I tell myself all the time that I need to set aside more time to write, but if you have ever spent time here at Hope Center, you know that time is a precious commodity, and time to write is rare. I do recognize the importance of communication though, so I am always looking for opportunities to sneak off and write a post. Today I am going to try really hard to get this done because there is SOOOO much I want to share!
As I sit here typing, I can hear the sounds of Hope Center outside my door, and they are ever changing and ever encouraging. The sounds are more quiet today than usual. I hear Fedna singing as she washes sheets from the clinic. I hear the wind blowing through the papaya trees, and I hear the rooster crow and chickens answer back in unified clucks. There’s a lone mother goat outside the wall calling to her two newborn kids, and it brings a reflective smile to my face as I remember how excited the team was last night to be able to hold one of the baby goats in their arms after church. The team has gone up to Thoman for a hike to the river, and Tony and Vladimir have gone to Leoganne to take baby Francesca to see an orthopedic surgeon who we are hoping can help her with her feet. The house is quiet,and I am savoring the opportunity to remember and write.
Some of you may be wondering who Francesca is. She is one of several patients that God has led us to help in more extensive ways because they need more care than what we can give in the medical clinic here. Francesca was born without feet. We believe it was caused by amniotic bands that twisted around her ankles during development and caused her feet not to develop. One leg still has an open wound on it and the other is completely closed off.
After taking her to a local hospital, we have been providing wound care and education to her mother and aunt every day. Last week, God led me to contact Mike Wilson with My Life Speaks over near Leoganne. I simply asked him for advice since he deals with special needs children all the time. Lo and Behold, he said that an orthopedic doctor would be in town this week as well as an infectious disease doctor who could both take a look at Francesca’s legs and make a plan for her care. Once Tony and Valdimir arrived in Leoganne with Francesca, the doctor told them that there is a doctor in Texas that is going to start making prosthesis for children who are referred to him by Mike. Mike said that Francesca will probably be his first patient, and he is going to do it all for free! Praise the Lord!!
Every time I have an opportunity to stop and think about everything going on around here, I am overwhelmed by the many ways God is moving in our village and through our ministry. It isn’t US that is doing these things. It’s GOD who is constantly moving, providing, and building this community in astounding ways. WE are not capable of doing what’s been done here. We are only instruments that He uses to answer prayers, bless lives, and build His kingdom. It’s amazing…..
Besides Francesca, we have been working hard to advocate for several others that have come to our attention and been given special provision through the Hand of God. A few months back we saw a little boy named Daniel in our clinic and Tony diagnosed him with an umbilical hernia. I found out that some general surgeons were going to be doing hernia surgeries at a nearby hospital, so I made contact with the lead doctor there and he asked me to bring Daniel to the hospital for the surgeons to examine. I ended up taking Daniel as well as his brother and another boy named Brayence to see the doctors, and it was discovered that all three had issues with maldevelopment of genitalia. Daniel’s brother received surgery already and Daniel and Brayence are now having tests run and are scheduled to have surgery in August. God has provided in miraculous ways!
Another patient I would love for you all to be praying for is Graycey. She was born the week that FBC Madison was here and she and a baby boy were born here on the same day! Two days later, Graycey’s parents noticed something wrong with their baby and they took her to a nearby clinic because ours was closed. (It must have been on a Wednesday) The doctor at Love a Child referred her to a cardiologist in Port au Prince and he did a sonogram and EKG. They discovered that Graycey has a heart defect. She apparently has fluid build up around her heart. We contacted someone with Haiti Cardiac Alliance and they have agreed to take her case which means they will do her surgery for free! Please be praying for Graycey and her family as they wait for her to be old enough and weigh enough to safely have the surgery she needs. She has to be six month old and weigh 8-10 kg. Pray for God to hold her steady until then!
Since my last post, Jesula has continued to see the doctor at Bernard Mevs Cancer Center and has now started chemo treatments. Her breast cancer is still horrific, but it is slowly but surely shrinking, and the last time I called to check on her, her voice was much stronger and she sounded hopeful. She is now staying with a family member closer to Port au Prince, so they are getting her back and forth to the hospital. This is a huge relief and answer to prayer!!
Many of you have been praying for a young lady named Marise for over a year. She was the 11 year old who came to a mobile clinic we did in Thoman last year and she had two bones sticking out of her leg from an injury she experienced two years prior!
The next week I showed her picture to a doctor from Meridian named Dr. Freddy Grant. He was horrified by what she must go through every day climbing up and down the mountain to get water for her family. God burdened Freddy’s heart for Marise, and he began praying for God to make a way for him to help her. Last week Freddy came to Haiti, hiked with Terry Warren to find her in the remote village where she lives, explained to her mother that he had found an orthopedic surgeon willing to help her, and they all went to Carrefour to do the surgery! I cannot tell you what a huge miracle all of this is – for it to all take place in ONE WEEK!!
Many people in remote villages do not believe in modern medicine, so for Dr. Grant to convince Marise’s mother to go with him, a total stranger, who has told her she may not return to her village for over a month, is huge. I believe the many people who were praying for God to move in this situation were very instrumental in keeping the enemy at bay and placing a God-given peace and trust in Marise’s mother’s heart to cooperate with the plan.
Now Marise is in recovery from her surgery.
