Tag Archives: Haiti

Dysentery is Not My Friend

Bright and early this past Saturday morning, Jax and I surprised my big-hearted mother at the airport before she departed on a missions trip to Haiti. This would be her second year to make the trip, and she and the team were giddy with excitement and anticipation over how God would use them during their visit. My mom’s luggage was stuffed with goodies and treats to take to the children, and for several years she has been studying to master the native language of Haitian Creole. The team was ready.

Four days after their departure, my family still hadn’t heard any information from or about the group, which wasn’t totally unexpected given the lack of infrastructure in Haiti. While waiting for news of their safety, I experienced a nagging feeling of unease, more so than I did during her first visit, but I continued to combat it with prayer and trust.

Yesterday morning as I was arriving to the office, I got a phone call from my dad that put me in tears. The word from Haiti was that my mother had contracted dysentery and was in pretty bad shape. Dysentery is an infection of the intestines, usually caused by ingesting contaminated food or water. We’re not sure exactly how she got it, but we did know that she was severely dehydrated and depleted of nutrients. The team was trying to get her to a hospital, but as you can imagine, hospitals are not easy to come by in Haiti. We weren’t given much more information than this, which made the news even scarier. My mother is horribly ill in a foreign country with poor healthcare, and we had no way of communicating with her. My heart ached.

I immediately called Jax, then shakily emailed my bible study girls and other friends to ignite a prayer network. My aunts started working on potentially medevacing my mom home to the States if necessary, and we kept in touch via phone for the next several hours. I researched dysentery, and my stomach dropped at this line: If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal. Terror.

I begged God to take care of my mom, to comfort her, to protect and heal her. I reminded myself that God knows about her sickness, He allowed it, and that everything that happens to us – that is happening to my mom right now – was thought out by my infinitely wise God, and all that happens will ultimately be for our good and for His glory. No difficulty, pain, or trial happens to us by chance. There are no accidents, no mistakes, no miscalculations. All is under His sovereign control, and nothing is permitted but what He has decreed. I know this is not how my mom wanted to spend her time in Haiti, and though I may not understand why, I trust that He is working this situation together for good. 

I was bombarded with thoughtful messages all day – texts, emails, Facebook messages, phone calls. It was beautiful to feel so surrounded by love in such a dark moment of uncertainty. My mother is literally being lifted up in prayer all across the country, and that is a pretty comforting thought.

Later in the afternoon, I received a phone call from my mom! We only got to talk for a total of 15 seconds, but just hearing her voice flooded my heart with gladness. She sounded weak but said she was being treated in a hospital and feeling a bit better. The prayers were working! Now, the hope is that she recovers enough to travel back to Memphis with the rest of her team on Saturday. If not, she will not be permitted to board an international aircraft and will have to stay in the country until she is healthy. Not the worst thing that could happen, but not an ideal scenario, either.

I haven’t heard any news since then, and so I wait patiently and know that He is God.

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Fishers of Men

This past Sunday, my mother was brave enough to speak in front of the (rather large) congregation of Central Church and share her experience in Haiti this past June. Because she is so amazing, because she is such a beautiful role model, and because I have the best mom in the world, I want to share her words with you below.

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Bonjour . 

I am excited to share how God is utilizing our church and the funds that Central has so generously given to the ministry of my dear friend Pastor Wawa to bless Haiti and spread the gospel in his desolate country. I want to thank you for your prayers and support, both instrumental in the success and accomplishments of our trip.  We were able to treat over 1,000 Haitians at three medical clinics and share the gospel with almost 1,500 children during four Vacation Bible Schools.  

This was my first missions trip, and I cannot begin to describe what an incredible journey it was. Before we left, I started teaching myself Haitian Creole so that I would be well-equipped to serve  God.  I soon realized, however, that this trip was not about me and what I or any individual could do, but that it was about the body of Christ and the church working together in unison to serve our Lord and Savior. It was truly amazing to see how God orchestrated and selected our team members – four from Memphis, eight from Maine, and two from California –  as well as Wawa’s staff of ten.  Each member was genuinely connected, humbly using their unique, God-given gifts to accomplish our sole mission….to share the love of Christ.

This is about so much more than just a nine day missions trip.  This is about spreading God’s love around the world.  Last year, some members of our group developed an incredible friendship with Pastor Wawa of Haiti, and amazingly, because of just two short-term missions trips, Central has contributed to the construction of a Christian school for 350 students in Haiti, been the catalyst for a new church birthed the week of our June  trip, and will be the cornerstone in the construction of a church to be built in Wawa’s hometown next spring.

At times it was overwhelming seeing the darkness and despair that prevails over this country, yet at the same time humbling to experience the genuine appreciation for our services and the hope we gave to these people.  I pray that I will never minimize or become callous to their needs.  After 9 days of sharing our faith and seeing God move, most of us were not ready to come home to our seemingly sheltered, somewhat empty, and selfish lifestyles.  Since our return, we are trying to determine where God wants to use us next to reach the needy and lost in our own city.

I want to encourage every one of you  to prayerfully consider going on a missions trip.  I regret that I waited until now to experience my first one.  I was amazed and blessed to witness the commitment and dedication of so many people serving God with such a level of enthusiasm. It was so inspiring to see them share their testimonies, work in the medical clinics and VBS, and run around for hours in 100 degree weather playing with the kids.

I plan on returning to Haiti  and have already begun encouraging my friends and family to either join me or pursue a trip of their own. The Harvest is ripe. Let us continue to sow the seed and be fishers of men.

Thank you and God bless you, or as they say in Creole, Merci ak Bondye Beni ou.

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Hope for Haiti Benefit Concert

If you will be in the Memphis area this Saturday night, look no further, I have just the plans for you. In non-erasable pen, mark your calendars for the Hope for Haiti Benefit Concert at Young Avenue Deli in Midtown, kicking off around 9pm. Musicians who have graciously agreed to perform include Amy LaVere, Snowglobe, Devil Train, and the Craig Schuster Band, and they guarantee a rocking good time.

I am not familiar with all of the acts, but I can tell you that Amy LaVere alone is worth the trip. Cute as can be, she thumps an upright bass bigger than she is and sings melodies that mesmerize. I was lucky enough to stumble across her talent at an obscure music festival a few years ago (rest in peace, Mucklewain) and have been hooked every since. You will not be disappointed.

A minimum donation of $10 gets you in the door, but keep in mind that all donations go to Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis and Food for the Poor, both good reasons to consider splurging.

Hope to see you all there!

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Haitian Devastation

By this point, I’m sure you have all heard about the earthquake that devastated Haiti yesterday evening. It’s easy to skim over the headlines and not give it a second thought, but if you stop and consider the magnitude of this tragedy, you will realize it is not something to be brushed aside. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, does not have the infrastructure and resources we do. They do not have a fire department and a slew of medical teams to come to their rescue. Death numbers are mounting quickly, and every hour that passes marks a critical line between life and death. Given the desperate circumstances this poverty-stricken nation faces on a daily basis, this catastrophic disaster is likely to have an extreme and lasting impact. The Haitians need our help – please take a moment to send a prayer upstairs to the Giver of Peace and the Healer of Hearts.

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