Dear Friends & Family,
|Antonio's new home|
I returned last night from Carrefour, Haiti. I am overwhelmed emotionally and physically after a long week - however my love and compassion for the people of Haiti is even stronger. This trip consisted of a team of nine: an architect, two structural engineers, three registered nurses, a nursing student from Belmont University, and two volunteers to work construction. Through Christ we were able to accomplish a multitude of tasks that we had set out to complete - however new needs were brought to our attention boldly. Our medical team, with the help of Haitian translators, ran a five-day clinic and treated well over 1,500 patients. During clinic we saw an enormous need physically. We ran clinic out of the Church & School of Lamentin, which our team had repaired in June 2010 following much damage from the earthquake. Our partnership with this Haitian congregation and school has been a huge blessing and allowed for an enormous boost in community and morale throughout this neighborhood. Pastors from the church were able to witness to these neighbors and tend to their emotional and spiritual needs while they waited to be seen and treated. Those who requested were given a bible in French Creole, donated by Al Jaynes from Nashville, and everyone was welcomed by members of the congregation and given a booklet on the church. While clinic was in session, our construction team & several Haitian church members were working hard just over the back wall of the church & school constructing a home for Antonio, an incredible man we met on our June trip & revisited in August. Antonio’s story is remarkable - he is 72 years old, has been blind since he was a young child, & survived a crush injury during the earthquake to his leg. His survival weighs solely on the reliance of others to bring him a bit of food or water - and prior to this week he had be living under a tree with a piece of scrap metal covering his head since the earthquake. The beauty of Antonio taking his first steps into his new home was breathtaking, but more so was hearing“I give my life to Christ”come from his lips. At 72, Antonio dedicated his life to follow Jesus this week and I will never forget hearing him repeat “Merci Jesus” as he stood inside his home on the concrete slab that was poured just 4 days prior, on which the imprint of 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 had been inscribed by the construction team.
|Cooking area for 78 children|
|latrine area for 78 children|
The last working day of our trip we were asked to visit an orphanage that was in dire need. We had collected many items to donate to this orphanage including: pencils, crayons, toys, underwear, a new outfit for each child, and several thousand chewable vitamins. When we arrived at the orphanage site we were taken aback by the situation we witnessed. The 78 orphans were living in the remains of 2 severely damaged buildings with no stove for cooking, no latrines, and most children were sleeping on cardboard boxes on the cement floor. When we pulled up to the site the children were having class time led by the director and they were chanting prayers to Jesus. Above their makeshift table was a cardboard box nailed to a column that read God Bless You. I can not describe this well enough with words so I will post pictures below. I write you today because this need can not be ignored. The 2 buildings that these children are living in could collapse at any time during the tremors that still occur in Port Au Prince, and the lack of hygiene and health risks must be addressed. As a team we discussed the responsibility that has been placed on us now that we have seen and witnessed this need firsthand as followers of Christ. Leaving the orphanage we were all devastated. In my heart the Holy Spirit has placed an incredible burden I must ACT on. Our team has discussed many ideas to address this need and the architect & structural engineers are working to get a closer estimate of the cost required to build an earthquake-safe facility to house these children. Our connection with the Church of Lamentin has given us access to a large piece of land 50 miles from Carrefour that they own and have had waiting for an opportunity to be built on and used to serve the children of Haiti. We are still brainstorming as to all the possibilities and specifics of this project - what we do know is that something MUST be done and that a figure of around $30,000 is suspected. The task sounds big....but our God is much bigger. I would love for you pray for this opportunity and consider joining me in this effort. I will promise you that every dollar raised for this event will directly build this orphanage - there is no overhead or organization to pad the pockets of - just a serious need that we are willing to do something about. The architect and engineers are volunteering their services to this project. I will volunteer my nursing services to the construction team as needed and will also support this financially as Craig and I are able. I’d like to keep an open line of communication with all willing to help in this project and will keep you updated as we get the specifics nailed down. God is doing amazing things in Haiti. I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to join him there four times this year and look forward to many years of service there. Thank you all for your prayers during my trips and your encouragement & support. Bondye Bon (God is so good).
|Classroom/Dining & Cooking area for 78 children|