Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Haiti Trip Video

Here’s a link to a video that Josh Hagen put together from our Haiti trip, if you’re interested in seeing it….

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti….

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Haiti: Trip Report 2

It is taking me an unusually long time to construct this blog post.  I am finding it very difficult to choose how to report on our trip–there is so much I could say, so many details I could include…and yet, oftentimes less is more.  : )

So, here is my attempt at it–I have chosen to put up little “snapshots”–just a few pictures, some prayer points, and a few links that you may find interesting.  Today I will be posting some general pictures and prayer points–of and for the country of Haiti and city of Port au Prince.

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*This picture was taken on our drive from Santo Domingo, DR to Port au Prince, Haiti.  There are long-standing tensions between these two countries.  The IBG church we were associated with has been sending medical teams and food/water/tents to the people of Haiti–the Lord is doing a great work through this, not just by the ministry to the Haitians but also to heal some of these long-standing cultural tensions.

*This is a picture was taken near the Haitian-Dominican border.  Haiti, as most of you know, is an extremely poor country….I particularly like this picture as it speaks to the seemingly-impossible task of rebuilding this already-destitute and corrupt country.  But, our God is a God of the impossible…

*This is a former clinic and laboratory.  I was struck by how the people of Haiti are picking up and moving on with life–they have to find ways to make money, to find food and water, and to start to put their lives back together.

*This is another picture taken in Port au Prince.  I found it staggering to think that in the 28 seconds the earthquake was felt, the ground was shaking so badly many people could not get out of their houses.  Every time we passed a building that had fallen, I was sobered by the loss of life that was represented.

*This is a picture of a small part of Port au Prince, taken from the roof of CDTI hospital.  It is amazing how the Heavens still declare the glory of God (Psalm 19), even as there is so much destruction on the ground.

Prayer Points:

*Pray for the Lord to send revival and healing between Haiti and the Dominican. Pray that the work of the IBG church would indeed serve to break down some of the walls between these two countries, and that the IBG ministry would be fruitful (link: http://www.ibgracia.org/)

*Pray for the Lord to send His spirit to the people of Haiti.  Pray for revival of faith in God;this is the only hope Haiti has for recovery of the country and integrity in it’s government.

*Please pray for those that experiences loss during the earthquake.  Pray for healing of their spirits and souls, through Jesus Christ.  Pray that the Lord would send people to them to tell them about the hope that can be found in Christ.  Pray for the emotional healing of the country and also the physical rebuilding process-pray practically that a system would be put in place to manage the rubble and repair the cities and streets.

More from our trip later…stay tuned! : )  If you are interested in getting more information on the history of the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican, go to:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1953959,00.html

Many, many thanks to those of you who upheld our team in prayer and financial support while we were gone.  I am at a loss to express how much I appreciate this.  We felt your prayers…and were encouraged to know that we had your support.  I hope as you see these posts, you feel a part of what happened while we were there–thank you for your faithfulness.

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Finally!

Dear Patient Friends and Family,

Here, finally, is the first installment of my Haiti trip reports.  I thought it would be good to start off by saying that the Lord answered our and your prayers!  Some, even before we had prayed them.  He is indeed faithful!

Here are a few highlights of ways that the Lord blessed us while we were gone–I kept a list (for the first few days, anyway!) of these.  Here’s a portion of it:

*We got through the airports easily and smoothly–no lost luggage or lost people

*In a similar vein, we weren’t stopped at the Dominican/Haitian border–which meant we didn’t have to spend hours unloading and having the guards look through all of our medical supplies (which can often entail not just time but large amounts of money)

*The Lord provided so many small “blessings” to us, through the Dominican church and through the Quisqueya school campus, where we stayed–we had a school room to sleep in (that had ceiling fans!), showers, running water, and working American-style bathrooms where we stayed–more than any of us had ever hoped to have while down there!

*Our team had a lot of unity and worked together very well.  The Lord answered your prayers directly, and I was so blessed by each member of the team!

