It Seems So Surreal

Josh and I are excited to share with you that, after 10 1/2 yrs of infertility, we are pregnant!  Baby Parks is scheduled to arrive the first week of August 2011!!

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Tent to Tent Visitations

We maneuvered around the slimy brown muck, careful not to lose our footing and FALL into the slimy brown muck or, even worse, into the side of someone’s unstable shelter.  The paths only allowed for a single file line, as the tents had been placed as close as possible to accommodate as many tents as the empty field would permit.

Tent City residents rarely have guests, except for the occasional non-profit relief groups who offer day clinics or pass out food; they definitely never have guests who walk from tent to tent and ask to sit and visit with them!  Because of the news reports of rapes, crimes, & violence within the tent cities, most guests fear the worst.  But, having good rapport with each tent city’s manager, we felt led to meet the families in THEIR environment; to go to them instead of having them come to us, wait in line for an hour, and then only get to interact on a limited basis.  Furthermore, in the three days that I’ve been in the tent cities, NOT ONCE have I felt unsafe.  In fact, I have experienced only sincere hospitality and gratitude.  NOT ONCE has any person been threatening, hostile, or even rude.  I know that crime runs amuck in these chaotic environments, but as Christ followers, we are to obey the Spirit’s leading without fear, but with confidence, power, and a sound mind.

Every person we visited today affected my hate/love relationship with Haiti.  The people are precious – their kindness, their contagious smiles, their openness and honesty. They exhibit determination and perseverance, even though they feel hopeless.   It’s hard to not fall in love with them.

I HATE the situation they are in…more specifically, I hate their government, or rather, their LACK oF GOVERNMENT.   NO cleanup has started (except for individuals taking initiative on their own homes).  Buildings remain in dangerous heaps, some still leaning on the structures next to them.  Their waterways, sidewalks, and streets are basically trash dumps. I’ve been to some pretty nasty places in my life…none compare to Port-au-Prince.  I did not see any signs of an organized trash collection; the people literally just throw everything (and I mean everything) into the streets or streams.  Portable bathrooms (some just wooden walls with holes in the ground) add to the dangerous, unsanitary conditions…all because the government won’t get their act together.  It’s frustrating…many of us here found ourselves not just saddened, but angry.   And don’t even get me started on the education and health systems!  I may have to write about those later on, because the truth will astonish and overwhelm you with just how oppressive the government treats “their” people.  We just do what we can and then pray that God will shake up the government and either change the hearts of the leaders or replace them with those more compassionate and honest.

My breaking point today came with the second person we visited.  We trekked our way to a tent nestled between another tent, a high concrete wall and thick, low-hanging banana tree leaves.  The tent barely covered a small twin size mattress…just enough protection for a night’s sleep.  Outside the tent was one pot for cooking beans or rice.  The young lady who welcomed us to her “home” looked no older than 20.  She was petite and thin.  Her husband was at the market trying to find work.  She stays home because she is pregnant and needs to rest.

We chatted for a while, then I asked her when her baby is due.  Her eyes slightly danced around, looking for an answer, but then she simply replied, “I don’t know”.  I, confused, looked at my translator.  He apparently understood  my facial expression and proceeded to explain that most pregnant women never get to find out their anticipated due date because they never get to see a doctor during their pregnancy.  It’s too expensive.  So, they have to just make guesses to their dates.

Just the day before, I held a 1 day old baby, thinking about the conditions of her birth.  And now, here I was talking with a pregnant girl, overwhelmed with the realization of the conditions of her pregnancy.  Never knowing the health of herself or her baby.  Never getting to hear his or her heartbeat.  Never getting the opportunity to fully prepare for the new life that she will soon be blessed with…  No wonder she is scared.

We prayed.  She smiled. I cried.

Day 4: Prayer Requests

I’m sorry I did not get to post an update yesterday, it was close to 10:00 pm by the time I finished all the ministry preparation needed for today.  As much as I love to blog and keep you all informed of what’s happening, the mission comes first! 🙂   I will be posting the update as soon as possible.

Today we are doing our 3rd clinic, this time in Carefour, a region 1 1/2 – 2 hours away.  My requests for this clinic are the same as the previous days, except we have added a new part of our clinic experience…prayer walkd and tent-to-tent visitations!  The team of 4 who went out yesterday, came back with stories of families who welcomed them with sincere generosity and hospitality.  Many expressed gratitude as they explained that we were their first visitors since the earthquake.  In 7 months, not one person had taken the time to see how they were.  Their tents were simple and bare, but they kept them exceptionally clean and took pride in what they did have.  Contentment and gratitude the way God intends!  So, today, please pray for these prayer walks and family visitations.  That we’ll continue to have favor with the people and that they will be receptive to God’s Truth!

Also pray for our long journey.  Most of the roads in Haiti are horrendous.  The drivers are chaotic and dangerous.  At some points, in the mountain regions, they’re narrow with steep dropoffs.  Combine them all together & you have a recipe for a very scary bus ride!

