The Haitian Donkey Is In The Waiting Game (Sigh)

Hi All:

As mentioned before, Duane and I had planned on going the 8th of June, but the violence that prevented our trip is still going on.  I spoke with Dr. Moise this morning, things are settled down in Cayes somewhat, but the road to Port au Prince remains blocked by the rioters.  Thus, trucks and buses have been unable to bring people and goods where they need to go.  It also means that our teams cannot get back and forth, specifically the next trip planned for the 9th of July, unless things calm down quickly. Duane and Jim Webb (a retired surgeon in the GR area that helps out whenever needed and his health is good enough, he is a real trooper). 

Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get back on my feet with healing of the abscess in my lower left abdomen, the fistula that peeks out it’s ugly head in the lower aspect of my incision after likely being quiet for 3 years (we can’t be sure, but it is in the same place, though putting out nastier stuff).  We also need to be sure my line infection clears up in the midst of all this.  Plus, I have lost considerable weight and need to get my strength and blood counts up, not easy to do on only clear liquids (to try to heal the fistula without further, risky surgery).  It all amounts to the Haitian Donkey having even scrawnier legs and ambling along in a somewhat less than robust fashion.

In the midst of all this, we are working on finishing the basement at James and Jenn’s house so I can move in there with the remaining kitty cat of Karens and selling our house.  Many people have done a tremendous amount of work to help us and we now pray that things can be completed in the near future and I can begin to find where things are?  Also, we are still trying to get all the paperwork associated with the death of my wife arranged, including setting up things so that it will be easier for the kids in the event of my homegoing.  As you know, I have been preparing things for Karen to have and do after I would pass away, we weren’t quite prepared for what happened and still miss her terribly. 

Pray for wisdom for all these situations, especially for peace to return to Haiti, where the people have suffered so much for so long with no reasonable end in sight. 

In His service,

Bill, Rachel, James and Jenn 

The Stumbling Scrawny Haitian Donkey Needs Prayer For Wisdom Again

Hi All:

First of all, a number of you have asked to be placed on the mailing list again as technical problems with the previous mail set up dropped people without my knowledge. .  Keep asking as I will do it as soon as I learn how to do it.  We switched to gmail per advice of those more talented than I in that realm (90% of the world) but I have not been taught/able to figure out how to add to the lists, but will as soon as someone can help me.  Rachel, who switched the email to gmail, is in Europe for a month of research for her job and Jenn is busy trying to get her house ready for me to move in and my house ready for sale later this week.  She has lots of help from my family and friends, for which I am immensely appreciative, but there is a lot of her time that goes into that..

It now has been a month since Karen passed away and I developed a fever, felt to be a line infection, but then, 2 weeks ago, also a fistula (hole between my bowels and my skin through which undesirable, malodorous and infected fluid seeps out) and an abscess.  My dear friend, Dr. Dan De Cook, drained the abscess 2 weeks ago, with suspicious chunks of what looked to us like possibly my mucinous cancer cells and placed a drain.  That feels a lot better, the fistula/leakage is down, but to accomplish that, I am eating nothing again.  Because the IV  antibiotic the insurance will cover is incompatible with my fatty caloric infusion, they have cut that out but I only get 856  calories a day through my IV line and am losing weight further.  So, please pray for wise alternatives.

As the infection in my lower belly wall most likely is related to the fistula (the bugs we grew out are GI bugs, not skin ones) I fear it comes from the fistula and fear that surgery will make this worse. This, admittedly, is contrary to conventional surgical thinking, which encourages removal of all infected tissue and placement of a vacuum suction device to help the hold to heal.  However, I no longer have abdominal muscles, as they took out the cancer infested muscles and replaced it all with a 12 x 12 inch mesh and how to deal with that is an unclear problem.  So, again, the Haitian Donkey needs divine wisdom for both of us as to how to proceed to the most tolerable and functional end.

Haiti remains a volatile place with no end in sight for the violence, and the poor people suffer even more as the numerous short term missions teams that often come bringing help, supplies and funds to relieve the desperate citizens are prevented from coming by the unrest.  Even many patients that wanted to come to the hospital have not dared to brave the rocks that might be thrown at them for their efforts. 

Also, again, thanks so much for all the cards, support and prayer offered on our behalf as we go through this difficult time the Lord has led us into and will go through with us (Ps 23:4).

In His Service,

Bill, Rachel, James and Jenn

The Haitian Donkey is not Welcome in His Homeland

Hi All:
I should be in Haiti, letting you know of the work progress and enjoying the warmth of the sun. However, Dr. William called me Friday morning and said that the hospital he is training in, the largest government hospital in Port au Prince, was shutting down all operations possible and sending people home for their safety as demonstrations scheduled for Sunday were started early.  After checking with several other colleagues, both Haitians and Expats, Duane and I reluctantly decided it would not be prudent to risk it and we cancelled.  Admittedly I have been fighting a fever and have started my third IV antibiotic since Karen passed away, as well as an oral one and still feeling under the weather, but didn’t want to disappoint my brothers and sisters there.

