Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blessed Week

Wednesday, February 24th, we had two men from New Work Fellowship (NWF), a church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, come for a visit. Both Kevin Clayton and Willis Adkins have been to Haiti on short term trips before.

After the first night of visiting over supper and conversation, I said to my Kevin, "You don't realize how much you miss comic relief until you haven't had it for a while." Those guys are so funny when you get them going.

Thursday and Friday they spent the days traveling through the destruction of Haiti. They took photos and footage of all they saw. Mr. David was their escort/driver/tour guide. Saturday, they were able to join a crew heading "up" and they were blessed to obtain aerial photos and footage from a helicopter. What an experience. Willis said that traveling by vehicle doesn't portray an accurate picture of the destruction here in Haiti. He showed me pictures of a house that may look completely normal from the ground, but from the sky you could see a collapsed roof and collapsed interior walls. The other thing you can get a better realization of from the sky were the multitudes of tent cities. They were of every size and fabrication, from tents to sheets, to tarps. They were everywhere.

Also, on Thursday I, Susan, was privileged to go and help at a different clinic in a nearby area called Cite Soleil. I went with a group from Samaritan's Purse. The group and clinic were very well organized and very efficient. We saw around 70 people that day.

There was one family that particularly stood out to me. It was a lady, her baby, and the baby's father. The man stated that the lady has gone crazy since the earthquake. She would run into the streets, zone out mentally, and cry allot. As I talked with them, I asked if she knew Jesus. She shook her head no and he said she did. After all, he said she had been baptized in the church. After much counseling it came out that neither of them had a personal relationship with the Lord and if they accepted Jesus they would have to find a different place to live, immediately. You see - they lived with her father and he was a man who practiced voodoo. They would not be allowed to live in the same house because of their difference in beliefs. How sad.

We got that family hooked up with the pastor of the church and he was going to visit them the next day. Now, I know that post-traumatic stress disorder is very real, but I also know that Jesus can help and wants to help. There is a balance, so please keep this family in your prayers.

Well, the guys from NWF left this morning. It was an encouragement and blessing to spend time with them. I pray they make it back home safely. Tomorrow starts another week. Please keep our team here in Haiti in your prayers. Pray for safety, wisdom, obedience, and perseverance. We are all in a world surrounded by needs - which do we meet - how do we meet that need?

On another note, please keep Mrs. Judy Heady's mother, Mrs. Blanche, in your prayers. She is continuing to recover from a hip fracture and yesterday they discovered a large blood clot in her leg. She is in quite a bit of pain. Pray .

We had a blessed week. Thank you and God bless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prayer Request

A quick note tonight to request prayer...

Judy Heady (our director here in Haiti) has returned to Kentucky due to a difficult situation. Her mother broke her hip Saturday night. She is 92 years old (I think). Please keep them in your prayers.

Thank you.

I will try to update you soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Coffee Shop

As I look back at this past week, I am glad that it is behind us.

Monday went well. Judy Heady and her son and daughter-in-law arrive along with Leigha - our children's teacher.

Tuesday I (Susan) was a little cranky - you know what I mean - nothing outward, just things not settling inside. I think you all have been there at some point or another.

Wednesday all was going well. Clinic went smooth. I stayed at the clinic till around 11:30 a.m. packaging medication for later use. Then I headed to the house to see how the children and Leigha were doing with school. I wasn't feeling very well and it just escalated from there. I was suppose to go in and help out at a clinic in town on Thursday and that didn't happen. I slept most of the day on Thursday. Low grade fever and some intestinal issues - yuck.

Friday came quickly and I woke feeling much better. I headed for the clinic as usual around 7:30 a.m. I do look forward to going to clinic each morning. Now I don't always love getting up and getting ready to go, but I do love getting there and ministering.

