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!