Canadian Group in Haiti

A medical team from the United Brethren churches in Ontario left for Haiti last Friday, January 23. Joan Sider, from the UB church in Toronto, sent back reports for the first two days. Follow the link below to read her reports.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, is currently in Central America. He will join the Canadian team (Jeff himself is Canadian) this Wednesday.

Day One (Friday, January 23)
We are in Haiti–tired, hot but rejoicing.

We have had adventures all day. The first was getting through the check in. That went relatively smoothly–only having to pay $236 for two extra pieces of luggage. Not bad, we think, since last year we paid over $1000.

Our next snag came going through US customs. The six Med packs were initially refused–but God came through using Margie to help. Margie explained that we have taken these before. He went to his supervisor and came back saying, “It’s Friday. We can do illegal things on Friday!” We didn’t wait around to find out what that meant, you can be sure.

Once on the plane to leave for Miami, there was some electrical problem with a light. We sat for an hour–growing colder by the minute. I can’t ever remember being cold the whole trip. Finally we took off, everything working as it should. It was fairly smooth–a couple rough spots but nothing to worry about.

Leaving late meant arriving in Miami late, but we were able to grab a bite to eat since we were late leaving on the next leg of the journey. That flight was okay except a few more bumpy parts. I still hadn’t warmed up sufficiently to take off my sweater though.

What a treat to land almost at the expected time in spite of the delays along the way. Seeing Pastor Oliam Richard and Kara-Lynn waiting for us was wonderful!

Picking up all our luggage which arrived safely, we reached another bump–the Med packs could not go through. Margie and Pastor Richard and the packs were taken off to an inner room somewhere in the airport. As they were going, someone said that the Minister of Health would need to be called. There was no problem with the bins–some of which had to be opened to see their contents. The group prayed once again–and about 15 minutes later, out came the packs with smiling Margie and Pastor Richard behind. The Health Minister was not called.

Thanks for praying folks–I think you will agree with us–that we’ve seen several miracles happen already.

We had a delicious supper waiting for us–and have had several power outages already and no water. But that is what one can expect here.
Day Two (Saturday, January 24)
Praise the Lord–there was water for showers this morning! It felt so good.

We went to the Delmas church for all ministries today–leadership training, women’s and children’s ministry, and medical work. Delmas is where Pastor Oliam Richard hopes to build something large enough to be used as a training centre as well as a church.

We were pleasantly surprised to see a new wall and a storage building separating the church land from the municipal building land beside it. This wall has satisfied the municipality, who are no longer complaining about our church’s location. The municipality have already started building better roads to their location, which will help people access our facility too. Quite a provision for our church!

praying_300.jpgThe medical team saw 90-100 patients today. Ron capably handled the triage part with the great assistance of Shirley. Margie and Sarah were right into it and did an excellent job together at first with Wilfred translating. When Dr. Cliford arrived, along with Ludlum, another medical student. Cliford, Ludlum, and Wilfred were with us during Haiti Team #4’s trip and were such a blessing.

Sarah, we concluded is going to be a fine doctor, as will Cliford and Ludlum. It was fun watching them. Of course Margie is so thorough and accommodating. Kelly is amazing–keeping up with two teams. She is our expert pharmacist–couldn’t do it without her. Don naturally followed up all patients by praying with them. No one refused. He is a great man of prayer and a vital part of the team.

Neil Cudney’s teaching was well received. In fact, he was told he could return every six months. He is introducing a new ministry resource, “Train and Multiply,” found by our US Missions director. It seems to be excellent material and is designed for pastors to train their leaders who in turn train others and so on. It is licensed material, and Pastor Richard will be able to get updated lessons as they continue to be developed. There are about 20 lessons in Creole already. After Neil was finished with the training, he went with his guitar and sang with the children. They loved what he did and it was obvious he was having a great time.

Kara-Lynn and Elissa, along with Evena (the children’s worker we’ve had for several years now), worked with 70-80 children. There was lots of singing, stories, and crafts to go along with the teaching. I thought this was particularly good–reinforcing what had been taught. These two gals are naturals at doing this ministry. The kids obviously enjoyed them and were hanging on to them every time I looked around. God sure gave us the right leaders for this ministry. They are so organized and well prepared, and all went off like clockwork.

Audrey did a tie quilt with the women. I never imagined that a quilt could be finished like I saw today–not just the tying, but the stitching around the outer edge with a sewing machine that Audrey brought with her. It was great to see Audrey show them once and they got it.

There were about 20 or more ladies gathered around working on it. We got a late start working at this project because we had to first go and buy the pieces of wood for the frame.

Audrey is a trooper–nothing phases her. When it appeared that we might not get the sewing machine threaded, she had Jeff read the manual and step by step it was accomplished. Audrey began using the machine, but then a Haitian woman took over. Neil is hoping to take one of these quilts back with him to use in an outreach event with Christian Horizons. Tomorrow’s quilt will be given to a woman who wins a contest we are going to have in the morning service.

It was a great first day–but we came back to Pastor’s house exhausted. We had a delicious meal waiting for us, shared our feelings about the day, and then the rest of the time did whatever. Some slept, others sang, read or just sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the breeze. We ended our time together this evening with some watermelon and many good laughs listening to the rain.

Again, we know you are praying for us and it is so appreciated.

Pray for Pastor Neil, who preaches at both services tomorrow, for the music that will be given by the team, Kelly and Sarah, and the testimonies shared by Ron and Margie.

I have to be quick now since the cooking staff sleep on the floor in this office where I am working.

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