Saturday, February 27, 2010

And so I wonder

So I sit here, once again, in my living room as I listen to the reports of another earthquake - this time in Chile. Tsunami warnings for over half the globe including Honduras. Gratefully the earthquake hit in a center that has good earthquake buildings and modern medicine. I looked at the pictures of Chile that are flooding in I can't help but reflect back on my time in Haiti. Tears came to my eyes as I saw all to familiar pictures of crushed cars, people crying for the loss of a loved one. And I wonder. God is calling to us. Calling to us in His majesty. Calling to us to come to Him. He is the ONLY hope - the ONLY way - the ONLY salvation! So I pray for those in Haiti. I pray for those with sorrow in my heart for what they are still going through. I pray for those in Chile who have lost loved ones and I know that God is calling out. Calling to His people. Calling out to those who aren't His. Come to Him. Seek His face and He is yours! He loves you - all you need to do is love Him back and seek the embrace that is reaching out to you! Come, Lord Jesus...Come!!!

Even as I wrote this my dear friend Mindy sent this to me via e-mail:

Psalm 22:24
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one (Haiti); he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (He is going to care for His children)*

Psalm 71:20-21
Though you have made me (you) see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again (new normal cause you will never be the "same"); from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

I love my dear friend - she ever reaches out to me when I am troubled, and am humbled by those who care to listen to this broken vessel of God. He calls...I answer...His Saints lift me up. Praise God! 'Nuff said!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Final words from Haiti

As I'm trying to "get back to life" in Honduras, my husband has told me he has often asked me simple questions while we are driving, or sitting on the couch, and I'm staring off into space - "back in Haiti" he says. I do find that my mind wanders - I can't help it. Haiti had such a profound impact on me. But - our ministry ever calls - we have our medical clinic today in the village, and a team arrives on Saturday - so onward I go. So I am finding that getting back to the daily routine of things is helping - but I can't help but share my final words from Haiti:

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This is my first blog post in three weeks. My beloved husband has been taking the reigns on my blog. Taking my snippets of information I e-mailed to him, or the brief opportunities I was able to call him.

So here I sit in the comforts of my home, after having slept in my own bed, safe from the dangers of roving robbers, or the discomforts of starvation. It's an odd realization knowing that those I left behind in Haiti still live in their sheet houses and weep as their child goes to bed hungry. Living in the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, I can step back and look at the differences between Haiti and Honduras and I marvel. Honduras had a 7.3 earthquake, 75 miles off the coast of La Ceiba, in May of last year. Our house shook like nobodies business, and I wondered if our cement house would collapse upon us. The fear I felt must have been nothing like the fear of the Haitian people. In 40 seconds their world was changed. Over 200,000 people have been buried, and they suppose about that many sill remain under the rubble. The desperation I saw in the faces around me as (according to one of our interpreters), their futures have been taken from them. The little hope they had of going to school and getting a decent job has been taken from them as 75% of the schools in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed. This is a disaster that a whole generation will suffer the effects from.

I am in my living room typing this on my computer, and know that the future for my child is as secure as it can be. I can only imagine the anguish a mother must feel knowing that there is no "hope" for her child. The only hope I see from this is the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I continue to pray for the people of Haiti. For the lives lost and for the lives that are struggling. I pray that I will not lose or forget the experience I had and remember what it's like to be in their situation. I will be forever changed by the experience I had there, and I pray that God was able to use my hands to lessen the pain for just a little while, someone who was grieving. To give a hug to someone who was/is in emotional pain. To show love to someone who has lost all hope. To bring a new life into the world, and to help ease the pain of a man who lost his child in front of my eyes.

My dear friend Mindy sent this to me while I was in the midst of struggles while in Haiti. May it ease your soul as it did mine:

"On Sunday Pastor Reddit got up to do the call to worship. He began with an excerpt from Henry Ward Beecher's "Life Thoughts". This is how it went:

What would you say of a pilgrim commissioned of God to travel up and down the earth singing melody, which, when one heard, caused him to forget whatever sorrow he had? And so the singing angel goes on his way through all the lands singing in the language of every nation, driving away trouble by the pulse of the air which his tongue moves with divine power. Behold just such a one! This pilgrim God has sent to speak in every language on the globe. It has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands on the sea-shore. It had comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the heart of the sick, of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner, and broken his chains, and, like Peter's angel, led him forth in the imagination, and sung him back to his home again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled those whom, dying, he left behind mourning, not so much that he was gone, as because they were left behind and could not go too. Nor is its work done. It will go singing to your children and my children, and to their children, through all the generations of time; nor will it fold its wings till the last pilgrim is safe, and time ended; and then it shall fly back to the bosom of God, whence it issued, and sound on, mingled with all those sounds of celestial joy which make heaven musical for ever.

