Saturday, March 31, 2018

GIVEAWAY and Hello Haiti! Mission Trip Day 6

Haiti Journal Day #6

by Sarah Robertson

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I can’t remember what day of the week it even is anymore! The days are so busy and full that it’s hard to believe that Saturday is here already! We have a half day of clinic in Seguin before heading down the mountain this afternoon.

Hannah slept with Eby last night on her camp mat on the floor as she wanted to be able to wake him up to check his temperature and offer water. I doubt it was a great nights rest for her, as I well remember sleeping with a toddler!

I heard Hannah get up with Eby several times in the night, but his fever did stay down. He had be awake enough at 2:30 to eat the rest of his eggs and drink some water. I was up for the day a little before five, so I offered to hold Eby while Hannah crawled back into her bed for a short nap. Eby settled down in my arms, and all was quiet in the room. It gave me an opportunity to spend some time in prayer both for this sweet boy and his family as well as my own.

Shortly before 6am., Eby gave a few little burps and gurgles. I knew what was about to transpire as the vomit signals are the same in any language! As a mom to five kids, I just held him so that he wouldn’t get himself all yucky, and waited for him to stop. Hannah hopped up out of bed...that was a short rest...and took Eby while I cleaned up the mess. I’ve never been good with vomit, but I managed not to throw up. Yes, there is a reason I’m not in the medical profession! Eby did not show any other signs of being sick, and perhaps he was just too full from the eggs. While it certainly was not a lot of food for the average American two year old, Eby is very under fed. Perhaps his stomach just couldn’t take all the food that his eyes wanted to eat!

As we were getting ready for the day, the grandma and granddaughter showed up in the doorway. They had walked over from Chota...yes that 1 1/2 hour see the baby and find out what the plan was for Eby. We invited them to breakfast, and Pastor Kevin explained that while Eby was doing better, he was still very weak. Pastor Kevin explained that Eby could come down the mountain with us, and the medical team would monitor his care. Eby would come back up the mountain on Tuesday, and the grandma could come over to the mission house on Wednesday. She seemed very accepting of this arrangement, and almost happy (I have a hard time reading their expressions sometimes!). We sent them to Chota with a bag of food, and I gave the little girl most of my snacks that I had left from the week. We have plenty of food, and even if I’m a bit hungry, I’m going home in a few days. I have the ability to get plenty of food, and I’ve certainly come to want to look out for this grandma and granddaughter. I did notice that the grandma had on some very well worn tennis shoes today instead of the flip flops.

I feel like most of the team is still dragging a bit today, but we still managed to get the clinic started around 8:30am. When we arrived at the church, Grandpa said that the doors to the church would be shut once the preaching began. He knew that people would keep coming, but our time is limited today. It’s hard to turn people away, but we already had a bunch of people in the church that wanted to come to the clinic!

I made a BUNCH of trips up and down that mountain today. We needed more medicine, we needed water to mix worm slurpies, something needed to be found, etc. I did get in all my steps for the day (13,000) by the time clinic was over. My Fitbit tracks that there are 18 flights of stairs up the hill and back down to clinic! Yay for exercise!

Most of the people that came to clinic today needed vitamins, worm medicine, or pain medicine. We are almost completely out of acid medicine, and Hannah ordered a lot! Kacie did see a man whose iron level was at 5.6! That’s crazy low! In the States a blood transfusion happens at anything under 6! He told Kacie that he felt very weak and tired! Yup, I bet!! Pastor Kevin said that blood transfusions don’t happen in Haiti. He was confident that the hospital\clinic in Cay Jacmel would not be able to do a transfusion unfortunately. The team did what they could which was to give him a bottle of iron, vitamins, and pray fervently!

Hannah saw a little girl that most likely has multiple sclerosis. However even in the States that takes a lot of treatments, appointments, and braces-not really a feasibility here. It’s sad, but ultimately life is in Gods hands. Cory saw a lady who had pulled her own infected tooth and had given herself an, ouch!!

We wrapped up the clinic around noon, carried all the stuff back up the mission house, and dragged out everything we had. Anything that is left has to be inventoried so Hannah knows what to order for next year. The team also had to decide what medicine to take down the mountain as we have a short clinic after church at Moriah Baptist Church tomorrow. We did see 194 people in today’s half clinic, so we will most likely see over 1,000 people after we have the clinic tomorrow. That’s a lot of worm medicine, vitamins, pain relief pills, and stomach acid medicine that was handed out!

We headed back down the mountain around 1:45pm. Pastor Kevin had said that we needed to be leaving the mission house no later than 2, so for the first time all week we were ahead of schedule! Eby rode in the cab of the dump truck with the driver, the cook, and our Haitian nurse. The rest of us piled in the back of the truck along with the bags, water jugs, jugs for fuel for the generator, and medicine. Emelie always says that the thing to keep in mind about the dump truck is that everyone else looks more comfortable than you! It’s really quite impossible to get comfortable on the back of a dump truck and once you pick a spot, it’s sure to disappear in a few short miles. What I mean is that you’ll pick a spot on top of a bag or suitcase and think to yourself, “this is the spot, I can sit here for several hours and be comfy”. Then the bags shift, someone sits abruptly on your lap, or something falls on your foot. Then you think that the person across from you looks way more comfy than you, but the truth is no one is just have to deal with it! It is what it is, so you might as well be happy about it! We arrived in Cay Jacmel at about 4:45, so it was about a three hour ride. The best part was the warm bread that we got from a road side stand, and I could’ve eaten a lot more of that! Everyone had a layer of dirt and grime coating their skin and hair, but we made it safely. One of our medical bags had fallen off the truck and had been run over. When we picked it up, it smelled like Alcohol and Children's medicine. But nothing could be done at the moment so keep going!

We are staying at the same hotel that we stayed at on Monday night. Cory agreed to switch rooms with Faith, Krissy, and I as our room smelled very strongly of mildew. Then we realized that the air conditioner didn’t work in our room! Oh well, at least Emelie managed to tell the lady at the desk that we would like a fan! But out of all the rooms we have rented, I think only one room has a working air conditioner.

