Our young translators: Alienne, Luma, Watson and Elmise
We awake early, eager to go home. On this final day, as throughout the week, Gerald has coffee ready for us. During devotion, we reflect on the past week, marveling at how well our team gelled. We had not one single moment of strife. Each member filled whatever gap was needed. Our hearts were truly filled with the gift of serving, not just for Haiti, but for each other as well. Gerald not only had coffee for us each morning, but also enough water for showers each night. During down time, Beckie and Denise could be found sweeping floors and wiping down the table. Creativity sparked in the kitchen with many breakfast casseroles. No basic oatmeal here, we had baked oatmeal, egg casseroles and much more. Along with our crock pot desserts, Erica and Nathan concocted chocolate pudding cups complete with graham crackers and marshmallows. Sangela’s (Pastor Payot’s wife) delicious dinners were accompanied by Julie’s coleslaw topped with Ramen noodles and chopped almonds. (And here I thought Ramen was a food group for college students.)
But now, the morning is becoming bittersweet. We hug and say our goodbyes. Pastor Payot reminds us, “it is good to visit, but also it is good to go home”.
Translator Kensom chillin’ at the beach
Nathan’s turn to be the patient
Who’s’ gonna dive for it?
Martie rocking out the church
Hugs and goodbyes
Beckie and Leonne
Rest Day – yay! We all worked very hard this week. We are eagerly looking forward to our day at the Comier Plage Resort and beach. We invited our young translators to join us, as they, too, worked very hard. Although they live in Haiti, they have not had the opportunity to visit the resort. We watched with joy as they swam in the ocean and sipped on fruity drinks like tourists.
At one point, Nathan stepped on a sea urchin. Our young translators quickly sprang into action, pushing Dr. Doug aside, as they meticulously pulled each barb from Nathan’s foot. They did such a superb job; Nathan was able to join the beach volleyball game. As he is an athletic trainer and athlete himself, he clearly dominated. Perhaps our young friends did too good of a job????
Lunch and a day at the market complete our outing. We are exhausted but very content with the day’s adventures and the beautifully carved, wooden bowls we scored.
After dinner, we attend one last church service. Many prayers were offered for our safe return home along with hugs and goodbyes. As Martie is again filled with the Holy Spirit, she takes the microphone right out of the hands of Pastor Payot. In true diva fashion, emboldened by the Holy Spirit, Martie leads the church in a rousing rendition of ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’.
That night we thank God for a beautiful day enjoying the ocean and beach, and especially the love of our Haitian family and friends.
Today is our final day of clinic. Erica, Nathan and Morgan really step up as Dr. Doug and Beckie accompany Leonne (wife of Pastor Ernest) to Milo for a physical at the hospital. Dr. Stan supervises, but it is evident the three are really on top of their game. As we see the last of another 155 patients, it is now time to pack up the supplies until next year.
It has been a long week with a total of 635 patients seen. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve, knowing there is still much work to be done here. There are still many in Caracol who do not know Christ, many others who practice voodoo, and now with the addition of a mosque in Caracol, our prayers and presence are needed more than ever. We will continue to pray for Haiti and we thank God for the opportunity to witness to those in Caracol and Roche Plate.
We spend the remainder of the evening packing and organizing the remaining medical supplies.
Dinner brings forth another surprising dessert. Once again, who knew chocolate brownie cake could be made in a crock pot?
We complete our evening devotion and head to bed, looking forward to our exciting rest day tomorrow.
We are ready to begin our second day of clinic in Caracol. The school children and patients keep us busy for most of the day.
After seeing 155 patients today, we conduct another benevolence walk. At the first house, Martie’s prayer touches everyone. With shouts of “Hallelujah” and hands in the air, we all feel the power of the Holy Spirit in Martie. As we continue to walk through the village, Gary picked up a few friends along the way. It appears that Morgan is not the only pied piper in the group.
Julie is non stop today. She’s in charge of the pharmacy, it’s her day for devotion and her day for meals. In addition to preparing baked French toast for breakfast, Julie made dessert for dinner. The delicious aroma coming from the crock pot had our mouths watering all day. Who knew you could make a cherry dump cake in a crock pot!
