Mission Statement

Chicago Metro Presbytery exists to extend the gospel and to oversee the work of the ministry of the PCA throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area to the glory of God.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Haiti Trip 8/2/19

Day 7

The team is beyond grateful for your prayers this week. It was a great week of ministry, capped off today by being the first medical team to visit Deyafo, a neighborhood in Cayes. The team had only a half a day to spend there, so they thought they might see 40 patients. In 5 1/2 hours, they saw 126! Absolutely amazing. And this from a small team that had worked to the end of their resources every day this week - or so they thought! But the needs were great, so they worked until the medicines literally ran out. They saw many kids with intestinal parasites, scabies, and malnutrition, all expected due to the level of poverty in Dayafo and the lack of access to basic medical care. One challenge in being the first medical team into a community is that the children are scared of them...they are literally the first white people they’ve ever seen, plus they do “weird” things like look in their ears :) Every member worked very hard today to meet as many needs as they could. They are champs!

In the afternoon (when the supply of medicines ran out), they finally said their goodbyes and travelled to Cavaillon, where they spent an hour with the children there, making final checks on some follow up plans they worked out with the staff, and dropped off any extra clothes not given away elsewhere during the week. They also did a training session on water usage and hygiene, and gifted the housemoms with a photo for each one, taken of the group earlier in the week. This was such a surprise! Kudos to the team members who worked on this, going so far as to bring a small printer all the way from home. It made the housemoms’ day - maybe month!

We’re glad to report that the effects of the stomach bug the team members picked up this week seems to be gone - they should all be coming home healthy, if exhausted.

And they are coming home soon! They’ll arise early Saturday morning for a long day of travel. Please pray:

  • For, safe, smooth, and timely travel. They leave the guest house at 5:00 am for a long bus ride to Port au Prince. They leave Port au Prince at 2:00 and will arrive in Miami about 4:00. From there the team takes different flights to Chicago, Cincinnati, and California.
  • For a good “re-entry” into the lives and routines they left at home just a week ago. Although it’s a short week in many ways, the personal impact can be immense, and take some time to sort through. Pray for them as they navigate that, and sort through the feelings, memories, and experiences over the next several weeks. 
  • Pray for the people of Haiti - for their spiritual growth, for God to call many new believers to repentance and faith, for the leaders at ESMI and in the churches, and for their land to be governed well so that all Haitians could live more secure and flourishing lives. Also, pray specifically for the children of Haiti, who are the nation’s future. Pray that they would grow to be godly and wise. 
The team is so grateful for your journeying with them this week by providing prayer support. Your contributions were felt and surely made a difference in their week.

Enjoy just a few pictures of faces from the day in Deyafo and Cavaillon

Some faces from today...

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Haiti Trip 8/1/19

Day 7
There were lots of people to see the second day in Savanne, and once again the team had to prioritize - there just wasn't time for all. A morning rainstorm delayed their arrival, as supplies AND team members travel in the back of a pick up truck. The rain was torrential for a time.

Some stories from today:
The day started with a very sick woman. She was in immense pain and had a fever that read 108 degrees. She was delirious and couldn't really cooperate with treatment so she was placed on the lap of one our team members for as long as it took to get an exam done, meds injected, a special cooling towel placed on her, a drip IV with fluids put in, and for her to start responding so she didn't harm herself or others - about two hours total. After much attention by the staff, she started to revive. She was instructed to get to the hospital as they'd done all they could for her (not even really sure what was causing her symptoms, exactly) but she declined and eventually went home. Being fearful of a hospital is understandable, but in this case probably not wise. The team did all they could before she left.

The little girl the team treated yesterday with the abscesses all over her head came back in and she was much better. Her mother was so delighted and relieved!

There was another "returnee", this one from last year's team's visit to Savanne. The child (an infant then) was very sick and the team wasn't sure she'd pull through. Yet she fought their efforts at every turn out of fear and panic, including biting one of our team members (who subsequently was strongly advised to get an HIV test upon returning home - thankfully, that was clear). She returned today in good health after that scare, and her mom's smile in the picture says it all!