And when he finished he began to read the 23rd Psalm. The entire congregation, unprompted, lifted their voices in reciting along with him. All I could do was listen. The tears sprang to my eyes for all the times that this very pilgrim has traveled with me. Now, may it travel with you and all those alongside you.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Erin Serving In Haiti

Following the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team went there to serve the refugees and glorify Christ. Erin was in Haiti serving from January 29 - February 16, 2010.

Watch this 3 minute 55 second video to see the disaster, the people and the work:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Erin NOT In Haiti – The Eagle Has Landed…And Is Cold

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team have left Haiti and have landed safely back in the U.S. They landed in Atlanta, GA before 8:00pm local time. The rest of the team members have gone their separate ways and are headed to their homes. Erin will be staying in Atlanta for a couple of days while she awaits her flight back to Honduras.

Erin is scheduled to land back in Honduras on Thursday afternoon.

When they left Haiti it was 90 degrees. When they landed in Atlanta it was 28 degrees.

Pictures and videos will be posted on this blog as soon as they are available.

Praise God!

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that Erin and the team all receive good rest tonight and tomorrow. 2) Pray that there are no long-term health problems with any member of the team. 3) Pray that Christ is glorified by the actions of the team in Haiti.

Erin In Haiti – Still In Haiti

Mike blogging for Erin

The busy airport at Port au Prince, Haiti.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team are still in Haiti. They arrived at the airport in Port au Prince at 3:30pm Monday. The number of flight options has decreased dramatically in the past week. At one point on Monday evening the team contemplated driving all night to cross the boarder into the Dominican Republic to try to catch a flight from there.

The good news is - thanks to the grace of God and the hard work of the Disaster Response staff, the team has secured a tentative flight leaving Haiti at 1:00pm today. If all goes as planned the entire team will board an Airline Ambassadors International flight bound for Atlanta, GA.

Last night the entire team slept on the tarmac at the airport. They slept on benches and luggage conveyer belts. Jets were coming and going all night. Erin said that, “it was the best nights sleep I’ve ever had on a bench.”

The team has already gone through security this morning and is ready for their flight. This morning they all feasted on crackers and cheese. Erin had saved a military MRE from earlier. She was the queen for the day when she shared her chemical heater with the rest of the team to allow them to heat their instant coffee. Ah, the little things.

These types of relief flights can be a bit unreliable. This blog will be updated later today when and if it is confirmed that the team has landed in Atlanta.

Forecasts call for an extra hot and humid day in Haiti today.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that the thousands of Haitians impacted by the team see Christ through the team’s actions. 2) Pray that the team is able to take the 1pm flight and that it gets them all safely to Atlanta. 3) Pray the team has a good attitude in the face of continued change and diversity.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Erin In Haiti – I Disgust Myself

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin outside the team's clinic.

Bringing a baby into a new Haiti.

Erin and the MTW team treated 103 patients Sunday. Erin continues to act as the clinic Pharmacist. She is also giving shots and starting IVs. The team is treating some very sick kids. With the lack of sanitation they are seeing lots of infections.

Erin said that Sunday was one of the hottest days. “I am just filthy, dirty and gross. I need a head to toe scrubbing. I take two cold showers a day, use dozens of wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer. Nothing helps. I disgust myself.” The Haitians are burning lots of trash and there is so much dust kicked up. Everything is covered in soot and dirt.

The MTW team is doing well and has high spirits. Everyone is healthy and getting along well. Erin said that she and another team member developed some “weird rash” that nobody could figure out. A little topical cream and all is well.

Following Erin’s two dirty needle sticks she had her blood drawn and tested. The results just came back and she tested negative for HIV and Hepatitis C.

Yesterday the team visited one of the worst areas in all of Port au Prince. Erin said, “Imagine old pictures of bombed out Germany at the end of World War II. That’s what this looked like.”

The team is going to host a half-day of clinic on Monday and close up shop at 2:00pm. They then plan to head back to their camp, shower, pack, and head out to the airport to sign up for a ride home. There are still no commercial flights, so they will wait for available seats on the first airplane heading to the U.S. It's one of those things where they won’t know where, when or if they are going until they get on the plane. They may wait at the airport for two hours or two days.

With good fortune and God’s grace they may be back in the U.S. Monday night.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that the team finishes well. 2) Pray they are able to catch an early flight back to a convenient location in the U.S. 3) Pray for continued long term good health for all the team members.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Seeing The Light

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin taking care of a baby.

Another sick child.

Erin and the MTW team treated 125 patients Saturday. They said it was a tough day and they saw a lot of sick patients including a septic patient, a baby suffering from severe pneumonia and dehydration, several severe STD cases and a baby with severe neurological issues from a congenital infection that has no hope of meaningful long-term recovery.

