Join us in praying for these dear ones..
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
We are here in Lima now. We have left the jungle, and also left part of ourselves there. We are all changed people, that is a good thing.
We went to bless others but as God would have it, we have been blessed by them.Unless you have done something like this it is hard to imagine how you fall in love with people who really are at first complete strangers! They do not remain that way for long.
These people could teach all of us a lesson on life. They taught us unconditional love, unending gratitude, and the power of a hug, smile, even a kiss on the cheek from a grubby, beautiful child.
There is not many things sweeter than that!
We pray the team left the fragrance of Christ behind. There were some significant transformations and amazing people put in our paths to be loved and accepted.
The final day we went to the compound that is being transformed into an orphanage. What a day that was. People were gracious, walked for miles, and did not want to leave. WE had to walk a bit from the road to the location and many of them walked us out to board the bus.
AND, the day before, we were provided the PHARMACIST we needed! Some young man named Michael, who finished pharmacy school two weeks before, came around from some other team, I think, and we put him to work and he said he could not believe how he would do anything else but serving in this way! We told him his path was put into place to connect with ours long ago. Many people prayed for him to come along and there he was...Should not surprise when we are dealing with the Creator of the universe! But we were all in awe, once again..
We are having an R & R in Lima today. Anxious to head home Saturday (I think today is Friday!)
Thank you for following us. John does have some amazing pictures that I will have to add when we get home as access to internet is minimal and it takes too long, and we have been so busy we could not do that. But it will give all of you something to look forward to!
When you see these pictures, you will see what I mean about the beauty of the children!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This has been a most unusual trip. While our team work is going well, our team mates have had rough times spiritually and emotionally. But God is close to the broken hearted and promises to restore us!
We continue to pour ourseelves out as a fragrant offering. We are daily restored to do it all over again! There have been many wonderful stories..I will share one I experienced.
The first day of our teaching seminar, a man walked in with an eagerness to learn. Somehow I noticed him and felt there was something special about him. Throughout the day, I would smile and encourage his work and be sure to make contact with him.
As the days progressed, we felt a bonding in the Lord. The third day, he wanted to tell me that my smile made him happy. I shared with him that I felt that God would be using him mightily for the children of the Amazon and I prayed for God to bless him in a big way.
Fourth and final day, we prepared a graduation ceremony for all the partcpants. Also, we had all the groups come up and present lesson to the team. We were now the students! Wow, they did a fabulous job. When Sabino got up there with his team, he electrified the room with his presence and passion!
Afterwards, he called me over to him. With a translator, he began to speak to me in a way so sincere it made me weep. With tears in his eyes he told me a number of things but the one most important was this...
Because of your obvious love for children, you have inspired me to keep your love in my heart to commit to bringing children to the King! He said I have been a touch of heaven to him and he will carry that in his heart in all his does with children. Remembering my love and kindness...
Then he gave me a most beautiful bracelet. I learned that two years ago he was deep in bad stuff. God has transformed this mans life for eternity. Now, he will go out and make a difference in lives of children. WOW..
I have tucked that moment in my heart where it will stay forever!
Tomorrow we go as a whole team out to the jungle, with the bugs and mud, to work at an orphage. We are all looking forward to that! We commit to bringing joy, fun, laughter, love and zillions of smooches!
Thank you for reading this. Continue to pray please for our safety and health.
The finish line for this mission is in sight!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
The medical team is having great success. They are seeing over 100 pàtients a day. The dentist is seeing over 20 a day. The eye doctor saw 52 people! They are in a church so the facility is very nice for them. They are blessing people and being blessed..
The childrens seminar in the morning is going quite well. We have 16 different churches represented who are learning how to teach children. We do feel they have the hearts to do this and we are privileged to be serving God in this way.
The afternoon session with the children out in a shanty town is another story. Whew, they are quite unruly- There are over 100 of them each day. They are not bad kids, just not very disciplined. Their living conditions are very sad. But they do not know the difference. While the program is not going exactly as planned. The laughter and smiles could not be louder! They are having a great time and we decided that is what it is all about. Not our plans, but His plans! His plan is for us to play, hug, kiss their cheeks, give them piggy back rides, until we drop! We are teaching them about God´s love and showing them even more loudly! Again, a privilege to be here.
