The Grace Factor

IMG_0644Five years ago today, Prit checked out of the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What seemed to be an interminable and insufferable trial of “two steps forward and five steps back”, was all of a sudden coming to a close after 52 days. Do you want to go home today?’’ asked the social worker assigned to Prit’s case. It was the magical question that superseded all the others Prit had been asked since awakening from his 26-day coma. Did she really just say what I think she did? Is this really happening? How long had we dared to even think that Prit just might make it out of here alive? We were usually accustomed to trusting God to give Prit just one more day. Often upon arriving to the hospital in the morning, my heart would be in my throat wondering if I would enter his room and find a sheet drawn over his face. Relief would wash over me to see that he had again made it through one more night.

“Do you want to go home today?’’ After suffering two brain aneurysms which almost claimed his life, we were both almost too dazed to answer. Finally, realizing she was serious, Prit said, ‘’Yes!’’ Before we knew it, the paperwork was filled out and Prit was being wheeled out of his room, down the hall, downstairs, and into the van. We were as people who dreamed.

Remember, on the first night when Prit had been brought in, the doctor on call shook his head and said that “he would never even make it through the night.” Sadly for him, he didn’t know about the Grace Factor. Grace always holds the last card. Grace always has the last word. Grace makes the three point shot with only seconds to go and grace always, always beats impossible odds. Grace took us through the most horrific trial of our lives and grace has brought us back to the mission field of Haiti. Grace will lead us to the finish line as well, and we will complete the work that God has given us to do. Grace is there for you too, my friends, whatever you may be facing today.

And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJ

Gifted Hands Helping Haiti

Senator Rand Paul

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Dr. Rand Paul performing surgeries in Cap-       Haitian

Monday, I drove down the mountain into Cap-Haitian. This was one of many daily treks to town in the past weeks in search of a decent internet signal. When I arrived to the Picolet Hotel, I was told that I would have to come back another day. When I asked why, one of the workers said, ‘’An American Senator is here this week. He’s doing eye operations.’’ That certainly peaked my interest! After asking which senator, he replied,  “Senator Rand Paul.”

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Senator Paul. However, we were delighted to know he had come to lend his skills as an ophthalmologist to perform eye surgery on countless Haitians, sometimes working twelve-hour days. The lives of many of these patients were touched dramatically as cataracts were removed and some of them saw for the first time in years!

Regardless of whatever side of the political arena you may toss your hat in the coming Presidential election, you have to say, “Hats off to you, Senator Paul, for using your gifted hands to help Haiti!”

Jean Marie Renex

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Jean Marie working on a portrait

On almost any given day, one can wander into the courts of the old Christophe Hotel and find our friend, Jean Marie, huddled over a painting. Jean Marie is a very gifted Haitian artist and has a vast array of Haitian art available for sale. This young man is also a musician. If you come to the Christophe, I’m sure he would play his guitar and sing for you.

Jean Marie is especially gifted at painting portraits. People are probably the fussiest about judging their own likeness, but our artist friend has a remarkable skill and seems to have a long line of satisfied customers. If you should ask Jean Marie what he truly longs to do, however, he would say it is to study engineering. I believe he just may have the mind for it and I hope that one day he will fulfill his lifelong dream.

Two vastly different men from two vastly different walks of life are using their skills to bless the  Haitian people. Perhaps one who can now see (as a result of eye surgery) will have the opportunity to drink in the colors of Jean Marie’s canvases.

Crazy or Called?

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Prit and me cooling off by the poolside of the Hotel Mont Joli

Tropical islands, ocean breezes, beautiful ocean. Yes, that’s what one thinks of when you mention the tropics. Haiti has all that, but it’s a mixed blessing. The heat has been absolutely insufferable this summer. On top of that, all the city’s electricity must have been used up on the Sunday elections. Our generator’s been running constantly and it costs a pretty penny just to sit in front of a fan. Actually, it’s two floor fans and a ceiling fan. The smothering heat is like an unwanted visitor who never goes away. Even the lightest of my summer gowns feel heavy lately and only the African robe my friend Beth gave me for a gift seems to be light enough to tolerate this season.

As if this wasn’t enough, the internet signal is slow as molasses and I am typing from the Picolet Hotel where I often come to write, check e-mails, check the bank balance, and the list goes on and on. It took me hours to write my last post from home. If only the internet signal was as strong as the tropical heat! Fortunately, we are presently paying off the cost of some much-needed solar panels. Then we’ll be able to harness the sun’s power to work FOR us instead of AGAINST us!

Sometimes I wonder what in the world would possess someone to leave their country and all its comforts to come live in a foreign country where dysfunctionality is the norm. Then it hits me. “Hey, that’s us! What were we thinking?” Well, those of you who know us know why we’re here. One would have to be crazy or called to leave the comforts of home to live in an impoverished country among a people so in need. I think we’re a little of both!

