A Happy Haitian Donkey heads home

Hi All:
The week is winding towards an end and the craziness with it. I had a couple more encounters with the MEBSH administration today (Friday), one to get the accountant, Welser, on the bank encounter capacity for the hospital (for some reason, we have accounts in 3 of the Haitian banks and one of them has both Haitian money and US money accounts). We then were requested to make some other adjustments to help reduce the stress of an employee, but, after we tried various avenues to accomplish that, to no avail, we discussed it directly with the employee and she felt she could handle the situation just fine. So, another long rabbit trail in trying to get along with our Haitian expectations. We have greatly appreciated the wisdom and help Johannes and Luise Schuerer have given us in this situation, veteran missionaries and his work in the Bible School was so valuable in dealing with the pastors involved in the decisions.

We had a decent surgical schedule, not as busy as some of my other weeks have been, but it did allow me to do a few other necessary things. Wednesday night, we heard that the container with replacement 2 x 4s, 2 x whatevers and a lot of roofing steel was coming here. It arrived at 10 pm and we started unloading it at 7 am on Thursday. It had a large amount of wolmanized lumber in it, as we have an abundance of termites and other critters here, so many boxes got soaked and sweat was dripping off the ceiling of the container itself. It was a lot of hard work for the crew, but it got done while Duane was here to organize it, thankfully. Things are back where they need to be, i.e. we have repaid our loans of wood, roofing, etc from other missionaries, and we can go home relaxed.

The weather has been pretty nice for me, not sure Duane and Tom are liking the warmth as much, but not a lot of rain, so we could make progress on the cement work that needed to be done. This morning, they found a significant leak in the line going to the dental clinic, but all the lines are under cement, so we did not start the project at this late date. Also, they put a shower in the doctors’ call room, an addition greatly appreciated by them. There did a variety of other jobs, as it seems there is never an end to breakdowns in the heat and the fact that the original building was put up in 1946, but there are a number of other things left for the next team (and many after that, I fear).

[I Am finishing this after we got home.] All went well on the return trip, other than little sleep, only 2 hrs plus cat naps in the plane. (I think Duane slept better in the back of the truck but the others in the cab couldn’t sleep much except Elizabeth). I do not sleep as my job is assistant navigator. We need 4 eyes to look for the many cars and trucks that have no running lights and drive like crazy all over the road, as well as the ones without even headlights who also fly along at reckless speeds with abandon. Jean Eddy does most of the driving now, but doesn’t speak English, so I have to keep watch on the road and keep us both awake with chatter, etc. We arrived home late last night with our 4 suitcases of sewn materials from the Women’s Ministry that Caleb and Olga Lapp run now (Luise Schuerer started it years ago to help the ladies who had no other means to support themselves), and are happy to see our families again. I greatly appreciated having Duane stay another 5 days to provide support for the meetings and then change all the locks that needed to be changed with a new administrator, as well as the other 3 team members who were most encouraging in sharing the work load, meals and other duties. I thank the Lord for the people He has given us to make the load lighter and help us accomplish more for His glory.

Dr. Luke and Jeff Berkompas will leave on the 15th of April, then Dan Boerman and I will go on the 29th of April to do both surgery and continue to sort out and organize the hospital authority structure in a way that we believe will be more efficient, God honoring and encouraging to our staff, who have been in need of relief for years now. We want to be sure that we replace the old system with an improved one, so pray for wisdom and direction for us as we do this. Dr. Moise and the accountant/interim administrator, Welser, will have to continue until we return, I do have confidence that they will do their best.

