Thursday, 22 October 2015

Bethesda Medical Clinic

Where I will be working in Haiti.

Bethesda Medical Clinic was started by OMS in the late 1960’s. It was built with only one wing and over the years has expanded to 4 different wings.  The clinic is open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4 and there are specific days for specific services, however anyone can come on any day for general consultations.. On average, the clinic treats between 100-150 patients per day. The patients pay one set price which covers everything they need regardless of how much medication that is. Many still cannot afford to pay this small price and Bethesda has a special fund to help those people who are in desperate need of help.

There are around 35 full time Haitian staff in the clinic. All of them are Christians and work not only to help the patients physically, but also spiritually as they demonstrate their faith in Christ in all they do. There are 2 pastors on staff at Bethesda and many people come to know the saving grace of Jesus through the sharing of the Gospel by the staff.

Typical day at Bethesda
Patients start to arrive at the clinic at about 5am. Some patients are from the local community and neighboring towns, and others may have walked 2-3 hours to get there. When they arrive they are given a ticket with a number on it that indicates their turn in line to see the doctor. Our clinic pastor starts patient devotions at 8am and the staff meet together for devotions at the same time. A different staff member leads devotions each day, and we pray together for the clinic, for each other, for the patients we will see that day, and for the country of Haiti.
After devotions, patients are then called into the vital signs room where their weight, temp, and blood pressure is taken and documented. They are then sent to be seen by the doctor or nurse who is consulting. Following the consultation, they are then sent to the appropriate services: lab, pharmacy, PT, or x-ray.
General Consultations: A patient can come any day of the week to be seen by a doctor or nurse. We have 2 doctors and 3 nurses on staff at Bethesda who consult each day. Typical diagnosis include malaria, colds, worms, scabies, and GI problems.
TB clinic: The TB clinic is run on Fridays. There is also a feeding program for patients because it is important for TB patients to have food, as the effectiveness of their medicine depends on it. Bethesda pays for these patients to receive rice, oil, flour and beans each month along with their medicine. Each week there is an education class about the disease and treatment, and throughout this program many of the patients become Christians. TB is a very treatable disease and when patients finish their rounds of treatment, they receive a certificate of completion stating their accomplishment of the program and cure from the disease.

Pregnant women clinic: Each Wednesday is especially for soon to be mothers. They come once a month for a check-up and assessment of their pregnancy. The nurse approximates how far a long the mother is according to the measurement of their stomachs and checks with a Doppler machine for the heartbeat. Each woman is given advice about the birth of their baby, especially if they are going to be giving birth at home. They are given a birthing kit which consists of a small razor blade to cut the cord, a piece of gauze, a belly band, and a pair of gloves for the person delivering the baby. These supplies are wrapped up in a drape which can be used for the baby to land on when it first comes out!Bethesda now has a maternity ward where mothers can com to have their babies delivered.

AIDS clinic: We have 4 staff members who work in this clinic: 1 doctor, 2 nurse counselors and 1 social worker. Anyone at anytime can come and be tested for HIV. Patients do not need to pay to be tested or for any of their medicine. If they are positive, the nurse counselors are there to help them deal with this emotionally, educate them on the disease, and explain how the medicine works. There is also group counseling sessions which help patients to accept their diagnosis and realize there are other people who are going through the same thing as them.
X-ray: Our x-ray machine has been up and running since July 2010. Finding x-ray capabilities in the north of Cap Haitian is very difficult, not to mention expensive so having one at Bethesda is a blessing.
Pharmacy: We have 2 staff working in the pharmacy and towards the end of the day this is the busiest department of the clinic. Our pharmacy depends a lot on international donations, as there are certain medicines which are not readily available here in Haiti. Other medicine and supplies can be purchased here, but Bethesda still relies heavily on their supporters to help assist them in buying everything they need.
Baby clinic: Each Thursday mothers bring their babies in to have their monthly check-ups. If we see children that are malnourished, there is a feeding program that provides children 0-6 months with milk and vitamins. From 6months-3 years, we give them rice, beans, and oil. Children who come that don’t have parents are given clothes, bottles, diapers, and medicine. We usually see from 50-80 babies each week. This program is made possible only by donations from international supporters. They are always in need of milk, clothes, bottles, diapers, multivitamin liquid, toys, cereal, and medicine for diaper rash to help support these children.