The team has continued to hold a worship service before clinic in the morning with Esaie preaching and everyone singing songs in Creole and English. The generator was fixed so the team went back to holding clinic in the air tent that has gotten quite hot and smelly.

The team has just started noticing streetlights being turned on when they drive home in the evenings. They have also noticed a slight increase in the availability of electricity.

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that a recent rash of diarrhea is in fact a Salmonella outbreak caused by "bad chicken". They do not know how widespread the problem is. Our MTW team has been very careful with water and food and everyone has remained healthy.

According to the United Nations (UN), over a million people remain homeless in Haiti one month after the earthquake. Over 300,000 are in camps in Carrefour, nearly 200,000 in Port au Prince, and over 100,000 each in Delmas, Petitionville and Leogane. The UN reported that barely one in five of the people in camps have received tents or tarps as of this weak.

There is increasing concern that with the rainy season approaching, the lack of tents and temporary shelter could lead to the outbreak of disease. In the biggest of the camps that sprung up in the city after the earthquake, people are still living under sheeting strung across wooden poles.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for shelters for Haitian refugees. 2) Pray for the team as they attempt to depart Haiti Monday night/Tuesday morning. 3) Pray for Erin to finish well as she struggles with energy.

High School Scholarship In Honduras - Walter (4 of 4)

For the 2010 school year we are providing scholarships to four kids in Armenia Bonito. This will enable each of them to attend high school. Walter is one of the kids who will receive a scholarship.

Each day we will introduce you to one of the four kids. Watch this 2 minute and 35 second video to meet Walter:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Erin In Haiti – The Stench Of Death

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin doing what she does best.

The teams inflatable tent they use for a clinic.

Erin and the MTW team treated 103 patients Thursday and 83 on Friday. When they started clinic there were 40 people lined up waiting to receive care. The team is fully incorporating counseling sessions into many visits. Needless to say they are hearing some amazing and heart breaking stories. They had a few equipment problems including the generator dying. The generator kept the tent inflated that the team has been using as the clinic. They had to move their clinic outside in the sun to continue seeing patients. Today they are moving clinic to nearby shade.

One 21 year old man lost both his parents, and knows that his brother was taken somewhere in the Dominican Republic. All he has heard from his brother is that he is dying. He cannot contact his brother or confirm if he is alive. The man is alone on the streets with nowhere to go. The man visited the MTW team both Thursday and Friday just to talk.

The MTW team is healthy and has bonded well. They continue to have devotions in the morning as well as the evening.

After clinic the team drove a different route back to their camp. They went through one of the heaviest hit neighborhoods in Port au Prince. The sights and the smell of decaying bodies were overwhelming. Erin said, “It was a smell that will stick with me a long time. I can't believe it is a month after the earthquake and you can still smell the stench of death.”

The Haitian government reports that it has buried 217,000 people in mass graves and the number is expected to rise as the rubble continues to be moved. Seven thousand people have lost an arm or a leg. Over 1.5 million people are sleeping in the streets or in tents made with bed sheets. Thousands of children will be unable to return to school because 5,000 schools have been destroyed and 1,000 teachers killed.

The President of Haiti called for three days of prayer and fasting throughout Haiti. There were huge gatherings around the city for prayer and worship! When the team reached the refugee camp, they held a worship service with the patients before beginning. Esaie, a Haitian national and MTW Pastor, read Psalms 31. Three Haitians prayed and three "blancs" (think gringo) prayed. The Haitians sang prayer songs in Creole and our team sang in English. It was an incredible time. They plan on doing this each day. Praise God! Our MTW team prayed with two Haitians to accept Christ!

Some medical professionals are reporting abnormally high numbers of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever in Port au Prince. However, officials are concerned that these reports may not be accurate since it is not yet the rainy/mosquito season in Haiti.

The team is discussing the possibility of doing a full day of clinic on Monday, then heading back to the compound and leaving for the airport that evening. If this plan stays in effect they will attempt to find transportation out of Haiti late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for energy and sleep. Erin and a few others are completely exhausted. 2) Pray for an additional translator to help with counseling. 3) Pray for Esaie and his family as they decide how to best minister to the Haitian people.

High School Scholarship In Honduras - Nancy (3 of 4)

For the 2010 school year we are providing scholarships to four kids in Armenia Bonito. This will enable each of them to attend high school. Nancy is one of the kids who will receive a scholarship.

Each day we will introduce you to one of the four kids. Watch this 2 minute and 30 second video to meet Nancy:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Riots, Rain And Protests

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin enjoying a moment.

Patients stacking up to be seen.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team are healthy and doing well. They have been able to sleep well, shower and eat healthy. They had another productive and steady day at the medical clinic.

