Monday, April 28, 2014

1st ARP Church/ Source Baptiste Medical Team

Every once in a while, a US church will decide to send a medical team out to their Haitian sister church.  This is a wonderful opportunity for a US church to care for the members of their sister church community in a physical and tangible way.  Many of these people have very little access to health care and lack of means to pay.

The First Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, NC had a number of clinicians  interested in coming to Haiti to serve their sister church community in Source Baptiste.  After a year of planning, and a little input on my part, they arrived in Haiti on March 28th.  Their purpose was to visit with and minister together with their sister church.  They planned two days of medical clinics during their time in the village. They also planned a program for the school kids, an open air evangelistic service, met with the Pastor and Deacons, and visited and prayed for many of the church shut-ins. It was a very full week.  I was privileged to join them for this trip!

Here is the team before church Sunday morning.  Monday and Tuesday the church was turned into the medical clinic.


The team consisted of a doctor, a PA, a pharmacist, 3 nurses, 2 dentists, a pastor and a prayer warrior.  I don’t want to diminish the role of the pastor and Annabelle, the team’s prayer warrior!  After each person was seen in the clinic, they were prayed for and loved on by these two.  Their care and love for each person who came thru the clinic was evident.


The team saw about 270 patients over those two days of clinics.  I had so much fun in the pharmacy, where we filled over 300 Rx’s each day (we lost count!).  It was refreshing to get back to my educational “roots.” It was really enjoyable to work with the team’s Pharmacist, Sabrina, and watch her joyfully using her training in this environment.  For me personally, it was a stretching and growing week as I served in the pharmacy mostly by counseling all the patients that came through the clinic on their prescriptions.  What a confidence booster to see that my Creole was understood!  I even had a few old people sitting around the pharmacy waiting area after they were done, just giggling, getting a kick out of listening to the blan explain everyone’s Rx’s in Creole.  I still have a long way to go in my language development, but time out with the team always gives me the opportunity to learn more and improve.

Sabrina and I in the “pharmacy”:


Seeing patients in the clinic:



We finished off our time in Source Baptiste by splitting into two teams and visiting and praying with the needy and shut-ins of the church.  This is always a humbling experience; a time I look forward to with every sister church visit.  Each home we visited, each person we prayed for, will be in my heart and mind for a long time to come. 


Giving up my Pharmacy career to come serve the Lord in Haiti was a very difficult decision in 2009.  Yet I’ll never doubt it was the right decision.  I am so thankful that God called us here to serve in Haiti with RMI.  It makes me extra appreciative of the moments like these where I get to do both. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 Years in Haiti!

4 years. We’ve lived here 4 years. It feels like a lifetime ago that we boarded a flight from Miami to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti with three kids ages 5, 3, and 1. They had never been to Haiti before and we were excited to show them their new home. Excited to explore, to show them their new rooms, to make new friends, to start learning the language.


I think the biggest contrast to then and now are the changes in our kids: how much they have changed and grown. They are now 9, 7 and 5. Their cheeks are no longer chubby. They’ve (almost) all graduated from Haitian Kindergarten (Braden graduates in June.) They are way more independent than when we arrived!


The other contrast is familiarity. We have made this place home. It was foreign when we arrived. We arrived knowing a phrase or two of Creole, and now we can communicate fairly well. I thought I’d never drive here (that thought was so scary!) but it didn’t take long for me to realize if I wanted to get out of the house I’d have to do just that.  I know my way around town (kind of), how to shop, how to bargain.

4 years.  4 years is not very long.  It’s certainly not long enough to say we speak Creole fluently or that we understand the culture.  It’s not long enough to say what we see, experience and deal with everyday is easy or comfortable or normal in any way.  We still remind ourselves “It’s not weird, it’s just different!”  I can say I learn something new every single day.

There have been many difficult times, difficult seasons, and difficult situations during these last 4 years.  Some seemed at the time to last forever and some now seem like a lifetime ago.  There has been much joy, too.  Many tender times.  Times that will remain in my memory for a lifetime.  Along the way God has confirmed our call, affirmed our commitment.  Shown us He wants us here no matter the circumstances. 

And I’m thankful.  This missionary life is a gift: a privilege.  So many of you are enabling us to serve the Lord here in Haiti through prayer, financial support and encouragement.  Raising support is a difficult task, but  it joins us together with the body of Christ in a special way that is a privilege.

We are thankful for you.