Laboratory: We have 5 staff who work in this department. We offer a wide variety of testing, including but not limited to, TB, AIDS, malaria, typhoid, STDs, blood tests, urine samples, stool samples, pregnancy tests, parasites, worms, etc.
Emergency room/minor surgery room: We have a 3 bed ER and frequently have patients for IV fluids or oxygen throughout the day. Next to this room is our minor surgery OR.
Hypertension clinic(HTN): Patients come every Friday for their monthly check-up. We take their blood pressure and give them their medicine. While they are there, they also receive education on how to manage their blood pressure more effectively.
Chaplin- Each morning our clinic pastor runs devotions for the patients who come, where they sing, pray and hear the word of God. During the day the pastor speaks to many of the patients, sharing the gospel and praying with people. There are many patients who come to Bethesda expecting medical care however they find spiritual care also and each month people are coming to know the Lord.
 Mobile Medical Clinics
One way which Bethesda reaches out to other communities is to run a mobile medical clinic. We  put together a team from the clinic or visiting doctors / nurses to go out into remote villages that do not have access to medical care, and offer a 1 to 2 day clinic in their village,usually through their local church. Many of these people never see a doctor as there is nowhere available close by or they simply cannot afford to go. Patients arrive to see a nurse and doctor, then they move through to talk to one of our seminary students or pastor who will share the gospel and pray with them. Then onto the pharmacy to get the appropriate medication. Mobile medical clinic's are a great way of providing both medical and spiritual help in these places.


There has been no physiotherapy in the clinic since I left in 2010. Many people do not even know what physiotherapy does and a lot of my job is education. I will be seeing people with joint pain, strokes, back pain and children with cerebral palsy. 
One little story 
One morning we had a 6 month old baby who came to the clinic with his mother. He had had diarrhoea for 5 days and was extremely dehydrated. After one of our nurses, Ms. Ketlie, examined him, she thought there was a good chance that he had meningitis. The baby was treated at the clinic for 4 days, and during that time Ms. Ketlie had the opportunity to talk with the baby’s mother and hear her story. She was not a Christian and was living with her boyfriend who was heavily involved in voodoo. As Ms. Ketlie treated this little baby to a full recovery, she was able to share the Gospel with this woman who decided to put her trust in Christ and become a christian. The following week, the mom, dad, and baby came back to the clinic for a check-up. The baby had made a full recovery, and through the mother’s testimony and the power of the Holy Spirit, the father came to know Jesus. They had both come to tell Ms. Ketely how grateful they were for everything she did for them, and that they were planning on getting married and spending the rest of their lives serving God.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A post from how God is working through the students at EBS...

not finished Fev

There are more stories coming out of Fev than I can keep up with.

You might remember Fev from last year.  In an effort to take the Gospel places it has never been in Northern Haiti, Junior and a group of first year students came across Fev following their missiology class.  Full of temples (five, to be exact) dedicated to darkness and completely void of His church, they started to share the Gospel in homes and yards throughout Fev and found that many...most...had never heard the name of Jesus.  NONE knew Him.  Raising funds on their own for transportation, the Missions Class started going 2 and 3 times a week, storytelling the Bible and seeing men, women and children coming to Christ--and HUNGRY for more.

A year later and after much prayer and seeking, Walnique (graduate of 2015) was chosen (and felt called) to lead the discipleship effort, and a regular set of students join him in teaching, Bible study, pastoral care, etc.  New believers and interested community members meet throughout the week with students, and now on Sunday mornings as well they meet in plastic chairs, on tree roots and homemade benches, with students leading worship, taking turns with Walnique preaching, etc.
To stay away from all the negative ideas that terms and buildings and tradition and pastors tend to bring to "church" in Haiti, Fev is just an ever-growing group of new Christ-followers, wanting to know Him more, being discipled and served by a community of EBS Christ-followers.  There's no dress code, there's no money, there's no building, there's no pastor, there are no membership cards.

You can now imagine why there are more stories than I can keep up with.

The hardest part of Fev, for me, is that I have never been there.

And you know me.  I want to BE there.  I want to tell the stories as see them...want to hear the testimonies from the back row (if there was one) for myself...want to share with you MY experience. Want to pick up on all the little things that no one thinks to tell you.

And I think I'll get my chance.  But for now, even more than I want to be there, I want to not mess anything up.  And when foreigners step in, even quietly, even in the background...things often get weird.  When a person of power (which I can't help but be seen as as a foreigner) appears, priorities have been known to quickly change.

Suddenly, the witch doctor who is miraculously offering to GIVE Junior and the students a small piece of land to meet on would strangely decide he wants a thousand dollars for it.  Suddenly, the people who are asking for more of Jesus start wondering if they need more of something else, too.  No matter what we wear, no matter how we arrive, no matter what I say or don't say, I've seen just the knowledge that there is a foreigner in the background change the foreground.

And the purity with which He is being given, and received, and pursued at Fev continues to make me pause and wait and stay back.  I do not want to mess anything up, as terribly as I want to BE there.

