If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Shortly after we were matched with Ruthie, we got an update and that update included this picture. During that time, I was googling Ruthie's special needs and all together they pointed to different syndromes that included profound mental retardation. When I received this picture I was terrified that her tongue hanging out of her mouth was somehow indicative of a cognitive disability. I panicked and many of you talked me back to sanity and shared stories with me about how you feared the worst too with your placements and then that simply was not the case. Thank Heavens we moved forward with Ruthie and did not let that darn tongue picture scare us away.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Prior to the earthquake, YWAM Haiti had a vision to take small communities of people and disciple them. They wanted to teach them biblical principles for how to relate to each other and take care of their community. These small communities would then spread out and influence the larger community. When the earthquake happened, God put that vision into fast forward action. YWAM was suddenly given several small communities that were entirely dependent on them for survival and direction. The cool thing about YWAM is that they aren't just trying to help people. They are trying to influence and raise up the future of Haiti.
The understanding of their overall vision made my participation there so much more meaningful. I felt like I was doing more than just meeting the temporary needs of the people, but I was participating in God's plan to reclaim Haiti for Himself. With that in mind, the next big question is - WILL I GO BACK?
I tell you what, I have so many ideas in my head about things that could be done and the ways those around me could participate that I am pretty sure I will be going back. My hope is to go back in November when the average temperature drops 10-15 degrees. Oh that would be so nice. :)
Can I tell you some of the teams I could see going? Who knows, you might be interested in coming along
1. TEACHERS- to teach the adults and children in the tent cities a weeks worth of English. You could tie those English lessons to biblical teaching too. If you could give the people some basic English and leave them with the materials to practice, you could help them communicate better with those providing aid and you might help them get a job in the future.
2. FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER- I think it would be AWESOME to take a digital camera and a few of those stand alone digitial picture printers and set up somewhere to take family pictures. You could print them an 8x10 of themselves, place it in a plastic sleeve for protection, and then in a cardboard frame with some kind of message on it. So many people wanted me to take their picture so they could see themselves in the viewer. I would love to give them the joy that comes with a picture of your family. I think that would also help their tents and tin homes feel like a family home.
3. CONSTRUCTION- Did you know that for $6000 you can build a duplex out of concrete blocks with a concrete foundation that houses 2 families? YWAM is building these in 3 different communities and calling them Homes For Hope. Your church group could go to Haiti and build one of those homes.
4. CRAFT SKILL- One thing I noticed in St Marc is that there weren't any street vendors like you see in places like Mexico and the Bahamas. I think it would be cool to come up with a product, maybe a piece of jewelry like the Isabella bracelets, that you could take the materials with you and teach the women how to make. They could then sell those on the street for some kind of profit.
There are so many things you could do. I hope you will pray about being involved and maybe even going back with me. I was so impressed with YWAM and their ability to get aid to the people while pursuing their long term goals. You can check them out at www.ywamhaiti.org/
Sunday, May 23, 2010
That pretty much covers it! There is always something going on around here.
Friday, May 21, 2010
This is my translator. You have seen him in pictures before but I don't think you have heard his story. He was living in Port Au Prince with 17 family members. At 4:43 he and his girlfriend decided to walk outside to buy some water. At 4:45 the earthquake hit and he watched his house collapse onto his family. For 3 days he could reach some of them on cell phones as they were trapped inside but he could not get to them. On the 4th day, they stopped answering their phones and he could not hear them anymore. He translated for us for $10 a day. Here are some pictures of him through the week.
Survivor Story #8
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This girl stole my heart! She lost her entire family in the earthquake and had a serious leg injury. Somehow she got connected with YWAM and they are letting her live on base and prepare for their discipleship training school. The first time I met her, we were discussing the possibility of needing to take out one of her screws and she broke down. It was explained to me that her plates and screws were most likely applied without anesthesia and she was afraid of the pain. It turned out that the screw was fine and we were able to actually start walking instead. This is her taking her first steps in 4 months. By the time I left, she owned most of my stuff, the card Jack made, a cross a friend gave me to give away, and I helped her create an email account so we could keep in touch. :) Pray for her because she is going to do great things!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I guess it is better than Malaria which has been going around here too.