In His Service, again with MUCH Thanksgiving,

Bill, Duane, Tabitha, Elizabeth and Tom

The Haitian Donkey Praises the Lord for Answered Prayer

Hi All:
I know that many of you have been faithfully praying for us as we left for Haiti on Saturday, charged with several projects to accomplish. The only tickets Tom Failing and I could find were through Philadelphia, so we started at the airport at 3 am. The trip went well, ie no speed bumps, Tabitha Sheen (our nurse practitioner friend from our years in Africa) and her niece, Elizabeth, were with us from Lauderdale on and their baggage came off almost immediately, Tom’s and mine were the very last 2 bags to come off and we rejoiced that all was intact. We were able to get through customs without a hitch. Again thanks for praying, as we had a lot of inhalers to bring in, among other things. Inhalers are almost impossible to get here (I can buy them from IDA in Amsterdam, but they give me a $500 extra charge for “dangerous goods” for each container I ship them in??) so the poor patients with shortness of breath consider them close to gold when we give them out. Our trip home was slow in the dark, as lots of truck traffic on Saturday night, but we got home about 10:40 at night and put away what we needed to and settled down to a second short night, but thankful to be here with all our goods.

We prepared well for the most stressful project, to resolve the administrative issues, but hit a brick wall with lengthy deliberations with the mission headquarters all day Monday.  We were told we needed to wait until the full board met NEXT Monday, and they wanted my presence, something very difficult for me to accommodate as I have missed considerable work of late with my infection/hospitalization, etc. We were discouraged, but this morning, Duane and I tried to resolve things directly with administration and, we are still praising the Lord, we made great headway. As of today, the situation is resolved and I think everyone can get back to their normal tasks. I cannot thank you all enough for your concern, prayers and support of us all.

With all the administrative headaches I had to attend to, I was very thankful that Tabitha could work in the OR with Dr. Moise to keep that going while I was tied up. After we resolved the above issues, we had a meeting with all the staff to explain the changes that will be in place from this time forward. That went well, but I had to delay a hysterectomy as I needed to be part of that larger procedure, so we started late in the afternoon. It was pure joy to do it with Dr. Moise and Tabitha and it went very well, a great way to finish a long and difficult day. So, we are relaxing tonight and getting ready to work the rest of the week doing what we normally do, work in the hospital and clinic.

Duane remained behind (Ruth left at the scheduled time this morning) to help me with the headaches and to change locks, etc after all was said and done and I appreciate his willingness to do so. He and Tom are revising the bathroom in Physical Therapy to allow the doctors to take a shower when on call in the next room, a big encouragement for them. They also are working on the Chaplain’s house, putting in the plumbing, the septic tank and skim coating the walls. They also do a ton of “smaller jobs” that go a long way to keeping the hospital going, as maintenance is a foreign concept here.  Tabitha and Elizabeth also keep us well fed with delicious food morning and night (we eat with our Haitian OR crew at lunch, our normal routine).

All in all, it has been a productive, though stressful, week so far and we thank the Lord for his sustaining grace throughout this all.

In His Service,

Bill, Duane, Elizabeth, Tabitha and Tom (and Ruth ’til today)

Buckets of Love


Dear family and friends;

We have had a busy, but great start to 2017. We have been amazed by the way you have responded since hurricane Matthew hit Haiti. Thank you so much!

It’s been a privilege for us to distribute more than 600 buckets of love.  

As well as giving buckets and food to many people, we have been able to build a complete new wall along the Laquille river to protect Camp Mahanaim.  The wall is 8 feet high and 3 feet thick at the base with baskets of rocks under it. 

We have also been doing weddings. When the dresses are washed and the sun isn’t shining, we hang the dresses in our house to dry.

We did medical clinics last week with the Missouri medical team and they saw about 2800 people in one week. We also hosted our first camp back at Camp Mahanaim since the hurricane. It was a soccer camp.

Katie turned 14 on Feb 5th. It is hard to believe that we have been in Haiti 14 years.

Many of the young girls who have grown up in our Sunday School have now had babies and Deb takes special care of them all.

Thanks so much for your continued support and prayers and partnership,
bye for now,
Love Rod, Deb and Katie

A puzzled Haitian Donkey comes home from the Hospital even more Bewildered


Hi All:
The Haitian Donkey struggled with lots of help to get home from Haiti to be in the “good old USA” with our advanced medicine for further treatment of his severe chills, rigors and fevers each day or so if needed. Within 48 hours of arrival home, the fevers continued, so I tried to get in to see the infectious disease doctor I had seen in the previous hospitalization, but she was on maternity leave, and her partners sent me to the ER against my better judgment. I had a fever over 104, so they took all the warm clothes off me to cool me down, starting another episode of rigors, during which I get such muscle tightness that it is often hard to breathe. They also wanted to redo the CT scan, so poured a bunch of IVs (room temperature, but 30 degrees colder than my body) into me to be sure I was hydrated enough to be sure the dye didn’t harm my kidneys.