Shortly after we arrived at the hotel, the group that had flown into Port-au-Prince arrived. Tomorrow after the baptism service, this team will head up the mountain to start on construction work. Everyone came down the mountain today as Moriah Baptist Church is having a special service tomorrow at their new building.

After the other people arrived from the airport, we headed to supper. One of Pastor Kevin’s friends from childhood has a restaurant, so we were eating supper there. The food was delicious! We had rice and beans (of course), but also chicken, pasta salad, beets, grilled fish and some type of spicy coleslaw. This is like no other restaurant I’ve every been at. It feels and looks like a tiny house. There is one long table , and we were the only ones at the restaurant. There was one lightbulb hanging for the center or the room, and it was flickering like crazy! The kind of flickering that gives you a headache in about to minutes...praise the Lord for ibuprofen! Eby ate the food like it was going out of style! He had the type of appetite that one would expect from a two year old. He ate with one hand and held on to his plate with the other hand. He would push Hannah’s hand away every time she tried to more his plate. It was great to see him have an appetite. I just wish I could stay long enough to see him get some expression on his face. I’ve never seen him angry, but I’ve never seen him smile or change expression either. He’s like a little depressed old man. I do know that I will continue to pray for this boy as I head home. I don’t know if I will ever see him again, but I can pray that he will grow to love Jesus, and that his grandma and sister will grow in the Lord.

We’ve had a good week. I’ve made some new friendships, strengthened some old ones, and I’ve been encouraged and blessed by the unity and harmony of God’s people working together. As much as I have loved this week and being a part of the team, I’m ready to see my tribe. Eby has stolen a piece of all of our hearts, but I can’t bring him home with me. I do want to hug my own kids a little tighter when I get home. God has been so good to me.

We have a baptism tomorrow, a church service, a church dinner, and a medical clinic. It’s sure to be a full day!

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Friday, March 30, 2018

GIVEAWAY and Hello Haiti! Mission Trip Day 5

Haiti Journal Day #5

by Sarah Robertson

Friday, February 9, 2018

Honestly, I am so exhausted today. However, I want to write about the events of the day before I forget the details of today.

It was a night short on sleep as Hannah, Debbie Lynne, Kacie, and I took turns getting up with Eby throughout the night. He was woken up every hour from 10pm to 3am to try to get him to take some liquids. He is very, very sick but he is also determined not to take the formula or water. I only was able to get him to take about 1/2 ounce at 10 pm. Kacie tried at 11:15 to get him to take a little bit, and Debbie Lynne got Eby to take about an ounce at 12:30am. Hannah got up to check his temperature and try to feed him at 1:45am, and his fever had broke! Praise the Lord! Since his fever had broke, it was determined that when I got up at 3 to feed him, we could let him sleep after that. He didn’t take any liquids and his diaper was dry, but it was clear to see that Eby was exhausted. We all took a few hours of sleep from three to five am, but it was definitely a night short on sleep!

At 6am., Eby was still fever free, but he didn’t have a wet diaper and he was very resistant to taking fluids! We took Eby with us upstairs when it was time for breakfast along with the grandma and granddaughter. Eby was acting more alert, but he was very sleep and unexcited about life. Eby did take a bite of banana and a bite of bread, but he wasn’t crazy about eating! We had bread, bananas, and fried eggs for breakfast. We then offered Eby some eggs, and he loved those! He sat snuggled on Pastor Kevin’s lap eating eggs. We offered him water to drink, but he did not want anything to do with that! Eby’s grandma told Pastor Kevin that Eby wanted some coffee for breakfast! Um...No! The nurses and P.A.s were adamant about not letting Eby have coffee as that is a diuretic and this baby needs to pee! No coffee for Eby, but Pastor Kevin said that is probably what Eby eats for and bread. This little boy is about two years old, weighs probably about 16 lbs., and is severely underfed, and is in need of some extra care. Unfortunately, his family is poor, and it appears that there are a lot of mouths to feed at home.

After breakfast, we gathered together the stuff we would need for clinic today in Seguin. The clinic will be held at the church (down the hill), and at 7:30am, we received word that the church was full. Our work was cut out for us! Emelie worked on gathering up some stuff to give to the grandmother and granddaughter so that they could take a shower. Debbie Lynne had an extra dress and shirt that she had planned to give away to someone. I had brought along an extra bag of clothes, and I found a skirt and pair of bike shorts that I could do without. Emma had outgrown some of her clothes, so I had randomly tucked those in my bag also. While the granddaughter is bigger than Emma, the leggings and dress might work out perfectly as a tunic top and capris. While I did like the skirt that I gave to the grandmother, I have a whole closet of clothes at home! I also had brought along a bag of travel size toiletries that were perfect for the two of them. They were very excited about taking a shower, and it was nice to be able to offer them clean clothes to change into. It’s not to hard to figure out that they probably don’t have much back home as both of them took extra food at breakfast and hid it in the bag of stuff we had given’s heartbreaking!

Time for another day of clinic! People were already in the church waiting for us, so even though every one was a bit tired, it was time to get to work. It’s a bit of a hike down to the church, but as we set up for the day we realized that we had forgotten a few things up at the mission house. I offered to take a hike up the hill to get the tongue depressors and extra vitamins. As I walked through the mission house, I saw Eby laying on the camp mat we had set up the night before for the family. The blankets were neatly folded up, Eby was sleeping, and the bag of stuff we had given to the family was gone along with the grandmother and granddaughter. I was in a predicament. Do I take the sleeping baby with me back down the hill as he is sick and unattended? Or perhaps everything is different in Haiti and I should just leave him? I decided to walk back down the hill to the clinic to ask Hannah. As I walked into the clinic, I saw the grandmother and granddaughter. They had come to the clinic to say goodby. They looked so clean and refreshed after their showers. The grandma had chosen to wear the skirt that I had given her and the shirt from Debbie Lynne, and the granddaughter looked very cute in Emma’s clothes. They were returning to Chota and leaving the baby in our care. I’s crazy to me too! But around here Pastor Kevin said that they recognize that their baby will be well cared for and it’s one less mouth for them to feed. The baby will come down the mountain with us tomorrow and come back up with the team that is staying for next week on Tuesday. This baby has eight days to get well and be given a fighting chance at surviving!

