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.