Suddenly, with the onset of the rigors, they noticed that my oxygen level and blood pressure were going quite low and my pulse up, which it likely has happened the last 20 episodes I have had, but was never monitored as was at home, and they whipped a bedazzled Haitian Donkey into a larger ER room where we are surrounded with about 20 people intent on saving my life. They whipped on the cold defibrillator patches, cutting off my T shirt and long underwear to do so and I suddenly realize where we are going. Another ER doctor asks my wife if she is medical and then informs her that they are about to intubate me. Karen says to him that I don’t want that done about the same time I tell them I don’t want to be defibrillated, I am quite alive yet, so please don’t do that. They back off, stating that I don’t want to be resuscitated (not true), send me to the CT scan and up to ICU. The nurses there talked to Karen and asked her some questions about my health and she asked if maybe we can move to a lower cost room.  They said they were puzzled why someone looking so good was in ICU in the first place and why I was DNR and do not intubate. It was a scary, whirlwind couple hours that I am glad, by the grace of God and her help, I survived without further damage.

The rest of the week was a long array of specialists and their physician extenders, infectious disease, cardiology, nutrition, interventional radiology and hospitalists (they added oncology and pulmonary, but they felt they had little to contribute and declined), rarely the same person two days in a row with lots of ideas. I had the port pulled on Tuesday and had a different, older style one placed on Friday with difficulty and went home on Saturday, but the Haitian Donkey is bewildered that, after all the high powered discussion and tests, etc, they just sent him back home on the same medicine he was taking when this all began???  When I asked them that, they looked puzzled but didn’t give me any answers, just said that, if I wanted something else, they could try something else, but no one really seemed to have any definitive answers.

So please continue to pray for improved health, that my body can overcome whatever it is that no one seems to figure out, that I can figure out how to balance my work schedules and the other demands on my time to be a good steward of what time the Lord has left for me for His glory. The fragility of life was once again laid bare for Karen and me this week, as James says, “for what is your life, it is even a vapor, that appeareth for a time and then vanisheth away.” I have some difficult administrative decisions to deal with on the next scheduled trip to Haiti on March 4th, so pray that I truly will be physically, emotionally and spiritually up to do what God wants me to do there this time.

With Gratitude and Humble Appreciation for you all,

Bill and Karen Ten Haaf

Donkey in Hospital


Thank you to everyone who prayed, Wiliamm did get on the plane and made it home, though not without difficulty, especially in Lauderdale (TSA).

I would have gotten back earlier with this news – the problem is that our donkey update lists are only on one old, stinky computer, at the house. It is very slow and messes up a lot. Anyway, I have run home to quickly send this so am just giving the basics. They again admitted the Haitian Donkey to the hospital on Monday morning with a big scare in the ER, then to ICU. He was moved last night to a regular room. They found infection on his port this time so it was pulled out yesterday. Tomorrow they will attempt to put in a new port, and this is one of the most serious prayer requests we have ever mentioned: THE LAST TIME THEY HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY PLACING A NEW PORT. PLEASE PRAY FERVENTLY FOR EXTRA AND SPECIAL WISDOM FOR THE IR (interventional radiology) PEOPLE TOMORROW AFTERNOON  as they try to get a new port put in. God is able to open up a damaged vessel to accept a new port so we are crying out to him. The donkey can no longer eat his hay or oats in a large enough quantity to live very long without his TPN.

    Even if I can’t get home right away to tell you what happened, PLEASE keep praying. We do not have a God who is tied to time . . . .

Thank you so much for partnering with us all this time in prayer for this most special Donkey.

Bill and Karen TenHaaf, with all the family and coworkers that support us continually