I would take this baby home in a heartbeat if that were feasible, but his life is in God’s hands. This baby has been prayed over many, many times in the last 24 hours, and that won’t change even when I go home. God gave Eby a miracle in the fact that his fever broke, but he needs to drink and pee.
Hannah went up the hill to get the baby, and I went back up to see if she needed help. She was trying to get Eby to take some liquids, and he was resisting. He felt warm, so Hannah went back down the hill to get the thermometer. When she came back and checked his temp, it was normal. He was probably hot from all the blankets he was wrapped in. We gathered up some blankets and headed down the hill. I carried Eby, which made Hannah nervous, but honestly, it wasn’t too bad. I was carrying a very precious bundle, and I would’ve hurt myself before I let anything hurt him. We arrived at the clinic and made Eby a little bed under the table. Hannah said that we had to start getting him up every 45 minutes to fed him. If he didn’t start peeing, the team would have to try to get an IV in him.

At 10:30 am., I gave Eby to my dad as he needed a job. We put an ounce of pedialyte in a bottle and dad worked at getting him to take it. Eby is so slow at taking liquids and it took over 45 minutes just to get hike to take an ounce! We let Eby go back to sleep, and then we work him up about noon. His temperature was elevated again, so he was given more medicine, which he tried to refuse. I decided to try to give him pedialyte through the syringe instead of the bottle. Cory wanted to see if the baby would take formula, so I went back up the hill to get it. As I came down, I passed Pastor Kevin coming up. He was on his was to see if the cooks would make Eby some fried eggs. Since that worked this morning, we might as well try again. Pastor Kevin said that “our baby” might eat eggs if we offered them to him. It’s funny how Eby has become the baby of the Parakaleo team! Eby was not interested in formula, but as soon as the eggs showed up, Eby perked right up! I handed him the bowl, and he actually hung on to the bowl with one hand and ate with the other hand. He seemed to be perking up as the medicine kicked in, but as soon as I tried to get him to drink from the syringe he would push it away. After watching him feed himself for a few minutes, I asked Faith to pour some water in one of our sterile urine sample cups. I handed the cup to Eby and he drank it himself! Huge deal! It was as if the whole team stopped worked as cameras and cell phones were whipped out to take pictures of Eby. He probably thinks that these white people are a special kind of crazy! Eby did not want to let go of the egg bowl even as he got sleepy. I think that this baby is so hungry that he doesn’t want to relinquish the bowl for fear of losing his food-heartbreaking!

There is never a lack of hand to hold Eby around this team! This little boy has stolen our hearts. He has probably never been held this much, loved on this much, and he is certainly prayed for by every member here.

At around 3:00 pm, we woke him up again to offer food and liquids. He does much better when we wake him up enough to hold his own cup. He isn’t drinking much like maybe 1/2 ounce at a time, but it is something. Sweet Eby ate the rest of His now cold eggs, took a sip of water, and snuggled down to sleep. It’s as if eating and drinking zap him of his energy. Cory suggested giving Eby a Children's vitamin as he ate his eggs. Eby took one small lick, and put it in his bowl. He then proceeded to eat every bit of the eggs, but refused to touch the vitamin! This boy is resilient and stubborn- probably what has kept him alive this long!

Joe carried him back up to the mission house after the clinic was over. We actually had a fairly short day as we were done at a little after 4pm. That was nice because we were all tired! We didn’t see anyone that was overly sick today, but we did see two kids that had rocks stuck in their ears! Cory and Faith managed to get the rocks out, but I’m sure it was not the most pleasant experience for the kids! Also a bunch of these kids have the same type of viral rash symptoms we saw in Baie D’Orange. We saw 206 people today, so it was still a full and busy day.

Eby ate eggs again for supper. It seems like he really likes eggs, and they are a complete protein. Eby did have a wet diaper at about 4:00pm, which was a huge relief to all of us. He seems like he might be making a turn for the better, but I wish that he had some expression about life. It’s almost as if he’s depressed. He shows no interest in anything. At two years, he should show signs of stranger anxiety, but yet he shows no expression to any of us. He eats a little, drinks a little, and goes back to sleep. He did walk after supper tonight, so that was a big deal as we now know that he can do It!

I’m tired. I have more that I should write in today’s journal, but I’ll just have to touch on some highlights from the day. We had prayer and praise time after supper, and it was so encouraging to hear testimonies from the team members. Truth be told, I’m exhausted, and if I tried to give a testimony I would resolve into tears. This I know, since I tried! I do know that God gave me a very special gift when He provided the way for me to be on the team this year. I don’t take that opportunity lightly, and I am thankful from the bottom of my heart. The week isn’t over yet, but we are heading down the mountain tomorrow after the morning clinic. I’m excited to see what God will continue to do.

*Listening to the praises of the other team members
* Eby walking after supper
* God’s goodness in sparing Eby’s life
* Three of the men on the team are dads that have their grown children serving with them on the team. That’s exciting! It gives me a vision of what I can work towards and pray for in my own children.


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

GIVEAWAY and Hello Haiti! Mission Trip Day 4

Haiti Missions Trip Day # 4

by Sarah Robertson

Thursday, February 8, 2018 Day #4

What an incredibly long, emotionally exhausting, physically tiring day! Today the medical clinic was scheduled to take place in Chota. Last night Pastor Kevin had mentioned that we would be walking to Chota, and the walk would take probably about 1 1/2 hours! To be honest, I was actually really looking forward to this walk-think of all that exercise! Chota is down in elevation from Seguin, which meant that we would be hiking back UP at the end of the day. As usual the original plan was to leave around 6:30am. But at 6:30am., some were still eating breakfast, we didn’t have the donkey to carry our medical supplies, and no one seemed to be in a hurry. I like to be on time for everything, but being in Haiti has caused me to not worry about the time. After all, I’m certainly not in charge nor do I want to be, so I’ll just finish the cup of tea that Hannah made me! When the generator is working, the outlets at the mission house work, so that means that the hot water pot will heat water! Hooray for hot tea and American coffee! I’m not a huge fan of Haitian coffee as it seems extremely strong and sweet to me! However, a Haitian breakfast generally consists of coffee and bread with maybe some peanut butter. I’ll just skip the coffee, thank you.

