Friday, 24 December 2010

Great is thy faithfulness

Due to a couple of personal circumstances I have decided to leave Haiti a month early before my term ends and head home. I am going to try and keep writing on my blog experiences I have had and ways I have seen God move even as I am at home. There have been so many things I would have loved to have shared but just didn't have time to write.



When I begin to look back at this year the big thing that stands out to me is God's faithfulness. This year has been difficult for me, maybe even to be honest the hardest year of my life and it started right from the beginning. I left home on 9th January to go to Greenwood Indianda and on 12th January I heard news that my granny had died and also Haiti had suffered from a huge earthquake. I wanted to be in either of those places and instead I was in the states. When I think about the situations I have been in this year, if you had have told me before that I would be able to cope with them, I would have said no way I could never do that.  Situations like listening to stories and praying with people who lived through the earthquake and lost everything they had including their family, going on trips to Port to work in tent villages, sharing the gospel boldly, working with patients with Cholera to simple things like driving a 15 seater van (with 15 people in it), being brave enough to kill cockroaches and sleeping in the same room as a rat (one of my least enjoyable experiences). YET God was faithful and give me the strength for all these situations and many many more.


I like to think I am tough but I am not really, watching the film My Girl or ER makes me cry and this past year I have spent each and every day with people who are suffering, suffering because of the earthquake, because of cholera, because of poverty, because of illness, because of death YET again God had given me the strength to build relationships with these people, to help them physically and spiritually and to help carry some of their burden. Before this year I have never really experienced death in my life and this year I have experienced to much death that I care to even remember........I have even watched a 4 year old child and a 23 year old girl die of cholera right in front of my eyes, YET again God remained faithful and unchanging giving me the strength I needed to cope with those situations.



To be honest there are many things about Haiti which I will not miss, the pothole covered roads, wearing skirts, bean sauce, the smell of cholera, flip flops, sweating, the sound of car horns, motorbikes, wheelbarrows, chickens, goats, pigs (basically all those things which are on the road which should not be there!!), mosquitios and hearing Celine Dion's my heart will go on at full volume!!


Saying all that there are many things I will miss, Haiti is so very close to my heart and God has given me a love for the people rather than the actual country. I find it hard to love a place where people are suffering so much everyday but I love the people, I love speaking and listening to Creole and usually if I am not feeling very good walking down the street and someone saying 'Bonswa Cherie' to me usually brings a smile to my face. The thing I will miss the most are my good friends Dr Rodney and Vedane and their beautiful kids. I probably spent time with them everyday, Vedane has become one of my very best friends. I will miss going down to their wee house and Oly greeting me with ' Hello missionary.', Alisha's huge smile as soon as I walk in the door and Wood jumping on top of me as if he hasn't seen me for months. Dr Rodney is a very special man clearly chosen by God to help his people. He has taught me a lot about Haiti and its culture. He has also made us laugh so many times with his Dr Love consultations!!!



Even though the next wee while is going to be difficult I know God will remain faithful as he has been in 2010 and will give me the strength I need for each day. God promises he will never give us more than we can handle and I know that to be true. Here are some of God's promises I have had to depend on over and over again this year.

Psalm 46 v 1 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.

Isaiah 40 v 28-31
Hvae you not known, Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth
He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable 
He give power to the faint and to him who has no might increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted
but they who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not be faint.

1 Peter 5 v7 
Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 46 v 10 
Be still and know that I am God.



Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

    Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see: All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!














Friday, 10 December 2010

Loss

Wednesday  was a hard day for us in the clinic as we lost three patients. We went down to the clinic on Wednesday morning and the night nurses told us we lost one of the old ladies during the night. The lady had been there from the day before and was continually pulling out her IV fluids. Later that morning we lost another patient, another older lady who had come the morning before severely dehydrated and it took a long time to find a vein for an IV. A few times throughout the day we had to change the IV for various reasons and we just couldn't get  fluid into her as fast  as she was losing it.

Later that  afternoon we lost a little girl who was just  four years old. This was the hardest  for all of us, she came in that morning dehydrated but awake, drinking and talking....screaming even  while the doctors were trying to put an IV in. They  tried and tried but couldn't get one, we continued to give her oral rehydration solution continually. Around 3o'clock her dad told her to the bathroom, had diarrhoea  and she lost all the fluid she had in her wee body and stopped breathing right there, the doctors worked on her for nearly an hour but sadly there was nothing we could do.

