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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Four Months

Where Are We at Now?

This is an update of post-quake Haiti and Child Hope/Maison de Lumiere that I sent to my church.
The days and weeks following the January earthquake consisted of much turmoil, yet the grace of God was very evident. On February 12-14, one month since the earthquake, the nation of Haiti was called by the President to pray and fast. At 6 am each day the children, staff, and visitors of Maison de Lumiere met together in the "bens," the sports area attached to the boys' home. We sang in English and in Creole and prayed for the nation as a whole, those people close to the ministry who had lost their family, friends, and homes, and for the children and staff themselves, as well as the ministry of Child Hope. Outside our walls, we heard about people worshipping and praying in the streets and record numbers attending church.

The week after the fast CNN spent five days with our children, completing the filming of a documentary that had been started a few years ago. Food, tarps, tents, radios, and blankets have continued to be dropped off by various organizations, such as UNICEF, Feed my Starving Children, and the Army's 82nd Airborne. We are able to buy food at the markets for the children and ourselves, so we are giving away the donated beans, rice, and MRE's to our staff members, their families, and our community. We received our first team of visitors since the earthquake, Fighter Fighters for Christ, who built desks for our new MdL school, shelves to organize our supplies and food donations, and staffed our clinic for a few days. A few weeks later, a large team from CA arrived to oversee the construction of the walls around the girls' home and the back wall surrounding the guest house (where I live), and to staff a mobile medical clinic we held in the nearby ravine.

Many schools fell down during the earthquake and many teachers are dead or left Port au Prince for the country side. As a result, our children were out of school for more than six weeks. Bill Manassero'sbrother and sister-in-law arrived in late January. His brother, Tom, with his own handy-man business in the states, tackled our list of construction projects. Nancy, a nurse, began working at our twice weekly medical clinic, then took on the task of searching for teachers from the states. In an effort get our kids back into a daily schedule of learning, even though we did not have a full staff of teachers, we began holding school for all of the older children at the boys' home, with Nancy Manassero as principal. We have a few Haitian teachers teaching French and tutoring the boys in sixth grade and three kids in ninth grade in order to pass the required government exam. We've had two pastors staying for a month at a time each that have taught Bible, I teach health, and the other missionaries and many visitors have taught English, math, and various other subjects, all in English. However, we would like ESL teachers to come for at least one year to staff the school, starting this fall. We will have a summer program of studies for our kids that will need to be staffed as well. So far, the children say they are excited about their new school that is mostly taught in English and thankful to not be attending Haitian school, where lessons were based on memorization and strict physical punishment was often doled out.

After we moved the patients out of the front yard of the boys home a week after the earthquake, we also moved the clinic to a new house down the street from the orphanages and guesthouse. The bottom part of the house is the clinic and the upstairs are the classrooms for
the MdL school. We hold clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours each day. We are now seeing many of the same things we saw before the earthquake- coughs, colds, parasites, with a few cases of follow-up wound care thrown in and many complaints of diarrhea. Health care workers predict that cholera could become epidemic in Haiti due to lack of clean water and sanitation. For now, we are seeing mild cases of stomach issues that can be treated with re-hydration salts and antibiotics. Nancy Manassero and Ashley, as well as visiting doctors, nurses, and paramedics staff the clinic. I am working at the clinic just when time allows, as I am teaching health classes for the older children and taking care of the medical needs of our children and staff.

Please continue to lift up the people of Haiti in your prayers. Pray that rebuilding efforts increase and that the people can be moved out of their tents and tarps into housing to protect them from the rainy season. God has provided a principal for the school until June, but we will need one for the summer session, as well as a project manager to lead various construction projects as Nancy and Tom left Haiti a week ago. We also need teachers to staff our school for the spring, summer, and fall, and for a doctor to staff our clinic. Most of all, please pray for the hearts of the Haitian people to turn towards Jesus Christ, the one who gives us hope and our strength, and for the children of MdL to grow strong in faith and in godly character. Thank you for your continued support of Maison de Lumiere and the Haitian people.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Madam Jocelyn Update

Many of you may remember hearing about or you financially supported, an employee and woman in our neighborhood, named Madam Jocelyn. She has returned to Haiti after being in the Dominican Republic for four months for radiation treatment and more chemotherapy for Stage IIIB uterine cancer. As the cancer is not yet in remission, her doctor is recommending more chemotherapy followed by a special type of radiation called brachytherapy, which will both be conducted in the DR. There are no guarantees, but her doctor says that this continued treatment will be effective in eliminating the cancer in her body.

The total cost of the treatment is $3500, which includes room and board in the Dominican. It is urgent that we raise this money within the week so Madam Jocelyn can return to the Dominican for the treatment. The longer the time period between treatments, the greater the risk that the cancer will metastisize or be more difficult to treat.