We started off on our walk about 7:30am. The donkey, actually a mule, was carrying our two huge bags of medical supplies, and a smaller bag. That poor mule looked really weighed down to me, but his owner (who’s the pastor from Chota) didn’t seem too concerned. We made it about fifteen steps down the trail before the mule appeared to not want to go down the mountain side. The pastor from the church in Seguin was also coming with us to Chota, so he became the trail guide while the mule was convinced that he did indeed want to go down the mountain!

Since there were about twenty of us walking to Chota, we were spread out across quite a bit of ground. A few of our young Haitian translators and workers were up in the front of the group, and I was right behind them. At one point we had to stop and wait for the others to catch up, and one of the Haitian guys said, “You walk like Haitian woman!” Maybe-or maybe I’m just determined to keep up!

We arrived in Chota around nine am., and the space is tight and small here. The church/school educates about 120 kids in this space. The church people are getting ready to build a building, but Chota is a very poor region so manpower and money are limited. The pastor of the church here is a man that I admire greatly. He’s an educated man who chose to return to his area of Haiti to work with these people and work among them as their pastor and school teacher. I certainly can’t communicate with him, but I can tell that he greatly loves these people. As in Baie D' Orange, the Gospel is preached while we set up for clinic. The space here is very tight and the area that we have to see patients and set up our pharmacy is very small. The dirt floor is not level, so we had to improvise after we realized that our pharmacy table and urine sample table were going to give us problems! I don’t mind doing the urine samples, but I definitely don’t want the urine samples spilling! Emelie was sent to find a way to make the table level. Her solution? Gather up about seven fairly flat rocks and place them under the table until it’s level! After a few combinations, we figured out which rocks would work. Voi’la - a level table!

Trying to squeeze four medical people, four Haitian translators, two pharmacy workers, and places for the patients to sit does require a bit of creative thinking! However, we did manage to do it. We had a lot of people to see before it was time to leave at 3:30pm so that we could be back to the mission house before dark. I remembered a few people from last year. The woman with the broken arm came to the clinic again as well as the young man who had a broken femur. Emelie and I made up lots of worm medicine slurpies, vitamins and acid reflux medicine. A lot of these Haitians are dehydrated, underfed, and have worms. We help them with their medical needs as much as possible, but really the goal is to point them to eternity. Just as we need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the need is the same here. These people need to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins just as much as He did for mine. I can’t understand the preaching of the Gospel here, but I can certainly tell that these pastors are passionate about the Gospel!

We took a short break for lunch at around 1:00 pm. A widow in the church had made lunch for our team. Pastor Kevin explained that she was a member of the church and she wanted to use her house to be a blessing to the church. So half of her small house was a shelter for the rebar that will be used to build the new church building. This poor widow spent much of her day cooking and preparing for us, but she had such joy on her face as she served us lunch. Lunch consisted of beans and rice, chicken legs, and something called “yum”. Yum is like a tasteless potato, and it’s not “yum” in my opinion! But I ate it!

After lunch a few of us took a short hike to see a beautiful view. From the view point you could see across the valley, and it was beautiful. I also hit 13,000 steps st lunchtime! But then it was time to get back to work, as the line of people was still long and we only had about 2 1/2 more hours to see people.

Shortly after lunch an older woman came into the clinic with two young children. She was the grandmother to these children. The girl was probably about three and the grandma said that the little boy was about two years old. The little boy certainly didn’t act right. I’m not a doctor, but having five kids, I’m fairly confident in what normal 2 year old behavior looks like. He just laid there in his grandmas arms while Hannah took his temperature and looked him over. It was clear to see that something was very, very wrong with this sweet boy. Hannah, Kacie, and Cory held a consultation together. There was some talk about sending him down the mountain to the clinic, but Hannah said that she didn’t think that was a good idea. Since it was already two pm, the clinic would be closed by the time the child arrived there. There is no emergency room or walk-in/urgent care place, so he wouldn’t be looked at by a doctor until the next morning. This baby needed help, and he needed it quickly! Hannah said that as hard as it is to believe, this little boys best chance for survival depended on what the medical team could do for him at the mission house. Hannah managed to get some medicine in him to bring down his fever, and Cory tried to offer him some formula. Apparently the last thing this child had eaten was spaghetti and he had been acting this way for two weeks. Spaghetti is one of the last things I would offer to a sick child, but it’s a cheap food and one that is readily available. Pastor Kevin spoke to the grandma and asked her about bringing the boy to the mission house. Haitians don’t carry their emotions on their sleeve, but it’s clear to see that she cared about this little boy. She said that she would bring him to the mission house tonight. Apparently his mama has a nursing infant so she had sent the grandma to the clinic with the two sick kids. The little girl needed some cough medicine, but she was clearly in way better shape than her brother. It’s hard to know if the grandmother will actually bring the child to the mission house, but that’s what can be offered to help right now. A few years back the medical team had seen a baby that had been very dehydrated and sickly. At the time, the decision had been made to send the baby to the clinic down the mountain. However, the clinic was closing by the time the baby arrived, and the mom was told to just give the baby fluids and the clinic would see the baby the next morning. But that baby didn’t make it to the next morning as he died during the night. The medical team had learned a powerful lesson that day, and Hannah had no desire to ever see that experience repeated. So, the medical team would try to help this boy at the mission house.

We were able to wrap up the clinic and see everyone who was in line by about 3:45pm. We saw about 239 people today, and it was time to head back to the mission house.

I was up towards the front of the line, mostly because when I hit a pace, I like to keep at it! I was with a few of the Haitian translators and one of them asked if I ran a lot. No, not really, but I’m competitive! We were getting farther ahead of the rest of the team, when we came across and accident. Right as we were crossing a trail, we saw a man get kicked by a mule! This man was quite elderly, and he went down instantly! We walked over to see if we could help, but I’m not one for knowing much about treating mule kicks! I do know that I wouldn’t have done what the lady with him did! She splashed water on his knee and slapped his leg! Um...ouch! He was clearly in pain, and I wasn’t much help. Thankfully, the rest of the team came up the trail! Hannah looked over his knee and said that she didn’t think anything was broken. But he was going to be in a lot of pain for a few days! Hannah asked where the muscle relaxer might be. Well, I knew which bag it had been put in, but nothing is in the same place when it’s thrown on the back of a mule! After praying that God would help me find it quickly, I opened the bag to find the medicine fairly close to the top...thank you, Lord! Hannah wrapped his knee, gave him some muscle relaxers, Pastor Kevin prayed, and we set him on his way.

After that adventure, we continued our climb to Seguin. As anticipated, much of the trip going back is spent going up, but personally I like climbing up better than trying not to slid down! A few in our group managed to snag a motorcycle ride once we hit the main road. But the rest of us just walked, and kept on walking! It’s kinda like a walk that never ends because once you hit the main road you think that surely the mission house is around the next bend! Krissy (a girl from Montana) walked with me, so at least I had someone to talk to. Once we saw the radio tower, I knew that we needed to head that way to get to the mission house. There are trails everywhere off the main road leading to peoples homes, etc. We picked one that was heading in the right direction, kept the radio tower in sight, and sure enough, we arrived! I had acquired 27,000 steps by the time we reached the mission house, and when we got there, we had company.

The grandma had arrived at the mission house along with her sick grandson and another of her granddaughters (probably about six years old). We gave the grandma and her granddaughter snacks while we waited for the rest of the team to arrive. Actually, Debbie Lynne held the baby while I ate her snacks. I was so hungry!

When all the medical team had arrived back at the mission house they held a consultation together. I certainly didn’t understand all of their medical terminology, but I did understand they were going to cather the baby to test his urine for a Urinalysis. Perhaps this baby has a urinary tract infection. First of all, the environment needed to be made a clean and sterile as possible. This is not a small feat while setting up on a concrete floor in a foreign country. Hannah said that it was a God thing that she had even brought an infant catheter kit as she had just tucked it into her bag on a whim! God knew that we would need that along with the diapers that Debbie Lynne had used to pack a few fragile items in her bag! God is so good!

Back the baby...Hannah was able to collect a pee sample, and the urine was tested. The problem was that the urine did not show signs of infection, so what is wrong with the baby? Joe Costello had worked in a lab years ago, and he had brought along his microscope to help if needed. The med team asked him to examine the urine sample, and he did. But nothing abnormal was seen. Joe asked if Hannah could possibly get a blood sample to test. This would be hard to do as the baby is dehydrated and very weak. The prayers could be practically felt in this room as Hannah tried to get a blood sample. I couldn’t even pray out loud as I knew that I would cry. Hannah worked to get a blood sample, and the baby didn’t even fight or struggle. He didn’t cry or fuss as the infant catheter was put in, as a rectal temperature was taken, or as his blood was drawn-not normal 2 year old behavior! Also, the boy had extreme cold hands and feet, which were swollen, and not a spare ounce of fat anywhere! I don’t know if he could’ve walked if he had wanted to as his thigh muscles look so weak! Hannah, Cory, and Kacie decided to give him a shot of antibiotics, which Faith administered to him. It had to sting but the baby didn’t even really fight or cry!

Debbie Lynne sat with the baby for a while, and she tried to get him to take some formula. She managed to get him to take a little through the syringe. We put a diaper on the baby as we would be able to tell if he was urinating. While Debbie Lynne was holding the baby a few of us got ready to take showers-the water was freezing here last year. This year the water pump was hooked up to the propane take so hot showers were a possibility! The warm water is a bit sporadic, but God surely gave me a blessing by providing a bit of warm water!

The grandma, granddaughter, and baby would be staying with us tonight at the mission house, so that meant we needed to find a bed for them. They had come from Chota with only the clothes on their backs. Hannah and my dad gave up their sleeping mates, Emelie found a set of sheets, and Faith and I offered up our small extra blankets. I created a pillow out of clean bath mates wrapped in a pillow case. Truthfully, it’s probably more comfortable that the corn husk mats that they sleep on at home.

While we were working in the bed situation, Pastor Kevin was talking to the grandmother and granddaughter about their need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. He gave them the Gospel message, provided them with the opportunity to ask Jesus into their hearts, and asked if they would want to pray. Both the grandmother and the granddaughter asked Jesus into their hearts! Two souls for eternity!

About 8:30pm, Hannah was able to get the baby to take a little more formula. The baby actually seemed to be alert and looking around a bit, which is a good sign! Hannah said that the baby, whose name is Eby, would need to be feed every hour through the night and his temperature monitored. I know what that means-I was just promoted to nursery duty at Seguin Mission Clinic! Hannah, Debbie Lynne, Kacie, myself worked out a feeding schedule. We knew the night would be short on sleep, but if that’s what it takes for Eby to survive, sign us up!

Joe had examined the blood sample through his microscope, and he didn’t spot anything too abnormal. He said some of the cells seemed to be underdeveloped, but nothing that was glaringly evident to be the problem.

I was given the 10:00pm feeding and also the 3:00am feeding. Pastor Kevin had explained to the grandma that one of us would be coming to get Eby from his bed every hour so that he could be fed. She seemed to understand, and she laid down in bed with her granddaughter on one side and Eby tucked in beside her. At ten pm, I tried hard to get Eby to eat. He won’t suck a bottle, so we have resorted to feeding him through a syringe. I managed to get about 4ml in him, which is a ridiculously little amount! A two year old should swallow down ten ounces in no time, not struggle with less than 1/2 oz.! He was alert enough to know that he didn’t want me to feed him! I checked his diaper, and it was a little wet! Praise the Lord as that means that his kidneys are still working! I gave up trying to feed him, and I’m praying that Kacie will have better success at the 11:15 feeding! We are all so very exhausted, and this has been an emotional day! The prayers have been going steadily upwards, but Eby is not out of the woods yet. My prayer, along with everyone else on the team, is that God will spare his life, that the medical team will have wisdom, and that God will give us a miracle. I’m exhausted and tired, and I’m going to bed.