One of our reliable contacts are our fellow missionaries and dear friends, Johannes and Luise, but they were about an hour up the road from the hospital towards Port, usually things have calmed down considerably once we get a couple hours out towards the hospital, so well within the “calm zone.”  We could not contact them due to them being away from the internet, etc.  They contacted us yesterday morning and said it was God’s Wisdom that we did not go, as they had 3 roadblocks on the way back home for that hour run, two of which they got through but the third pelted them with stones.  Their vehicle is clearly marked as MEBSH so they didn’t respect that and would likely not have respected them.  They had to back up and take the two track roads back home (almost everyone has 4 wheel drives, a necessity there).  Rod had similar problems getting home from the Sunday School/Feeding Program and Johannes and Luise said that no one was even able to come to be seen at the hospital (and thus would not be able to come for surgery) due to the violence.  So, once again, the country is struggling with no clear resolution in sight as it is a longstanding, complex situation that brought this on and who all is/are the real culprit(s) is very unclear.

Since I was staying home, the sore lump on my belly wall that I have had for 3 years, since Dr. Dan De Cook drained my fistula, had been growing more tender. I blamed it on lifting boxes in our attempt to move out of our house into James and Jenn’s basement, not that the family would let me do much, they consider me a first class wimp, I fear.  But, I figured to contact Dan as I had a light schedule and he graciously saw me on Monday, did an ultrasound and drained a bunch of smelly pus, cancer cells and who knows what else out.  So, I have another pipe sticking out of my belly which doesn’t always give the best of odors, he will see me in a week and decide if he needs to take me to the OR and clean things up more extensively, which I am fearful he will likely do. 

So, would appreciate prayer for wisdom and strength for the above situations, both for Haiti and my personal health.  Also, I want to thank all of you once again for all your prayers, notes of encouragement and just many offers to help in any way in this difficult time in our lives.

In His Service,

Bill and Duane (and Rachel, James and Jenn)

Camp Mahanaim Waterslides

Dear family and friends; 
                                         Things continue to be unsettled here in Haiti.   Yesterday demonstrations began once again, with people demanding the departure of the president.    In the capital of Port au Prince, most everything is shut down and there are roadblocks in locations throughout the country.   On Sunday, we were able to get through 2 barricades and arrive safely at Renault Sunday school, but on the way home, we couldn’t get through the roadblocks, so we took 4X4 trails and finally made it home. 

We are so thankful for your generous response to last month’s request.  With the support of your “Camp” donations, we have been, and will be able to host groups for camps this summer.   This particular school came from an area up in the mountains and the young people didn’t know how to swim. Some of the kids were afraid of the water. 

They all had to wear life jackets, but by the end of the day, they were loving the  water and the water slides. 

Katie has done a great job of following in her big brother’s footsteps with the making of videos.   Here is a link to her first video which shows the new Camp Mahanaim waterslides in action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZO1QtYCceU

Thanks again for your prayers and concern for Haiti and also for your support which will make it possible for many kids to attend Camp this summer!

Thanks, Love 
Rod, Deb and Katie 

Looking Ahead

Dear family and friends;     

After Sunday school this morning Deb sent several very needy souls to the hospital for medical care.   We are so thankful for those of you who send medical funds so that we can continue  to help these poor people.    A 15 year old with a huge hernia, a lady with a large stomach mass, this quiet man with a badly infected foot, a 6 month old with a high fever and many other sick people.

Without medical care, he would soon lose his whole foot. 

There was another rock fight outside the Sunday school yard this morning as older boys were fighting over the small bags of rice (manna packs) that we distribute.    This innocent bystander was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was hit in the face by a large rock.   We quickly sent him up to the hospital.

There are always many needs and requests each week at the Renault Sunday school.

I had the privilege of cutting and milling a  beautiful mahogany tree which had been planted by Pastor Johannes Schurer 45 years ago when he and his wife began serving as missionaries in Haiti.   (They continue to minister here in Haiti). 

Roro and Nadair helped me lift the clear mahogany slabs.

The Mahanaim volleyball club is flourishing and we have held several tournaments and have new players joining.    The Angels continue to play and are praying that it works out for them to go to the Haiti National volleyball championships in May.

Last weekend we took the volleyball club (70 kids) to the nearby Apostolic Christian Church dairy farm project.   It was a great field trip and the Haitian young people were interested and amazed at the agriculture methods which are showing amazing results.

A glass of cold chocolate milk was an extra treat.

We don’t know this lady’s name, but we call her “Friday”, as she and her daughter come to see us and get some food, most every Friday.   Three years ago both of them probably would have died had it not been for the Missouri medical team who nursed them back to health.   

We are looking ahead to summer, which normally means “Camp time” for us.   We regret that some of our teams have had to cancel due to the continued instability in Haiti, but we are thankful that they are sending the funds, so that we can still host camp for the Renault Sunday school children.     We are also thankful that other teams are still planning to come and help us with camp.   We would appreciate your prayers as we are trusting the Lord to provide ways for camp to continue this year. 

 
Thanks for your prayers and support.

Bye for now,   Love Rod, Deb and Katie