The team is very organized and knows how to get things done. Their Disaster Response Training has prepared the team to step right in and be able to work on the same page, even though everyone just met each other. Many cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are showing up. The two counselors were very busy.

The United Nations (UN) came to distribute food again right next to where the team has the clinic set up. Last week there was rioting centered around the issue of food. This time the UN brought guards along with them and there were no problems. The team has asked the UN to distribute food away from where the clinic is held.

It rained for an hour yesterday morning. Everyone is concerned about shelter for the refugees and the possibilities of disease outbreak. Most people simply have blankets or a sheet as their “tent”. According to the UN, only 25 percent of homeless Haitians have tarps or tents; in one temporary settlement, 40,000 people are living in makeshift shelters that are not weatherproof. Approximately 1,000 people were involved in protests Thursday morning demanding tents for the rainy season. The Haitian government has said it will prioritize shelter.

Esaie is the MTW Pastor and Haitian national the team has been working with from the beginning. His truck was rendered inoperable after the earthquake. Adam, one of the MTW team members, fixed Esaie's truck. It isn't 100% but is better than it was before.

You can start to see a difference in Port-au-Prince and the Haitian people since the team arrived almost 2 weeks ago. There are signs that people are starting to try and get back to normal. They are sweeping and cleaning up the streets. The markets are open. Trash is being put out and picked up. Construction teams are working hard at removing rubble.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that it will not rain. 2) Pray Erin is able to get good sleep tonight. 3) Pray for Esaie's strength. He is exhausted and ready to be reunited with his family.

High School Scholarship In Honduras - Jorge (2 of 4)

For the 2010 school year we are providing scholarships to four kids in Armenia Bonito. This will enable each of them to attend high school. Jorge is one of the kids who will receive a scholarship.

Each day we will introduce you to one of the four kids. Watch this 2 minute and 25 second video to meet Jorge:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Erin In Haiti – How Not To Kill A Fly

Mike blogging for Erin

Erin working at the clinic.

Two beautiful people in need of help.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team held a full day medical clinic at the Dikini Refugee Camp on Wednesday. They treated over 100 people. They treated lots of infected wounds, yeast infections and parasitic worms…all common concerns in unsanitary conditions. Erin was the clinic Pharmacist and was able to interact with nearly every patient. In addition to medicine she provided limited Spanish conversations, hugs and smiles to all.

The last patient of the day was a man who had a deep gash on his head that needed lots of stitches. Erin and Dr. Brian treated the man. When they asked the man how he got cut he told them that he was swatting a fly…on his head…wait for it…with a machete. (Editorial note: the author of this post believes that any further comment on this matter…while undoubtedly hilarious…would not best glorify God.)

The clinic had the added benefit of trained mental health professionals. They talked to many people about depression and healthy responses to loss. The team also began providing special attention to every child that entered the tent. Kids received stickers, coloring books, small toys and some constructed bracelets. These types of activities are so important to help victims recover from emotional and psychological damage.

While the team’s bus remained inoperable they were provided free rides to and from their clinic by Crisis Response International (CRI). The MTW team stressed that CRI has been helpful on many issues.

Erin indicated that the MTW team is getting along great and that everyone is healthy. They all know their roles and are pitching in where needed. On Thursday the engineers on the team plan on starting work on constructing showers for the refugees.

Erin is doing great. She has eaten well and received good rest each of the past two days. Her spirits are up and she is enjoying the team and the service they are providing.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for opportunities for the team to be able to connect with the individuals they serve. 2) Pray for continued good attitudes and health for the entire MTW team. 3) Pray for increased medical supplies.

High School Scholarship In Honduras - Alicia (1 of 4)

For the 2010 school year we are providing scholarships to four kids in Armenia Bonito. This will enable each of them to attend high school. Alicia is one of the kids who will receive a scholarship.

Each of the next four days we will introduce you to one of the four kids. Watch this 2 minute and 45 second video to meet Alicia:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Not Even For A Second…

Mike blogging for Erin

Happy faces looking for a distraction.

Refugee camp or "tent city".

One month after the earthquake.

After the new MTW Disaster Response team arrived in Haiti Tuesday morning they were taken to the tent city located at the Quisqueya School. They set up camp and unpacked their gear. Erin and Dan took them on a tour of Port au Prince and the Dikini Refugee Camp where they will be serving.

Starting Tuesday morning the team will host daily medical clinics in the Dikini camp. Erin will start off working as the clinic Pharmacist. The new team is complete with two doctors, five nurses and two mental health professionals. The team also has two engineers that have plans of creating a shower system in the refugee camp. Other members of the team have plans to organize a children’s program to help the kids remember how to be kids.

Diarrhea and sickness are running rampant through the aide workers camp. Our MTW teams have been almost immune from such concerns. Erin believes that other aide teams are paying insufficient attention to purifying water and bleaching vegetables and cooking utensils. The MTW team has even been purifying the “purified” water they are given by others. Gotta love that MTW Disaster Response training they received.