It went incredibly well and she was actually released from the hospital today! She and her mother have a place to stay in Carrefour as well as transportation back and forth to the doctor for follow-up care. All of their meals, lodging, and transportation has been paid for by generous donors that Dr. Grant contacted before the trip. There is a pastor there in Carrefour who is allowing them to stay with him and his wife, and they are looking after her care. All of these things do not come together so smoothly on their own. God has moved in a miraculous way! Thank you for praying for God to move in this young lady’s life. He is answering your prayers!
We also had several teams that built houses for families in our village. A group of girls from Natchez built a house for one of my English students and his family. The team from Beersheba Pres built a house in the village for an elderly couple and their grandchildren. And the group from FBC Jackson built a house for Bicly’s uncle who was living in the same mud hut he was born in over 50 years ago. And then the Team from Pensacola built a house just last week in our village! There is nothing like the feeling of handing over the keys to a family who has been living in deplorable conditions and seeing the look of joy and thanksgiving on their faces. God is so good!!
Teams that have come in the last couple of months have built school desks, cabinets, chicken coups, and finished the terrace garden. It absolutely amazes me how much hard work and buzzing around teams do when they are here. One of the newest things we have added to the agenda here is a Motherhood Seminar. The lack of education in our village regarding childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care is detrimental to healthy births and child development. We have asked God to lead one team per month to host a seminar that covers pregnancy to newborn care and everything in between. So far we have had four seminars and the response has been tremendous! We invite up to 20 pregnant mothers for each seminar and they have learned so much that will be helpful for them and healthy for their new baby! The teams that have done seminars so far have been Freedom Christian Fellowship out of Gautier, FBC Brandon, Beersheba Presbyterian, and Colonial Heights. They have all done an incredible job! We are looking forward to seeing many positive outcomes from these seminars!
It amazes us how many professionals come here to Hope Center and use their skills and profession to minister to people in our village. We have had plumbers, carpenters, electricians, business professionals, educators, medical professionals, and the list goes on and on – all giving of themselves and their expertise to minister to people here. Below are some pictures from when The University of Alabama Culverhouse School of Business came and helped people in our village with business plans and computer programs!
As But God Ministries seeks to help grow the economy in our village here, more and more people are being blessed with the opportunity to make an income with their own gifts and talents. Two men from our village doing just that are Makil Geoffrard and Nathan Fenelus. Makil has been doing very well with his chicken business as he incubates eggs and grows the chickens to sell. Last month he sold over 100 chickens! Nathan is a tailor and he has started Nathan’s Shoppe Tailleur d’Espoir (Nathan’s Tailor Shop of Hope). He has started making pencil bags for DotProducts and they are selling very well! He has already started working on his second big order!!
Recently we had a huge eye clinic and dental clinic here. The dental team from Lake, MS, led by Dr. Jimmy Hollingsworth, saw hundreds of patients and pulled even more teeth. I cannot tell you what an instant relief this is for someone who is in intense pain and cannot eat or even sleep because of it. They come here swollen and crying for help and they leave here completely pain free! While they are here, they hear about the love of Jesus and how God has provided this clinic and these resources as an answer to prayers in our village.
Last week we had a huge eye clinic. An optometrist named Lauren Eaton came with the Colonial Heights team and they saw hundreds of people, giving them eye exams and glasses if they needed them. They saw one pastor who was pretty much legally blind and could hardly see to go up the steps into the clinic. When he left, he had a pair of really strong glasses, and for the first time in years, he could see everything in front of him! He was praising Jesus for such a wonderful gift of sight!
Several of the team members who were entering records on the other side of the room said theirs was the best seat in the house because they got to see the looks on people’s faces when they could see well for the first time in years. What a blessing that was! Praise the Lord!!
The teams that have come in the past couple of months have been AMAZING! What am I talking about?…. ALL of the teams that come to Hope Center are AMAZING! I am not sure if I have group pictures of all of them, but here are a few….
Finally, one of the highlights of our year has been the opportunity to share our home and ministry with family. We can explain all day long what it is like to do God’s work here in Haiti, but to be able to actually share in that work with the people closest to us is just extra special. Our summer began with a very special treat when our son Jonathan and his sweet wife Katelyn came to spend five whole weeks with us!!
They hit the ground running by working in the pharmacy, helping with English class, helping with VBS, helping host a double wedding, and even got to help deliver a baby or two! The team here this week just commented on how organized the pharmacy is and it is because Jonathan and Katelyn got in there and cleaned it all up and rearranged some things to make it easier to find things.
We got to go on a three day adventure with them to Jacmel and made a very eventful trip down to the little town of Belle Anse where we got to pay a visit to our friend Brittany Hilker at Reimagine Haiti and sweet Betsy who many of you have been praying over for a year now! Betsy’s recovery from malnutrition has been phenomenal and it is your prayers and God’s provision that have made all the difference in the world for her!
It was an absolutely WONDERFUL five weeks with them and it ended with a week spent with the entire Meeks family and the Colonial Heights Team. There are no words to describe how amazing it was to share the week with family like we did. We are so thankful that Jonathan and Katelyn were able to spend so much time here with us and even more thankful that Katelyn was able to have her family here too! This week we have Jacob and Madison here with us, and they will be here for the next three weeks! We are beginning to get very spoiled!! We will post pics of them at the end of their stay.
Once again, I want to thank you all for the part you play in our lives here at Hope Center. Your prayers and support help make things like these happen every day here. Lives are being changed, souls are being saved, people are being healed, and God’s love is shown every single day here……at HOPE Center.