Let's start with Haiti....
Emmaus opened on 27th August with two days of spiritual retreat then classes started on 31st August. Bill has been working on registrar stuff all through the summer in preparation for this new semester. The semester started with two weeks of intensives which finish yesterday and residential classes will start on Monday.
This year Emmaus has 136 students and 13 of them are new first years! There are 51 Masters students who are back in class on Monday for their first week of classes since March. There are four different cohorts, two in education, one in leadership and one in theology.
This month Bill is teaching a weekend course on general epistles and when residential classes start on Monday he will be teaching Old testament wisdom literature and Old Testament historical books on Tuesdays through zoom. Bill would love to get out to Haiti to teach in person sometime this semester but right now with US borders still closed to anyone coming from the UK we have no idea when that might be. Please pray with us that Bill would be able to go sometime before 2020 is over.
Bethesda is open everyday and are seeing more and more patients. Some days during 'lockdown' in Haiti we were seeing as little as 10 patients per day. Now people are not as scared to leave home or come to a clinic. Our patients do pay a little towards the cost of their medical care so because our patient numbers were so low, the operational budget did suffer but we are thankful to God for his provision over these past few months.
We are still prepared to deal with any suspected cases of covid as we have a triage room at the entrance and the physio department is being used as an isolation room if needed but thankfully we have not had to use it.
From talking to people in Haiti, it seems like things have returned to normal. Altidor told me 'Its like covid doesn't exist, people are piled into a tap tap close together, at the market and going to school and church. I don't know anyone who is or has been sick with it or anything like it and I did not hear of more people dying during the last four months.'
Cases and deaths have been much lower than ever expected in Haiti, particularly in the North. My only explanation is that God has been gracious and merciful. Between political unrest, earthquakes, storms and economic difficulties on top of many of the problems that come with poverty, these past couple of years have been very difficult for the people of Haiti, to not feel the effects of a pandemic they way other countries have has surely been from God.
Things are moving forward in the design of a new Bethesda, EMI (engineering ministries International), Kyle (our architect) and the design team have been working really hard on the design process. I honestly had no idea how much work went into designing a project of this scale. It is still amazing to see how God brought this team of people together. The plan for 2020 was for Dr Rodney to travel every 6-8 weeks to raise money for the project. Obviously he has been unable to do that so fundraising has been difficult, our fundraising team is working on some new ideas which you will hopefully hear about soon.
I have been working on bethesda social media, translating videos and working with the fundraising teams to figure out a way to fundraise for the new building during this time of pandemic. I try to video chat with Altidor and Echebert once a week so I can answer any questions they may have about patients.
One of my jobs on the bethesda board is to encourage people to pray and organise prayer activities. One of the things we do is have a half day of prayer each month. This months half day of prayer is next Wednesday 16th and our goal is to have the whole day covered in prayer by asking people to sign up to a 30 minute slot. If your interested you can sign up here. I have also put together a prayer guide to give you an update as to how things are in Haiti and at Bethesda and items to prayer for.
We have moved 'home' (we now have many places that feel like home!) to our house that we own and it is so nice to be back in our own house. After almost 5 months of living in 'the missionary house' (which we are very thankful for) the boys were very excited to be in our own house. Sam and Joel started school at the beginning of September and were definitely a little nervous but seem to have settled in well.
Jacob is continuing in speech therapy once a week and has been making some good progress. We are still working on his paperwork for his British citizenship which is turning out to be a little more complicated than we first thought..... hoping to get it completed soon!