Friday, November 26, 2010

It keeps going

In spite of the fact that the Cholera epidemic continues to spread throughout our area, we have managed to stay Cholera free at the HOH. It is quite amazing when you think about it, and we are so thankful for your prayers on our behalf.

This does not mean we've not been affected by the outbreak... More and more family members of the HOH kids have died. Some can't even keep track of the numbers. This week one of the "Our Hope" kids, John Wisly lost his mom, and another little girl's mom died from AIDS. So two of our kids who weren't orphans before, now are. Linda has lost 3 members of her family so far, and others have gotten it but have recovered. We continue to assist the hospital wherever we can, mostly helping the international organization (Medical Teams International) who is there helping them. It's not much, but it is what we can do.

Food prices continue to go up, here are two examples to help you understand this: A gallon of Clorox that just a month ago cost around $4 now costs almost $7 US. A sack of sugar was just over $30 US when this all started, it now costs $64 US. You can just imagine how difficult this is for us as we have so many mouths to feed. In an effort to cut costs we have started to cut down on the number of meals we make in a day, same as we did after the earthquake. It always amazes me how the Haitians can just tighten that belt another notch tighter every time things get worse--and still have a good spirit about them as they are doing it.

And we have plenty of that good spirit about us these days. One benefit to having such a large family is that it'd be almost impossible for everyone to get down in the dumps at the same time, so there's always someone to pick up the others who are down. We have seen God sustain us through hard times in the past, and know He will do the same this time. We have had to cancel our trip to the new property that we were going to take with the kids over Christmas break (we canceled it last year too -- someday we'll make it). I am actually kinda glad about that, we can use a break that is just a break, not trying to ferry 50 kids across 100 miles of road that would take us at least 10 hours to drive.

So, in an attempt to encourage you's what brought us great joy this week:

Remember this little girl? She is here dressed in her school uniform with the birthday hat they made for her. Think back 4 years ago...Nani turned 4 this past week. Yep, the little tiny Siliana, who we didn't think would live (just in case you don't remember I've added a picture of her at 2 weeks old). Well, she is thriving, and is our constant joy. She is loved by all, and honestly who could imagine life without her bubbly spirit and constant boosts of energy? It's hard to stay discouraged with her running around all over the place.

We thank God for His protection of Phania and another friend of ours who were both involved in motorcycle accidents this past week. They have to take little motorcycle taxi rides to school each day in Port-de-Paix. Both had minor injuries, but nothing too serious, and we are thankful.

So, please stay encouraged...and keep praying for our requests. For protection from the epidemic around us, for wisdom in using the resources that God has already provided for us, and for His continued provision of our needs during these tough days. Blessings on you...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The numbers keep rising

Thank you for your prayers, and for those of you who have given so that we can help those in need. Every day the numbers of new cholera patients goes up. I've been told that between our hospital and another one up the road they are averaging 175 new patients a day, but have had a death rate of under 1%, which is a lot lower than other parts of the country, so that is commendable for both these hospitals and the different international agencies helping them out.

Unicef is supposed to be helping our hospital build a tent complex on another part of the yard to open up more space for even more patients in the future. We are helping in whatever way we can, but are mostly occupied with keeping the HOH safe and healthy. So far, thank the Lord, we have had no cases here. We are prepared, however, thanks to our co-workers in PAP who shipped us IV supplies yesterday. We keep getting news from the kids' and Linda's family; some more have died and others are infected. The days are long, people are tired and getting discouraged. We are grateful for your prayers.

Just a reminder, if you leave a comment on the blog and ask a question but don't leave an e-mail address, I cannot respond to you. Write to me instead at: . Thanks

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A quick update...

Just a quick note to say things at the hospital are continuing to get worse. I've included some pictures so you can see. We've been given 2 tents now, so the wards, porch, yard and two tents set up for Cholera patients are full.the yard.
inside the tent.the new tent going up.

So far we are doing ok at the HOH, thanks for your prayers. Continue to pray for the hospital staff, especially the nurses, they are all working so hard. Pray also for those mourning the ones they love. We just got news of the first death from Linda's family this afternoon. Others have lost more family members as well. so we really appreciate your prayers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Please keep Praying

We are still dealing with rain, mud and high water from the hurricane going through. It has left us with very limited access to the internet these days. At the same time the Cholera epidemic is in full swing in our area, it is everywhere. The hospital has received 269 people during this past week, all with cholera.

Yesterday we had a scare as one of the boys who spends every waking hour here at the HOH. He started with symptoms of Cholera late yesterday afternoon. In the end, he does not have it, but it has definitely gotten us concerned. We feel that it will be a miracle if we manage to keep it out of the HOH family.

We are daily getting reports from the HOH kids families back out in the villages, there are many people dying. One of our girls has lost 6 family members in the past couple of days. Another one has lost 3. Please pray for our kids as they here this news, it is very difficult for them.

