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January 2013
Dear Friends in Christ,
Our trip to Haiti was truly an amazing experience. The incredible group of people who made up the team came from many different places. Although most had never met and came from different backgrounds, by God’s grace we worked together as if we had known and worked with each other for years. For me, as a Mom, this was one of the best teams I have ever been on. This was a new experience to watch my sons, Kenny and Micah, leading and making decisions for a team. I was able to see the many mistakes and challenges they had to overcome, but the mission was a huge success. Praise the Lord! Allow me to share some of our experiences with you.
We began our trip early Sunday morning and arrived in Port-au-Prince late afternoon. Lussade, Pastor Etienne, Judy Foster, Micah and Kenny were there to take us up to the mountain to Lussade’s home to eat and spend the night. Supper was served on his roof with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. The next morning we were up early to begin our travel to Plaine de L’arbre (Plin day lob) about 7-10 hours north of Port-au-Prince, depending on traffic. The day was long, getting off to a slow start as we caravanned through PAP. Four vehicles carried luggage, food, meds, 2- 400 gallon cisterns and American and Haitian team members. There were 22 all together. We were packed tight even though Kenny and Micah had already taken a load to the church a few days before. On our drive, we saw a variety of terrain passing many beautiful beaches, cactus, mountains, and salt flats where the local people gather salt to sell. Arriving just after dark, we were pleasantly surprised to find each of the ladies and a few of the men had beds. The others were provided cots. We also had flushing toilets and outside cold water showers, which we used sparingly to conserve water.
The next morning we worked to organize and set up the clinic. We met some of the locally trained health care workers. After talking for quite some time, we came to realize that they were trained at one point, but since then have not been provided with supplies and aren’t paid for their work. We invited them to join us and a few of them did. By the end of Tuesday, we were ready to begin the next morning.
Because we were in a compound with walls and a gate, as well as the combination of team members, we were able to set up one of the best run clinics any of us had experienced. We did triage outside of the gate and brought about 100 people at a time into the church. Once inside, everyone took an Albendazole pill (dewormer). While the people waited in the church, Tim preached the gospel through Pastor Etienne and prayed for each person going in to be seen. Another team member took each person’s vitals and wrote it on a card with the patient’s name so they could hand it to the doctor they were to see. At the same time, Jessie and an interpreter, Clibert (Klee bear) taught Bible School for the children who were also waiting to be seen. When their turn came, the patients went across the compound to a different building to be checked out by either Dr. Williams (a Haitian doctor), Dr. Ruiz (an American surgeon), Mike Brewer (an EMT), Matt Brewer (a paramedic/nurse) or they went to wound care to be checked out by Micah or Caleb. Once finished, they took their prescriptions to the pharmacy which was overseen by Judy Foster, an American nurse, Pascal, a Haitian nurse, and staffed by Angelo, Allysa and Joe who kept the always busy pharmacy area running smoothly. The first day we saw about 150 people, the next day about 250 and the last day around 200. During the clinic we sent 4 people to a hospital about 3 hours away to be tested for tuberculosis. Another young girl was sent for x-rays as her arm had healed improperly from a break.
Caleb, Angelo, Joe, Matt, and Mike installed 3 cisterns; one at the church and two for local church families. While installing the cisterns, Caleb realized what a tremendous help these would be, so he purchased another one, which we had delivered and he installed as well. Everyone was excited to see the cisterns ready for rain as we left the clinic area. Kenny still has a desire to do a large cistern project attached to the church. We know if this is God’s plan He will work out the details.
In the evenings we showed the Jesus Film in the church for anyone from the community who wanted to come. This draws a lot of people because many of them have not seen films.
On Saturday we drove back to PAP to stay at Lussade’s home again. Sunday we went to Lussade’s church, a Baptist Haiti Mission Church, which is a sister church of the one we were with in Plaine de L’arbre.
Monday morning we went to Pastor Petti Noel’s school. Dr. Ruiz, Mike and Matt did physicals on the school children. When we arrived, Pastor Petti and some of his family, the teachers and the school children were waiting for us. Tim, Mack and Jessie did Bible School with the children while they waited to be seen. Joe stood security as we were a little vulnerable and many people in the area seemed desperate for medical attention. We saw the children, the teachers and some of the younger siblings of the school children. As part of her check up, Dr. Ruiz checked each child’s heart beat. She found one five year old little girl, Ashley who has a ventricular heart defect. Because of Judy’s experience in arranging surgeries for seriously ill children in Haiti, she is overseeing the arrangements we are making for Ashley’s heart surgery in the Dominican Republic. We praise the Lord for this discovery and that Ashley may now have a normal life. One other baby was sent to the local hospital with pneumonia. OSM and Pastor Petti Noelle are so glad for these doctors and the medical attention and the love and spiritual attention given as well.
Early Tuesday morning, most of the team left us and flew back to their homes. Kenny, Jessie and I went out to the area in which Kenny has been building homes. Knowing how much time spent and work he has done there, it was wonderful to see the little village filled with families and children who now have a roof over their heads.
God took care of the details of this trip and I was blessed to watch, take pictures and help when and where I could. Though I was beginning to doubt that the team would actually happen, He not only made it happen, but it was one of the best I have ever served with. ~ Debbi
More updates and pictures and a report on Mexico will be in next month’s newsletter.
We are so grateful once again for your love, prayers, and support. How blessed we are to serve with you and through you in the areas the Lord takes us! Thank you!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family