The children´s team is dead tired, but giving their all each day.
We are all well and getting along well, another blessing from God.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we are going to church and then take a boat ride on the Amazon. It is our day of rest, and do we need it...
This is being written from an internet cafe next to our hotel!
Happy Father´s Day tomorrow to my daddy whom I love with all my heart!
Thank you for the prayers that are being lifted up. We feel them and need them.
There were NO problems getting any of the meds through customs as we pretended we did not understand what they were saying and kind of pushed our way through!!
Love to all of you and see you here again..
Friday, June 11, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
What a day! Today we went to Masada which is in the Judean desert! It is the last fortress that the Israelites held and is an amazing fortress! The area is desolate! We overlooked into the area of Sodom and Gomorrah. We saw the Dead Sea from the top as well.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
What a beautiful place the city is. What an amazing feeling to walk where Jesus walked. We went to the Garden Tomb, Garden of Gethsemane, walked the Via De La Rosa (Stations of the cross)..Quite an awesome feeling to be here.
Friday, April 16, 2010
What a beautiful day we have had. We visited all over the area of Tiberius, Sea of Galilee. It is a beautiful, warm day. We saw Capernahum, Peter's House, Mount of Beatitudes, and had baptisms in the Jordan! Quite a full exciting day.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This is quite interesting I think.....
If you want to know where we will be you can go to 2 Chronicles 11 - the village where we will be was once called “Adoraim”. Adoriam was one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam, son of Solomon, to protect Jerusalem over 1,500 years ago. This is a time when the nation was divided and many were worshipping false gods. There were also many who set their hearts on seeking the Lord and serving Him turned away from the worship of false Gods. Please pray that the people of this city will turn away from false religion of Islam to worship Jesus and this city will become fortified with the love and presence of the Living God.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Haiti Update: This weekend is Carnival, a time of revelry, satanic worship, and voodoo rituals. It has been CANCELLED and instead,a National Weekend of Prayer, Fasting, Mourning has been declared! Hallelujah! You prayer warriors, come alongside our family of God this weekend and join them!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Thoughts on Haiti
Having just returned from a medical relief effort, I cannot get my mind off of Haiti. The experience continues to haunt me, brings tears to my eyes and overwhelms me with emotion. At the same time I feel anger for the unnecessary suffering and misery that this country has dealt its people. The common man in Haiti, has a life expectancy of 50 yrs, and an average daily wage of $2, when he can find a job. Although he has nothing, he still manages to walk with pride and exude friendliness and kindness. (This is true in the countryside and smaller cities, as I was not in a large urban area.)The children are beautiful, friendly and innocent. The women work hard trying to scratch out a subsistence living. The people are clean, although they are ridden with malnutrition, congenital and acquired health issues. It is not money for which they occasionally hold out their hands, but for food. And when you hand them a sandwich, a small snack, or a bag of trail mix, the smile of gratitude, makes you wish you had more in your back pack to give.
The economy seems to be one based on bartering. Charcoal, the primary cooking fuel and the manufacture of which may have contributed to the devastating deforestation of the county, is traded for rice. Sugar cane is traded for beans and a chicken or pig or goat for something else, and on, and on. The ubiquitous burning of charcoal leaves a haze of irritating smoke over the populated areas, that is largely responsible for the chronic complaints of cough, asthma and burning eyes.
Anger? Yes, for it is hard for an American to comprehend a country without any sense of organization or infrastructure. Chaos and inefficiency rule. There is no running water, unless you count the river, which is full of people bathing, doing their laundry, digging sand, dumping garbage, etc. Even the hospital has no water! Can you imagine a hospital without the basics of water? There is no electricity, unless you have a solar panel, or diesel and a generator. Even with these, the power is turned off around 5 PM. This includes public facilities such as the airport and hospital. Voluntary surgeons are ready to work through the night to save lives and limbs, but are told to leave at 5 PM, and the power shut down.