Clinic reminds me of old men. Stay with me and see where this goes...We ask all of our patients to come at 7:30 a.m. each day. We have been treating 5 men that each had serious burns to the arms, face, and head. Four of those men were burned in the earthquake and the other was burned in December from an automobile fire. Now we have many other patients, but these men stand out. We have been treating them for about 6 weeks now. We have come to know them. I look forward to seeing each of them on their scheduled morning to be at clinic.

Sheryl (the RN I work with) and I have noticed that most of the men are coming a bit later each morning. I commented to Sheryl one morning, "It reminds me of old men meeting at the coffee shop each morning." There is something to be said about the coffee shop meetings that older men usually partake in. Think about it...each of them look forward to coming and seeing each other, they look forward to catching up with how the families are doing and how the healing process is going. Each day is a little more hopeful in the treatment & pain management process of healing and they each have things in common to talk about.

As I sit and type this and think through it, I am reminded that the above scenario is what the Lord wants with us. Communication is the key to building thriving friendships. Think about it. Those people that you are closest with - the people that know you the best - are the ones you come in contact with on a regular basis. Jesus wants us to 'come in contact' with Him on a regular basis.

Don't wait till your old to hang out with family and friends. Build those relationships while you are still able to enjoy them. Many things get in the way - I am sooo guilty of that. Make a change today - spend more time with our Creator and more time with people. Make a difference in some one's life today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I forgot to mention another missionary family that lives here. Joe and Linda Sullivan arrived here in Haiti the middle of January. I guess I am not quite use to them being here yet, so I forgot to mention them a blog or two ago. Sorry Joe and Linda.

I will try to get pictures of each of the families who live here. Sometimes it is nice to put a face with a name.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pictures of Haiti Earthquake Destruction

Destroyed home. When you start off with very little and you are left with nothing, where does that leave you - hopefully looking to/for God.

People gathered together in open areas, to scared to go back inside. Can't say as I blame them.

A house with a collapsed roof and wall.

Many trying to settle in for the night.

Saul (man on the left) taking an injured man home. He had a broken leg and we don't have x-ray at our clinic available so Kevin helped splint his leg, we gave him some pain medication, and Mr. David drove him home.

The man arriving at where he was going to stay for the night.

A young lady who had sustained a compound fracture of her upper leg. She also had several areas that needed stitches. We were fortunate to have some Haitian doctors come and help at our clinic from the Haitian Academy next door. She stayed on our property for about three days and then was transported to a place near her home. She waited for the hospitals to start accepting patients and then she traveled in for further treatment.

Young girl of about 13 that has a back injury. She was fortune to regain some movement and feeling in her legs a few days after the earthquake. She later had the opportunity to go to Miami, Florida for treatment. We recently had a visit from a relative who told us that the young girl got to go to Miami with her father. We are thankful she has someone she knows with her. She is in the recovery process - not really sure what is taking place - but keep her in your prayers.

I forgot to mention some things on yesterday's post, so here goes...

The mission that we are at in Haiti is in Ti Tanyen. Ti Tanyen is about 15 miles from Port-au-Prince, the capitol of Haiti. We share a 66 acre piece of property with three other missionary families and three Haitian families. David & Judy Heady - our directors - have been in Haiti since before time began. Just kidden...I think they have been here for 27 years. Chris, Sheryl, & Josh Brumley have been in Haiti for 7 years and us. We have been in Haiti for 7 1/2 months.

The three Haitian families are employees of the compound. We have Madame Antoine (?sp) and her family. I lose tract of how many are there at any given time, but I think she has five children that stay with her. Madame Jarard (?sp) who lives alone, usually, but since the earthquake - she has a houseful and last but not least Mister Saul and his family. He has a wife and three children that live with him.

I say all this to explain our situation here and to say that Judy returned yesterday to Haiti. She was in the states recovering from hand surgery that she had in December and coordinating earthquake relief efforts for Haiti. Never a dull moment. We praise the Lord for her return. She has fallen right in to the work to be done here. Every time I have seen her today, she has been on a different mission. She has more energy than my whole family put together. She is such a blessing.