The medical clinic the team is setting up will be run in almost the exact way we run our regular clinics in Honduras. Erin’s daily experience in field medicine will benefit the team and the Haitians.

The team is starting each day with a 7:00am devotional and prayer time before they begin work. Everything must point to Christ.

Erin reports that the past 10 days have been the hardest physical and emotional time she has ever had. She said that the hardest part has been the constant visual barrage of death, sickness and destruction, “You just can’t get away, not even for a second. Even if you close your eyes you hear crying, screaming or fighting.” Erin remains eager to serve and she knows this is what God called her to do.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that the first day of clinic on Wednesday would glorify God. 2) Pray that each member of the new team figures out his or her best way to serve. 3) Pray for energy and endurance for Erin.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Welcome To Haiti

Mike blogging for Erin.

MTW's team #2 safely in Haiti.

Beautiful young ladies.

What 7.0 looks like.

Erin has been joined in Port au Prince (PAP), Haiti by MTW’s Disaster Response team #2. At the last minute the team was able to change their plans and fly directly into PAP and save five hours of drive time. This is great news as it will give Erin and Dan Jenny more time to orient team #2 and get them set up in the tent city located at the Quisqueya School…their home for the next week.

The team was picked up at the airport in a bus, which promptly broke down. They were then transported into town in the back of a pickup truck, in two trips. Welcome to Haiti.

The plan is for Erin and Dan to get the team settled into camp and then get them a tour of the city, the refugee camps and their future work site. They will then prepare everything they need to start a medical clinic early Wednesday. Most of the team is running on adrenalin right now as many of them took redeye flights into Miami Monday morning and then the 3:00am flight Tuesday into Haiti.

Other medical entities are continuing to report increased medical concerns including H1N1, dengue and diarrhea.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that every member of MTW’s Disaster Response team demonstrates the love and mercy of God to each other. 2) Pray for energy and good health for everyone. 3) Pray for Erin’s endurance as she begins her second week in Haiti.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Rivers Of Filth And Touchdown!

Mike blogging for Erin.

Hooah! U.S. Army delivers the Super Bowl in Haiti.

Super Bowl party in Haiti - Erin and Dan are top left.

Erin's sleeping quarters with mosquito netting.

Erin and her teammate Dan Jenny remain in the relief workers tent city located at the Quisqueya School in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Great news! MTW’s Disaster Response team #2 has beaten the snow on the east coast and found a way to get to Haiti. Team #2 will fly out of Florida very early Tuesday morning. They will fly into Cap-Haitien, Haiti and make the five-hour bus ride south to Port au Prince. Team #2 is a go and Erin does not have to leave Haiti early!

Because team #2 will be arriving a couple days late, it is likely that they will all stay on a bit longer. It is probable that Erin will remain in Haiti until early next week.

Until the team arrives Erin and Dan are resting, cleaning, inventorying supplies, exploring options and establishing a plan. They are trying to determine what would be the best use of the team’s skills. Team #2 has fewer medical personnel then team #1 had.

The U.S. Army set up a little diversion for all of the relief workers yesterday. They set up a projector to allow everyone to watch the Super Bowl. Ironically, Erin’s first Super Bowl party in over 10 years was in Haiti.

There was some heavy rain in Port au Prince yesterday and they are scheduled for more this afternoon. This may sound nice in the hot and humid conditions of Haiti, but rain is bad. Rain, in these conditions, creates rivers of human waste and sickness that more efficiently spreads disease from one location to another. Rain also increases the number of malaria and dengue carrying mosquitoes. These rains will likely increase the sickness and death in Haiti.

Erin and Dan are simply giddy that they will not be pulled out of Haiti early. They are eager to get back in there with team #2 and help the people who desperately need it.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for the safe travels of team #2. 2) Pray for the health and safety of Erin and Dan as they prepare for their future teammates. 3) Pray for the stress and anxiety of MTW’s thankless Disaster Response coordinators who are making difficult decisions for the relief workers.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Coming Or Going?

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin working at night.

Erin helping a newborn baby.

One of the many refugee camps.

Erin and the MTW team #2 are in a holding pattern. Erin is sitting in the Quisqueya School in Port au Prince, Haiti awaiting her new teammates. Because of the massive snowstorm hitting the east coast of the U.S., most airports are closed and all flights out of those airports are canceled. Every member of MTW’s Disaster Response team #2 is trying to find alternate transportation options into Haiti. They currently do not know if they are going to be able to make it into Haiti.

MTW and the tireless coordinators of the Disaster Response Ministry are doing everything possible to get these folks into Haiti. However, if no flights are found it is possible that the second team may be forced to postpone or cancel.