Will you please join us in praying for the funds so desperately needed to help this dear woman continue her treatment? We know our God is great and can heal her. Please keep Madam Jocelyn and her family in your prayers. If you feel called to help with her medical expenses, you may donate online at our website - just make it clear that the funds are for Madam Jocelyn. Keep praying and may God bless you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


A three year old boy is brought to our hospital/clinic by his father, three or four days after the earthquake. How long did they walk to find us? What did this child, his father, and the rest of his family and neighborhood endure in the days before we saw them? The child, Clifford, has an open tib/fib fracture, meaning that his lower leg is broken with the skin open exposing bone, muscle, ligaments, and tendons... as well as miniscule pieces of rock, parts of the cement wall that fell on him. A medical student cleans out the wound with Betadine, peroxide, gauze, and tweezers to pull out debris, an excruciatingly painful process for Clifford without anesthesia. While other patients attempt to sleep on their cots, benches, and tables, floodlights are aimed in the direction of Clifford and his father. An IV is placed by a medical student to re-hydrate him and administer antibiotics. "Don't you see my suffering?!" Clifford shouts out in Creole. The doctors surrounding Clifford suddenly burst into laughter. They are not being cruel. It is just a surprise to hear these words coming from a three year old.

I make the rounds that night, handing out pain and sleep medication to those shifting and crying out on their cots and tables. Ashley sleeps for a few hours at the guest house. Clifford continuously runs a fever so his father and I gently try to coerce him to take liquid Tylenol. That definitely does not fly. So, years of working to get children to take medication (or forcing them to when they don't fall for it) serves me well and we hold him down to squirt it in his mouth. He glares at me with pure hatred. He's adorable. I lay for a few hours that night on a cot outside with the patients. Every time I look behind me, I see a man in black clothing sitting in the doorway to the inside of the boys' home. He is a new guard at the boys home. As I'm burrowing under a blanket I find out his name is Peter. I lay on my cot and start to laugh inside. This situation is extremely funny to me. I keep looking back at Peter and thinking, "Is this really my life?" I'm "sleeping" outside with a bunch of wounded and broken, yet extremely brave, people and a very intimidating looking man in the shadows, having survived an earthquake and a "tsunami." The MdL kids are a few feet away, hopefully snoozing peacefully in "the Bens." But I feel safe. And these people are my family now. We have survived together and endured together. As we have done everything to protect them, I know they and their family or friends with them will protect me. As will Peter.

A few hours later the guards walk Ashley and I between the boys' home and the guesthouse so we can change shifts. I lay on my bed, but again, sleep eludes me. Ashley loving tends to our patients by herself for the next few hours.

We make it through another day tending to the wounded. As it grows dark, the doctors announce they need to perform a more invasive cleaning of the wound- an I & D. Lidocaine is administered, the dressing is removed, and Ashley and I stand by to assist. I assume one of the few positions I had actually filled in the states and in Haiti before the earthquake and one I enjoy- comforting the patient (which also involves restraining him and preventing him from touching his leg). His dad stands with me and we whisper words of comfort, which seem very futile. "Don't you see my suffering?!" is shouted by little Clifford again. Laughter. "Bam ti diri! (give me a little rice!)" Laughter. The docs translate his pleas for relief. He's a smart little kid in a baby body. "Put a diaper on my $%##@!" The yelling continues. "#@%^%& you mommy!" Laughter allows us to deal with the absurdity of the situation. Clifford's dad even releases a few chuckles. The look of hatred is aimed in my direction once again.

After a night of administering IV fluids and antibiotics, Clifford continues to run a fever and his wound doesn't look good. Where can we take him for more treatment? According to Marlval, the roads are a mess and the hospitals that are still standing and functioning are over-crowded. He could lose his leg or his life if the infection in his leg does not improve or spreads into his bloodstream or organs. The day before, a group from a Canadian news channel showed up at our orphanage to interview and film the Manasseros. Susette finds their business card and puts in a call to them, hoping that they'll know someone who will know someone. A few hours later, a small team of medical professionals descends upon the boys' home. We fill them in on Clifford's status and we wish him and his father well. They quickly drive off with our patient and his father to an Israeli field hospital that opened up after the earthquake.

Before getting back to work, we stand around, marveling at how God was working in the details. As we fretted over this child, God showed up in a big way. Rather, he was always there and working... he just revealed himself and his work right then. Just as He had provided the supplies and medical personnel to care for our neighborhood in the minutes, hours, and days after the quake, He provided the Israeli hospital and its people to care for His child.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds forever in Christ Jesus."
Philipians 4:6-7

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
Psalm 46

I wish I could say that I was the picture of one trusting in the Lord in this situation and others after the earthquake. Sometimes, all I could see was my inadequacy. When I saw the Lord working as he worked in this situation, I was reminded to look up. To look up at Him, instead of at myself. When I focus on myself, I am disappointed and worry. When I focus on Him, I see His compassion and care for the poor, for the wounded, for the worrier.

Check out a video that features this child and many of ours at MdL here. Clifford is the first bandaged leg you see in the video.

The children share their thanks for helping with Haiti relief and helping Child Hope/Maison de Lumiere here.

I don't have any pictures of precious Clifford, so I thought I'd post some of my beautiful friend, Erta, along with cutie-pie Estaline.