Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've been waiting for awhile to do a blog on Christianville because I was hoping to have some pictures to include with the write-up. But my camera broke and so I decided to write this anyway. I'm sure you all know that I've been working in a place called Christianville full-time since June. There is a clinic on the Christianville property that is run by Haiti Health Ministries. The staff includes two haitian doctors, two haitian nurses, a haitian pharmacy worker, two haitian laboratory techs, and three other haitians on support staff. There are also two american nurses, an american administrator, an american doctor, and me! If it sounds like more people than I used to work with, IT IS, and I'm excited about it. It is so great to not have to do every job myself, but instead to stick to what I'm good at. Which is seeing patients. Together we see about 120 people every day. We are capable of providing many services to our patients which other clinics can't offer, including x-ray, ultrasound, and lab tests. Dr. Jim and his wife Sandy have worked hard to equip the clinic with every item necessary to provide the highest quality medical care possible for our haitian patients.
One thing that I love about the work in Christianville is that we all work together to share the gospel with our patients. Leading people to the Lord and plugging them in to the local churches for growth is our goal. Each morning one of the staff, whether haitian or american, preaches the gospel to our patients who wait in a covered porch in the courtyard to be seen. Our patients are presented with an invitation to accept the gift of Christ's saving grace each morning. We all take turns preaching the daily devotion. If there are patients who are interested in receiving the Lord as Savior, Sandy prays individually with them while we begin to see patients. Then they are provided with discipleship materials and encouraged to attend a Bible-believing church near their home. While in the exam rooms, Jim and I pray with patients as the opportunity arises.
My favorite part of working at Christianville is the team aspect. I missed that and longed for it while I was in Seguin. Here is a patient story that demonstrates the way we like to work as a team in the clinic, while keeping our main focus to share the love of the Lord: A man walked into my office with a very large belly and yellow eyes. He was only in his early fifties, and he did not know the Lord. After I gave him a physical exam and Stacey gave him a chest x-ray and Jim gave him an abdominal ultrasound, we diagnosed him with liver cancer that had spread to his lungs. I talked to him about his spiritual condition and I gave him the bad news about his physical condition. He admitted that he did not know the Lord and was not ready to meet his Maker. I laid him on an exam table to remove some fluid from his abdomen to make him more comfortable. While the fluid was being drained, I called Sandy into the room to continue talking to him about the gospel while I went next door to see more patients. He accepted the Lord while Sandy prayed for him. He came into the clinic a few more times for follow up visits, and I encouraged him to read the Bible and go to church if he physically could. Then we didn't see him anymore. I'm sure he passed away, and I'm hopeful that we will see him one day in heaven, whole and healthy and joyful.
Thank you for all your prayers and all your support. Haiti is currently being hit by a category 1 hurricane. I'm in the States to prepare for my upcoming wedding, so I'm not sure how much damage is being done by the hurricane. Please pray for those who have dwellings that are less than adequate to hold up during this storm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008



If only I could kiss your lips and breathe life into you, like that first day we met.

May 5, 2005

But it wasn’t me who gave you the breath of life that day, was it? God ordained that day for you to live. His Spirit flowed into you, and you opened your eyes and gasped and cried.

If only we could have kissed your lips and breathed life back into you, that day you died.

June 17, 2008

But it wasn’t us who had the power to save you, was it? God ordained that day for you to die. His Spirit called yours home, and you closed your eyes, and we gasped and cried.

The day you were born and the day you died… those days stand out in our memories. But the days in between, those are the ones that really count; the days that you lived, and laughed and made us love you, and changed us all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The News

Sometimes it seems I have to work hard to come up with things to write on this blog. Life can get in a rut and not change for awhile, which makes coming up with new blog material a challenge. This, however, is not one of those times. I actually have had so much change happening in the last few weeks, that I’m not sure where to start. So, I’ll start with the part that all of you know already. I have been planning on leaving Seguin and moving to Christianville, Haiti for the past several months, and two weeks ago I made that transition final. I had family and friends here to help me move out of Seguin, which made the move easier. It was still a heart-breaking thing for me. It’s weird that a heart can hurt, and yet be at peace at the same time. But that is what I felt. Extreme sadness, and extreme peace. I know leaving was the right thing to do, and that now was the right time to do it. My neighbors cried and we hugged and had our moments of sharing tears and old memories. Even now as I type, I don’t like to think about the look on their faces as we said goodbye, because it makes me so sad. But I know it was the correct thing to do, and that God’s direction and guidance was in it. I know, too, that there must have been a lot of people praying for me during those last few days, because I could feel the powerful peace that only God can give. Thank you to all of you who remembered me and the people of Seguin this past month, and prayed for us as we separated. I know I won’t ever forget them, and still plan on helping them whenever and however I can.