Erin and Dan Jenny are sitting in Haiti waiting on the next team to arrive. The organizers do not want to leave Erin and Dan in a state of limbo.

In the next 24 hours the coordinators will be deciding the future of everyone involved. They may pull Erin out of Haiti right away, or they may find alternative means of transportation to get team #2 into Haiti. Everything is surrounded in uncertainty because of the weather.

Erin is tough and flexible. She wants to stay and work, but she is at the mercy of the weather. Erin says that it has been difficult trying to figure out how to prepare herself. Should they pack to leave or continue to prepare for the next team? It is like preparing yourself mentally and physically to run a 10-mile race and when you get to the finish line you are told that you may or may not have reached the end of your journey. She will be ecstatic about any decision that is made. She trusts those making the decisions with her life. They are capable, competent and experienced and Erin awaits her marching orders.

In the training everyone received for this Disaster Response Ministry they were told to be flexible, patient and trust in the Lord. That is exactly what they are all doing.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that Erin, Dan and MTW’s team #2 maintain a flexible servant’s heart. 2) Pray for the elimination of stress and increase in wisdom of the leadership team as they are faced with massive pressure and anxiety. 3) Pray for the health and safety of Erin and Dan as they await their marching orders.

2010 Honduras Scholarships

For the 2010 school year we are providing scholarships to four kids in Armenia Bonito. This will enable each of them to attend high school. Less then 1/3rd of the kids in Honduras attend school beyond the sixth grade. We pray that this provides the scholastic and theological education needed to prepare theses kids to be the future leaders of Armenia Bonito.

Take a look at this 2 minute 45 second video to meet the scholarship kids:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Two Men On Their Knees

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin giving injections.

Erin and her departing team members from team #1.

The Capitol building destroyed.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team are doing well. Erin and Dan Jenny will be staying behind for another week to serve with the second MTW team that arrives on Monday. Late last night they took the other 12 members of their team to the airport to try and get them back to the U.S. by any means. The good news is that they all found early flights and that all 12 of them are out of Haiti and back in the U.S.

Erin and Dan have returned to the Quisqueya School where they began a week ago. The school is serving as a camping area for relief workers. Last night Erin slept outside, on the ground, under her mosquito netting. She got four hours of sleep. The first half of Saturday is a rest day for her. She is going to try to catch a nap and recharge her batteries. In the afternoon she will organize and inventory all of their supplies.

Last night was the team’s final shift at the Adventist Hospital. It was a typical busy night. They had a man crawl into their hospital on his knees. He had two broken legs and couldn’t walk. He had broken both legs in the earthquake and had been crawling around looking for someone to help him for three weeks. The orthopedic surgeons took him in and performed surgery on him.

Erin became close with a man who used to be an English Teacher. When the earthquake hit he was teaching his class of 80 and their two-story building collapsed. Only 10 of his students survived and he was badly hurt. Since the earthquake the man has dedicated his lift to Christ and has vowed to become a Pastor in order to serve Him. Erin and the team spent much time on their knees in prayer with this man.

Erin is tentatively scheduled to catch a flight out of Haiti on Saturday, February 13th.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for a day of solid rest for Erin on Saturday. 2) Pray for the safe arrival of MTW's team #2. 3) Pray for God to reveal a clear plan and direction for the second team.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Erin In Haiti – A Bat To The Head

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team are doing well. The team is healthy and sleeping well. They are all excited and in good spirits and working hard. Saturday morning 11 of the 14-team members will pack up and attempt to find a flight back to the U.S. Erin and two others will stay in Haiti. There are no guaranteed flights, but several options – military, relief flights and private chartered flights are coming and going.

MTW team and Haitians working together.

Erin, and the two others who are staying behind, will attempt to relocate back to their original site, the Quisqueya School, and prepare for the second MTW team arriving on Monday.

Erin’s work yesterday was chaotic and fast paced, but without major incident. Their nightly rounds consisted of 50 general patients, 10 pediatric patients and four postoperative orthopedic patients. On top of this they function as the regional emergency room and are seeing varying levels of emergencies. Last night alone they had several stitches, kidney stones, an ectopic pregnancy, a heart attack, a suicidal mother of three and more. Erin treated a man who was on the loosing end of a dispute over the ownership of a tent. The man took a baseball bat to the head and Erin stapled his head shut with medical staples.

Erin and Dr. Andrew saving a patient with tuberculosis.

Three weeks after the earthquake they are still receiving major orthopedic injuries caused from the earthquake. In the past few days the surgeons have worked on amputations, a fractured pelvis, a shattered femur and more. There just aren’t enough medical teams around that can address the complexity and volume of these major cases.

Still a war zone.

