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.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Praise the Lord!!

Last weekend we were on a 4 day evangelism/church encouargement trip to Diquini, Port au Prince. Diquini is the area where OMS were running medical clinics after the earthquake and as a result hundreds of people became christians. After that OMS planted a church there and sent one of our seminary studnets, Junior to lead the church. We had a trip back in April and this trip was follow up. The main aim was to encourage the church and also to do some evangelism in the local area. We had a great few days, each morning we went out into the local community to pray with people and share to gospel with others who didn't yet know. Then in the afternoons we ran a kids club which was great and we had services in the evening. Over the four days between 20 and 30 people came to know the Lord and we really encouraged the church. It was great to be back to see the growth in the people and in the church. I will write more about the trip when I get a chance.




A while ago I wrote about a young man named Berlota. Here is a quick idea of what has happened so far, I was in a village called Balan in June translating for a team from the States who were doing radio distrubtion. I was in a group with a pastor and we went in to pray with a young man who was sick, he had fallen out of a tree and was paralysed. Since the accident he had been at home lying on a cement floor and as a result developed a huge pressure sore on his back which was full of infection. I couldn't get him out of my head all weekend and knew I had to do something about it. That monday Hannah and I went out to get him and took him to Milot hospital, the very first american doctor who saw him said his condition is terminal. Anyway to cut a long story short, God provided all the funds needed for his medical care in a miraculous way and 4 months later Hannah and I had the priviledge of taking him home on last Monday.

Remember Haitians do not like to smile for photo's he is infact happy!!


 About 4 weeks ago he had a small operation which put a skin flap over the sore and over the last four weeks it has healed really well. Just last monday I went to talk to both him and his mum just to see how they were. Since being in Milot hospital they have both become christians. Berlota said told me that he sees how God saved his life because he was so sick and if it wasn't for God he would be dead. Because of that he decided to give his life to God and his mum said much the same thing. It was really exciting to talk with him, what amazed me the most was that the whole time I never had to say anything. I think just the first day we took him into hospital I asked if they were Chrisitans and they said no, after that I didn't say anything apart from I was praying for them. Yet God was able to work through the situation to change their lives.


Berlota with his mum


Monday then, we put him in the back of the car ,sitting up and headed for his house, stopped off at my house to get his wheelchair which had been sent up from Port au Prince. While we were driving along all I could remember was when we went to pick him up at his house in June. The chaos it was to try and get him in the car, how he looked so ill, how he had to lie on his tummy with his legs bent up and the smell of infection in the car. Yet here we were four months later with him sitting up in the back of the car looking really healthy travelling back to his home.



 When we arrived in the area of Balan, where he is from people started to say 'Look there is Berlota.' By the time we arrived at the house there was around 30-40 people there to welcome him home. Sometimes in Haiti if there is something going on there will be heaps of people just to see whats going on. However this was not the case, all these people were there to welcome him home, it was very cool. We went into his house and he was sitting up on his new bed.....again all I could remember was in the same wee room in a mud hut, him lying on a cement floor on a single sheet with that huge sore on his back where I could literally see his insides. Yet now sitting on his new bed with all his nephews and neices sitting round him laughing. We spent some time with him and his family and friends with people coming in and hugging us to say thank you. We prayed with him and the family and left them to celebrate him being home.



It was literally a miracle. Or heaps of miracles all put together!! A miracle that I was in Balan on that Friday, a miracle that I was in the same group as the Pastor, a miracle that I went back to Balan that Sunday, a miracle that we got him to Milot hospital, a miracle that someone from Northern Ireland who I do not even know paid for all his medical treatment, a miracle that he is alive today. And the best part that through all those miracles.............the biggest miracle that God has saved his life twice, physically and spiritually.

It was an absolute priviledge to be a part of what God has done in his life and to see how God has provided all that he needed the whole way through the experience.

Then Tanya the young girl with breast cancer has left for the states. It was amazing how everything came together from flights to funding, absolutely everything has been taken care of. I cannot imagine how she felt when she landed in the florida and stayed in a hotel last night. She is from a poor family, all she has known her life is life in Haiti which is miles away from the states. Please pray for her as she settles into the US and as she starts her treatment, I don't think she has any idea what is ahead of her but I do know she is trusting God completely.



Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tanya

A few weeks I asked for prayer for Tanya, the young girl who is in Milot hospital with breast cancer. She is just 23 and has surgery four times and is in desperate need of chemotherapy. Me along with a few other people in Milot have been working hard to try and find a hospital in the states which will accept her for treatment. I have been praying and praying that she would be accepted somewhere and praise the Lord we just found out on Monday a specialist breast cancer centre has accepted her for treatment in Baltimore.

However it is not just that easy, everything needs to be thought of flights, visa and living expenses when she is there. Thankfully everything has fallen into place so far, flights and someone for her to travel with, we are working on the visa application now to get her and her mum to the states for treatment. The estimation is she will be there for about a year. The reason I am writing is to thank you for your prayers and ask for your continue prayers for the visa application. Also the hospital has found a place for her and her mum to live on campus so they will not have to travel to the hospital however this will cost $100 per day which will include all their meals. We have a few people who are trying to raise funds from different places to support her during the year, if you would like to help financially please get in contact with me (juliebriggs7@hotmail.com) so we can arrange a way for that to happen.

I can see clearly how God has opened doors in this situation and have no doubt He will provide fully that which is needed. When Tania first came to me about needing to go for chemotherapy and asked for my help, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. I didn't have the first clue about where to start, but God put people in my path and contacts so that everything could be arranged. Everytime we hear another piece of news Tanya is praising God for his provision.

Friday, 1 October 2010

From one beautiful country to another.....

I just spent the last 2 weeks at home for a wee break. Northern Ireland and Haiti are miles apart, not just in distance. Nearly everything about Haiti is completely different than Northern Ireland from the weather to language to driving and being the only person from Northen Ireland here is hard. Yet there are small similarites between Northern Ireland and Haiti which make me feel at home here.




In Northern Ireland we love to have a bit of 'craic' basically we love laughing and Haitian people love to laugh too. Even though life is so difficult and for most people everyday is a struggle yet you will always see people laughing and smiling. The main way they do that is by making fun of other people which we love to do at home too. Also if you know anyone from Northern Ireland you will see we love using the word wee. Although wee doesnt always mean little for example if I was waiting for someone for a long time I could say I was waiting for a good wee while. And in Creole people say exactly the same thing, the word for little in Creol is ti. They will say 'fe yon ti chita' which means have a wee seat, which is exactly what we would say at home. Its wee things like that which I love here because they remind me of home.

Just going between the two has reminded me how much I love home, when I was growing up I never wanted to leave Northern Ireland, I was going to get married, have a family and stay in Northern Ireland forever!!Yet God had completely different plans for my life, 5 years ago I didn't even know Haiti existed and for now I live here, it amazes me what God can do with your life if you let him and be obedient to him. And as much as I love home, I have complete peace about being in Haiti for right now because I know this is exactly where God wants me to be.

I also want to thank everyone who is praying for me here in Haiti, when I think back over the past wee while and look at some of the stuff I have been doing I almost can't believe it. But it is completely only in God's strength that I am able to do that, from praying with people who were in the earthquake in Creole, being bold in sharing the gospel in Creole to killing a huge flying cockroach and driving a 15 seater van in Haiti!!Things that is you told me I would be doing I would not have believed you!!
Philippians ch 1 v 3-5
'I thank my God in all my remembrance of you always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.'


I was just about ready for a rest when I left Haiti here and I had a great time at home, I can't say I rested alot but it was just lovely to be at home and spend time with my friends and family. It is also nice to be back in Haiti and being where God has me for now.
Be open to God's plan for your life, I can't imagine where I would be now if I hadn't have been open to God's plan and direction in my life. The way God has directed my life has been unbelievable and it hasn't been easy. But when I see how God has used me to change peoples lives in some circumstances, not so I can say that was me who did that but so God's name can be glorified and people can come to know him and have the same freedom, purpose and peace that I have in my life.