It was a particularly difficult day for all our staff and especially the families of those patients who died. Please lift them up in your prayers. It just showed me how awful cholera is, I always thought once you get to  a hospital, get fluids in you will be fine however that is not always the case. The key is time, as soon as someone gets sick they need to get to a hospital as soon as possible. And we need to keep working on educating people on how they can protect  themselves against  cholera.

It  reminded me how fragile life is and how at  any  moment for any of us we never know what is going to happen. One minute that  little girl was sitting up talking and drinking and just  a few minutes later she had stopped breathing. Life is so fragile and not just here in Haiti. We really  need to have an urgency about telling people about God and about what He has done for us and how He alone can save people.

On a different note Hannah and I are thankful to have a team here this week from the states, the team includes 2 doctors and 2 nurses. I don't know what we would have done without them this week. On Tuesday the results of the election were announced and people weren't happy. Wednesday and Thursday brought rioting and roadblocks in town meaning very few of our clinic staff  could come to work. Which would have left me, Hannah  and Dr Rodney in the clinic but thankfully God knows what you need in advance. Things are quiet in the cholera 'hospital' this morning and Hannah and I are taking the opportunity to have some rest  before the team leave tomorrow.

We really need some more help down there, the cholera problem isn't going to go away anytime soon. If you are a doctor or nurse or a physio who knows how to change IV bags and flush out IV's would like to come on a short term trip to help in our clinic please get  in touch with me. We need people asap and I would say willl be needing them for at least the next  couple of months.


On days like Wednesday its hard to look at the positive side of things, but we have treated well over 100 patients some of whom have come in very close to death yet  they have got better and walked out of our wee hospital which we praise the Lord for. On little girl, Neissa was there last week when she came in she wasn't very very sick but we got her IV in and kept her in, she got worse and worse with cholera. Basically you have to let cholera run its course through your body and staying hydrated with IV fluids, antibiotics don't do much because usually patients just throw them up again. Anyway she had 3 full days of being very sick gradually got better. I was out in Vaudrieul the other day and I heard this litte girl say hi Julie, I looked at her said hi and walked on. I never think much when people do that, they always say hello Julie and I never have any idea who they are or I can't remember them!!Anyway I thought about it and figured she just  was one of the loads of kids who know who I am. I stopped to visit someone at their house and she came in. I looked at  her and said 'Neissa' she said yes Julie. I couldn't believe it she looked like a completely different child I didn't even recognise her.

So we are grieving with those families who are grieving over their loss but also rejoicing with those who get completely better. I am thanking God for his strength, if anyone knows me they know I need a lot of sleep and I don't have very much stamina!!!However the only place I am finding physical and emotional strength from is in the Lord and he is enough for what I need. Every now and then I just  look at the things I have done in Haiti this year and if you told me that before I came I would have said no way I could never do that. Yet when you are open and willing to be used by God he gives you what he need for what he has called you to do.

I have quoted this verse a few times but Im just reading through the Christmas story and it comes up right there.....
Luke 1 v 37

'For nothing will be impossible with God.'

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas, Culture shock, Cold and Cholera!!

After being at the clinic for too many hours everyday and night working with our patients who have cholera I hadn't even thought about Christmas. However on Thursday Hannah, Matt, Stacey and I had to go to the Dominican to renew our visas. We have to leave Haiti every three months and unfortunately for us the quickest and cheapest place to go is the Dominican Republic. Hannah and I were more than ready to go on Thursday afternoon when Matt and Stacey came to get us as we were both in need of some rest.


We got through the border no problems even though Hannah and I had been working with cholera patients just a few hours beforehand. As we were driving through the DR it started to get dark and then I saw the first Christmas tree. After that every time any of us saw one it was like look at that one, look at those decorations....it was like we were kids again and amazed at everything. We had the Christmas music on looking at the Christmas trees, then we arrived at the ridiculously cheap all inclusive hotel. As we pulled up we saw this huge Christmas tree, straight away we had to get out and look and take photos of the tree.
of course then as soon as we got back home we put our Christmas tree up in the house. Its so hard to even think about Christmas in Haiti especially with people suffering so much. The other reason is because it is hot and sunny and it really only feels Christmas at dark time when the Christmas lights go on.