*We did have interpreters while down there (praise the Lord!).  Many of the university students in Port au Prince were no longer able to attend school, because most of the universities were destroyed.  So, the school and the hospitals hired many of them to translate.  One day while doing a clinic at a tent city, we prayed specifically for a female interpreter, to help two of our team work with the women in a gynecology tent.  The next day, the Lord answered our prayer and we not only had a female interpreter, but a very, very good one!

*While at the tent city, we had to send one of our team members to the hospital an hour away with a patient.  The ambulance was very late in coming back with Lee.  We immediately sat down and prayed as a group for their safe arrival.  Within a half hour the ambulance arrived, with Lee intact : )–it had broken down several times along the way but they did indeed make it back safely.

*The Lord gave grace in that most people did not get horribly sick while down there–a few bouts of illness, mostly lasting a day or so, were mostly the extent of it.  One team member, Stacy, was very sick by the time we left–but overall the Lord sustained our team and gave us health.

*The Lord answered prayers and gave us all the wisdom we needed to function (we hope!) safely as medical professionals.  Yes, our abilities and knowledge was stretched beyond our usual scope of practice–but because we had MDs with us, and such an amazing variety of nursing specialties (the Lord definitely directed this as well!), we were able to provide good care to the patients.

*On a personal level, the Lord sustained my joy while I was down there.  I felt eager to be there, eager to support our other team members, and I feel that the Lord was giving me eyes to see things that were hopeful or joyful.  One day at the Rescue Mission (tent city by the presidential palace), we had just gotten off the bus and Omi, the RM leader, immediately took us by the hand to see a baby that had just been born a few hours prior to our arrival.  “See the baby!  Come see the baby!”, she said, with such joy and hope.  It encouraged our hearts so much to see her joy and the joy of the family in the birth of their son.  There were many other, much smaller, moments of joy and hope that the Lord allowed me to see–some ridiculously small (such as the Dominican church bringing us extra food, which included Pop Tarts!), some big (such as the Lord preserving us as we were nearly hit by a truck going up a twisting and steep mountain road), and some that were, for whatever reason, encouraging.  I had the opportunity to talk with and give medication to a very, very old woman while we were in the mountains.  Seemingly not a big deal, for us at least, as we were seeing so many people that day.  However, this woman (who looked to be about 97), wrinkles cut deep in to her face, had such a joy and happiness in her eyes (and a HUGE smile to go with it!), touched my heart and encouraged me that day.

I could go on-there are so many stories to share.  However, as one of my goals is to keep my blog posts short and readable, I will stop for now.  In the next couple of days I will post again, hopefully with some pictures.  In the mean time, please rejoice and thank the Lord for all of his answers to prayer!

love kristi

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Haiti: Home!

Just a quick note….

We are home, safe and sound.  We had a little trouble getting lost in PAP yesterday, but by grace made it safely!

Keep checking back–I’ll have pictures and stories up very, very soon!

Thanks so much for all your prayers–I know God heard them, and I have many stories of direct answers to prayers and times when I am certain that we were kept safe at least partially because of the prayers of the Saints!

More tomorrow….

love kristi

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General Prayer Requests: Haiti

This is an excerpt from the letter I sent out to friends and family, letting them know about the trip and asking them to pray.

In case I can’t post much while I’m gone, I wanted to put it up here one more time.  THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for your prayers.  As the time gets closer and closer I am feeling the need for Jesus more and more–as is everyone else on the trip too, no doubt.

Please pray:

*For our Hands:  Tthat we will help those we serve, and not hurt them or their well being by anything we do.

*For our Minds: That we will have wisdom.  Lots and lots and lots of it!  I know my nursing knowledge and skill will be challenged more than it ever has!  Please pray for me and the other team members, that we will be given special grace to make good medical decisions, and carry them out without mistakes.

*For our Mouths: That we would be mouthpieces for the hope that can only be found in Christ.  Please pray for boldness for us as we are there; and for opportunities to share.  Please also pray for good communication between us and our patients–as most of us do not speak Creole!

