Saturday, 12 January 2019

Establishing Sustainability

I'm a little (a lot) behind on updates here but I do want to rewind a bit to the week before Christmas when our PT team from the south west baptist university came to work with Altidor and I at Bethesda.

This is the same university who sent the team in January and brought all of our supplies and equipment for the new building.  It was so great to have them come back and to continue to support the therapy work at Bethesda.

Our team including translators 

Two of the team members arrived the week before and treated patients with Altidor and I, at the same time provided some great on the job training.  They were also able to bring down 3 paediatric wheelchairs which are almost impossible to find in Haiti. We spent most of Friday fitting two of the chairs as best as we could.  Once Yvelinda's was fitted and her mum pushed her around she could not keep the smile off her wee face.  This is a huge blessing for these families, not only to be able to take their kids for a walk but to have somewhere safe where they can sit at home.  And the chairs have lots of room in them for growing space so they will last a long time.

The rest of the team arrived on Sunday and were straight into work on Monday. Each morning in staff devotions the team educated our staff on various subjects and also shared a devotional everyday.

Over the next 4 days we treated over 100 patients, many of whom were also prayed with and one young girl gave her life to Jesus.  In the afternoons we invited local Haitian PT techs to come and complete a course in the management of low back pain.  I love this team coming because of the training aspect they bring.  My working life hasn't exactly been career orientated given that most of my therapy work has been in Haiti so for us to have a stroke specialist, an orthopaedic specialist and students who are just about to graduate with so much fresh knowledge and up to date research is really great as they pour that knowledge into Altidor and I so we can treat our patients better.

Here are some highlights and specific patients which our team members felt stood out to them during the week....

'For me personally, working with the patients in general was incredible and solidified why I want to be a physical therapist and that I choose the right profession to pursue! But to be honest the highlight of the trip was being the lab assistant to Tom during the classes and watching the PT techs start to teach themselves towards the end of the week and we just backed off and watched them. We talked about this as a group, but I felt as if that was a depiction of our entire trip. We weren’t there just to do something, but to try and teach so that the impact will last longer.'

'I worked with the woman who was carried in but walked out. That was also the patient that I challenged Altidor with, and she took over the treatment session and was very effective! Hopefully she continues to come to therapy and Altidor can see her make big improvements over the next few weeks.'

'The first is the man who told me that he is “not yet” a follower of Christ, because he owes a debt to the devil. I saw a tenderness in him as he told me, but I could see that he was paralyzed by fear. I had the chance to speak some truth to him about Christ paying all of our debts for us. I will continue to pray for truth to penetrate his fear.
My second favorite patient was one of the oldest people I saw that week. I think she was 88. I asked her if I could pray for her, and she got very excited. She said she has recently given her life to Christ, and asked me to pray for her spiritual growth. That really struck me. I saw how much the church is alive and well in Haiti and people’s lives are being transformed. As long as people are living on earth, they can still be transformed- even at age 88. That gave me hope for the other man. God is big enough to forever change hearts and lives, one at a time.'

'I've been to Haiti three times and I have only had one patient tell me they were not a Believer or hadn’t given their life to Christ. As I finished my session up with this 18 year old female, Tousson, I asked her if I could pray for her. She said yes and I asked if she went to church around where the clinic is located in Vaudreuil, Haiti. She said she attended church but hadn’t given her life to Christ. If I’m being really honest, I had a minor freak out moment. I had never had a patient tell me that before and I didn’t know what to say next. Thankfully, the Lord spoke to me and reminded me my job is not to convert or change this girl, but to just speak truth. While I was having this mini conversation in my head, my translator, Ruth Daniella, turned toward me saying that Tousson wanted to give her life to Christ. Some background on her story is that her mom is in the US and for unknown reasons is not able to get back to Haiti, and her father is deceased. She attends a Christian church but hadn’t ever submitted her life to Christ and accepted Him as her Saviour. Long story short, we cried, prayed and Tousson gave her life to Christ that day. One of the things I love about this story is that after this all happened, Ruth Daniella immediately got her phone number and told her she would check in with her and continue to encourage her in her faith. It was such a relief to know that the Lord was already lining people up to be able to mentor, disciple and encourage this girl. This experience was a highlight of my trip.'

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