With the many songs Julie has pre loaded onto her phone, we offer up much praise to our Lord before we settle into our devotion. As it is Wednesday night, the praise continues long into the night with the late night church service. Though in Creole, the voices are beautiful and the praise unmistakable.
A long day in pharmacy for Gary
Denise enjoying the benevolence walk
Gary picked up a few friends along the way
Kenson translates as Erica and Dr. Doug examine a patient
Beckie and Julie working hard in the pharmacy
Morgan, the pied piper
It’s not as easy as it looks!
Gerald checking out the bean field
We depart early this morning for Roche Plate. We are prayed up as we know with travel to and from, our clinics at Roche Plate are very long days. Tinal, in true fashion navigates both paved and unpaved roads, potholes, water and ruts with expertise.
In one day, we see local patients as well as students from all grades at the school for a total of 171 patients. But no trip to Roche Plate is complete without a walk to check out the bean fields and Faunet’s chicken farm. Faunet, the school principal, farms the bean fields and takes care of the chickens which help feed the school children. He is now also an assistant pastor and somewhere in there found time to get married. Congratulations to Faunet and his new wife. Penny and Becky manage to make it down a steep embankment and cross the river on slippery stones without mishap, which we were very thankful. Others in our group make it look easier than it is.
Part of the group participates in a benevolence walk. The group comes upon a bed ridden man with terminal cancer who is not a believer. Dr. Doug administers pain medication, while the group prays over this man. Our fervent prayer continues that in the short time he has left; this man does come to accept Christ as his personal Savior.
Later in the evening just before Erica and Nathan begin devotion, Erica notices the clouds are overshadowing the stars. Within minutes the clouds part, allowing us to not only see stars and constellations, but Venus and Mars as well. A gentle reminder that God is always with us and listening to even our smallest prayer.
Nathan and Morgan tend to a patient
Patients waiting in pharmacy
Martie ensures no one leaves without prayer
Dr. Stan, Watson, Junior, Gerald, and Luma enjoy a cool drink after clinic duty
Monday, we are all excited to begin the first day of clinic. Our teams are ready, Dr. Doug assisted by Nurse Morgan and Athletic Trainer Nathan, Dr. Stan assisted by Nurse Erica, and local physician Dr. Jeau Claude. Julie, Gary and Becky are manning the pharmacy, while Penny is keeping order among the patients. Our prayer warriors, Martie and Denise are keeping a keen eye on all exiting patients, ensuring no one leaves without prayer. And finally Gerald, our behind the scenes support. Gerald ensures everything we need is ready and functioning, the watchful eye, monitoring all stations so we can concentrate on our separate tasks. Returning to assist us with translation are Luma, Kenson, Watson, and Junior, along with newcomers Alienne and Elmise.
Along with patients from Caracol, we began the monumental task of also examining the students who attend school at Caracol Mission.
After seeing 154 patients, our first day of clinic ends and we wind down with a walk through town sipping on ice cold sodas, a refreshing end to a busy day. We laugh and tease noting that Morgan, Erica and Nathan quickly learned the Haitian words for cough, fever, infection, headache and other maladies. They have quickly proven they are more than worth their weight in gold and truly have a gift for serving.
Yesterday’s Take Out
Following Julie’s Orders
Cartwheels in Caracol
Preparing to wash feet
After a powerful sermon in Creole by Pastor Jack (don’t know what he said but he sure was passionate), we hosted a delicious lunch of rice and beans, AND CHICKEN! Yes, yesterday’s take out was today’s lunch. (Note photos from Day 1)
After lunch, we became quite busy. We spent several hours sorting and organizing medicines and vitamins to be given to patients throughout the week. As Julie served as head pharmacist for the week, she issued orders, (er, tasks), which we followed to the letter.
Later, some of the group took a walk through town to the ocean. Like pied pipers, the children followed, especially clinging to Morgan. While collecting seashells, the group was thoroughly entertained by the children’s cartwheels on the beach.
Martie continues to amaze us. During our evening devotion, to remind us of our purpose this week – serving others, Martie had us wash each other’s’ feet. While doing so, we each prayed silently, asking the Lord for his guidance as we serve the community of Caracol this week. This was a marvelous end to a very busy day.