One more note about the grandma. She came up to the mission house carrying her grandson. Eby probably weighs about sixteen pounds, but still she carried him for 1 1/2 hours, along with guiding her granddaughter. And the grandma did it while wearing flip flops-what a woman!!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

GIVEAWAY and Hello Haiti! Mission Trip Day 3

Day # 3, Haiti Missions Trip

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

by Sarah Robertson

God is so good! The original plan was to be ready to head to clinic at Baie D' Orange at 6:30am. However, time is more of a suggestion around here, so we didn’t get going until closer to 7:30am.

The bag of medicine supplies had been found in Jacmel! Thank you, Lord!! Jeremy had called Pastor Kevin last night explaining that he had found a bag of stuff at the pastor’s house. Pastor Kevin handed the phone to Hannah, and Jeremy said he thought it was dentist supplies! However, after listening to Jeremy’s explanation of what was in the bag, Hannah told him to bring up all the “dentist” supplies that he found. She was fairly confident that Jeremy was describing the thermometers! Someone was supposed to be bringing the bag back up the mountain shortly after it was found in Jacmel. Originally the driver had said he would come up the mountain rain or shine, night or day. Apparently though the driver liked day and sunshine because at 7:30am, we still didn’t have the bag!

But at 7:30, it was time to go. We would just have to make do at the clinic until the bag arrived. The eleven motorcycles had arrived at the mission house to take us to the clinic. Three people to a motorcycle and a motorcycle to carry the medical supplies. Just as we were about ready to ride and everyone was ready, a motorcycle could be seen down the road coming our way. Was this the bag? Hooray! It was the bag of supplies from Jacmel- God is always on time!

We arrived at the location of the clinic about 8:15am. Faith and I rode together on a motorcycle and we were actually in the front of the line-less dust to eat that way! Hannah and Josh got into a bit of an accident on the motorcycle, but no one was hurt. Hannah did say that the front wheel looked a bit wobbly after the accident, but eventually we all arrived! There is much to do before the actual clinic can take place, so it was time to get busy. While the preaching of the Gospel is happening on the other side of the wall (which the wall is actually just a bedsheet hung up to give a wall), we are finding a spot to put our pharmacy stuff on, a place to see patients, a way to do triage in an organized fashion, a place to count out pills and vitamins...and trying to do it fairly quietly! We also needed a spot to test the urine samples, and Joe needed a spot to set up his microscope.

Upon opening the bag from Jacmel, we discovered that the bag did contain the thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and some medicine. However, we are still missing some supplies that we had last year. But no time to worry about that right now, and God gave us the necessary stuff so it’s time to begin our first day of medical clinic!

This location for clinic is a new location. As with all our medical clinics, we host them through a church. The church also has a school here in the same location, but there is no school today due to the medical clinic. The school here educates about 320 children! And there is no way to adaquately describe how that seems impossible when the size of the space is considered! The main area is made of tarps hung across rough beams and poles to create a large space. Then there are several smaller “rooms” off of that area that are divided by sheets and blankets hung up to separate the space. If this church can educate 320 children in this space, then I have no room to hear arguments about small spaces in our classrooms back home!

While we were setting up for clinic, several Bible college students preached to the people. I’m not sure how many people accepted Christ as their Savior, but I do know that several decisions were made. We started the clinic after the preaching and we worked hard and steady all day! Debbie Lynne and our Haitian nurse worked in triage. Several other team members were bagging vitamins, Tylenol, ibuprofen, acid medicine, and iron in smaller baggies so that the medical people could give them to patients. Everyone seen gets a thirty day supply of vitamins, and often worm medicine and acid medications. That’s a lot of vitamins! Hannah, Kacie, Cory, and Faith are our actual certified medical people, so they worked with their translators on seeing people. Emelie and I ran the pharmacy and urine specimen table. Emelie and I are great at handling the pharmacy as long as our medical people talk to us in colors. As in the “red pill” or the tablets from the “orange” box, etc. I mean, we get better at every clinic, but other than tums we probably shouldn’t be trusted to actually prescribe anything! However, we can mix medicine, test urnine samples, weigh babies, make worm medicine mixtures for kids (we call them worm slurpies), and laugh at ourselves!

The original plan was to end the clinic about 3:30pm, and walk back to the mission house. However, Pastor Kevin said that he would send motorcycles for us instead so that we could keep the clinic going longer. Praise the Lord for that decision as we were able to see everyone that came to the clinic. At the end of the day, we saw over 312 people! Many of the families in this area have large families as in five, six, and seven kids, so we saw a lot of children! And they were all so cute!

We treated a lot of kids for cold and respiratory symptoms. It makes sense that they would all have a lot of the same symptoms since all these school kids must practically sit on each other to squeeze in here! We also saw a few people with heart problems, a mama with pre-clampsia, and a lot of kids with colds, coughs, and an odd rash.

Although is was a long day, the Lord gave protection, strength, and wisdom for all the members of the team. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this team again this year. It already makes me want to come back next year, which God could allow...if He provides another miracle.

At the end of the day, we were very thankful to see those motorcycles arrive to take us back to the mission house. It would’ve been a very LONG walk, and I like exercise, but I was thankful for a motorcycle. Although Faith and I had a good driver both coming and going to clinic, it’s still an opportunity to pray for God’s protection. The roads are rough and bumpy with lots of gravel, rocks, steep downhills, and back up hill. Yet we arrived safely at the mission house!

Tonight I am praising the Lord for a great day at our first medical clinic. God is so good!


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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

GIVEAWAY plus Hello Haiti! Mission Trip Day 2

Haiti Journal - Day #2, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Day #2 in Haiti, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

by Sarah Robertson

It’s a beautiful morning here in Haiti. We are leaving the hotel this morning to head up the mountains to Seguin. While our hotel room smelled strongly of mildew, the sheets seemed clean and we had water for showers.