Our christmas tree


Back to the hotel, while we were waiting for our rooms to be ready the guy at the desk told us to go and eat.  We went into the huge dining room and all 4 of us just wondered around for a while (Im sure we had our mouths open) before we even knew what to do. There was so much food, we didn't know where to start so we started with the drinks. Hannah was the best, she went over to get some coke, it was like the drinks machines you see at Mcdonalds. Hannah filled one glass up, drunk it and continued to do the same thing over and over again....it was hilarious!!Finally we chose something to eat, thing we could not get in Haiti.....Pizza, pickles, fries, cucumber. and strawberry ice cream.



Talk about culture shock. On paper the Dominican is a third world country yet I felt like I was in the States. The roads were all paved, all the houses had electricity (with christmas tress!!), there was road signs, traffic lights,  the shop was about the size of Tesco's and you can find everything you need. It was just overwhelming to go from working in our cholera clinic and just that morning seeing a little girl arrive with cholera who was already dead in her dad's arms. To a place where we could eat whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted and lie by the pool, go to the shop and find what we needed or just what we wanted (granny smith apples!!). It actually made me wonder how the human mind copes with that sort of change in just a few hours. I felt so far away from Haiti........yet it was just a 5 hour drive away.




One of the things I find hard being in Haiti is being a 'blanc' and all the things that come with that. No matter how long I live in Haiti if I speak Creole perfectly, carry things on my head, hand wash my clothes do everything Haitian I will always stand out just by being white. Being in a resort full of 'blancs' it was so nice not to stand out. Saying that we were the only people wearing jeans and hoodies in the evenings when everyone else was out in their summer dresses!!! The next day it was cloudy and overcast, still crazy british people were out by the pool in their swimming stuff and then us, the missionaries from Haiti feeling cold!!Jeans and hooides again for everyone.We were sitting by the pool with Lily (Matt and Stacey's daughter who is just 22 months), there was a lady beside us reading a book and Lily went over and said 'is that your bible?' It was too cute and she was very dissapointed to find out it wasn't, the lady actually apologised because Lily looked so sad. Maybe we didn't blend in as much as we thought!!!

The trip was mainly to renew our visas but we also got a time of rest, we had lots of fun together especially as we dont see Matt, Stacey and Lily much because they live in Sakenvil at the seminary. We were also able to buy lots of supplies for the clinic thanks to a very generous donation to some people from home. There are so many supplies which we need in the clinic which are so difficult to find in Haiti and if we do find them they are very expensive. We were able to buy lots of baby formula, nappies, baby bottles, baby wipes and sheets all of which we desperately needed.


We are back to work in our chlolera clinic which still has a steady flow of patients. In the past 2 weeks we have treated over 60 patients and all of them have got better and been sent home. Thankfully this week we hae two doctors and two nurses here on a team which is great. We are thankful for the rest, for the supplies we were able to get for the clinic and that we had no problems getting there or coming back.

Monday, 29 November 2010

More on Cholera.....

Cholera is the thing everyone is talking about right now. It is now present in all 10 departments of Haiti with the North department (where we are) being the worst affected. People are so scared of getting cholera because of what they have heard and seen of people dying quickly. As I have said before educating people is going to be the most important thing. People are believing all kinds of things they hear on the street and they are willing to believe them because they are so scared of getting cholera. Here are some of the things I have heard.....

If you drink lots of alcohol you will be protected against cholera.
You can buy a medicine in the street which will protect you against cholera.
You can get cholera from the dust in the street

Where we put our first patients

Which all of course are not true. This week Bethesda began to treat cholera patients. At first we had put them in a tent outside which was fine for one day but not good enough. One of our other missionaries Jane had the idea of using one of the old houses which is just beside the clinic. When we went to look at it, it was perfect for exactly what we needed. On Wednesday we arranged the house and brought over all the supplies we need. Thankfully we were able to get more IV fluid in town, this is the main treatment for cholera and last week we we unable to buy any in Cap Haitian.

