I had the privilege of having my dad and sister visit this past week. My dad wrote a little journal of his thoughts along the way and I would like to share them with you all as well. Enjoy!
I arrived in Haiti March 5, 2012 to a group of red shirted porters who would not get out of your way unless you hired them. Andrea and I basically went around them as before us, a Haitian man tried to move them for us. We walked about 150 yards past the gate waiting for Aubree to pick us up, whom unbeknownst to us was delayed in traffic. Brandon one of the NVM missionaries, was the driver. We found where we were supposed to be after we had walked out of the airport parking lot and back again. After about 20 minutes of wandering around we found Aubree and Brooke both missionary nurses. Brandon wasn’t far behind with the car. We loaded up for an hour and half drive that was approx 16 km. the traffic was extremely congested at 1600. We were stuck between large amounts of trucks, Motos and tap taps (local taxi). They call them tap taps because when you want to get off you tap on the rail or side of truck and driver stops to let you off.
Monday was a get acquainted day as I arrived after clinic. On the way from the airport we stopped at a grocery store and bought apples for one of the lady missionaries who shows local women how to make beaded jewelry and other crafts out of what we might call useless trash. Some of the purses and bags are made of cloth donated by Global Aid Network.
Tuesday was in full swing with 50 patients to see and the usual physician (Dr. Edmond) was ill and her husband Dr Elysse brought a fill in Doc as Aubree had to see patients all last week by herself.
Aubree, as I found out has made some amazing wonderful relationships with people in the village of Chambrun. Everyone in that village of probably 100k knew the nurses by name, mainly because the attempts they make to befriend and care personally for so many of them.
Haitians’ are very relational by nature and Family is First.
After clinic Tuesday we went to the village and I met a lot of Aubree’s friends, including many children and their mothers. Father’s were eerily absent. No good explanation was available for the Dads’ absence.
I met a mother of baby Rose who was approximately 20 years old and Rose approximately two years old. Baby Rose’s mother leaves her care to relatives. I was astounded when the caretakers of Rose made 4 bowls of rice. Rose’s portion was small . It looked like about 5-6 tablespoons of rice which she eagerly put in her mouth with her hands. After she was done she returned the bowl to her aunt who had made the dish.
When I first arrived at their house, a mud hut I was amazed that the mother of the house brought out 3 chairs. One for me, and my two daughters. Aubree and Andrea. Giving me the seat of honor. I was humbled by their hospitality of these dear people who have next to nothing yet are so kind, loving and family oriented.
The children running around came out to greet us were mostly clothed while some were not. These Haitians were happy and content with what they have. Our wealth is unparalleled anywhere in the world, yet we have the same problems, same desires, same ambitions and same God in most cases. The village has a voodoo temple that all Haitians have grown up with culturally, with reliance on witch doctors, zombie rituals etc.
Because these practices are so ingrained in them from childhood they struggle with some dependence on them even after they accept Jesus.
The capacity for the Haitians to love and ask Aubree about her family was evidenced by any time we went somewhere we stopped and were greeted by all along the way, sometimes turning a 10 minute walk into 30 minutes.
It is not by accident that Aubree is so well accepted in Chambrun. It is because of her undying love for the people and her ability to welcome them into her life as extended family that has polarized them. By this I mean there is such a strong sense of community that I firmly believe that they would do anything to help her or protect her if it came right down to it. I told Aubree that she is as safe as she is anywhere as long as she is where God wants her to be.
Tuesday afternoon I toured the hospital they are building and by their service population of over half a million or more people in a 15-20 mile radius may be a bit small. They have had many generous donations and most recently one by Mercy Ships, who had toured and saw what they were doing, were so impressed that they gave NVM (Nehemiah vision ministries) enough money to not only finish the hospital but also furnish the entire hospital with brand new equipment. This hospital will have surgical suites, lab, x ray, emergency, obstetrics, and two wards for inpatient beds. Approximately, enough for eight men and eight women. Also inside the hospital will be space for a pharmacy and an outpatient clinic. The clinic and pharmacy are all that exist presently in a building attached to the pre-school building.
Currently on the grounds in addition to the pre-school program is a Kindergarten through 6th grade. There are approximately 400 schoolchildren that attend the preschool through 6th grade programs.The children are all dressed in uniforms each day as a requirement for attendance in addition to the modest tuition that is charged. Even in 3rd world countries things come at a cost.