Now, today...Leigha (the teacher that came yesterday) has been busy grading work and answering questions for the children. Well, except Jessica. Jessi thinks she should still come to me and ask questions about her work. We will give her time to adjust. I have not pushed her that direction yet - I just mentioned that Leigha won't bite if she wants to go to her and ask questions. Jessi states that she "knows" and just smiles. Kali has reviewed some math with Leigha that I could not help her with. Geometry stuff - yuck. I am glad Leigha is here to help with that. Skyla and Josiah are moving along. Sometimes they are moving slow and sometimes they move quicker. Keep them all in your prayers, please.

With Leigha here now, what is in store for me and my responsibilities. Time will tell. Helping Leigha and the children settle into their routine is first. One of the other first things that needs tackled is the clinic. When the earthquake hit, everything toppled. We were blessed to have a team here at the time that quickly stepped up to the challenge of clearing away the mess on the floor. Now it is time for cleaning and sorting. While I am in the process of that project, I will also need to help in sorting and distributing supplies that come in to our property. Some we can use here, but others will be better used by other missionaries and organizations if we distribute them accordingly.

There has been talk of maybe Sheryl, the other RN here, and I going and helping occasionally at mobile clinics in town. This is still a possibility, but nothing concrete yet.

Kevin has been busy with compound maintenance and organizing. As did the clinic, the shop that the men work out of here on our property was a wreck before the earthquake and worse after the earthquake. It has taken quite a bit to get it back in order. He has helped with many other tasks, but I am out of time at this point in the day so we will tackle that at another time...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Every day is a great day with the Lord.

Well, let's see...where do I start. As many of you know, we have four children. Skyla is 13, Kali is 12, Jessica is 11, and Josiah is 9. We have home schooled them for the last year and a half in preparation for coming to Haiti and while we have been here in Haiti. Homeschooling is not my gift. The Lord has carried us through and for that I am thankful. I don't believe that I have ruined them thus far.

We have been praying for a missionary teacher to come and school the children since we got to Haiti. Now, it hasn't been a necessity and it hasn't been fervent prayer. We were actually seeking His direction in the matter. Does He want us to teach the children or does He want to send a teacher? Now as parents, I know we are suppose to "train up a (our) child (ren)." Our questions were involving school. Since the earthquake, many things have changed. Our time has been pulled in many new directions.

The Lord has sent a teacher here to help. She arrived about 20 minutes ago. PTL! Her name is Leigha. I ask that you keep Leigha in your prayers as she adjusts, and we adjust, to her being here. She will only be here for two to three months, but none-the-less it will take some adjusting. Also, keep her family in your prayers - her mother, father, and siblings. I am sure it will be a change for them also.

Thank you for your prayers. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Susan again. So many thoughts today. One thing that is weighing heavy on my heart today is, "how can we help - not hinder?" If you give away free food, the local merchants suffer. If you give away free medical, the health care workers don't get a paycheck. I know that praying is the answer. It just seems so difficult. I think helping others used to be easier.

We have had a great amount of supplies come in and for that we are thankful. Thank you - to each of you who helped contribute, organize, and pray for this endeavor. I believe those supplies were needed and are still needed.

My statements in the first paragraph are not because I didn't think free food and free medical were and continue to be necessary, but where is the balance. There would have been thousands more that would have perished had it not been for the free aid they received. My question is, "where do we go from here?"

I ask that each of you to join me in prayer as we seek the next step from the Lord. The Word says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" Matthew 7:7. And in James 1:5, it says, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." So I know it is the Lord's desire for us to have at least some answers and some wisdom. I don't believe that He wants us to wander around aimlessly. I will ask, seek, and knock - as well as ask for wisdom, I pray that I have ears to hear and a heart to be obedient.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

To the left is a picture of Haiti that was taken over Christmas break. The view is truly amazing.

Many of you already know that an earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 at 4:53 p.m. I (Susan) don't know what this particular valley looks like post earthquake, but I do know that many places in Haiti no longer look like they did pre-earthquake.