our new 'hospital' for paients


Since Wednesday we have had a steady flow of patients, mostly children from a number of different areas, and mostly brothers and sisters. We have had a few difficult cases where they have been so dehydrated it has been really difficult to find a vein to put the IV fluids in. One little boy I would like you to pray for especially, he came on thursday morning severely dehydrated and it took our nurses over an hour to find a vein to place an IV. He was given fluids all day and all night and seemed much better on Friday afternoon he was also drinking alot. However he continued to have diarrhoea through the night on Friday and by saturday morning he was severely dehydrated again, as our staff worked on him they couldn't find a vein as he was so dehydrated. We continued to give him fluids by mouth as we were able. Dr Rodney then had an idea of IV into the bone which I have never heard of before but he did it (it was his first time ever...he had just read about it!!). Thankfully we had the equipment and with alot of praying going on at the same time Dr Rodney got it in and the IV started. Since then it has been running, we have been giving him oral fluids aswell all through the night however he is still having continuous diarrhoea and is losing alot of fluid. Please pray today we will be able to find a vein, give me another IV which is so desperately needs so we give him more fluids than he is losing.


Its scary how quickly cholera can dehydrate someone, especially kids. The continuous vomitting and diarrhoea removes all their fluid very quickly. If someone gets cholera time is really the important thing. Friday we had a young girl come in who just started getting sick that night around midnight and by 8 am the next day she was very very unwell. Dr Rodney started two IVs and within 20 mins she was awake and talking. Her mum was crying as her big brother was in the clinic aswell, as soon as she woke up she said 'mummy don't cry for me just pray to God for me,' It was very cute and today she is a million times better eating and drinking.

Thankfully all our other patients are responding well to treatment. My role in the clinic had definitely changed from just a physiotherapist!!Please pray for us as we treat patients, for continuous supplies, for strength for our staff especially Hannah, Dr Rodney and I (please!!) who have been in the clinic long hours and though the night.


This week Bethesda is starting two special weeks of 'Combat Cholera'. Each day the patients will be educated on how they can protect themselves against cholera. Each patient will be given soap, A bottle of chlorox (bleach) and oral rehydration powder. We also have a fixed price of 250 goudes (about $5 US) for each consultation and any medicine which patients need. We expect to have alot of patients and on top of treating cholera patients its going to be hard work!!However we will be able to educate alot of people and give them materials on how they can protect themselves and their families agaisnt cholera. Plus we have a medical team arriving next Saturday from the states which will be great.

**I wrote this yesterday and didn't have chance o post it. Today we have even more patients and our 'hospital' is nearly full. Please continue to lift us up in prayer , also among the business we will have time to share the gospel with our patients.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Noise!!

I never thought I would be happy to hear the sound of a horn on a huge truck in Haiti. Just to explain a wee bit.......driving in Haiti is a bit crazy and the rules are, if you want to be seen beep your horn, if you want to overtake beep your horn, if you want someone to move beep your horn......if you just feel like it beep your horn and for as long as you want!!!. The other rule is if you are bigger you have right of way!And what generally happens is these huge trucks come along with their hand on their horn for a good 15 seconds to get everyone else in their way to move. Everytime I drive past one or hear the horn from my house (which is often) it does my head in, there is no need for it to be that loud and that long....its not like we don't see the HUGE trucks coming!!!


When one of these drive towards me with their hand on the horn I very quickly move out of the way!!


Anyway today we have heard lots of loud horns and cars and people and Haiti is back to being noisy!Which is great, all that means,  things have settled down after 4 days of rioting in and around town and after people being confined to their homes it nice to hear some noise outside. We have heard the rioting is mainly due to the cholera outbreak and people want something done about it and also there are rumours that the UN are responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti and most of the rioting was against the UN.


We thank God for the peace today, please pray it will continue. Pray for elections which will take place next Sunday (28th), pray that the right people will be chosen for the positions here in Haiti.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cholera

Just as I think life in Haiti cannot get any worse, it does. When I think the people cannot cope with anything else they find the strength to. 12th January brought the earthquake in Port au Prince, November brought Hurricane Tomas which caused mass flooding and now cholera.....on top of life as it was in Haiti and all in the same year.