One of the team members did some hygiene training today, and the others folded into the medical team and lent a hand in multiple ways. Everyone multitasks in Haiti!

Today was the day the exhaustion, pace, sickness, and overwhelmedness sank in, and it was "hit the wall day" for the team. Typically, that comes on Wednesday, and is very understandable. But today, the end of the week is in sight, and they all want to finish well. They're just dragging a bit! Some are still fighting queasiness and everyone, for sure, needs a good night's sleep. Fortunately, the air/electricity is on, and they're hopeful sleep will be easy and just enough for another day's ministry.

Tomorrow the team has a few places they hope to get to. First, another neighborhood of Cayes, not as poor perhaps as Savanne, (which, of course, is a relative term in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere) but the next place ESMI has targeted for a new church. The team will visit as way to show them the love of Jesus in tangible form. The place is called Darafo. They also want to get back to check in with some situations in Cavaillon, and just have some time to say goodbye to the children. They will also leave whatever clothes they still have in their duffels for them to use later. Any extra meds will be stored for their use in Cambry, which is currently the only secure location for them. Lastly, if time allows, they'll swing by a beautiful and natural beachfront that could be the location of any beachfront 4 star hotel in the world.

They'll also be given the chance to help the local economy when some vendors and artists visit the guest house with their wares at the start of the day. Perhaps team members' families will be given Christmas gifts from Haiti?

A final note...tomorrow's update will come late in the evening, so one prayer request for very early Saturday morning is included here, so you can "pray ahead" in case you don't see tomorrow's update in time. Thank you!

Hope you enjoy some pictures from the day...

Please pray:
  • For the team to find the stamina to have one more great day of ministry and teamwork tomorrow, especially those who are still under the weather. With that, for the electricity to make it just two more nights!
  • For the sick people in Savanne who were treated today, and praise for the ones that returned doing well. 
  • For those seeing the team tomorrow to not only be helped physically, but be touched spiritually by the prayers of the team members (everyone is prayed for by name before they leave) and by the work of the Spirit, so that some might come to know Jesus. 
  • For the ongoing work in Cavaillon for the benefit of the children. Praise God for financial sponsors who have supported their needs and the underwritten the major improvements in their living situation. Pray for the children's health, safety, spiritual development, and a joyful spirit as they mature and grow. 
  • For timely and safe travel on Saturday as the team makes their way home. There are lots of connections, lots of miles, and lots of conveyances for our team - they start with the 5-6 hour coach bus ride from Cambry to Port au Prince at 5 am Eastern. They leave Port au Prince at 2:00 and arrive in Miami about 4;30. From there, the team splits up, with the Chicago crew not arriving home until 11:00. Other destinations will also make for a long day. 
Thank you for your prayers!

The sickest patient seen today.

Not feeling very great!

Mom and baby

Two cool dudes

A nebulizer treatment for asthma/breathing issues

The baby who was so sick last year...and who took a chunk out of a team member! She's doing great.

The pharmacy team today

Hygiene training

A glimpse of the ocean at Savanne

The team after a LONG day!

The nightly task of re-organizing for the next day...but at least there are Oreos!

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Haiti Trip 7/31/19

Day 6
Our team proved their mettle today in a big way. This dedicated and focused group toughed out a rough bout of gastric issues (likely brought on by the time spent with the kids at Cavaillon who carry new and different germs than our North American team has been exposed to) to provide a wonderful day of ministry to the people in Savanne. Our medical team, which is not as large as some have been at Savanne, saw an amazing amount of patients today - 90 people. Logistically, it might have been the smoothest day ever at Savanne, greatly aided by a new security wall intended to protect the water system, but having the secondary effect of walling in much of the church where the team set up the clinic. It allowed a smooth and steady access to the team, but not an overwhelming crowd to control. It was great!

Some stories from today
Much good medical work was done today for some needy folks. The team prioritized the young, the pregnant moms, and the very sick. One of note was a 3 month old baby whose head was covered in abcesses. The team worked carefully to lance them to give the child some relief from pain, then carefully bandaged the baby up. Antibiotics were next, and a return visit tomorrow was planned. This is a perfect example of the kind of suffering a team like ours can relieve, but without them would have gone untreated.