We have tightened down our yard, our gates are being locked 24/7, and everyone coming in or passing through must wash hands and shoes with Clorox water. We are keeping our elementary age kids home from school for the next little while. We are continuing with the precautions on the preparation of food and drinking water.

We really need your prayers for protection, prayers for wisdom, and prayers for God's provision of our needs (which by the way, He has been working on in the past few days, thanks for praying with us since my last update). Every time a crisis hits prices of everything go up, this time is no different. We have added expenses of trying to keep our kids safe, and also of food prices rising. So, if anyone wishes to help us out with the added financial needs, just follow the instructions at the top left of this blog.

Thank you all for your prayers and concerns, I will try and update more often, provided I can get on the internet. You don't need to necessarily wait for an e-mail to check, because I might not be able to get e-mails out telling you I've updated the blog.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

All is well

Thanks for your prayers, all is well. Tomas is past for the most part. We had rains most of the day yesterday, and some fairly heavy wind gusts last night through the night. This morning the hospital and our yard was a mess of branches and garbage, and the kids have been working since early to clean up for us, the hospital and some neighbors yards as well. But that seems to be the extent of the damage, for which we are very thankful. Unfortunately others around us had more damage as most everyone lost their gardens. This will make things even more difficult in the months ahead as many people count on their produce to live off of, and pay for things like schooling for their kids. Please be in prayer for these people, many who were already in great need before this loss.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cholera, Cholorx & Climate

Hi Everyone. WOW! Ok, first of all sorry for the long period of silence. I'm sure you can all understand why. The bottom line is if you don't hear from me for such a long time, life is just insanely crazy and we can only get the basic necessities of keeping the place running accomplished in a given day. So, I'm sure you can imagine how you can pray for us during those days.

Linda and I returned to the HOH on Oct. 22. We both had a very good trip to our respective families, and in spite of being busy where we were, we both felt like we returned to Haiti a bit more refreshed than when we left. It was very good to see those of you we were able to see while we were there.

It has taken us a while to get things back in order here. The kids did a great job of keeping the house going while we were gone. They get better at it each time we leave. But there's always a back log of things needing to be done whenever we get back. That is the biggest part of what has kept us busy during the past couple of weeks. Along with that has been the start of school, and with it all of our Bible studies and programs here at the HOH. Add to the mix that my Master's course also started up again, and I think you can get a glimpse of what has kept us busy.

We got back to Haiti just around the time for the cholera epidemic to get started. It's taken several weeks to get up our way, but it has hit around here with a force the past few days. Our partner hospital is over run with patients, and they are having to put them outside on the porch as more and more show up. The staff is working hard, they were able to find some help from a foreign organization today, and so they have some added hands to help them out. We are offering our help whenever we can, but our main occupation has been keeping our own kids safe and healthy. We've put as many precautions into place as we are able to, and appreciate your prayers on our behalf as we deal with the latest trial to hit Haiti this year. This has included buying lots of Clorox to clean our house even more than we normally do, keeping the kids as clean as possible, keeping our gates locked more than usual and putting clorox in all of our drinking water. It's taken us some time to get used to the taste of clorox in all of our juices and teas, but better that then the alternative of getting cholera from the water.

Today we've been waiting the arrival of Tomas the Hurricane. School has been canceled, both yesterday and today. We've had a lot of rain, but not a lot of wind which we were expecting. According to the internet it's going over our area right now, but so far all is well the eye is out over the water and here it's just overcast and fairly calm. So, we thank God for letting it pass by so calmly -- at least for us. We had a team scheduled to fly in today from the US. Unfortunately they had to cancel their trip due to the impending hurricane. This same team had to cancel their original trip into Haiti back in Feb. after the earthquake; so, you can imagine the frustration they are feeling. Please pray that they'll be able to reschedule soon and be able to complete their trip here.

Some things to pray for:
  • Continued protection from the weather, and from the cholera epidemic right outside our front door.
  • We still are running on the old generator (praise God it keeps on going), and the team that had to cancel was the one that was going to finish installing the new one. So pray that they'll be able to get back soon.
  • Praise God that our water situation is much better, and we don't have the hassle of carrying our water at this point in time.
  • For the kids as they've started the school year, that they'd study and also be able to understand what they are learning.
  • For God's provision for all of our needs. We were so grateful once again to Miami Shores Presbyterian Church for sending us sacks of food to help us through. We are grateful as well to each church and individual who has given of themselves in one way or another to help us have what we need to continue to serve here. These past few months we've really had to tighten our belts, with extra mouths to feed and added trials to manage. Please pray that God would provide what we need, and that we would be faithful to use it all in a way that pleases him.
Thank you all for your incredible support. May God bless each one of you.