So here is today's story, from one who only hears, with pictures, from one who did not take them...trusting that when the time is right, I'll share for myself!
When June and a group of first year students first started going to Fev, they couldn't help but be heavily aware of how strongly voodoo was practiced in the village.  Five different temples seemed to define Fev, leading people in how to live, what to do with sickness, how to deal with revenge, what to believe about nature, how to appeal to different spirits and demons.  One such witchdoctor has a wife and two daughters, and Junior noted immediately that the daughters seemed soft to what he was sharing.

After returning to share the Gospel with Fev dozens of times, first one sister, and then the other came to follow Jesus.  Of course, following Jesus also means NOT following whatever you were following before, which for Dieula (meaning God is Here), was stopping customs that had been a part of her life since always.

One of these customs is called manje naissance, which is the practice of offering to the demons sacrifices in exchange for favor, especially on your birthday or at the start of the new year or before a major event.  Every year as the girls started a new school year, their mother would send them to feed the lwa, the spirits, hoping for a good year.

However, this year at the start of September when mother brought Dieula food and gifts to give over to darkness in hopes of a successful year at school, she refused.  Dieula claimed that Jesus would care for her this year, infuriating her mother.   Her little sister did the same, upsetting both parents.

Finally, her mother gave up trying to force them...and refused to pay for their school this year, noting that they could sit at home and think about this newfound foolishness in their lives.  "Let your God send you to school then."

Two weeks after school started, Junior found Dieula looking glum and home in the middle of the day, and as he pressed, she shared her story with him, noting that even if she never was able to go to school again, she was not going back to the old ways.  She would not be giving one more thing to Satan, no matter what.

Junior prayed with her and encouraged her to continue to trust in the Living God. After Bible study he came home and shared with a bunch of the students her story.

This isn't about our students, but I cannot overemphasize the financial poverty of the large majority of our student body.  It is by the help of many, extremely low tuition, lots of scholarships and a whole lot of His Provision that most of our students are able to be here....95% working in the work study program because the $100/semester room and board is too far out of reach...scraping together what they owe through payment plans and a lot of support from their churches and communities.

And yet these same students (without asking for a penny from EBS or from us) are now sending both Dieula and her sister to school.  Entirely.

"God will provide" Dieula had told her mother confidently of her new God when her parents had withdrawn their support.

And He has, powerfully.

I love dreaming about the the ways Fev is seeing the works of a Hand they never knew before.  I love imagining the confusion and surprise Diuela's parents are currently living in...trying to understand how a Living God through His children is somehow sending her daughters to school.  Without demanding sacrifices.  With nothing in exchange.  I love thinking about the girls loading up their bags each morning, seeing that the God they are learning to trust is worthy.  Is able.  I love seeing our students give, give.  I love His grace to use them to do His work, to be His body.

And I love knowing that He is not finished.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Emmaus Biblical Seminary

I thought I would tell you a bit more about where Bill is going to be working. EBS started as a vocation bible school in 1967 and since then has grown into a seminary seeking to teach God's word. 

The mission statement of EBS is 
'Emmaus Biblical Seminary exists to reproduce Christ-like leaders equipped for effective ministry and committed to the transformation of Haiti and the world.The primary purpose of Emmaus Biblical Seminary is to train pastors, teachers, professors, church planters, missionaries, and other Christian leaders for the Emmaus Fellowship of Churches, Haiti, the Caribbean, and the world through undergraduate and graduate-level theological education and leadership development.'

Emmaus currently has around 70 students studying either a 3 year diploma or a 4 year degree. Many of these men and women are already in full time ministry pastoring a church, evangelism,  or church planting. The academic year runs very similar to the states. Semester 1 runs from mid August - December. Semester 2 runs from January to May. At the beginning of both semesters the students have intensive course. This is when a visiting teacher comes from the USA, Canada or the UK to teach a full 2 week course. Bill was teaching one of these courses (Introduction to the New Testament) in August 2013. 

Most of the students who study at EBS live on campus and return back to their churches and family each weekend. The cost for one student to study at EBS is $500 - $600 (US) per year which does not include room and board. Students must pay 20% of this cost and the remaining 80% is covered by student sponsorship and donations to EBS. There is a work - study program to cover the cost of room and board. 

A typical day for Bill will be teaching from 8-12, then lunch with the students. The afternoons will be spent preparing, marking and helping students. On Mondays, Wednesday's and Friday's the students and staff have chapel ( basically a church meeting) and Bill will be involved in preaching regularly in chapel.

If you want to know any more or keep up to date with EBS check out their blog


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