I’m sitting outside by the ocean. As I listen to the waves, soak up the beauty of the water, and observe what’s in front of me, I’m reminded that we serve an unchanging God. God today, God tomorrow, God He’s always going to be. I so appreciate God’s faithfulness and unchanging character as we are surrounded in life by things that constantly change. I do love the fact that while I don’t know what today will bring forth, I serve a God who’s hand is covering it all!

Pastor Kevin told us yesterday that the van driver had asked the Lord to be his Savior! Apparently this van driver has driven for the Parakaleo team members several times when coming from the airport to Jacmel. The driver has been presented with the Gospel several times, but yesterday he realized that salvation was a gift for him. It’s so exciting to see God at work!

Later today:
We made it to the mission house - praise the Lord! The mission dump truck needed some repairs, so we needed to find a different one. The hotel owner had a small dump truck that he agreed to rent to Parakaleo. The hotel owner drove his own truck up the mountain, dropped off the luggage, people on the truck, and headed back down the mountain. God brought that man along in our lives for a purpose! Because this dump truck was smaller than the mission truck, and we were getting a later start than we wanted, it was decided to not try to bring along a load of sand at this time.

We only had a few motorcycles to start out with this morning. Those that weren’t on motorcycles yet would ride on the dump truck to the town at the base of the mountain. At that town we would get more motorcycles for the rest of the team members. As we started off from the hotel, I was among those riding on the dump truck. The dump truck was full of supplies, people, bags -it was a full truck. I found a spot up on the bags, but a few miles down the road, I felt like my pants were damp. Yeah, I had sat on someone’s backpack and liquid was on my pants...oh well! We passed the people on motorcycles as one of the motorcycles had run out of gas. That’s not good, but better to happen now than later! Pastor Kevin said that we would reach the base of the mountain first, but to please not get out of the dump truck as we would be swarmed by people wanting us to ride on their motorcycle.

This town has a two-way Main Street, but it’s really only one way. It was market day today and the street was flooded with vendors. Trying to get through the street without hitting anything or anyone is a feat not for the faint of heart! After much effort we did get through the market street, and waited for the rest of the team on motorcycles. Pastor Kevin showed up and he found drivers to take us up the mountain. Getting out of the dump truck and getting on the right motorcycle can be a bit of a challenge. I only want to get on one that is authorized to take us up the mountain! I found Faith, and we found the right motorcycle. So there’s three of us on a small motorcycle heading up the mountain without helmets - sounds like a plan! Faith and I were at the back of the pack, so as we took off I turned to look back at the dump truck. Oh no! The driver had accidentally hit the lever to dump the load, and the dump truck was rising up with our stuff, people, and all kinds of stuff! Thankfully, it only took a few seconds to realize what was happening, and the situation was fixed! A bit scary, but all is well.

We arrived up at the mission house around 1:30 pm. That meant that we had plenty of daylight left to figure out medical supplies. Everyone started opening up their bags and taking out what they had brought. It’s a rather interesting scene when fourteen team members start opening bags and pulling supplies out of sleeping bags, from amoungst clothes, and various other places in bags and suitcases. There was a whole bunk bed full of supplies that needed to be organized and sorted for the next few days of clinics. I am happy to help, but I’m not too helpful when it comes to getting that stuff organized. Instead I made beds, helped provide an extra set of hands, and tried to help wherever I could.

I walked outside the mission house to see that the men were busy trying to rig a way to get the generator up on the roof
of the mission house. Why’s that? Well, it’s a lot harder to steal if it’s on top of the roof! There method would never be approved back in the states as it consisted of a person on the ladder (my dad), a few pieces of ratty rope, a few people on the roof pulling up, and a few people below pushing up! The rope that they were using was really not in good shape, and I remembered that Travis had tucked rope in my bag before I left. He said maybe it could be used for something. Yes! I found the rope, and it was added to the rope that was already being used. It wasn’t the safe environment, but the generators did make it to the roof! Praise God!

Back to the medical clinic people...they had a problem. After everything was dragged out from everywhere, it became apparent that we were missing some supplies. We were missing blood pressure cuffs, medical thermometers, more medicine-stuff that is a big deal! I could tell that Hannah was about sick over it, and she told me she thought she wa going to throw up. We need these items to do the medical clinic, and where is that stuff? We prayed first and then searched. Nothing! We realized that there was a possibility that the stuff was back down the mountain. We had had a clinic last year down the mountain on a Sunday afternoon, so was it possibly the supplies had been left at the pastor’s house? After we discussed it, we realized that there was a possibility that the bag had been left in Jacmel at the pastor’s house which was a long ways away. We need this bag so it is a huge prayer request that this bag can be found and brought up the mountain by tomorrow morning. Jeremy (one of our Haitian friends) was sent down the mountain via motorcycle to see if he can find this bag. I know what our prayer request is for tonight!

I brought lots of candy and treats. Travis’s class had collected snacks for me to give to the Haitian children. As soon as one treat is handed out, the hands multiply! And just like children back home, they aren’t always honest either. A lot of them look alike, so I’m sure that at least one child had two treats! However, they did go and pick up some flowers. Their faces are so cute!

I’m excited to go to bed tonight, even though this bunk bed reminds me that I’m not eighteen anymore! It was a full day of travel, organizing and preparing for the week. We are going to bed with hearts asking God to allow Jeremy to find that medical bag tonight.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Hello Haiti! Day 1 Mission Trip PLUS GIVEAWAY!

Day #1 February 5, 2018 - Monday

By Sarah Robertson

It was a night short on sleep, but the water was hot at the hotel and the pillows were comfy! Hannah, Josh, and I arrived at the hotel around 10 pm. The other gal that came from Maine, Faith, had been on a different flight out of Maine and unfortunately, she was delayed. Faith and I were sharing a hotel room, but due to her flight delays, she didn’t get to the hotel until about 3:30 am., and we had to be up at 4:30 am.! So even though I didn’t sleep that great at least I got a few hours of sleep!