Rebecca- tell Thom we may need to hose down his sleeping bag. :)
Friday, May 14, 2010
I had some great moments of ministry with telling a group of kids about Jesus through the card that the AWANA kids made. I have some good pictures of that moment so I will save that story. I also had a lady come up and ask me for a Creole Bible. I didn't even know that we had any but apparently we had just a few stashed away. Apparently you have to be careful of who you give them too because they are worth a lot on the street and people will just take them and sell them. They say the trick is to write something in it so they cannot sell it. So I found the Bible and when I gave it to her, she opened it and pointed for me to write her name inside. I have never seen anyone so excited to get their own Bible before. It was great!
Today we took the day off (much needed) and went to this old resort to spend some time on the beach. It was the prettiest beach I have ever seen. The resort has a day fee and it was just us and some US army guys (who came in by helicopter) there. It saddened me to think about what Haiti could have been if the government was not so corrupt. Apparently, this hotel could not survive under the current leadership and so it shut down and was later re-opened by some private Haitian businessmen. I am still not sure how they stay in business because it was EMPTY but it was also the only place in the country that I have seen where I would be willing to walk with my shoes off. They even had clean restrooms and that is saying A LOT!
I am still not sure what tomorrow holds. We have several team members who are sick. I noticed one thing tonight that I found interesting. At dinner they announce who is leaving tomorrow and then the teams who are leaving have a moment of celebration. I have never gone out of the country to a place where people were so happy to get to leave. I guess that says a lot about the state of things here.
Pray for good ministry tomorrow whatever form it takes.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The reason I titled this "Tough-All the Way Around" was because first of all I was amazed today at the toughness of the Haitian people. They come to us with infections and injuries that would have us in the ER immediately and they live like this everyday with no medical care. Sometimes a one time consult of PT seems like a band aid on a broken bone when you are talking to a person with fractures all along one side of their body because a wall fell on them and they spent 3 days under their home.
I spent 2 hours today pulling dirt and leaves out of a child's wound on her foot so I could clean and bandage it. Her mother, who wasn't even there because she had gone to look for work, had packed it with leaf pieces because she didn't know what else to do. This sweet child didn't even cry as I pulled at these items that had become part of her foot as layers of skin were beginning to grow over them. I gave her one of every toy in my backpack. She was so tough. I will never forget her.
After that, I was pretty done and undone. I had seen as much as I could handle but had to press on because there were people who had been standing in the sun for 4 hours waiting to be seen. I will never complain about a wait at the Dr's office again.
The nurses performed procedures all day too where they pulled roaches out of children's ears. It really does get overwhelming sometimes and that is when you have to choose to stop thinking and just do.
I guess the highlight of my day was a talk I had with one of our translators. It seems like the deciding point for a lot of Haitians when they are choosing between Christ and Satan is who can do more for them. My translator Stevens said he had chosen Christ and was hoping that Christ would get him to America or make him a singer someday. I made the statement that Christ had already done the greatest thing for him when He died on the cross. We talked about what it would look like for Christ to not make him a famous singer but to call him to use his gifts to serve the Haitians instead. He didn't like that thought. I told him that Christ may call him to live in America or sing, but He may not and that even if He doesn't, He is still good and He is still the way, the truth, and the life. You can pray that we have more good conversations like that. He was really confused when he heard that I had actually paid my own money to serve in Haiti and wasn't getting paid like him.
I need to go. Please pray for passion and energy tomorrow. It is our last clinic as we are running out of meds. Friday we will go to the beach and then Saturday and Sunday will be spent doing other forms of ministry that I am not sure of yet. I am still seeing a handful of patients on the base and those numbers grow everyday when I get in too.