Erin has elevated spirits and a great outlook on their work. Little things are making her happy, like the kiss on the cheek from an appreciative mother, playing games with local kids and “that really yummy vegetable soup” she got for breakfast this morning. She is so proud of the first MTW team, “They have all done an absolutely incredible job.”

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that the 11 members of the team attempting to leave on Saturday will find a flight. 2) Pray for the health and safety of the three remaining behind. 3) Pray for God to reveal a clear plan and direction for the second team.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Erin In Haiti – “I Look Terrible!”

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin and the MTW Disaster Response team have been treating a nine-year-old girl for a ruptured appendix. The child has been in great pain and crying constantly for several days. In the middle of Erin’s busy shift she remembered that she had a coloring book and crayons in her backpack. She ran to her pack and returned with the supplies for the little girl. The girl was so excited. She drew pictures for the MTW team for the next two hours. She beamed with pride at her creations and forgot where she was, if only for a little while.

The little girl and her new crayons.

Another child, a five-year-old boy, is very sick. He has been orphaned by the earthquake and was brought in by neighbors. The boy is down to 30 lbs. and the team believes he has typhoid. This could result in a lifetime of physical and developmental problems for him. His world will never be the same.

Yesterday was a good day for Erin and the team. Last night was their first night shift with no births or deaths. Things are still hectic, but manageable. Erin reports that she got seven hours of sleep yesterday, ate two hot meals and even had time to hand wash her clothes for the first time. She was in the middle of telling me that she feels better then she has in a week when she looked in a mirror and screamed, “Oh my gosh! I just looked in a mirror for the first time in a week! Is this what I look like?!? I look terrible!”

Erin with the baby she delivered a couple days ago.

The lack of basic medical supplies is still a challenge. The team continues to do a wonderful job with what little resources they have. Erin brought with her an 80 lbs. medical trauma bag given to us by the good folks at Covenant Community Church in Arizona. This bag has been a Godsend. Just last night Erin used it’s contents in three medical emergencies. In one case a lady was close to slipping into a coma because her blood sugar was under 40 (normal is 80-120). Erin remembered her trusty bag contained glucose sticks (liquid sugar) and rushed to retrieve them. She shoved them into the mouth of the nearly unconscious lady and averted a major problem.

Other medical organizations working in Haiti are reporting increased cases of Meningitis, Typhoid, Malaria, and Diarrhea among aide workers and refugees. The advisory level for H1N1 has been increased. These are all related to the dirty conditions and crowded living quarters.

Erin had a second contaminated needle stick. After receiving only one needle stick in 14 years of nursing she has now received two in one week. Of course this would have to be in the HIV capital of the Western Hemisphere. She has had several HIV tests and all have come back negative.

The health and attitude of the MTW team is strong. The second MTW Disaster Response team has secured a flight out of Miami on Monday.

Prayer needs: 1) Praise for the rest the team is receiving. 2) Pray for emotions. In the face of so much grief and pain Erin is crying regularly. 3) Pray for additional medical supplies and medication to arrive to the team.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Erin In Haiti – MacGyver And Other Forms Of Help

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin and the rest of MTW’s 14-person Disaster Response team received a great blessing yesterday. A team of 30 medical professionals, from the 7th Day Adventist Church, joined their efforts in the hospital. This provides an incredible release of pressure and stress for the team. Both teams agreed to coordinate their efforts. This benefits the Haitians and the relief workers. Because of this Erin and the others are no longer working 16-hour shifts. Everyone is now working eight hours at a time. Erin is working midnight to 8:00am each day.

Erin and the rest of the night shift have been moved to an indoor, air-conditioned sleeping room. A guard was even posted at their door to keep things quiet. The showers are now working and food is plentiful. The team is getting one hot meal a day and has access to lots of snacks and MREs. All these things make for happy helpers. What a difference a day makes.

There are few intact medical facilities in Port au Prince and most medical aide workers in Haiti are lacking the medical supplies they are accustomed to. MTW’s team is no different. However, Erin reports that the ingenuity and adaptability of their team is amazing. This resourcefulness has helped lift the spirits of the team. They are improvising and thinking out of the box to make their limited medical supplies work. They are like the MacGyvers of aide work. It is amazing what surgeries you can get done with chewing gum, a paper clip and a ball point pen (don’t worry, just a joke).

The team is in high spirits and healthy. Everyone is stressed and physically exhausted, but doing well. Nobody is sick.

Even with all the high spirits, they are still in post-earthquake Haiti, and reality frequently brings them back to earth. Erin reports that two babies died last night. The team has saved hundreds and helped thousands, but those two lost babies still weigh heavily on their hearts.

