Haiti News – May 2024

Haiti has been in the news quite a bit the last couple months, and the things you see and hear are real. Sadly, life has been difficult and dangerous for many years, and the recent accounts have to some degree been occurring for quite a while. Since their president was killed in 2021, they have not had a functioning government. We had three teams at the hospital in January who experienced much travel difficulty, and we were warned when we left that the gangs had big plans to take over in the near future. Days after we left, the acting prime ministry left the country to get help, the gangs seized control of Port Au Prince, and travel to Haiti has been impossible since.

Even amongst this violent background, we see the Lord’s hand of blessing on this ministry. The hospital has been able to remain open and those who come through the doors are still receiving medical help and hearing the message of salvation.

Although we are not able to get many supplies into Haiti, we have been able to send them the basics. Agape Flights is a ministry that serves missionaries in the Caribbean by flying supplies to them, and they have been delivering supplies to the hospital for us weekly. Their ability to send these supplies is a great blessing. We will continue to send supplies this way until we are able buy supplies in country and/or ship a container. Please pray for continued resources to be able to send these supplies.

One of our functions overseeing the hospital is to keep the equipment in working order. This can be difficult even when we are there. We try to keep a lot of spare parts on hand and the back-up equipment in functioning order to be utilized until we can get there to make the proper repairs. Thankfully, our solar system has been giving us reliable, consistent power which has kept the number of electrical issues at a minimum. However, we have had x-ray issues with all three of our machines recently. One of these machines, our favorite, is a portable machine that can be used anywhere in the facility. It was donated by Samaritan’s Purse following the earthquake in 2021. We have now ordered a second portable x-ray machine, a cost of almost $38,000, so that we will have a backup.

Including the x-ray machine, our 2024 expenses to date have amounted to $92,463.36. These expenses are in addition to the day-to-day operational costs of the hospital. Equipping the staff with the tools they need is an important part of this ministry. Please remember them in your prayers and support us as you are able.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day here; in Haiti it was Nurse’s Day, and we celebrated the dedication and service of our nurses. We would be lost without them. Day in and day out they faithfully care for their patients. These ladies continue to learn and grow, seeking to care more professionally, often with less than desirable supplies and equipment.

Thank you to all our nurses!

We don’t know how long it will be before life is back to a sense of normalcy in Haiti. Until then, we will continue to trust in the Lord’s provision and do what we are able to from here. Thank you for your continued prayer and money support. You are blessing to this ministry.

Dan Boerman

March News – Unrest and Violence

I am sure you are all wondering how the unrest in Port Au Prince has affected our ministry at Centre de Sante Lumiere. By Gods’ grace, the violence has not made its way to Les Cayes yet. Talking with some of our people there, the shops are open (though with little to sell) and the schools and hospital are still open. However, there is a dark cloud hanging over everything.

The news coming out of Port Au Prince is pretty grim. It is being reported that the gangs now control 80% of the city and were able to break into prisons, releasing thousands of prisoners to add to their numbers. This is in protest of the government, and they have demands for changes they want to see happen. As a result, all airports in the country have closed, preventing anyone from leaving and supplies from being flown in. Many residents of the city are in hiding and unable to get out for food and other basics. The gangs have also gained control of the shipping port which is keeping supplies from reaching other areas of the country. Food, fuel, and medical supplies are getting to be in short supply, and this could have devastating effects for the entire country.


Following is an update I received from Dr. Moise:

Good evening to all. As you know for about three years Haiti has become the country of gangs, a cemetery for the dead, a country ravaged by violent demonstrations throughout the country and our small Hospital site in the south of the country (Cayes)has suffered huge consequences because patients couldn’t come to the hospital and people who arrived with gunshot wounds do not have the means to pay their bills. Now the whole country is controlled by gangs who make the law with the complicity of members of the people in power, businessmen and certain power-hungry politicians. Since the beginning of March the gangs have controlled the entire country and have managed to burn down many police stations, public buildings and even the private residence of the head of the national police. Now no more transportations buses, airplanes from anywhere to Cayes. Foods, Meds very difficult to get. By the grace of God, we are still alive and we live from day to day because no one knows what will happen next day. Please keep praying for Haiti and for our employees God bless


I also received the following message from a German missionary who resides near the hospital:

Hello Dan,

Hope you are doing well so far in our distorted world. The situation in Haiti develops not in a good way. Humanly spoken because we can´t see behind God´s plan. So we have a situation we do not like and we want to escape from it but in the bible, it is not written that things will become better until Christ returns.
Situation is not encouraging for the moment. Lots of people want to go. Agape Flights may come on Friday and a few missionaries will fly out. From here to the Dominican Republic and then to the US.
After that we don´t have any flights from or to Haiti since weeks. We are glad that the Les Cayes area is more or less safe. We have been in town, Banks and other businesses are open. We can do our work.