Thanks for caring enough to pray.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I woke up this morning sore, swollen, and pretty tired still. I didn't have much energy for the day. At breakfast when we were getting ready to head out, a lady came up to me and randomly offered me some of her Vics Vapor Rub. I was so excited and knew that this was a gift from God. You see, the clinic and tent city smell so bad because of all the urine and trash. That has really been some of the hardest part for me. With Vics up my nose, I could do anything. It was like being given a $100 bill.
So I grabbed my backpacks with my new found encouragement and headed for the compound gate and the long walk to the clinic when someone said "Do you guys want a ride". Oh my goodness I had just been given a 2nd blessing that was like a 2nd $100 bill. :)
We got to the clinic and a lady I had treated yesterday in a wheelchair was standing with a cane. Yesterday she could barely move in her chair. Hello 3rd $100 bill. I was so encouraged. I knew in that moment that I really was making a difference.
Then my team leader was the agent of the best lesson of all to start the day. She walked up and handed me a beautiful sea shell. I know we are on the ocean so sea shells should be everywhere, but really when you look around, all you see is filth. She had found a beautiful thing in the midst of the filth.
I didn't know how needed that lesson was going to be! We had a crazy day and ended up having to kick out 2 pastors who were sneaking in their family and friends ahead of the refugees when they were supposed to be helping us with ministry and crowd control. It was pretty sad, but I had my sea shell to remind me that in the midst of the filth, I need to remember to look for the beautful. I saw the beautiful in the face of a new young friend I have with a spinal cord injury who smiled at me for the first time today (I have had to work really hard for that). I also had a few girls that I was able to make crosses with out of Bendaroos yesterday come up to me today and say my name and that Jesus loves them- which I had taught them with the crosses yesterday.
I have seen a lot of filth in Haiti, but I am reminded in every turn (if I look for it) that there is beauty here too and that God does have a plan for these people and this place.
You can pray for healthy team dynamics as every team is a unique combination of personalities and we certainly have some. :) You can also continue to pray for health for the team. We are being exposed to so much it is unreal!
I wish I could post pictures but the upload is so SLOW that I couldn't even load 1 the other day. I will have tons to post when I get back.
OH AND A FUNNY STORY ON MYSELF: Today I worked a lot of triage which allowed me to spend one on one time with a lot of people as I took their vitals and directed them. One thing I had to do was write down their name and personal info. Some would hand me ID cards and I wrote down the name at the top of the card. Let me say, that it was CRAZY chaos! At lunch, a nurse brought me an intake form and said "did you know that this person's name means 'earthquake'?". I agreed that was odd and moved on. The first person after lunch handed me their card and there was the same name! Then it hit me. These are refugee "earthquake" cards and the name is actually further down. I showed the nurse and we had to laugh. There are several Haitians walking around tonight with prescriptions for the name "earthquake" in french since I couldn't read that from their real name. Oh well! They got their meds. :)
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I fell asleep on the plane ride here and when I woke up I very clearly had the words to the song "Healer" by Kari Jobe in my head. I felt like God wanted me to think on those lyrics as I entered the country. Several times over the last 2 days those lyrics have come to mind again as I have faced challenges.
Well Trent passed along a message today from a friend telling me that she was praying for me and she felt like God wanted me to pray aloud. So on the walk to the clinic today, I prayed out loud for the city as I walked through the streets. Again God brought that song to mind and I changed the direction of the song from me to the people of Haiti and sang it over the city as I walked and prayed. The lyrics where:
I believe your THEIR healer
I believe you are all THEY need
I believe your THEIR portion
Your more than enough for THEM
Jesus your all THEY need
Nothing is impossible for you
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for you
You hold THEIR world in your hands
Tonight we had a worship service and they opened the doors for the people of the city to come in. There were several hundred people there. We sang a few songs that I have never heard and then I KID YOU NOT, we sang HEALER BY KARI JOBE!!!! I came undone. It was this incredible confirmation that God has a plan for this place and that He strategically placed me here to be a part of it.
Please pray these lyrics over Haiti and specifically over St. Marc.
He is moving here. I can't wait to tell you more.
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