 As you have probably heard on the news Cholera is spreading fast in Haiti. After beginning in the central plateau in Haiti, cholera has now spread to all 10 regions in Haiti. Everyday we are hearing of more people dying from Cholera here in Cap Haitian. They have opened the local gymnasium in the centre of town to recieve patients and Milot  hospital has received over 50 patients just over the weekend.

Bethesda and OMS as a mission is trying to provide as much education as possible to the community. It is very easy to protect yourself against cholera and education will be the thing that will stop it from spreading further. So far we have had education sessions with over 1500 kids, our seminary students, the local church in Sakenvil and with our pastors. We are encouraging everyone who hears the information to pass it onto people in their own local community. The pastors and studnets have taken the information back to their churches. Dr Rodney has also made an announcement for Radio 4VEH which has up to 1 million listeners each day.



One area which has been badly affected in an area called Souffriere. Souffriere is where we have a done a few mobile clinics before. Souffriere is a very poor area, the only water they have is from the local river and there is no place to use the bathroom. Now the river is infected with cholera yet the people have no where else to find water. Its easy to give advice but if people have no means to follow the advice they don't have any other chocie, they have over 30 people who have died in that area.

Yesterday Dr Rodney talked in the clinic about the numbers or people who are sick, the numbers of people who have died, to be honest it is probably alot higher than what has been reported. He explained how the situation in Haiti makes it easy for cholera to spread. The piles of rubbish by the side of the road breeding bateria, no clean water, people having no toilets to use, people not washing their hands....all these things contribute to cholera spreading here. His conclusion was the ONLY thing which can stop this is the prayers of God's people. Humanly speaking its going to be impossible, however we serve a God who can do the impossible and we trust in him to change Haiti.



I will be honest sometimes it is so hard to see how this country will ever change. We hear news about the extent of cholera in Haiti, also yesterday and today there are demonstrations and violence against the UN in Cap Haitian because of Cholera,  people are scared, people are tired of suffering and they want something done about it. On top of that the election for a new president will take place in two weeks time (28th November). So far no-one I have spoken to is going to vote...not one single person because 'there is no one worth voting for.' Things are always a bit unstable around election periods with some people rioting, saying that we will not be going anywhere near town over the next few days!!




I am sorry to sound so dismal but this is life in Haiti right now. God is the only person who can ever change this country.


Please keep praying for this nation.....its needs miracle upon miracle to change it.




Luke ch 1 v 37
'For nothing is impossible with God.'

Monday, 8 November 2010

Babies......

Just before I went home Vedane and  Rodney has adopted Alisha and I had asked my dad if anyone had any old baby clothes that I could bring back for her and some other babies that would be great. I was amazed at how generous people where and I actually had to say no to some of the clothes because I wouldn't have enough space to bring them back. Hannah had also been home and came back with loads of baby stuff and we had a team here from Indiana who also left us lots of baby clothes. Here are just a few of the many babies we were able to help.


My bed full of baby clothes....and this is only about half of them.

First Alisha.... two months ago Alisha was living with her dad, her mum had died when she was just 3 months old and she had nothing. Now she has a family who love her and she is getting spoilt rotten!!When Vedane took her she had no baby girl clothes at all and now I think she has more than she can even use. Its amazing how God can change a wee life of even someone so young. Who knows where Alisha would be right now if she hadn't have been brought to the clinic and she is really is such a blessing for Vedane and Rodney and anyone that meets her. She is a really happy content wee baby.


Her brother Ollie with his new shorts.



This is Daniella with her baby Florcy. Daniella is just 18 and came to our clinic in early September looking for baby formula as she was unable to feed her baby due to an infection. At the time we didn't have any and I knew Hannah's mum was sending some down so I told her to come back in October. She came back and we were able to give her a big box of formula, I got talking to her and she told me she doesn't have any family just a sister, the baby's dad is gone, she and the baby sleep on a cement floor of someone's house who they don't really know but she has no where else to live. Daniella also told me Florcy wasn't very well so I told her to bring the baby the next day. Thankfully just that morning Jane (one of our missionaries) had brought down a big box of baby blankets to the clinic so we were able to give her some blankets for the baby to sleep on and a box of baby formula with a couple of bottles. The next day she came back with Florcy who was 6 months old at the time. I got her chart and noticed she has been here 3 months before where she weighed just 4.69kg, I took her to weigh her and was shocked to see three months later her weight had dropped to 4.29kg. She was consulted and put on the feeding programme, we were able to give Florcy and her mum some clothes and a wee bit of money to buy some food. They came back just 4 days later and the difference in Florcy was amazing, before she was very lethargic and unhappy, however now it was looking at a different baby, she had much more energy and was laughing and smiling. We have a fund in our clinic which is kept for people who really cannot pay to come to the doctor and this is how we were able to treat Flory.