So, now for the other change in my life. This change also had an effect on my heart, but it was a little different than the leaving-Seguin-effect. I say a little different, because instead of breaking my heart, it filled it to overflowing with joy. And underneath that, I could feel the same peace that I felt as I left Seguin. The peace that only comes from being in the will of God. Last Saturday, under a waterfall in Jacmel, I got engaged to a man named Ryan Price. I have known him since October of 2007, when I first visited Christianville. He is an optometrist from Alabama who moved here right after he graduated and has been living and working full-time here in Christianville since September. He heard God call him, and he followed. And I’m so glad he did. We have been dating since March, and plan on getting married in October of this year. The details of the actual wedding day are still fuzzy, but as soon as we know more, we’ll let you all know! When Ryan asked me to marry him, we were at a place called Basin Bleu with a bunch of our friends. So there was an audience there to witness the engagement and take pictures of it. Here are some of the photos from that day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Food Riots

Several people have emailed me, asking how the food riots have affected me and Seguin, so I thought I should blog about it. Last week there were some riots here. Lots, actually. My mom was visiting me, and we were staying at a hotel north of Port for the weekend. On Monday, when we checked out of the hotel, we heard rumblings that there might be riots starting up, so we asked around before we headed into Port to buy meds. The people we asked said that everything in Port was quiet and good, so we went. And they were right... everything in Port was quiet and just like normal. We got all our med shopping done, and then it was time to leave Port and head to Christianville for the night. That's when things got interesting. When we got to Carrefour (the first big suburb outside of Port... built on a garbage dump and always a hot spot for riots), we noticed that no cars or trucks were moving along the road. There were several big trucks parked on the side of the road, waiting. I figured they were waiting for five o clock to roll around, because that's generally when the rioters get hungry and go home for the night. So we pulled off to the side and waited with them. At around 4 or 4:30, a police car loaded with officers with big guns pulled onto the road ahead of us, and all the big trucks that had been waiting revved up their engines and followed the police. So did several other cars and trucks. So, we decided to join the caravan, thinking there's safety in numbers (and big guns). We got about a mile down the road, and arrived at our first road block. There were many, many drunk, hostile-looking men standing in a line across the road, slowing the progress of our caravan. While we were watching these angry men, a rock flew out of nowhere and hit my truck, about six inches below the window on the passenger's side, where my mom was sitting. It made us both jump, but did no other damage. The men in the road let us through with just a few angry shouts and hands hitting our car. Then we just followed all the other drivers who had made it through the blockade. The cops with their guns stopped driving after awhile and turned back, leaving us on our own. Thankfully, though, we didn't encounter any more active blockades. There was plenty of evidence of previous ones, however. Every couple of miles we drove through areas with black scars on the road from tires that had burned there, and huge amounts of shattered glass. In some places, people were out in the road with brooms, sweeping up the glass as non-chalantly as if it were leaves in fall.
When we arrived in Christianville, we decided that we would spend the night, and then leave for Seguin very early the next morning, before the rioters got going. That plan was thwarted, though. I had a flat tire from all the glass in the road, and in the time it took me to fix it, the rioters got started and blocked our way out. The next day, we attempted to go to Seguin again, but had the same luck. Looking back, I know it was God's protection that kept us from travelling on those days. On Saturday the riots ended, my mom flew home, and then on Monday I drove back to Seguin. I saw evidence of last week's road blocks every couple of miles, even along the mountain roads. When Aristid was ousted, which was the last time road blocks were put up, they didn't make it to the mountains.... it was isolated to the cities and major roads. I guess this time it is different, since it is about food costs, and the mountain poor people are hit hardest by that. Unfortunately, it's not usually the hungriest that are out in the streets rioting, but instead the young, bored and unemployed.
Seguin was affected by the riots in a few ways. A large truck carrying rice and other provisions was looted on its way up the mountain. Many women here in seguin had their goods stolen, and are now in worse shape than before. There were also rumors that one of our local christian youth were involved in the looting, which made me so sad to hear.
So, now that the prime minister is gone and the price of rice is supposedly going to be lower, the people are somewhat appeased, and the riots have stopped. Please pray for peace here.

Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble, and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Announcing Changes

This is a very sad letter for me to write, but also an exciting one. As most of you know, I’ve been working in Seguin for the past six years. The majority of that time I have spent alone on the mountain, struggling through the daily demands of meeting the medical and spiritual needs of very poor people over the entire mountain range. I love helping the poor and destitute, and can’t imagine spending my life any other way. However, I’ve come to learn over the past few years that serving in a solitary setting, without a team of co-workers on site to help bear the burdens is too much for one person (this person, at any rate) to endure for extended periods of time. I’ve seen warning signs of “burn out” become more frequent over the past few months, and this year I began to ask God to show me what He would have me do and where He would have me serve. I asked Him to give me a team of people to work with, so I wouldn’t have to be alone. The more that I prayed and sought counsel, the more I began to realize that it was time to move on to another area of ministry.

About this same time, I received an invitation from friends of mine (Jim and Sandy Wilkins) who work in Christianville, Haiti. They emailed me and told me of their need for another American medical practitioner to come work with them in their busy clinic. I decided to visit their clinic and work there for two weeks, to test the waters and see if perhaps this was where God was next leading me. My two weeks in Christianville were very exciting and seemed to be a great fit. After more prayer and discussions with my pastor and family and friends, I decided that a move to Christianville was the answer to my prayers. Christianville is a community about one hour west of Port au Prince. Jim and Sandy run a non-profit organization called Haiti Health Ministries, and they are in charge of a very busy clinic in Christianville. Jim is a doctor, and Sandy is a nurse administrator. There are also three other American missionaries on or near the compound. Three Haitian doctors also work at the clinic. Jim, Sandy, and other workers at the clinic take turns preaching the gospel to the patients every morning and have seen many people come to Christ over the past couple years. I will be working in the clinic, seeing patients and doing procedures, much like I was doing on the mountain. I will hopefully be able to work with and train neighborhood midwives, and will also be able to teach health education to the hundreds of children who attend school in Christianville. There are opportunities and housing at Christianville for teams to visit, and opportunities for interns to come and spend time with me in the clinic as well. If you have any questions or concerns, you could email me, or go to the Haiti Health Ministries website at www.haitihealthministries.org

Now, for the question that I know is on everyone’s mind…. What about Seguin? My biggest fear in moving to another area of Haiti was that my patients in Seguin would be neglected after I left. During a meeting that I attended with Mac Burberry and Roro Eustache, two leaders of Haitian Christian Outreach, I expressed my desire to move to another location, and my desire to see the clinic in Seguin continue to prosper and be used by God to reach the poor and lost. Mac and Roro were very supportive of me, and very understanding. They expressed that they are committed to the work in Seguin, and plan on doing everything possible to keep the clinic in Seguin running. We would love to see Margarethe continue to work there, and Roro has already begun looking for a Haitian doctor to come up and help Margarethe see patients several days each week. Both Mac and I would like to make it clear that in no way am I leaving Seguin because of any disagreements with Haitian Christian Outreach. It is a very amicable parting, and Mac, Roro and I all plan on helping each other any way we can to see the gospel preached in Haiti. If you have any questions for Mac or Haitian Christian Outreach, please email him at mac@haitianchristian.org. Haitian Christian Outreach will continue to buy formula for children in the mountains who have no mothers, so for those of you who are currently giving towards the Formula Fund, please consider transferring your donations to Haitian Christian outreach by June of 2008. HCO will also help to hospitalize patients who are in need, and will also continue to raise money for salaries for the clinic employees and medicines for the patients. That is to say, if you are now giving regularly to the people of Seguin, please don’t stop. Just change the name and destination of the check! Make the checks payable to Haitian Christian Outreach and send them to P.O. Box 1052, Mahomet, IL 61853

All of these changes are going to slowly begin in January of 2008. I am currently splitting my time between Seguin and Christianville, and by June of 2008 I plan to be full time in Christianville. My hope is that I will continue to visit Seguin often and maintain contact with my friends there. Please email me if you have any questions and concerns. And please remember to pray for the people of Seguin… they are worried about the changes.