Thanks for you all your prayers!

Day 3 Itinerary: Medical Needs all around

During our first clinic yesterday, our ministry was cut short due to a political rally that had begun within the tent city.  A large crowd of people had gathered, and more continued to join.  They weren’t yet close to our clinic, but we could hear them across the hills and could see the mass of bright tshirts wind through the paths.  So, to be on the safe side, we left before we were able to pass out all the medications.  Tuesday morning we’ll be returning  to the tent city for about 2 hours to finish the clinic.

Our afternoon will be spent at a truly special place…an orphanage for handicapped children, some severely disabled and bedridden.  The sad truth is that many disabled people in Haiti are abandoned and ignored.  But one orphanage takes these precious children in and tends to them as if they are the most important people in Haiti.  For the ones who are mobile, we’ll be playing games and having some music/dance time.  For the ones who are bedridden, we’ll just hold them and bring them love through holding their hands or helping tend to their needs.

Thank you for your prayers!

  • Please pray for our return to the tent city, continue to pray for the requests I made known to you yesterday.
  • Pray for the children at the disabled kids orphanage…that they can experience our Healer in their lives!
  • Pray for the orphanage owner, caregivers, and workers.  For strength and perseverance.  Also that God would provide for their every need in order to effectively tend to the health and comfort of the children.

Oh, a praise report!  Welvins (the boy I mentioned yesterday…I spelled his name wrong), went to a hospital today to see what else might be done.  They admitted him and are going to run more tests!!

Day 2 Itinerary

Today we’ll trek into a tent city and do a variety of ministry – mobile clinic, food distribution, and then simply interacting with the people who are waiting for aide.

I expect that we’ll see things beyond what we’ve seen in the media or even imagined.   Along with being  physically intense, It has the potential to be an emotionally and spiritually challenging day…malnourished children, infected sores, “untreatable” illness…

Welvis, a 10-12 year old Haitian boy, has become an already familiar face around the house.  But you won’t see him playing soccer for hours, like the other boys.  He’ll try… but after only a short time (think 7-10 minutes), he’s exhausted.  Welvis is sick.  A lump, the size of a child’s fist, sits on his jawbone and he’s plagued with fever.  Our clinical nurses and doctors have done a great job taking care of him, but he needs much more.  When they initially met Welvis, they took him to the hospital, but he was turned away, being informed that there was nothing they could do.  That answer was not acceptable, so they kept looking for help.  This week, Welvis had a biopsy on the lump, but the results so far have been inconclusive.  His mother, Iphanette, who once saw a hopeless situation, now sees the possibilities of health…all because GCOM volunteers and staff showed love, offered encouragement, and have not given up on a precious boy.

As we go into the tent city today, please pray!

  • Pray for Welvis and all the other people who have medical need, but can’t find adequate help.
  • Pray for the nurses in our team who have the responsibility of treating the Haitians we encounter today.  We know we can’t treat everyone, so pray for wisdom, guidance, and discernment.
  • Pray for our health…we’ll be doing physically demanding work in the heat and pounding sunlight.  Also, there is no air circulation in the tent cities, which adds to the difficulties.
  • Pray that we’ll heed the Spirit’s guidance.  For boldness to speak, and discernment when we just need to stay quiet and listen.  That we are not passive with fear, but act in the power and confidence that Jesus Christ offers to us…because it’s not really us working, it’s HIM working through us.
  • Above all, that God is glorified today!

Be Thou My Vision

Last night I went to sleep singing the old Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision”.  When I woke up this morning, i was still singing it.  It’s definitely one of my favorites, as its words are so intimate and prayerful. 

Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father and I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and Thou only first in my heart
High king of heaven my treasure Thou art

High king of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joy, bright heaven sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, oh ruler of all

 

What is your favorite hymn?

To My Health

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Chinese Philosopher Lao-tzu

If you read my last post, then you know that I’m at the beginning of a personal war. I need to be completely ready for whatever comes my way: spiritually, mentally & physically. So, Today I’m starting a new journey to health. I’ve actually had many ‘first steps’ in becoming a healthier person; many of them lasted a short while, some lasted longer…all ended.

However, the goal is no longer to mirror the thin girls on the magazine covers. The number on that little white tag inside my jeans will not affect my moods anymore. I simply want only to be healthy – To not feel sick after eating. It’s time for me to allow my body to heal. Hopefully, it’s not too late to reverse the damage that has already been done.

I’m starting this journey with a Daniel Fast. I’ve done variations of this fast before, but this time I’m using a helpful site/blog dedicated only to the Daniel Fast. You can see a guideline at the website by clicking HERE.

And, of course, my main goal is to make this a true fast; not just altar my eating habits but to pray and seek God for guidance and healing.

Fasts are not always just personal journeys, they can be shared. If you think you might want to do the Daniel Fast with me, pray about it and let me know…we can swap recipes and encourage one another to be spiritually and physically healthy!

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