Her first visit


Just 4 days later, like a different child.
This is Roseleud with her baby Miklen. Miklen is 18 months old, her dad died in the earthquake in Port and since then things have been a real struggle. Again the clinic was able to pay for her treatment, we gave Miklen some cartons of milk and some clothes. Right at the end of her consultation Roseleud asked if she coule become a christian and we had the priviledge of praying with her and giving her some guidance about finding a church close to where she lives. They came back around 5 days later and again Miklen looked like a different child, smiling and laughing it was great.


This is Jeffery and his mum. His mum was in Port during the earthquake and had to have her lower left arm amputated. Since January she has been in Milot hospital and wee Jeffery was born at the end of July. He is really lovely.



This baby is very special because she is named after Hannah and I (well her middle name) is Julianna. She was born at the beginning of Septmeber. Her mum is called Rose Marie and she lost her right leg in the earthquake.




This is young girl is just 16 and has just had her little baby. To be honest Farah is a typical teenager, she think she knows best about everything. We have been able to help her alot with her baby with clothes, nappies and Farah is on our feeding programme in the clinic.




This is my friends wee neice, Sandra happy with her new wee shorts.


We would appreciate your prayers for all these babies and thier mums, most of them are single mums and life is really difficult.

So thank you very much to people in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Bend, Oregon and Colombus Indiana. There are many many more babies we will be able to help.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Bethesda Medical Clinic

We have just started a new facebook page for the clinic so you can be kept up to date with what goes on day by day in the clinic. Here is the link below

www.facebook.com/BethesdaMedicalCenterHaiti

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Port au Prince trip


On Thursday morning the 14th October, three missionaries, four member of staff at the seminarary and eight of the students took the 8 hours journey down to Port au Prince. Thankfully they have been working on the road and the last four hours of the journey was all on smooth (mostly) paved roads. Coming into Port I sort of expected things to be different. It has been 10 months since the earthquake yet to be honest I did not see alot of change. There is a bit less rubble by the side of the road, a few buildings have been rebuilt and a few new houses have been built however in general there are still thousands upon thousand of people homeless and sleeping outside in tents, in makeshift homes which are made of a tarp yet have a tin door with a wee padlock.




We drove right up to the top of the hill and arrived in Diquini to be greeted by Junior (our seminary studnet who has lived there for six months to lead the church) and several members of the church, one of the teenagers came over hugged me and said 'hi Julie'which amazed me, its been six months since I had been in Diquini. That evening we started with a service I think there were around 100 people there with a lot of people sitting outside the actual church 'building'. Matt preached the gospel clearly and simply and 12 people came forward at the end of the service to give their lives to God.



Over the next two days we spent the morning in the local community praying with people and sharing the gospel with other people who didn't yet know. I was out with one of the pastor's and it always amazes me how open haitian's are to talking about God. Like we just arrive at their house and everyone is sitting outside anyway and ask can we come and have a chat and they are like yes sure. We didn't have one person who didn't want to talk to us. One young guy we talked to was sitting with his friends and they were all very 'cool', long hair, ears pierced etc. We shared the gospel with the group and asked them what they thought, the young guy said he knew God was there after he saw what God did for him because he wasn't hurt in the earthquake. However I went on to explain its good to say thank you to God for those things, but what is even more important is that we are sinful and God did something even greater he sent Jesus to die for our sins and now we can have forgiveness and a relationship with him. The guy said he wanted to be saved but he had to wait until he was a better person, until he cut his hair and took out his earrings and until he had some 'nice' clothes for church. It was great to be able to tell him he can come to God just the way he is, he doesn't need to change first that it is God who will do the changing within him. Right there in front of his 'cool' friends he got down on his knees and prayed. He asked God to forgive him of his sins and said he wanted to Serve God with his life.