Thank you all for your understanding, and for your love for the people of Seguin.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tony Visits the Poor

There is a boy up here on the mountain named Tony. He is one of five or six siblings, and his father is gone. Tony’s house burned down a couple years ago, and he and his family have struggled to rebuild their lives after the loss of almost all their possessions. Just as things were looking up, Tony’s mother suffered a massive stroke. She is paralyzed and can no longer provide for her family by taking long walks to Port au Prince to sell produce from their garden. Still, the family struggles on and the older boys try to provide for their younger siblings.

A few days ago Tony knocked on my door and explained to me that he had been going from house to house in an area called Lagade, telling people about Jesus and praying with them. As he was on his walk, he came upon several poor people. Those were his words. “Poor people…very bad off”. When he said this, I gave him a strange look and thought to myself, “and you’re not one of them?” He seemed very touched by the “poor” people that he had met, and he insisted that I take a walk with him one day, and take my camera, and write down their stories so that I could tell my friends about them. I was interested to see what kind of person Tony would label as poor, since I labeled him as one of the poorest people I know. So I said yes, and last Tuesday we took off on a drive and a hike.

The first woman we met was in her late twenties or early thirties, but looked ten years older. She was very skinny, clothed in what appeared to be her only dress and sweater, which were ripped and soiled. She was squatting on the ground, nursing a baby who was also clothed in a ripped, dirty shirt. I couldn’t imagine that the milk the child was getting was more than a drop or two. As we began to talk with the woman, another child ran up behind her, screaming. She was perhaps four or five years old, but looked like a scrawny two year old. When she saw us, she figured the “white man” had come to eat her, and she went running off barefooted and bare-bottomed into the fields. I asked the woman to tell me her story, and, with a vacant expression on her face and no inflection in her voice, she told me that her husband had died last year… she didn’t remember exactly when. He had had a cough. He left her a field, but she couldn’t afford the seeds to plant anything in it. She lived with her three children and her mother in the cornstalk house nearby. We took a look at the house, and could see that even for a cornstalk house, it was meager. The dimensions were about five feet by five feet, the stalks of corn that made up the walls were thinning and rotten, letting in what I can only imagine is a great quantity of rain and wind, and there was nothing inside… no pots or pans or clothes or bedding. One shirt hung out to dry in the yard. That was the only possession I could see that she owned, besides what she wore. I have no idea what she eats or how she cooks it, but from the looks of her and her children, eating is something that only happens every other day or so. After listening to her tell her story, we took pictures of her and the house, gave her some beans and clothes, told her we would try to help, and prayed for her. As we walked away, I wondered if I had the emotional energy to visit another of Tony’s “poor” people.

The second woman we met lived in a house that looked much better than the last house we’d seen. It had a thatch roof and wooden slats for walls. When Tony called “hello”, a short elderly woman with a high voice and a hand-sewn blue dress groped her way out the door. Her left eye was sunken and damaged, and her right eye had a huge cataract, so she was blind. She ordered a neighbor to go get chairs for us to sit on, and she told us her story. She has no children or husband to care for her. Sometimes neighbors come and get her and lead her to church (she converted to Christianity just a short while ago), and sometimes they cook food for her so she can eat. She is often hungry, and often cold. When I told her that she might be able to see again if she went to Jacmel and had cataract surgery, she said, “well, there is no one to take me and no money to pay for it.” I determined inwardly to help make the surgery possible, but gave her no promises that day. We prayed with her and moved on to our next home visit.

The third house we were scheduled to see was about a forty minute walk from the road, according to Tony (which meant about an hour walk for me). Just as we were starting to walk, the woman we were going to see came trotting down the road to meet us. Tony reproached her for not staying at home to wait for our visit, but I was secretly glad we could avoid the walk. I didn’t get to see her current house, but I did stand with her in a field and listen to her story. Her name is Marie, and she is in her forties. She didn’t look me in the eye as she spoke, but looked off into space with a set expression that made me think she was trying hard to hold back tears. She is the mother of six children. Her husband is a polygamist, and has another wife besides her. He splits his time between his two families, and takes very little care of her or her children. She accepted Christ a few years ago, and goes to church every Sunday. Three of her children live at home with her. The older three children she had to give away, because she couldn’t afford to feed them. They live as child slaves in Port au Prince and Jacmel. Last week, her cornstalk house caught on fire, and burned to the ground. Her children escaped, but everything they owned was lost in the fire. She seemed most distressed by the fact that she had no blankets to guard against the cold mountain nights, and no pots or pans to cook with. We prayed with her, told her we would try to help, and went home.