One more interesting thing. Last Saturday I was in prison. Truly. The background story is that we heard since the government is not functioning anymore, they can´t feed the prisoners. Or they don´t have enough food for them. More than 900 here in the Les Cayes prison. So, what happened? Friday evening Johannes and Luise said, we may should help. We called one of the MEBSH pastors and he made some connections with some of the people in charge of the prison. We decided to go Saturday morning. Together we went into town and bought some sacks of rice, beans, corn and a few canisters of vegetable oil. Then we went to the prison. Man, that is dungeon. To go into prison in Haiti is really a punishment. They are jamming together in a large room. If you have money, you may buy a bed for one night and probably have to share it with others. You have to see that place otherwise you won´t believe it. Prison in Germany is hotel compare to that. We may go again if we get some funds for that. It´s not possible doing that every week but maybe once a while.
Those are the latest news so far. We will see, how things will develop the next weeks.
Have a good evening,
Reinhard


It is a helpless feeling for us to be here in the states, seeing and hearing about what the Haitians are experiencing, and we are lifting up many prayers for Gods’ intervention. We will closely monitor and hope to be able to fly in needed supplies for the hospital once Agape Flights is able to fly there again. Pray for the staff at CSL and us as we work through this difficult time.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Dan & Duane

Haiti News – January 2024 (Part 2)

Well, the travel dramas are over. Duane and I made it home Sunday night. We are so thankful for all the prayers and support we received the last three weeks. Throughout all the problems, complications, delays, and uncertainties, God’s timing is always shown to be perfect. We had many projects planned – most of which we were able to accomplish and others we hope to finish soon by getting our 3rd week group down (this time successfully). We were also asked to do several projects we hadn’t originally planned on and finished some home repair projects left over from the earthquake that we were waiting on material for. Thank you to all who volunteered to go to the hospital this past month (some who made it and others who tried) and to all of you who support us in multiple ways here at home.

This past year has been a year of growth and maturing at Centre de Sante Lumiere, and the past weeks of team projects are the result of many months of meetings and planning to determine how best to prepare for the future and improve the services that we provide.

We have seen growth this past year in almost every department. I typically don’t like to talk about numbers as it’s easy to get sidetracked with them and lose sight of the ministry, but we also need to be able to respond to the needs before us.

CSL’s 2023 statistics

Surgical Procedures – 1,784

Outpatient consultations – 80,763

Hospitalizations – 9,901

Lab Tests – 88,697

Deliveries – 613

Poor Fund Recipients – 4,422

Salvations – 960

All of the above areas have increased at least 25% this year. Labs have more than doubled, 650 more surgeries were done, and 150 more babies were born. Preparing to handle these increases, we have welcomed an OBGYN doctor as well as new staff in the surgical department.  Our building projects have included adding a recovery room, adding a break room for the ER nurses, preparing a guest house so that we can move out of the administration building to give them more room, creating two more private patient rooms, and moving our main gate to provide better security.

We are thankful for the progress that has been made; however, there continue to be many problems in Haiti that our staff are faced with, making like difficult. Haiti is controlled by a group of gangs who are trying to gain control of the country. The road to Port Au Prince is now totally blocked and very little supplies reach the Ley Cayes area. If you could even find gasoline last week it cost over $10 USD a gallon. When you consider the salary for almost half of our staff is less than $150 USD a month, you can see the issues this causes.  Everything is expensive right now. We have given staff raises but we can’t keep up with inflation and we don’t believe increasing our prices is possible either. This would result in more patients being unable to pay their hospital bills, which puts a greater demand on the Poor Fund. From our perspective, we don’t envision any improvements in the near future. We have had amazing support for our Poor Fund in the past, and demand for it keeps growing. We are working hard to find ways to cover these costs.

As we enter into this new year, we ask for prayers as we continue this ministry of service to the Haitian people and look to God for His guidance.

Thank you again for all your support.

Dan and Duane

Haiti News – January 2024

Today is Sunday, January 14 and I write this starting my 3rd week at CSL. It has been a long time since work teams have been able to go to Haiti, but we’ve been planning several projects that will further improve our services at the hospital. Our plan was to bring three teams in for a week each starting December 30th, but travel has become a huge issue. The first team had no issues coming or going; however, the adventure started with the second team. Two members had to back out when their flight from Grand Rapids to Miami was cancelled and they wouldn’t be able to catch their flight from Miami to Port au Prince in time.  The rest of the team’s flight from Miami to Port was delayed 1.5 hours, setting off a chain reaction of travel issues. Due to the delays, they just missed their Sunrise flight from Port to Les Cayes. Booking another ticket was impossible since tickets are sold out almost two weeks in advance (there is a huge backlog for Sunrise flights since the gangs are preventing any cross country vehicle travel). The only hope of getting to the hospital was flying standby, which still involved paying for another ticket. Thankfully they were able to get a hotel for the night, and over the course of 3 flights and 9 hours sitting on suitcases the next day, God opened up exactly 6 seats for all 6 team members. 