Later we went to the house of a lady called Marie. She had just become a christian recently and asked us to come into the house to pray with her, while we were there one of the pastors asked if she had anything in the house which she wanted to get rid off. He asked this because she was very involved in Voodoo before she became a christian. She went into the corner of the room and pulled out a bag of something, she explained she had been sick and had gone to a witch doctor for 'medicine' to help get her better. She didn't want anything to do with Satan anymore and therefore didn't want it in the house anymore, we agreed to take it and burn it. Then we prayer for her and over her house...a place and a life which has belonged to Satan had now been changed to a life for God. That night she got up in the service and explained to the church how God had changed her life.

Burning the stuff from the witch doctor


The other thing which Junior has been doing with help of some people from the states is building houses for some of the families. I can't exactley remember but I think they have built 12 houses. He bought the materials and the people built them themselves. Marie has one and they really are nice, they are made of blocks and cement and have an nice tin roof.

The house in the distance with the new tin roof is one of the new houses

We also ran a kids club on friday and saturday where we had singing, a memory verse, a story from the bible and some games. It was really great and the kids remembered the song we taught them in English from the time when we were there in April.

The first day of the kids club

Word got out on the second day and we had over double the amount of kids.

Even though we had a great trip with many lives changed for God and the church encouraged, the situation is still desperate. There are so many people sleeping in tents still and from what I saw of the city it doesn't look much different to how it did in April when I was there. Every night we were there it rained and when it rains in Haiti it really rains heavy. The Saturday night there was a huge thunder and lightening storm, it was the loudest and longest thunder I have ever heard in my life. I was staying inside a building on a bed dry and safe and I was still scared. All I could think of was the thousands of people who were sleeping outside under the cover of a tarp or a tent....I can't imagine it would provide much protection from a storm like that. The thunder and lightening lasted for a good hour and it rained most of the night. When we got up the next day we heard that one of the families 'homes' on the hill had blown down in the storm. Please continue to pray for the people in Port, pray for Organisations who are building homes for people, pray for the government which actually will be changing this month as it is election month and pray that the money which has been pledged from so many other places will be sent and used wisely to help the people of this country.

Driving out of Port after the rain

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cholera

I am sure everyone has heard on the news about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. The outbreak of Cholera is mainly confined to the central plateau that is between Saint Marc and Gonaives. So far there have been reports of 284 deaths (as of 27th October) and over 3000 people hospitalised. There have been a few cases in the North here in Haiti and there have deen designated hospitals which have been set up to treat anyone who is infected. What is happening right now in Haiti is education to prevent the spread of Cholera to anywhere else in the country and obviously treat those people who are infected.
Handwashing Demonstration
Cholera is easily prevented with the correct precautions. Already this weekend Dr Rodney in our clinic has made a plan of how our clinic will respond to this outbreak. Information leaflets in both English and Creole have been printed out to give to local schools, churches, pastors, employees of OMS and the missionaries. Supplies which are needed to treat the disease are being brought in and if needed Bethesda medical centre will provide a 24 hour service for patients who are being treated with Cholera.
However our main aim right now is to prevent the spread of Cholera and educate the community here in the north. Dr Rodney has already given information on Radio 4VEH, OMS's radio station which is on air each day and has up to one million listeners each day.
                      
                                       Dr Cader explaining how cholera affects your body.

This morning we had 2 educations sessions with pupils from the local schools in the Vaudreiul church. In Haiti there is a high illiteracy rate in adults and often to educate the children is much better. We had around 1500 kids aged between 5 to 20. Each child was give an information leaflet and listened to Dr Cader explain what Cholera is, how is it spread, how it affects you, what to do if you think you or someone in your house has cholera and most importantly how to prevent yourself from getting Cholera. The kids were also taught how to wash your hands correctly and each person was given a bar of medicated soap to take home to their house and pass on the information to their friends and family.
Some girls with their information leaflet
We gave out about 1500 bars of soap
Listening carefully to the doctor

Giving out the soap to all the kids.

Tomorrow we will do the same thing in Saccenville where OMS have their seminary. Dr Rodney will go and educate the students who can then take the information to their churches. We are also holding an education session in the local church for the community.