Today the team is sending a group of four to evaluate the city of Gonaives. Gonaives is four hours to the north and is the home of MTW Pastor and Haitian national Esaie. Esaie’s church, family and ministry are located in Gonaives. There are reports that Gonaives has increased in population by more than 100,000 people in the past two weeks. Government relocated refugees and family members are exausting the resources of this community. Esaie reports that there are few aide workers in Gonaives.

The second MTW Disaster Response team is scheduled to fly in Saturday and the first team is scheduled to depart on the same day. Erin and two others will stay on and serve with the second team.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for the heavy hearts of the team as they grieve the loss of patients. 2) Pray for the safe travel for the four person team traveling to Gonaives, and pray for their wisdom. 3) Pray that the team maintains great cohesiveness and high spirits.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Oh baby!

Mike blogging for Erin.

Here is a satellite image of the hospital where the team is working.

The 14-member MTW Disaster Response team is now fully integrated into working at the small Adventist Hospital near the Diquini Refugee Camp. The French run the hospital and our team is working closely with them. Some of the MTW team members are working the 8am to 5pm shift with the French team. Erin and a few others are working the 5pm to 8am shift. And, still other members of the MTW team are floating back and forth.

Within five minutes of the team starting their work at the hospital a 60-year-old woman was rushed into the hospital and promptly died. This was a hint of how their first full day in the hospital would go. It is like a bad scene out of the TV show MASH – patients are stacked up in the hallways, the hospital is out of basic supplies like tubing, ventilators and oxygen, they have no interpreters, people are dying, nurses and doctors are running from place to place.

In the team’s first full day they delivered four babies. Erin delivered one baby on her own without assistance from other nurses or doctors. The mother spoke only French and Erin speaks only English and Spanish. The baby was delivered on the ground, outside the hospital, on a tarp.

Two people were rushed via ambulance to other sites with Erin pumping away at the manual ventilator bags in the back of the ambulance as it rushed through rubble cluttered, unlit streets at night. Erin started 23 IVs for dehydration. The team worked on keeping an escaped convict with tuberculosis alive for 1 ½ hours.

Erin said, “It is a nut house. I am amazed. I don’t know how we are doing it. It is bad. We are all tired and need sleep.”

Dennis Hamilton, the Team Leader, is “working his butt off” and he is never seen sleeping. Three of the team members were struck ill on Monday resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. As of Tuesday morning all three are doing better, but still feeling weak.

Erin concluded her report with, “I am covered in blood, amniotic fluid and phlegm, but we have no showers, so I’m going to take a shower with baby wipes and crawl into my sleeping bag.”

Prayer needs: 1) Pray that the illness impacting the team is halted and that the three sick team members recover quickly. 2) Pray for extra levels of energy for every member of the team. 3) Pray that interpreters and basic medical supplies can be found.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Erin In Haiti – On The Move

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin and the other members of MTW’s 14 person Disaster Response Team spent the first part of Monday packing and moving. They are moving the site of their personal camp (Quisqueya School) and the site of their medical clinic (Diquini Camp Clinic). They are moving onto the grounds of the Adventist Hospital of Haiti located alongside the Diquini Refugee Camp. They will sleep outside the hospital and work inside.

Here is why this is a great move for everyone:

  • Proximity: The team will be working AND living right next to the people they are serving.
  • Commute: They will save almost two hours each day in drive time.
  • Facilities: The hospital affords a better quality of service for the Haitians then their tent did.
  • More Time: The new facility will afford the opportunity for the team to work in day and night shifts.
  • Larger Audience: The team was working with a 12,000-person block of the Diquini Refugee Camp. They will now have access to 30,000 refugees.
  • Need: The Adventist Hospital is where the sickest patients are being referred by aide workers.

The first MTW aide team is scheduled to return to the U.S. on Saturday, February 6th and the second team is scheduled to arrive in Haiti on that same day. However, no flights have yet been arranged. Erin and several other team members from the first team will stay on and serve with the second team.

The Haitian government is continuing to bus refugees out of Port-au-Prince (PAP) to areas that have fewer aide workers and fewer resources, but are less crowded. The team is prayerfully considering a future move to the city of Gonaives where nearly 50,000 refugees are located. This would put the team closer to Pastor Esaie and his church and also allow the team to serve refugees that have less access to aide then those in PAP.

The team is living on rice, beans, chicken and water. Because of the lack of resources each team member is being reduced to one hot meal a day. Erin reports the MTW team is very dirty and they all smell terrible. They are all tired, but their spirits are high.

Medical authorities report widespread prevalence of scabies, diarrhea and malaria. They also report a “dangerously low” supply of antibiotics.

Prayer needs: 1) David Hilmers, a member of the MTW team, learned that his father just passed away. David will remain in Haiti. Pray for peace for David and his family. 2) Pray that the new facility affords greater opportunity for evangelism and better quality medical service. 3) Pray for increased access to basic needs and supplies.