Today I sit anxiously awaiting the return of one of the teams that has been at Hope Center this week. It’s a team from Jackson, and not only do they have the remainder of the clay orders, but they have PICTURES from this week’s mission events!!! I can’t wait to see them and share them with all of you!! I have many stories to tell, but I want to put pictures with the ones I share. Stay tuned…..I
In the meantime, there is one story I cannot withhold from you because it completely melted my heart. This week has been a very tiring week for Tony, both physically and emotionally. It was his first week back (seems like an eternity to me), and he set foot back on Haitian soil with a team from Hattiesburg, Ms, there to run a medical clinic and dental clinic in tandem. This is exciting because we have seen soooo many people who desperately needed dental attention. On top of that, Tony has looked forward to learning many things from the dental team so that he can continue to meet the dental needs of the people of our village. We have a very nice dental clinic with tons of supplies and such, but he had no idea what we had and how to use it. He looked forward to being schooled this week…..and that is exactly what happened. Well, that and much, much more of course. Tony is so excited to know how to pull teeth now, and he can do it without causing pain to his patients, so that is really exciting. Thank you, Lord, for once again for Your provision!!
In addition to getting to learn in the dental clinic, we had a rather extensive medical team at Hope Center that included several doctors, including a dermatologist. Isn’t it amazing to know that God is providing not just general medical care to the people of this village, but specialty care….and FREE! These are people who get up early in the morning, many before daylight, and walk for hours in the dark with only the light of kerosene in a vegetable can to try to see a doctor. They will wait not just for hours, but some will wait all day long to see a doctor about a need that they have been having to ignore for months because they could not afford to get medical attention anywhere else. There are many unusual skin conditions in Haiti that need medical attention, so having a dermatologist there to see about these specific needs is such a blessing!! And here’s the biggest blessing….in just four days, this medical team saw over 500 patients and the dental team treated about 150 patients. Now THAT is exciting!!
Needless to say, for Tony, who is not only helping with the medical teams now, but he has also taken on many more administrative tasks now that I am not there, is very tired today. There have been meetings upon meetings upon meetings all week long with groups and individuals as we take care of other needs in the village besides medical care. There have been meetings about the orphanage, meetings about the school, meetings about a church BGM is helping to build, and meetings about general activities going on around Hope Center. It’s a lot to take in and a huge load to carry. I have prayed and prayed for my precious husband as he has flexed his administrative muscles this week. He is so compassionate, yet very detail oriented, and that is what makes him so good at what he does, but it can also be very tiring. Well, our God is a loving, compassionate God, and He knows that Tony needs a fresh touch from Him on a daily basis. God uses so many people and situations to do just that….every day. I am so thankful that my husband is in the hands of such a loving and personal God. This leads me to the story I want to share with you….
Yesterday, Tony and Vladimir went into the village for yet another meeting at one of the schools there. It was a difficult meeting, but God led the meeting and God provided the needed words to communicate what Tony needed to communicate. Hallelujah! After the meeting, Tony and Vladimir were walking along the dusty pathways through the village on their way back to Hope Center, and they were having a conversation about why we do what we do. He began to share with Vladimir about the scripture in Matthew 25, verses 31-40 where it says,
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
After sharing this passage with Vladimir, Tony said, “When we take care of the sick; when we give people water; when we give them clothes to wear and food to eat; when we love on the lonely and give hugs to the hurting, we don’t do it for our own glory or to gain points with God or anyone else. When we do these things, we are sharing the real love of JESUS. We do these things because the love of Jesus is INSIDE of us, and in our love and reverence to Him, His Love pours out of us to others. THAT is why we do what we do.”
Just as Tony was saying this, an elderly woman came running across an open field towards where Tony and Vladimir were walking. She was waving her arms in the air and yelling something they couldn’t understand. They stopped and awaited her approach because they knew she was coming to them. When she reached them, she began to hug on Tony, kiss his cheeks, and tears were streaming down her face. He understood some of what she was saying as she cried out, “Mesi Jesi, mesi Jesi!” (Thank you Jesus) Vladimir began to interpret to Tony what she said after this. She was saying, “I came to you in the clinic, and I was sick and you prayed with me and gave me medicine, and now I am well. I was so thirsty and you gave me a drink of water. I was hungry and you gave me some crackers to eat while I waited. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus for sending this man to our village.” Oh my goodness, I can hardly type right now for the tears filling my eyes. The screen goes blurry and my fingers shake. God sent this precious woman to assure Tony that what he was explaining to Vladimir was right on point. God assured Tony and Vladimir both through this woman that His Word is ALIVE, and His Word is being acted out every single day at Hope Center, and He DOES bless it. As if this wasn’t enough to knock their sandals off, they continued on their journey back to Hope Center and a middle aged farmer approached them as they were nearing the soccer field. He went to Tony and shook his hand in the usual Haitian fashion. Theirs is not a casual shake of one hand to another. They take your hand in theirs, then touch your arm or hand with their other hand as if to say, “I want to bless you with BOTH hands.” As the man shook Tony’s hand, he asked about Jacob. Tony explained that Jacob is not in Haiti right now, but he is coming back in a few weeks. The man proceeded to tell Tony and Vladimir that he misses seeing Jacob in the village. He said that Jacob would always stop and talk to him and practice his Creole with him and teach him English words so they could communicate better with one another. Then the man said, “One day I was hungry and Jacob went to his house and got some food for me. I was also thirsty and he also brought me something to drink. God used Jacob to bless me, and I appreciate it very much. I really do miss that boy.” Tony and Vladimir were both just amazed at what they were hearing. It wasn’t that they were surprised that Jacob ministered to this man and we never even knew it; it was that once again God sent someone to confirm His Word to them….”Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” God was once again confirming His blessings upon our work there and assuring Tony that He has used and will continue to us ALL of us in His plan.
Tony and Vladimir continued on their journey to Hope Center with a renewed and refreshed spirit. God sent these people along the pathway to bless them in return for their blessings to His people. His blessings are fresh and new every single day. We praise Him for being ACTIVE in our lives and taking care of every single detail. We praise Him with all that we have, all that we are, and all that we do. Oh how He loves us!!
Stay tuned for pictures of the week!!!