It was a solemn ride home. Ginnie, the American nurse who was with me during this hike, seemed shocked and pensive. She said that the children she saw give new meaning to the term “failure to thrive”. I felt a weight on my shoulders during our drive home… the familiar “weight of poverty” that often plagues me here. Tony, however, seemed to be very happy. He was hopeful that these hurting people could be helped. He left to walk home with a lighter step, and a promise to “show me more poor people” when I had the time. A small, selfish part of me hopes that I never find the time, because the burden is so huge.

I plan on using funds that my supporters give each month to help these three people, and I will keep you posted on their progress. Please pray that God would touch their hearts with hope.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Just thought I'd take a moment and count my blessings... I was off the mountain for a week, and just got back up here on Monday. I never know what to expect when i come back, so I was dreading my return up here. I brought the generator back up with me, after Larry took a look at it and rigged it to work. Once I finished seeing the patients that were waiting for Margarethe and me, I hooked the generator up and it ran like a charm. My water tanks were empty, so I primed the water pump and pumped water. Then I got on the phone with Starband, my internet provider, and figured out what was wrong with my satellite. So, in one day I had electricity, water and internet. It was great. The only problem was that I pumped all the water out of my cistern and into my tanks, so my cistern was almost dry, and that had me worried. I don't have time to go for water runs every day, and it hasn't been raining. But that worry was taken care of yesterday. I was busy pulling teeth and delivering a baby (boy, by the way... of course), when we heard a car approach. It was Bob and Roro, and they were here to visit and prepare the place for a february Raincatchers team. They painted the roof, and cleaned the cistern out, and hauled water from another cistern into the one at the clinic. It was wonderful to have help and company. God is good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

back in haiti-part two

yikes... so i'm apparently having difficulties with this new blog technology. at any rate, here is the rest of the story that i tried to blog yesterday:

so, by the time i brought margarethe's orphaned puppies up to my house and bathed them, i heard noises coming from the room where the girl was having the baby. so i ran in there, and arrived just in time to see a wriggling baby boy in the grandma's hands, down by the woman's feet. I cut the cord and rubbed him till he started breathing, and then wrapped him up and took care of mom. Later, mom and baby went home just fine, and i continued to take care of the puppies for a few more days. They really liked the formula i was feeding them. After a couple days, margarethe came and got them and brought them to her house. Then a few more days after that, she told me that one of her bigger dogs, Shera, had eaten one of the puppies who came too close to her enclosure. So, the moral of the story is twofold. One, don't give your patient a drug that speeds up labor, and then go putz with puppies. Two, it really is a dog eat dog world. Who knew?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back in Haiti

I'm back in Haiti after a month and a half in the States, and it's been a harder transition this time than it normally is. My time spent with my family was great. I got to enjoy plenty of quality time with Lukey and Ella and Kate, my amazing nephew and nieces. Family time was precious, and there were always so many people to talk to and things to do, that it was kind of a shock to get back to the mountain and be alone once again. It didn't help that mid-week my generator broke down, and my internet decided not to work, either. It always feels more isolated when communication with my friends and family back home is cut off. I had a minor melt down on wednesday, and called my missionary friends in Jacmel. Danny and Larry came up that same day, and Drex sent a battery with them. They helped get my generator running again, which was amazing. Then they headed back down the mountain. That was a five or six hour round trip for them, and in a questionably functional vehicle, as well. God has given me great friends here in Haiti, let me tell you! I couldn't be here without them.
A rather funny story happened when I first got back to the mountain last Sunday. I was a little tired from driving and moving back in, so i took a nap (shocker!). When i woke up, I heard a knocking on my door. It was Emmanuel, my neighbor and janitor, telling me that there was a woman in labor. So, I took her in and set her up in the back room on the dental chair. She and her mother spent the night, and there was no real progress made on her labor all night. In the morning, I woke up to the sounds of what I thought were lots of obnoxious birds out in the neighbors' yard. I asked Emmanuel about it, and he said that the sounds were actually coming from four newborn puppies in Margarethe's yard. Their mother had gone off and died, and they were roaming around in the fields, crying and looking for food. I felt bad because Margarethe has been wanting puppies for a long time, and she wasn't home yet to take care of them, so I decided to go down and rescue them. But first, I checked on the pregnant woman. She was still not making good progress, so I put her on a pitocin IV drip, and then went down to gather up the puppies. That was probably not a good way to order my activities that morning, on retrospect. By the time I got back with the puppies