I have no real idea how to summarize all God has done in the last ten weeks since I have been in Haiti. I have been sending weekly updates (if you are not on the list and would like to be, e-mail me at John.Harvey@NWHCM.ORG) but now I am sitting in the airport in Port Au Prince waiting to fly home and it seems like a logical time to give you a glimpse of what has been happening.
Emily and I left Florida on May 23 headed to Haiti. We were arriving a few days before our interns so I could get settled, prepare some last-minute items and be ready to roll when our interns showed up. We met up with Caitlin Smith in Miami with Caitlin Smith who works for the mission. When we arrived in Haiti, we took a small plane from Mission Aviation Fellowship north to the mission.
We had an awesome week of intern training. We went all over the area and taught them how to lead teams and the significance of the places and people they were going to meet. God blessed us with an awesome group of interns this summer. Some were in Haiti longer than others, some came later than others and some went to our campus in the Far West. But they were an awesome group to work with. This is a picture of them all heading to the island of Tortuga during training week.
The best way to describe the summer is through the way we teach our teams how we do ministry and the way ministry in Haiti happens. We use three words and I will try to give you a snapshot of each.
The most dramatic aspect of ministry is often the area of rescue. This is the moment where the mission must step in or a life could very easily be lost. There are several examples I could give you, but let me focus on just two.
One week we had a team working in the community of La Coma in the west. The team heard of a woman who was pregnant and had been very sick. The sovereignty of God had placed a midwife and a paramedic on this team. When they reached the woman’s house, they discovered that she had been unconscious for ten days. She was malnourished and extremely dehydrated.
La Coma is a very poor town and does not have a medical facility to handle this type of emergency. In fact, the only clinic they found had been abandoned and they had to literally break in to find IV fluids. They put her on a truck and drove an hour and a half to the main mission. Our doctor was able to stabilize her, hear the baby;s heartbeat and allow her to go home the next day.
Just last week we were loaded up in the bus headed out to another community with one of our teams. As we were leaving town, Emily yelled at the bus driver to stop. We jumped off the bus to find a woman having a seizure in the middle of the street. We called the mission and one of our staff drove the four-wheeler down to the road. We loaded her on the four-wheeler and I held her while we drove back to the mission.
When we arrived we found out she is the sister of one of our Haitian staff. She has suffered from seizures for years and had just gotten on seizure meds. She had run out of meds and food and was wandering the streets. People in town for years have called her crazy and shunned her because of her seizures. Her brother told us if we had not stopped, no one in town would have helped her.
God uses all kinds of people and all kinds of circumstances to shake us out of our comfort zones.
Restore is the area of hard work and often takes a long time. This is the area where most of our ministry occurs; trying to restore people to health and vigor. The best example I can think of is Moses. Last October, Moses was found by the river. He was only a few days old and his hands, feet and legs had been sliced open and he had been left to die. Someone picked Moses up and brought him to the mission where he was bandaged and cared for. Today Moses is a growing, healthy boy who can rock an awesome afro!!
To redeem something means to buy it back. The greatest example of redemption in Haiti this summer has been something that has happened in the last three days. One of our greatest ministries is to a group of prostitutes who live in one of the worst areas of town in a brothel. Some of our staff, Melonnie, Caitlin and Kelly, have been working with them for a year teaching them to make jewelry in hopes of being able to leave the brothel.
In the last two days, money was raised to move all of the ladies out of the brothel to homes they will rent. They will be able to live in a secure location with their children. If they really desire, they are set up and on their way to actually leave the life they have been living. Praise God!!!
This summer has been a blessing and I could write for hours about all God has done. But for now I am going to go because my plane is going to board in a few minutes.
Thank you for your support and prayers and allowing us to serve in this awesome ministry.