There is no organization and the country smacks you with total chaos. Nothing runs as expected or according to any sense of planning. There seems to be no interest in public welfare or the suffering that is universal, rather than occasional. I presume there are some people who have better living conditions than average. But these “well-to-do” do not seem to have any interest in helping the masses of needy around them. Indeed, in my shallow experience, they seemed to be clearly more interested in themselves than their countryman.
Imagine a hospital filled with people suffering with fractured limbs as well as mind boggling medical issues, covered with flies, and lying in darkened, warm, humid rooms without ventilation. They are tended primarily by their family, who are responsible for feeding them, cleaning them, emptying the bucket under their bed and chasing the flies from them. When you walk by, they look at you with hope and expectancy for any sense of relief. Your training tells you what to do, but your efforts are impeded by locked supplies, resistant nursing staff and hospital administration.
Although there are many foreigners trying to deliver aide to this population, their efforts are met with incomprehensible delays and hurdles from those in charge, who do not seem to mind the suffering around them. Oh, the massive relief effort has provided food and masses of medical supplies. However these supplies are not available to the medial teams, and relief efforts. These desperately needed supplies are warehoused and locked away, by customs or hospital officials. To access them, you need to run from one authority to another wasting precious time and energy at the expense of suffering and death. The UN and the US military try to assist, but remember they are there to help in a sovereign country and have very limited authority to act. Many religious organizations have made significant strides in their attempts to serve the people, and move them into the 21st century. But their efforts are not enough by themselves, and require country leadership.
It has been hard to have experienced this without developing a mixture of love, sadness, frustration and anger. Haiti is a “country” without any semblance of structure. Perhaps this devastating earthquake is a moment, not to start rebuilding, but to build a country from scratch, with a new economy, educational efforts, public health, and perhaps a whole new social culture. This will require a totally unselfish political and engineering leadership, which hopefully can arise from the ashes that now cover this country.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Some more thoughts – Friday, January 29, 2010.
I don’t think I wrote much about my first impression upon entry into the Hinche hospital last Sunday. It was really beyond belief for us – even after visiting the hospital in Peru. The large room full of beds, a ward, was full of patients, many of whom had legs attached to a rope and plastic bottle full of sand acting as their traction device. In the US, we have 5 lb weights. They are attached by a plaster cast to the foot here, and this tends to irritate the skin.
In the US this traction is usually overnight, with surgery scheduled the following AM. Here most will be in traction for 6+ wks, until their fracture stabilizes. They did not have the rods necessary for fracture stabilization, nor the sterile conditions to make such repair feasible. Unfortunately this also exposes the patients to a very high rate of pulmonary embolization. One patient actually did suffer such an occurrence with threat to his life later that night. Fortunately, he received emergent Rx from the Americans and has survived.
The rooms are dark. During the day, they are poorly lit. And at night, there is usually only one small fluorescent bulb lighting the whole ward.
Patients receive their primary nursing care from their family, who attend to them at the bedside constantly. They feed them, clean them, clothe them. The family brings in their food. There are buckets at the bedside for toileting, and the family empties them. I’m afraid to inquire where, but saw one just dumping the contents in the hospital courtyard!
There are only a few windows, and of course no screens. Therefore, the patients are covered with flies! Their wounds are so covered as well. The family, when attentive, brushes the flies away.
I couldn’t comfortably take any photos in there. As a physician the patients look at me hopefully, and the last thing I could do would be to take out a camera and memorialize their misery. Some of them had compound fractures, with the bone tearing through their skin. These do require surgery, and it should be done urgently. As I have said earlier, their surgery is unnecessarily delayed. In one instance this resulted in the patient become septic. She went to emergency surgery by our team and had her left leg amputated, and her right one sliced open for drainage. She did survive and our team was able to further debride her wounds before their departure.