*For our Bodies: That the Lord would protect us while we are there–there is lots of dengue, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and many other diseases affecting those that live in Haiti–as well as disease-bearing mosquitos. Also there is very little police/military force in Port Au Prince, and crime is running rampant.  Please pray that we would have protection from disease, from animals, and from any who may want to harm us.

*For our Spirits:  That we would stay strong, full of hope and joy, while we are there amid such tragedy.  Also that we would be protected against any evil spirit-work–many Haitians practice voodoo.  And that we would all come away from this experience with our faith strengthened, our spirits lifted, and closer than ever to Christ.  Many who go to help with relief on this scale come home with varying degrees of depression, and feelings of sadness.  Please pray that the opposite will be true for us–who have the hope of Jesus Christ!  Please also pray that we would have good team unity and a spirit of joy and comfort among us–we will need to support each other, not have conflict with one another.

Thank you again for your much-coveted prayers….

love kristi

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Headed out tomorrow….

We are headed out tomorrow at 1:10 pm.

We’ll be meeting at the airport, Mezzanine level, at 11 am to pray beforehand….anyone is welcome!

My bags are packed, I *think* I have everything : ), and I have done just about everything I need to do before leaving.  The Lord is gracious….. I am trusting that He will continue to be gracious as I now have to chart on 7 patients and go over my list of kids that I case manage, before I can sleep….but I know He will sustain.

Prayer request for today: Please pray for travel mercies!  Pray against illness, travel sickness, lost baggage, etc.  We will fly from here to Philly, then to the Dominican.  We’ll be in Port Au Prince by Sunday, Lord willing.

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Haiti Update Four: His Eye is on the Sparrow

Our God answers prayer.  In fact, He answers prayers I haven’t even prayed yet….Two examples:

1.  I need several pairs of scrubs to bring with me–I am planning on wearing scrubs pretty much most of the time while there.  But unfortunately, I didn’t have any old scrubs I wanted to bring with me, as I am wanting to leave what I wear down in Haiti.  Thrift stores were charging ridiculous amounts of money for used scrubs…. So, I prayed.  And my mom prayed.  And at our medical supply “packing party” last night, someone brought three huge bags of scrubs to bring down–from which I found 6 pairs of scrubs that I can wear and then leave down there.  They are even cute! : )  The Lord is very, very gracious.

2.  I was feeling overwhelmed today, with everything to do and the possibility of two full days of work.  This morning, when I talked to my scheduler, she had only given me a half-day of work today–which I was technically supposed to get but wasn’t sure if I would because of patient volume.

The Lord is gracious, even in the little things!

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Haiti Prayer Points…extra edition!

One personal request…..I will be shopping and packing tomorrow, in between appointments.  Please pray I remember everything I have to bring and do before I leave!  I’m sure this applies to everyone leaving, too…. 🙂

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Haiti Prayer Points, 4

Today, please pray:

*For the Haitians:  Pray that their most basic needs, food/water/shelter would be met.  We learned at our meeting that before the earthquake many Haitians were mixing water, a little bit of flour, and dirt together and baking it–and that is what they ate.  I cannot imagine how much worse the situation is now….Please pray, too, against those who would take advantage of this situation and use it to exploit the weak.  Often the youngest, oldest, and weakest are those who are unable to get food when it is distributed.

*For our team: We will be packing medical supplies as a team tomorrow; I (like many I am sure!) still have a lot to get together to pack–please pray for wisdom to know what will be most helpful to take, especially in regards to the medical supplies.  Please continue to pray for our team unity–that we would be united together in faith and love, so that we can best minister to the people.

*Please continue to pray for God to open up doors for communication–this has been on my heart the past few days.  Most Haitians speak French Creole, and therefore the language barriers are huge.  Pray that we would be able to effectively communicate to best know how to minister to their bodies…and more importantly to their souls!

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Haiti Prayer Points 3: Hope

Today, please pray…..

*For the Haitians: Pray that they will find hope and joy amid tragedy.

*For our team: That we would be courageous in sharing the Hope of the Gospel with those we will minister to. That we would be bold to speak of Christ and His work. Please pray that we would be able to communicate this hope despite language barriers!

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