It is not by accident that NVM exists. It is the passion of Pastor Pierre who himself grew up in the Artibonite Valley. He was subjected to all the same cultural mores that every Haitian is subjected to. It was through his drive and determination that was given to him by God that he has established NVM. He was given a message by God to read the book of Nehemiah. Like Nehemiah, who asked the King to return to help his people (the Jews) rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem, Pastor Pierre returned to his people of Haiti to restore hope in them, after a multi year hiatus to other countries around the world. Through the restoration of Hope and the Journey to get there, Pastor is bringing the good news of Jesus to the people of Chambrun and surrounding communities like Onaville.
Onaville is a community of half a million people who were resettled there as an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp by the Haitian government after the earthquake that devastated Port-Au-Prince in 2010. This is a tent city mostly, as some permanent structures are being built. It is a reminder of the devastation that occurred as 80 percent are still tent occupants. In the midst of these 500,000 people is a tent surrounded by a fence marking the boundaries of property owned by NVM. The tent serves as a church and during the week at times as a gathering place and as a mobile medical clinic from the main mission compound in Chambrun.
When we visited Onaville they were measuring the size of the lot where a permanent church structure will be built. In the meantime there are plans to move the tent location to a different spot on the property as a larger one is needed to accommodate the growing congregation.
On Wednesday we had clinic again saw a few less patients to accommodate the needs of the substitute physician. We had time to drive up the mountain before dinner and were able to see the Dominican Republic as well as the lake that separates Haiti and the D. R. This lake is a wonder in of itself, because in the last two years it has doubled in size, the reason for this remains a mystery to scientists studying it. From where we stood it was an amazing view yet still a reminder of where we were lay at our feet. Trash from bottles to cans and old shoes discarded and partially burned along with broken glass and ash from the remnants of burnt trash. This is a country where no public or private trash disposal is available and certainly no landfills to dump trash. This leads it’s occupants to try to burn everything to get rid of it.
While in the clinic on Wednesday I was talking with Etienne , a nurse from NY state who said the most profound thing I don’t think I’ll ever forget. She said “I don’t worry that they don’t have enough to eat or that Davidson is losing weight and might die because in the end all that matters is accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour”. This was a wake up call for me as to what is really important in life. She also said “we are all equal in Christ no matter what our socioeconomic status is!” We don’t take any of this with us! Hello! How many more times will I need to be reminded of this! I must become refocused on what is really important whether I am at home or abroad.
Jesus took help and healing to the masses where they were!
This includes all places, people, and times.
I was amazed at the airport coming and going the number of relief organizations in Haiti. All trying to do good, some giving hope, others simply giving aid, others aid and hope.
It is the latter that really matters as Hope is what it’s all about. Hope not just in temporal things but Hope in what really happens after death. Life on earth is such a vapor that what goes on and where we go after this life is where the focus must be. If we don’t focus on eternity and the role accepting Jesus plays then my existence will be in vain. The Hope of the world is Jesus. It’s time to exclaim and proclaim it. It’s not about me but Him. It’s not about what I’ve done but what He’s accomplished on the cross. He once and for all atonement of our sins.
When I met Dr. Elysee he told me that sometimes surgical teams have trouble finding anesthesia providers to come to his clinic (Double Harvest) in Croix-des-Bouquets. I told him at the time I would be willing to help out in those circumstances as much as possible. He was thrilled to hear this. For me this is a start to help a work in a nearby city between Chambrun and Port-Au-Prince, with their surgical anesthesia needs.
Later Wednesday evening we met in the church on campus to view a message by Pastor Pierre, where he gave his testimony. The message gave an understanding and informed us of how NVM and it’s multifaceted programming came to fruition. This was an amazing time to see how one man obeying God’s calling is making such a difference in over a million people’s lives and giving them Hope! Its message about the person and Savior Jesus as the author and finisher of OUR Faith!
Thursday morning it was time for me to pack and head home, a changed and hopefully more committed Christian.
Before leaving I ate breakfast with Jim, who told me about Kony 2012. A movement to bring a human trafficker of over 30,000 children to justice. Again this through the efforts of ONE movie producer in California who on a trip to Africa met a young man who escaped the grip of this awful individual who is the World Courts #1 wanted fugitive. The documentary of ONE man in California launched on You Tube has gone viral and attracted the attention of the President of the U.S. It provoked President Obama to commit troops to bring Kony to justice once and for all. The determination of this man to bring to justice the world’s number one wanted fugitive is incredible. If one man can do all this to attract the attention of world leaders in such a way they actually act to do something about it, just imagine what one man can do to influence others at home and abroad for Jesus!
It was a real treat to have Jim and his wife drive me to the airport. Along the way I noticed, the overwhelming prescience of UN soldiers. They were there like they were at war. Supposedly, they were there to support the local police, helping train them etc. they had a well fortified compound complete with guard towers etc.