In one corner of the pediatric ward, there was a child with 40 burns. He was crying and he had a crowd of people around him. At first I thought they were chanting, then realized they were praying and signing. This occurred frequently around patients in the hospital.
Another child was in traction – he had broken both hips. He lost his family with the exception of his grandmother in Hinche. Before they left, our team was able to place him in a spica cast. There was another child, with broken hip, who are required and received a spica cast from our team.
One poor fellow was crushed in the quake, and had his spine severed around T10. He is a quadriplegic. I heard today, the one of the hospital ships had offered to take him. But the hospital administrator denied this request. I don’t know what they will do with him.
The country is going to be in great need for prosthetics, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. I have previously told you, the only survivors among those injured, were with limb fractures. Anything more serious resulted in a quick death.
Amongst the trauma victims are a large patient component of incredibly bad disease which usually populate the hospital. It seems that many patients are anemic with Hemoglobins in the range of 8. Normal is greater than 12. One woman’s was 3.7. She was given two units of blood, but the one was wasted by poor nursing attention.
The patients often had IV’s as at home, but often they are empty, not running, and/or infiltrated. Their urinary catheter bags are usually lying on the bedside. The correct location is hanging from the bedrail below the patient.
The three operating rooms or course also have flies. They and well and the rest of the hospital communicate with the outside. And they have outside window, although they were closed. With the exception of the OR, the hospital has old wooden floors, which of course are hard to keep clean, and perhaps impossible to sterilize.
As I walked through these wards day to day, the patients would watch and look at you hopefully and expectantly. I felt bad that I was not necessarily going to their bed, and especially bad that I couldn’t talk to them.
I will be interested to see what the world press is reporting about this catastrophe. Certainly I now have an appreciation regarding the difficulty and lack of efficiency in the world response.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Last night before sunset, and with the rising full moon, we drove to the back of our grounds. Just behind an enterprising Haitian bought some land, dug two large ditches and damned them. They fill in the rainy season, and stay full throughout the winter. From them he raises Tilapia, for food and fertilizer, and around them he has a large field of food, which is watered from these lakes. This is the type of activity that is needed in this county for revival.
After lunch the clinic here got very busy, and we worked it until 5 PM.
As you might expect there are many minor and major health conditions besides the recent trauma. Some of the trauma patients are returning for wound checks and dressing changes. I saw a woman with a very advanced breast CA, another with a breast lump. I have seen end stage congestive heart failure in young people. The average life expectancy is around 45. HTN is very common, and usually untreated. Malnutrition, fungal skin conditions, scabies, HIV, Malaria, Typhoid and many unknowns round out the selection. Sadly there are many congenital and developmental abnormalities. Before he left Dr. Combs showed me a 12 yr old girl with hydrocephalus. I have never seen anything like it. Somehow she has done well mentally.
Many are just hungry! This may be a growing problem due to disruptions in food supplies through Port au Prince. You may actually know more of this than me, as I have looked at no news. The Haitian Endowment Fund is driving to the Dominical Republic tomorrow to try to get a large truckload of rice and beans through to resume their feeding program.
The population continues to drift up in this direction as well as north and away from Port au Prince.
I’m tired after today. This evening is again cool, with a full moon. There was chanting over the walls this AM. It is an interesting mixture of sites and sounds and smells.
From Christine: I am wondering if it is better that they are not listening to the horrible news we hear or not..jury is out on that. I am thinking how difficult it will be though to make it from the Dominican Republic with the food, given the mobs...They are not aware of that I fear..
Imagine a beautiful, full moon shining on such sadness, devastation and yes, hope! The chanting he is hearing is from the poor people caught up in Voodoo! Pray that they will be delivered from the bondage of these practices, and the sounds of our team singing worship songs to the only true God will drown out the chanting and bring the chanters to their knees before Him, where he lovingly waits..
Thank you for all of you reading this, praying for them, thinking how you can help, just being there for everyone involved.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations..... Instead of your shame you shall have a double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs." Isaiah 61:4 & 7
"Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."God has His eye on every detail.