We also had a travel wrench thrown in when we discovered Sunrise cancels your return flight if you miss your first flight. The Lord provided once again and we were able to hire a charter to fly the team back to Port on Monday, 2 days past their original departure date. Their American flights to the US had to be changed but thankfully there was availability on another airline. 

Today, the third team planned to leave Grand Rapids, but the winter storm destroyed those plans. They boarded the plane, only to have the flight canceled because it was too cold for the de-icing solution to work. Duane was still able to make it as he was already in Florida so this week’s team will just be the two of us. 

Travel adventures aside, we have had two incredible work weeks so far. 

Our projects have included setting up our operating room #3 for doing endoscopy procedures and we performed several tests and training cases. Thank you Laura for your huge help in this department – hope you can come back again! We also moved our main gate to provide better security, installed water and electric supply to our new guest house, reorganized/removed walls in our birthing and delivery areas to provide space for a recovery room, and worked on a bathroom and break room for the emergency nurses. Much work was accomplished on the guest house (cabinets, plumbing, tiling, patching, painting) along with trying to finish our employee home repair projects that have been waiting on material and teams to complete.

Thank you to all who donated to our rice and goat fund, our largest year yet. What a blessing! I saw a lot of smiling faces. I reminded members of our staff many times that these gifts are not from me but from you, we just get the pleasure of distributing the gifts. Life continues to be very hard for the people of Haiti and these gifts are much needed and appreciated. We continue to try and increase our staff’s salaries to attempt to keep up with cost, but as we decided again this week, we just can’t raise our prices right now for fear of keeping people from coming to the hospital. This is an ongoing struggle we have to deal with and we pray for guiding wisdom to make the right decisions. 

We are thankful for your support and prayers. We couldn’t begin to do this ministry without you. We pray that God will continue to use CSL as a place for physical and spiritual healing. 

Dan

A Ministry Provided For – November 2023

Dr. Luke and I spent the first week of November at the Centre de Sante Lumiere hospital. The container that we shipped back in October arrived a few days before we did. The arrival of a container is like Christmas at the hospital – it’s filled with needed supplies, special requested items and material for planned projects. Without a facility or equipment to unload, we assemble a large team to help, and these containers are stuffed. When shipping costs are $14,000, we not only have to prioritize what we send but also pack as much as can get into it, equating to roughly $.35 per pound. We started unloading at 3pm Saturday afternoon and didn’t finish until 9pm.

Included in this container were a few special items for the surgical department: heart monitors, 3 operating tables, 2 anesthesia machines, and a c-arm x-ray machine. We try to include some long-term planning in our management meetings, and last year we were discussing (mostly just dreaming) about how a c-arm x-ray machine would improve a lot of the surgeries we do. Not being a medical person, I had no idea what a c-arm x-ray machine was, but it basically allows a surgeon to do x-rays during surgery. One example would be to help better place screws during orthopedic procedures. When I heard the cost, $100,000 or more, I said we would keep our eyes and ears open but didn’t believe there was a possibility of finding one in the near future.

Six months later I received a call. “Hey Dan, would you know anyone who could use a c-arm? I have a friend who would like to donate his to a worthy cause.” It is amazing how God works, providing things we need in ways beyond our imagination. It is truly awesome! The machine was crated in Delaware, driven to Michigan, loaded on the container, trucked to Chicago, put on a ship in Miami, driven across Haiti on a truck, and safely unloaded at the hospital. It’s worth noting that within an hour of us testing the machine it was already being used in surgery!

A special thank you to Dr. Pramod Yadhati from Wilmington, Delaware for this wonderful gift! Many thanks as well to those who helped get this safely delivered thousands of miles away, and to the NRC Disaster Relief Committee for providing the funds for shipping the container. Thank you to everyone who supports us with your gifts of money, time and prayer. We couldn’t do this ministry without all of your support.

Lives are being changed physically and spiritual healing is happening, for which we praise God! Please continue to pray for the staff, not only for strength in the daily struggles they face, but also for serious health issues amongst some family members. Prayer would also be appreciated for 3 teams we plan on sending in January to work on projects we shipped materials for.

We continue collecting money for our Rice and Goat gifts to the staff at Christmas. Please note on your donation if you wish it to be used for this.

Many thanks,

Dan Boerman