When we had arrived in Miami, we weren’t sure if we had to collect our checked baggage or if the bags would stay at the airport. I asked to different airline employees about our checked bags and they both gave the same answer. The bags stayed at the airport, and the bags would be put on the flight to Port-au-Prince in the morning. Okay! While that makes our check-in quicker in the morning, there is something a little unnerving about those bags being out of our care for so long! Our most important items are in those bags for clinics in the mountains.

4:30 am. Came early for all of us, but especially for Faith! It was nice to take hot showers before heading to the airport for our last leg of the journey to Haiti. Coming back into the airport, we had to go through security again. Most of us made it through without a hitch, except Josh. His carry on was taken apart and then nothing would go back in it the same way! Our carry ons are packed very full, and my back pack weighs about 34lbs. Hannah managed to help Josh get his stuff back in his suitcase, which took a bit of mad packing skills! Oh, I forgot to mention that the TSA agent was the first one to wish Hannah a “happy birthday”! Yeah, my brain is a bit foggy this early in the morning and without coffee!

Faith and I found a spot to get coffee and Hannah and Josh tried to find a place to pick up some lunch for later-no success! We were kinda hoping to find a place that would pack us a lunch because we will be waiting in Port-au-Prince for about four hours before the rest of the team arrives from the States.

Our flight was scheduled to leave from Miami at 7:10 am. After realizing that the Subway place was on the other side of security, Hannah and Josh needed something to eat before boarding. There was a bagel place right near our gate so Hannah decided to grab a bite to eat. The flight crew must have been anxious to get the flight underway as they started boarding at 6:20 am. Hannah was in line for food, and Josh was waiting for her. So Faith and I went ahead and boarded. The flight was not full, but everyone was seated. Hannah and Josh got on at 6:45, and Hannah said that they had actually been paged! Like I said, apparently someone was in a hurry! And of course, it was “hurry up and wait” as we sat in the plane and then took off at 7:14am. But Praise the Lord, all the people from Maine are on board and heading to Haiti!

We arrived in Port-au-Prince at 8:50am. We had several hours to wait before the rest of the team arrived, but the time passed fairly quickly. I discovered that my bag was wet, and we had to wipe down and repack several of the Childrens cough medicines. I am so thankful that all my clothes were packed in baggies, and that nothing was ruined. All of our bags arrived-praise Jesus! We passed the time eating snacks, playing games, and visting together. We needed to go through customs together as a team, and the Port-au-Prince airport on the baggage side is a little plain and boring, but we were able to get comfortable on camp chairs and suitcases.

The rest of the team arrived about 1:45 pm, and it was a flurry of happy hugs and happy reunions. Last year I was the new member on the team, but this year I knew just about everyone as we only had two people that were new to the team. It was fun to see everyone from last year, and see so many friends. Everyone managed to find the bags that they came with and there were certainly a bunch of them! My dad came from Wisconsin so it was good to see him again too! Next up-customs!

Last year I pushed a luggage cart, but I was smarter this year! I carrried my backpack, another backpack, and pulled a suitcase. With a cart a Haitian always wants to help you, which is fine, except then they’d like a tip! I managed to hang on to everything, and I got in line with the rest of the team. One of the custom guards started jabbering away to me, and I had no idea what he wanted! I asked Grandpa (Pastor Kevin’s dad) what the guard wanted and Grandpa told me he was telling me that I didn’t have to go though the line. Okay! Fine by me, I just walked out of the line as did several others on the team, and we waited for everyone else to finish up. Customs seemed to progress fairly quickly and we didn’t have any snags...many thanks to all those who prayed!

Four of us from the team rode on the back of the dump truck with the bags. The rest of the team members piled into a van. I don’t mind riding in the van, but mountain roads, an empty stomach, and lots of new smells pointed me to ride on the dump truck! A tarp was put over the top if the truck to protect from the sun and dust, however, that tarp was so loud that I thought my ears would bleed! Finally, I got smart and pulled out my headphones. I gave my extra pair to my dad and that greatly helped!

I was wondering how I would respond to Port-au-Prince after seeing if for the first time last year. Honestly, it’s still hard! I would want better than to be selling chicken beside a burning pile of trash, I would want more than a shack to live in, and I would desire a better future for my children. Yet it’s what they have. Just as I didn’t choose to be born an a American, in a Godly home, and the conveniences that I live with, they didn’t choose this. However, God, in His sovereignty, is still in control. It’s very overwhelming -the trash, the filthy conditions, the skinny dogs, the dirty children, the droop of the shoulders of tired mamas, the constant traffic and fumes. Yet the real need is not to fix a temporary need, it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that this week we will be able to help with some of those temporary medical needs, but more importantly, I hope we can point them to Jesus. And I will say that these Haitian Christians are some of the most joyful people I know, and I can certainly learn a lot from them!

We arrived at our destination for tonight after about a 3 1/2 hour drive. I thought I was going to be sick as we climbed the steep mountain roads, but God gave grace. While my headache was intense, we made it! Praise God! We did have a very close call with a semi trailer flatbed, but God is so merciful.

We are staying in a little hotel tonight before heading up the mountain tomorrow. Hannah and a few others from the team went to the pharmacy to get more medical supplies. The rest of us unloaded the dump truck as nothing can be left unattended overnight.

The hotel is right in the water and quite lovely. The showers are still cold, but not freezing! The hotel also provided a lovely meal for all fourteen team members. The meal included chicken, goat, fish (the whole thing!) lobster (it did NOT taste like Maine lobster) and of course rice and beans. Since it was Hannah’s birthday we had ice cream for dessert. Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite! The first ingredient is sugar, and the cookies and cream kind tasted like rum-yuck! But now I can say.. I tried it!

We are going to bed so that we can get up early tomorrow to ride motorcycles up the mountain. The dump truck isn’t working right so Pastor Kevin is looking for a different one for tomorrow. He would like to take a load of sand up to the mission house, and the luggage will go in top of the sand. And on top of the luggage will sit some people...why that sounds safe, right?! Most of us will be going up to the missions house via motorcycles. The good news is that the ride will be much shorter than on the dump truck as in probably about 1 1/2 hours. I will be praying for safety on this adventure as those roads are steep, gravely, and sometimes treacherous. God is good!

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