A letter Cindy Bither wrote to her daughter today . She arrived with team 1 January 27th It's hard for me to get over here to the clinic office to check my mail. I was up until 1 am last night and up at 5 this morning. I'm just keeping busy over at the house w/cooking. Out of 16-17 food tubs, we have only received 3. We've had sufficient supply for meals so far, and the team arriving today has the rest of our tubs (hopefully!) After what I've seen and the immense misery and suffering, I have no right to complain. The hospital here in Hinche is so sad - so many children with broken legs and fractures and they have to lay in traction w/cast for 6-8 weeks. These children just lay there all day with flies all over them and no meds for pain. The family has to bring food so they can eat. Many are with a relative because their parents perished in the quake. I was at hospital the other day and wishing I had some toys (coloring books, crayons, balloons, etc.) for the children. The 2nd team that arrived last night "just happened" to have bags of balloons and a bag of suckers. God provided! It would be such a great outreach for a small group of young people to come & spend time in hospital just entertaining the kids and loving on them. The most touching thing that I've seen was last night at the hospital I saw an old man asleep with his head resting on an open Bible. He looked so peaceful. I don't know his injuries, but his Bible was his pillow. I can't stop thinking about him.
Wednesday January 27, 2010
Chaos!!! We went back to the hospital this AM to see how we could further help, orient the new arrivals, and check on the old patients. There is a team from Dartmouth there, and a team from Yale arrived last PM. Four of our MD’s left this AM. There were able to take the flight out of Hinche which resumed with their flight. I feel left behind! Since the five of us have been together since Friday, we bonded. A new group arrived last night from Temecula, as well as a group from Idaho – flew into Hinche- also with Haiti Endowment. I have started to learn new names.
Back at the hospital, one of the Internists, a nephrologist tried to organize all of us, but things are still hampered by the politics and culture. Medical orders are missed and slowly addressed. Nothing happens quickly, regardless of urgency.
This afternoon, I joined one of the Family Practioners and worked the clinic here at the compound. It was actually more satisfying. There are more and more people drifting up from Port au Prince, both with minor as well as major injuries. Some are coming straight to our compound; others to the hospital. Some people come in and just complain of hunger. Haitian Endowment gives them a sandwich.
One of our interpreters is a medical student. He happened to be out of doors during the quake. This was fortunate, as his dwelling in Port au Prince was destroyed, as well as his class mates. All three medical schools were destroyed along with many physicians and students.
Pray for better organization. The poor people here deserve at least that!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Everything has been a challenge on this trip but God has protect and provided thru it all. We arrived with 13 out of the 55 plus bins we started with. Our food and med supplies are still in transit. We have been well cared for by UN security details. I have a new friend, Klaus from Austria. He comes by daily to check on our needs and is now bringing us seriously injured patients that can't wait and sit in the hallways of hospital for days. Yesterday was the first day the doctors could go help at the Hinche Hospital. They worked all day till after 10 PM. I went to hospital in afternoon. Almost everyone has severely broken legs the x rays are crazy. Their legs were crushed as the tried to escape the buildings. By afternoon I was gathering power drills from HEF's tool room for orthopedic surgeons to use. This morning we worked with orthopedic doctor to build a special platform support device for operation on child with broken pelvis and legs. The villages and towns are filling up with hundreds of thousands of refugees from PAP. A tiny poor village (Bohac) near hear has 1000 refuges alone. Haitian Churches are trying to mobilize with their limited resources in the area. I have met so many that have lost their homes and entire families. It is so very sad. Many of Haiti's doctors and med students were killed in PAP. The Medical Universities are all gone. Thanks for all of your prayers and support at home and work. We will be very busy the next few days with the rest of our team finally arriving plus new med team from Idaho. So I won't be able to write again for a while.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Cindy found Johnell Joseph on the floor of the Hinche Hospital hallway. He lost his mother in PAP. His grandmother brought him to Hinche Hospital with severely broken leg. After Cindy found him, Dr Combs got him rushed into see Dr Pace (13 days after earthquake). There are so many of these stories its unbelievable.