Tak Out Chicken
All little girls like to dress up
Gifts for Pastor Payot
As Tinal (affectionately known as Toe nail) arrives at the airport, our large number, means that three is us must forego the annual ‘back of the pick up truck’ ride and ride with Pastor Payot. Little did the three of us know of an important errand Pastor Payot needed to make, we were getting take out chicken – Haitian style! As six live chickens are placed into the back of Pastor Payot’s vehicle, Becky reminds us not to name them, as they will soon be tomorrow’s lunch.
Once we arrived and everyone unpacked, Martie had a wonderful surprise for the girls at the orphanage – beautiful white, eyelet sun dresses. Upon receiving a dress, the girls quickly ran to get their church shoes and pose for the camera. It’s true, little girls of all cultures love to play dress up….
That night, Martie presented Pastor Payot with a few special gifts. Along with a few books from Martie’s favorite author Howard Thurman (Jesus and the Disinherited) a beautiful blue cross will soon hang in the dining area of the mission house.
What a wonderful first day, full of presents, surprises and most of all – God’s Love.
Today we prepare to say goodbye. We are up early, sorting supplies and clothing. What to take back? What to leave? Though ready to return to the states to our families, it is bittersweet as always.
On the way we back, we stopped at another mission compound in Cap-Haitian. This compound is run by a dear friend of Caracol Christian Ministry, Wilbur Merzilus of Living Hope Missions (LHM). Wilbur was hosting a group of missionaries from a church in Ohio which helps support LHM. We had prepared and packed tuna salad and tortillas for our group of ten. Yet, Upon arriving at the compound in Cap-Haitian, we were greeted by at least twenty others from Hope. We combined their delicious soup with our tuna wraps and fed the entire group! (Hmmm, remind you of five loaves and two fish?)
After prayer for safe journeys for all, we are finally on our way to the airport and home. Until next year, we ask for God’s continued blessings on our families both here and abroad. Our trip began in Haiti with ‘Welcome Home’, and it ends back in the states, again, with ‘Welcome Home’.
Today is our final full day in Caracol and also our ‘Rest Day’. We prepare to head out on our field trip to the Citadel, praying the rain will hold off long enough to allow travel on the roads.
Our prayers are answered and we arrived to a throng of locals, vying to be chosen as the one to ride their horse. We slowly amble up the steep cliff, on horses that were deceptively capable of handling the wet and slippery cobblestones. All except for Doug, (those who know Doug are not surprised) who walked up the cliff, keeping pace with us.
We learned the fort was built by Henry Christophe in the early 1800’s to prevent the country from being invaded by the French. We also learned that during this time, Voodoo was the primary religion. It is said, that Christophe made a pact with the devil to defeat the French. While Catholicism is now the official religion of Haiti, Voodoo is still prevalent. It reminded us of that our presence (meaning All who are followers of Christ) and our prayers are so very needed in this region. And, why the Caracol Christian Ministry, Traders Point Christian Church and the CHE ministry concepts are so important.
Did I mention earlier, that today was a day of rest? After a wonderful lunch in town, we head back to the compound to finish up the electrical work. A quick shopping trip and a visit to the hardware store and we are on our way. Jim, Rick and Gerald have now automated our water supply. This came just in the knick of time as poor Gerald wore the soles off his boots monitoring our water supply. No longer does Gerald have to run up to the roof, check the water level in the tank, then run down and over to another building, turn on the power for the well pump, then remember to go back in twenty minutes or so, to ensure the tank on the roof didn’t overflow. Not only did Gerald perform his task each morning and evening, but also whenever the toilets ceased to flush. (However, this does not relieve Gerald of his morning coffee duties.)
Our evening ends once again with our nightly devotion accompanied by Rick on the guitar and Mary’s and Carol’s beautiful voices. We are all thankful for God allowing us to accomplish so much. The clinic in three days saw a total of 484 patients! Electricity, lights and ceiling fans have been installed on the second floor and walls have been painted on both the first and second floors. The mission house can now not only accommodate more guests, but is slowly transforming into the CHE Training Center we all envision.