The "guardian angel" of the team served alongside the team leader all day, barely letting him carry a bottle of water for himself. Jude was a patient several years ago, An active and powerful voudoo practitioner, all of Savanne knew him and were afraid of him for his power and his demeanor. Yet he listened to the gospel as the surgeon tried to remove a painful pin in his shoulder, which stemmed from a voudoo rite. To everyone's surprise and delight, he left that day a new believer as the spirit worked on his heart while the surgeon worked on his shoulder. Now he's a community and church leader. He rarely misses the team's visit, so he can serve them and the people of Savanne. Today, he brought his brother, Mosam, to meet the team. The brother, not a believer, was anxious to tell the team leader that he's been impressed with the changes he's seen in Jude and in the community because of the gospel and the ongoing support via the team's provision of medical, spiritual, and physical care including clean water. The gospel was shared with Mosam, as well. He listened intently.

Another familiar face from Savanne was there today. Her name is Vilia, and she first met one of our earliest teams who went to Savanne. A widow who was homeless with no way to support her children, some of the team members banded together to set her up with micro-loan so she could start her own business. This woman is an entrepreneur! She just needed some seed money to get started in a small shop selling a variety of things, including spices. It provided enough income for her and her children to have food and shelter. It was good to see her again, this time with her daughter and grandchildren.

And lastly, a woman walked up to the team leader today and asked "do you remember me?" He had to admit he didn't, but she reminded him that they met two years ago. She was a voudoo witch doctor. She resisted the gospel at that time, even though she readily admitted that "Jesus was the most powerful of all spirits". She was afraid to walk away from voudoo for fear it would cost her her life. Yet she never forgot what she was told and that the team had prayed for her. Eventually, she renounced her voudoo beliefs and became a Christian, and she wanted to tell them. As part of her new life, she now fosters four children whose parents have died, as well as having two of her own.

Another piece of good news from the day is that somehow the generator at the compound is holding together, so there was electricity all last night. The ESMI crew has been diligent to do their best, and it seems to be working. Given that half of the team was feeling under the weather, the discomfort factor last night would have been exponentially higher in the heat and pitch dark. No doubt the prayers of our supporters have played a big part. The team is grateful for ALL of the ways God is blessing them in this situation, which was looking so dire a few days ago.

The water team had an odd experience today upon arriving at Brevet to do some prep work/planning for a water installation in the future. They began their work, but were interrupted by someone coming out of the building (which everyone thought was empty) and were told to leave. Bemused, they did as they were told. The ESMI folks thought they were expected and all would proceed as planned, so more information is needed before proceeding with THAT plan!

Tomorrow, the team goes back to Savanne, likely with the water team attaching themselves to the medical team as their work there is done. Friday's plan is yet to be determined.

Pictures from today will help tell the story of how God is using our team to write the gospel on the hearts of the people here.

And we would be remiss not to say "happy birthday" to team member, Jen, a PA from Chicago. The team is delighted she chose to spend her birthday with them in this week of ministry. That's a cake of oreos and skittles, in case you're wondering, in the picture below. Creativity abounds on this team!

Please pray with and for the team:
  • For the continued growth in influence of God's word and Spirit in Savanne, and for Pastor Mongerard as he leads the church there.
  • Praise God that the team members who fought sickness today were able to do great ministry in spite of their challenges. They perservered! 
  • For that sickness to be over (and not spread), so that all can finish the week strong and healthy
  • For mechanical issues to be kept at bay, for cool air, lights, and working showers/toilets
  • For rest for the team. It's a long week, with many new experiences and an exhausting schedule. Team morale is high tomight as they regroup and repack for another day; please pray for stamina and good rest. 

Some patients from Savanne

The Savanne waiting room

Vilia's family with Dr. Kay

Before and after - the little one with abcesses on the head

A celebration to end the day - Happy birthday, Jen!

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti