also unable to continue delivering food to schools.

We are praying for a more peaceful day today and we thank you so much for joining us in prayer for the country of Haiti.  We know that God is in control and we continue to pray that God's will would be done.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Antoine’s Journey….

  Antoine was an elderly man admitted to Hospital De Fermathe immediately following the earthquake with two broken legs. No family or friends arrived with him. Nobody knew where he came from. After about 4 months, a few surgeries, and many casts placed on his legs, Antoine began to walk with a walker. Over the past 10 months he remained in the hospital because we could not contact any family or friends. He knew that his house fell during the quake and he told the hospital staff that his wife had died at that time. He had no children, only step-children from his marriage. But he had none of their information and as far as they knew,  he had passed away also. Nobody knew Antoine. But the hospital staff, both Haitian and foreign, came to love him like a family member.
    Even with two broken legs, Antoine remained cheerful and smiley every time a visitor came to see him in the hospital. He frequented the halls with his walker. Over time, he began to reveal more details about the area of Port-Au-Prince that he had lived in. After 10 months of living in the hospital and being the last quake patient to remain, the mission and hospital made a collective decision to take Antoine and set out to his community to at least “attempt” to find someone that knew him. A BHM nurse volunteer, driver, and translator set out with Antoine one recent morning on a journey with an outcome that was completely unknown at the time of departure. Antoine was always smiling, but the morning he left Hospital De Fermathe, he admitted he was scared. He was leaving his familiar surroundings and heading off to a place he was uncertain he could remember, with even more uncertainty if the group reached his old home.
    All praise be given to God, when Antoine got down to his zone in Port-Au-Prince he was able to take the driver directly to his community! Women on the street recognized him right away. This turned out to be a bittersweet encounter. Antoine was home, but soon realized two things: his wife did not die during the quake, but just two days before he arrived back and his house was completely gone. His wife’s body had been taken away for the funeral in her hometown of Jacmel, along with all of Antoine’s step children. This was a rougher part of the city, but thankfully one of his Christian neighbors began setting up a tent for Antoine while the women surrounded him and promised to take care of him. They were very thankful that he was alive and had returned. Although he had no bed for one night and had to sleep on the ground, the next day BHM was able to provide him with a cot and some blankets. The second day when Antoine received a visit from the same volunteer that dropped him off, he was all smiles. We praise Jesus for the miracle of Antoine returning to his community and for his Christian neighbors that were willing to readily care for him.
Please continue to pray for Antoine during this huge transition that is taking place in his life.

Antoine, very shortly after the quake, with SP nurses, Jill and Julia.

Antoine, all smiles, going into a surgery.

Neighbor, Lesly, instantly setting up a tent where Antoine’s house used to sit.

Ensuring Antoine had a cot to sleep on. We praise God for this blessing!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sierd & Anneke: Two Volunteers from Afar, A lot of Help Given

Baptist Haiti Mission recently had the pleasure of having two people, a husband and wife, volunteer with us. Sierd and Anneke came all the way from the Netherlands to work at BHM for one month. Sierd had been to BHM in 2008 on a trip with World Servants Netherlands. When he and Anneke sold their business in 2009, they decided that they really wanted to come back and volunteer together. While in Haiti they did many things: tiling, repairing equipment, installing lights, painting, and helping to fill boxes for school children. They even went out with an American team and helped to build a house for a Haitian family that had lost their home during the quake.
    One of the most important things that Sierd and Anneke did for this country was to help make some new concrete water filters. This job was ranked especially high in light of the recent cholera outbreak. It is very apparent that the small island nation of Haiti is in need of access to clean drinking water. Sierd and Anneke worked long hours and many days washing stones and sand for these new filters.  We really want to thank Sierd and Anneke for giving of their time and traveling so far to serve with us at BHM. Thank you for showing the Haitians and BHM staff so much love through your efforts and positive attitudes!
Anneke washing stones for the water filters
Sierd and Anneke
Sierd helping to move a water filter into the conference center kitchen.
Sifting Sand to help rebuild a home.
Sifting sand with a joyful attitude.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baptist Haiti Mission Receives First Confirmed Cholera Patient….

    Last night Baptist Haiti Mission received their first confirmed case of cholera. He is a male that came to us from the region of Kenscoff. The nurses informed us that he had a “pretty rough” night, but is doing somewhat better today. He is requiring hospitalization in the quarantined area. We praise God that he is doing better!
    One of the mission’s volunteers, a nurse, went to visit the cholera patient today in the isolated area. There were many protocols to be followed, both when entering and exiting the unit. Before walking down the steps to the isolated area, one must wash their hands and have their feet sprayed with diluted bleach. After reaching the actual hospitalization unit, the volunteer had to once again wash hands and have feet sprayed with diluted bleach. After seeing the patient, she had to walk across a mat saturated with bleach and then once again repeat the washing of hands and feet with diluted bleach on the way out. This is the same for all nurses and the one visitor each patient will be allowed. ALIMA is taking very strict protocols and precautions to protect the mission campus, the nearby school, and the community of Fermathe. We are very blessed to have such a cautious and caring organization aiding us at this time. We give all praise to Jesus!
Hand washing station with diluted bleach.

ALIMA volunteer using bleach to spray a mat that every visitor must cross over.

BHM nurse volunteer having her feet sprayed with bleach after exiting the unit.

Monday, November 22, 2010

BHM and Hospital De Fermathe Uniting with Organizations to Prepare for Cholera…

As cholera is spreading through out Haiti, BHM and Hospital De Fermathe have partnered with the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an isolation unit for cholera treatment.

The unit is nearly finished and when the patients come they will receive free care. The group, ALIMA, has a lot of experience with cholera in other countries. Their set-up consists of three stages. The first point is where nurses are always on duty to provide education to the community. People who come with symptoms of cholera can receive oral rehydration.
If they feel a person needs more treatment they will go to the “stabilization unit.” This is where they will continue to orally rehydrate the patient give them an IV if needed.
If the patient does not get better or gets worse they will be moved to the third phase of the isolation unit, which is hospitalization.

We are so grateful for the partnership with ALIMA and are  thankful that through their knowledge of cholera treatment and prevention they are doing everything possible to protect the patients and the community of Fermathe.

Recently, Dr. Pradip K. Bardhan, who has 25 years of treating cholera in Bangladesh, gave a lecture on cholera.  Many people attended his lecture including almost all the hospital staff and  even some members of the community. It was a very clear and comprehensive overview of cholera, how to treat it, and how to prevent, which was appreciated by all.

As of yet, there have been no confirmed cases of cholera in Fermathe.  Now, with the help of the WHO and ALIMA, the hospital and mission are more prepared for the epidemic that appears to be coming this way at a steady pace. We praise God for this ability to prepare. While we hope that the disease does not reach Fermathe, the hope is that if we do receive cholera patients, it will be an opportunity to witness to them and share the love of Jesus Christ.

The entry point into the cholera area: education and primary assessment.
The tent for the stabilization unit, almost finished.
Getting ready in the quarantined hospitalization unit.
Dr. Bardhan from Bangladesh, sharing his expert information on cholera.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Medelus Family Receives a Much Needed Home….

Many who have come through on medical teams will know this family right away, if not by their name, then by their faces. This is the family of Madame Albert Medelus; she was in Hospital de Fermathe for four months following the earthquake. Madame Albert had suffered a left broken femur when her house fell and required traction on her leg for most of her hospital stay. During this time, the medical staff got to know her and her sweet family very well; especially her daughter Claudia. Claudia, though grown and with a family of her own, remained very dedicated and by her mother’s side daily. She also shared her talent of playing the guitar when patients and medical staff gathered to sing praises and pray during the evenings.
    Mr. and Mrs. Albert Medelus live in Sarthe. The family attends the Legliz International Mission Outreach, a Christian church in Sarthe. They have 6 children which range from the ages of 15 to 30 years old; they also have two grandchildren. Albert, at 59-years old, is a farmer, an artist, and a mason. Even though Madame Albert’s injured leg blatantly pains her, at the age of 55 she remains a seamstress. The family is very blessed with that talent of music, both of their eldest children, Claudia and Abner can play the guitar and love to sing worship songs. In fact, recently a team from Pennsylvania came to help in the building of their new house and joined in the singing and praising to God as they worked, as Abner played the guitar.
    Madame Albert says that she “thanks the Lord and is happy because her house fell and she could not pay for it.” She wants to thank Baptist Haiti Mission, Hospital de Fermathe, and the team from Pennsylvania. Madame Albert hopes that God blesses the team and Haitians that helped to re-build her families’ home. Abner, the oldest son, says, “I cannot express my gratitude.” We at Baptist Haiti mission pray that this family will take this Christian love that has been expressed to them and pay it forward. We pray that the love of Christ will spread and shine in the community of Sarthe.

Cameron: he helped with the building, but also showed the Haitian children the love of Christ...and had some fun! :)

Jessi, carrying water to help mix the concrete.