Now, that we’ve determined we’re a little bit looney, yet called to it, we thank you for enabling us to do a great work here. God is doing great things! But, as a side note, I would ask you to please pray for rain. I can only imagine what our Haitian brethren are enduring with their tiny houses all locked up at night and no electricity whatsoever. Pray for relief. Pray for gentle showers, not the floods that often come to Cap-Haitian. Thanks!

Revving Up!

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              Election workers

Elections
This is a rare Sunday morning when I am writing from home instead of taking notes in church. Elections in Haiti are going on today, so we didn’t go to the service in Petite-Anse since it’s across town. We’ve tried that before on election days and what resulted was sitting in traffic for hours while vehicles were checked for any suspicious activity. These are local elections, not national and, yes, they are always on Sunday. Pray that Godly and upright men and women will fill these roles.

Revving our Engines

UnknownThis week, we sat for hours on end with the school directors and leaders of our main schools. We’ve hammered and honed, defined and refined, and are looking at the next school year from every possible angle to ensure that, come September, everything gets off to a great start. So we are revving our engines!

Feeding Program 

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Abigail Anderson, Project Manager for Orphans Promise with one of our students from the main school

Last week, we received a shipment of food boxes from Orphans Promise through LifeLine Ministries that will cover the first trimester of the year. We are so grateful for ministries such as these who are making an impact in countries all over the world. Many thanks to those of you who continue to support the feeding program as well. While the food is already provided for the children, there are other expenses that Rehoboth must bear. These include the salaries of our cooks and workers, kitchen equipment, necessary condiments for the food that doesn’t come in the boxes, transportation for going to the market, and such. We have an estimated 1,200 mouths to feed for the new school year which means a hot meal will be served five days a week. We are asking others to help us in this great endeavor. Men anpil, chay pa lou! (Many hands make light work.) 

Northwood Temple Medical Team

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Jeremiah McLamb, the team’s cameraman, with some children at our compound.

We have received wonderful feedback since the medical team from Northwood Temple in Fayetteville, NC, was here for a 6-day clinic. Unbeknownst to us, this was the first FREE clinic many of our patients or workers have ever seen in the north of Haiti. According to those who came, this was the first time they had ever been to a clinic which charged absolutely no fee for consultations, eye care, dental care, and medicine. (*We will note that this is with the exception of the Northwood Temple team which came in 1999.) Those who shared this with us said that many clinics advertise as free, then tell whoever plans to come they must bring 15 gourdes ($3 US) with them to gain entrance. If this is the case, then we are so thankful that we were able to be a good witness for the Lord to many in need. People are still coming by the front gate to ask if the clinic’s still taking place! Unfortunately, we had to turn them away.

Prayer
Even if you are not able to support Rehoboth Ministries financially, would you commit yourself to pray for us? Your faithfulness, whether financially or prayerfully, (or both) means more to us than you can know!

We Are Better Because You Came

11825061_10100170324765136_7219823042083892087_nWe had the privilege of receiving a fourteen-member medical team last week from Northwood Temple Church from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Northwood Temple is one of our longtime supporting churches and where Prit’s parents were members for many years. The medical team flew in on American Airlines. While we were waiting for the plane, three doctors introduced themselves to us. Two of the doctors had  taken a ferry all the way from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic, then picked up another doctor in Santo Domingo. They then drove across the border into Haiti. The doctor living and working in the Dominican was a Haitian woman from Cap-Haitian who had left Haiti in 1985. This was her first trip back to Haiti since she left! What a interesting way to bring this dynamic team to one place and what a blessing they were to our church people as well as to the community in which we live.

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Pastor Eduardo Gonzalez with an older man with a heart problem. He received treatment for 3 days and during this time accepted the Lord into his life!

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This little guy received treatment for a bad case of scabies.

We held a six-day clinic here at the compound in Sainte-Philomène. Over 2,440 people passed through to receive either a doctor’s visit, have their teeth cleaned, or eyes checked. Free readers were provided for those who needed them. Many of the people visited all three stations. For many of the patients who could not be treated here at the compound, the doctors dug deep into their own pockets to help send these folks to the hospital to be treated.

We saw heartbreaking cases of children with parasites and scabies. One baby was having seizures and was immediately sent to the hospital. An old lady was operated on in one of the little schoolrooms as a cyst was removed from her back. She had come alone to the clinic and we sent her home with our  chauffeur to make sure she got back safely. Without a doubt, the people who sat for hours waiting to be seen witnessed the hands of Jesus extended through this team. In spite of the insufferable heat this time of year, this team worked steadily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to see as many people as they possibly could.

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This unused church was used as the waiting room and triage area.

We thank the Lord for the spirit of excellence and unity we witnessed this week as well as the heart of true servanthood. Many of these laborers were also ready and willing to help the patients find the ultimate healing for their own souls.

Thank you Northwood Temple for sending us the best you had to offer! We are better because you came. We also thank our own leaders and interpreters for doing a stellar job in making the clinic run much more efficiently. We are so proud of you! For lack of a decent internet signal, I will post more pictures next time.