Many have lost loved ones. Many have lost homes and places of employment and many have lost hope & peace. At least this is what they believe when they look at their circumstances. Thankfully, we don't have to judge our hope, peace and our future by our current circumstances. Paul writes, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!" 2 Thessalonians 3:16. God is able to grant peace in the midst of our circumstances and many in Haiti are searching for that peace now.

Sometimes it takes an event in our lives to open our eyes to the fact that we are in need of a Savior. The earthquake that hit Haiti is that event for some.

As the ground began to tremble beneath our feet on January 12th, confusion set in. What is going on? Why is our home tossing us to and fro? Why are my children calling out for help? Why are things falling all around us? Why do I hear breaking glass hit the floor? Many questions bombarded my mind as the earthquake began. In the next breath, we all headed toward the door and then hit the floor. I am not sure if it was because we lost our footing or because we were trained to hit the floor in the event of a tornado, all I knew was "process - Susan -process - what is going on - figure it out - help your children." These were the thoughts that I remember thinking. In the next breath I can remember saying, "get out, everyone - out of the house," and we started scrambling for the door.

As we headed out the door, I can remember seeing the vehicle bouncing back and forth. All of our children were with me. The ground was still moving, but we huddled together in a circle. Tears began to roll down their precious faces. Fear was plastered in their expressions. Then they realized they didn't have their dog with them. Zoe was still in the house. They began to yell out for her. They verbalized their fear. The ground stopped. Twenty-three seconds doesn't normally seem very long, but when you are caught in an earthquake, time seems to stand still. I told them to pray and I would look for Zoe. I rushed back in to find Zoe. She was found trembling on one of the beds. I grabbed her and back out of the house I ran. Hugging the children, we were safe outside again.

I (Kevin) was in the middle of a leadership conference here on our compound. A team from Kentucky came for the week to teach the Haitians about leadership. The day seemed to be a normal day here in Haiti. The sun was in full shine and hot. As the day progressed everyone moved to one side of our open chapel trying to escape the sun. 150 people were all sitting on one side of the chapel as the ground began to move. It was very faint at first. The Haitian sitting next to me said that it feels like the ground is moving, then I realized what was happening and I began to yell, "Get out! Get out!" It really seemed like a dream. My immediate thoughts were to get to the house, the children are in it. I then saw Susan and the children running out so I knew they were okay. I began to run around our compound trying to find everyone who was living here or staying here. As I made my way to the pool I could see five foot waves slamming against the sides spilling water onto the pool deck. The Kendall kids running out and towards their house scared to death. I could here the screams of terror coming from the villages near by and I thought the worst. I soon made it back home to check the family and investigate the house. Stuff was thrown from the cabinets. Furniture had been rearranged by mother nature. What a mess that can be made when the ground decides to move like the ocean. I know this seems like a lot of time but most of what I just said took about five minutes as I ran from here to there.

About 15 minutes after the quake we were swamped in our little clinic with casualties. As our clinic floor began to become a sea of people from 3rd degree burns to compound fractures to broken backs, God provided all the help that we needed for that night; from doctors to nurses to us, who had just enough training to splint fractures, dress wounds and pray. Our lives will never be the same again. It is amazing what trauma can do to a person and no one will ever know what they go through until one experiences it themselves.

Every time the ground moves even from the vibration of a car, we're taken back to that moment in time when God moved a portion of His earth. When the wind rattles the window you stop and wait and wonder could this be the next big one. I don't know if Haiti as a country could survive another big quake. I don't know whether or not we could survive another big quake. One of my daughters said that she will never live in California, it was too much for her. But life must go on as long as God keeps us here to do His will. As Mordecai told Esther, "...And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14. Many of you have told us this same thing, "A time such as this."

It's Susan again. So, this brings me back to hope. "And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You" Psalm 39:7. Where is my hope? Where is your hope? I pray that it is in the Lord - maker of heaven and earth.