Apryl, helping Madame Albert put on a new knee brace.
Christi, helping to sift sand with a Haitian worker.

All the guys working hard to get the outside of the house finished.

Abner and Claudia, the eldest children, playing and singing worship songs in English for the team and community.
Mr. and Mrs. Medelus, inside their new home, right before it was finished.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Missionary Flights International Partners with BHM to Help Five Families in Need…

Recently, Missionary Flights International (MFI) visited Baptist Haiti Mission with two teams.  All together they assisted with the re-building of five homes destroyed by the earthquake. Their team leader was Roger Sands, who spent some his childhood years in Haiti. While here, the teams did so much more than just re-build houses.
    One great example of how the MFI teams radiated the love of Christ was for building for 75-year old Darius Dagène, a very sweet, kind older gentleman who farms when he can. Darius is special to BHM as he worked at the mission for about 6 years, as he states, “with the flowers.” He is now elderly with 7 grown children. During the earthquake he tells that his “house fell flat,” but praises God that nobody got hurt. Since the quake, they have been staying in a temporary shelter, a very small tin shack. He plans to live in his new house with his wife and two grandchildren. Darius said that he would like to “thank the mission because he wouldn’t have been able to build it on his own.” He says this is because he is too old and he could not get money easily; he knew that God would have to bring someone to help him. He tells that his children help when they can, but this is not often or much. Darius states that, “After the quake I continually say thank you to God for all the things he has done for me.”
After the houses were finished Roger gave a message to each of the families and the team and community members dedicated the structures. For the finished Dagène house, everyone sang “How Great Thou Art.” It was also made known to the Dagène family that a youth group in the USA saw the need and raised the funds to build the house. Roger gave a message that it was very important that everyone in the surrounding community needed to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to further His kingdom; and that by loving people you are showing the love of God. His prayer was that the house would serve as a testimony to Jesus Christ. We give praise to God for the MFI teams and the wonderful Christian witness they gave to the communities they served. We also give thanks for our Haitian workers that continue to re-build homes even when there are no foreign teams here. By re-building five homes, the MFI teams assisted more people than they could ever imagine because often times extended family members seek shelter in these homes too. By helping even one family, you are helping many people. BHM prays that people would see this great work in progress and prayerfully consider donating towards our house re-building fund. Thank you and God bless!
Roger, the team leader for the MFI teams. Fluent in Creole.
Working as a team, side by side with Haitians.
Sifting sand.
Working on the outside of one of the houses.
Mixing concrete
The temporary tin shack the Dagène family was living in after the quake.
Mr.and Mrs.Darius Dagène with one of their grandchildren, outside their home....almost finished.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More cholera relief is distributed

This week has been a very eventful week. 
We were blessed with some donations to continue providing cholera relief.   The leadership of the association of BHM affiliated churches put together a plan and was able to purchase many supplies in Port-au-Prince and they delivered these supplies on Thursday to 4 districts that have been affected by cholera.  This was perfect timing.
Friday most of Haiti was affected by Hurricane Tomas by rains and wind.  We have seen a slight increase in cholera since the earthquake, and these churches are so thankful to have some clean drinking water and some supplies to purify water.  They also have cleaning supplies to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Thank you for your prayers for the people of Haiti.  These past weeks have not been easy and as I write this the rains are continuing to fall.  Pray that God continues to protect these people.

Pastor Edrice (left) oversees the supplies as they are delivered

Unloading some supplies at 1 of the 4 districts

Visitors from Pennsylvania were able to go along and help deliver the supplies.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Praise the Lord, relieft supplies successfully delivered

Yesterday we were able to successfully deliver bottled water, soap and water purification supplies to the 4 areas affected by cholera.  The people were very grateful for the supplies.
Roger, one of our workers who is from one of the affected areas, was able to travel along with the truck and educate people on how to properly purify water.  
Roger, explaining to a pastor how to purify water.

School children looking on as supplies are delivered.

Roger explaining to another pastor and school teacher.

Roger, teaching a pastor how to purify water, with many community members listening in also.

Thankfully receiving the bottled water.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Supplies go out to BHM afflicated churches affected by cholera

This morning a truck load of bottled water, soap and water purification supplies were sent out to 4 areas, Douin, Douette, L'ester and Fresenno.
We are praising God that we were able to get the supplies that they were needing and that they are being delivered today.  Pray for safety as they deliver these supplies and spend some time showing people how to properly purify their water.
We have a volunteer that went along with the truck so check back soon to hear a report and see pictures.
Rebekah Baker checks out the supplies before they go out.
Loading the truck