Haiti News – October 2023

It seems like this year has just begun and yet the end of October is already here with Thanksgiving just around the corner.

Dr. Luke and I are planning to be in Haiti at the hospital on November 1. Preparing for this trip, I have been reflecting on what has transpired throughout the past year and the plans we have for this coming year. We are so thankful for all the support you have given and for all the efforts of our staff to serve the Haitian people. I was reminded today that most of us have no concept of what living in Haiti is like. Our life is full of electric and water coming on at our whim with the flip of a switch or the turn of a valve while many Haitians do not even have indoor kitchens or bathrooms; cooking with charcoal and using an outhouse are all part of the norm. And yet through all their personal hardships I am still inspired to see our staff’s desire to give of themselves and serve.

Dr. Bill had a big desire to minister to the Haitians and to help better the lives of his staff. Many years ago, at Christmas time, he started gifting each staff member a sack of rice and a goat. The rice was meant for their immediate needs and the goats were providing for future needs. The hope was that they could be raised for breeding but could still be used for milk or meat during hard times. It quickly became known as the ‘Rice and Goat Fund’.

It’s that time of year again! And we wish to continue the tradition Dr. Bill started and which the staff looks so forward to. Funding this cause is a great way to not only honor Dr. Bill’s many years of work, but to also celebrate God’s continual blessing on this ministry.

If you wish to donate to this fund, please send all checks to:

Centre de Sante Lumiere

2632 28thSt. SW

Wyoming, MI49519

c/o Rice and Goats

Please keep Dr. Luke and I in your prayers as we once again travel to CSL. Please pray for a blessed and productive trip.

Blessings, Dan

August 2023 News

I was recently reminded of Dr. Bill and his leadership and vision for this ministry when I saw the very common sight of a donkey on market day. As many of you know, Dr. Bill was nicknamed the Haitian Donkey – how we miss him!

Our August trip to Centre De Sante Lumiere (CSL) was focused on needed repairs to our solar system. Evert Bek, Micah Baxter and I left on August 16. Because of the lack of flights, we had to drive to Chicago to catch a plan to Miami and then on to Port Au Prince. Many thanks to Nader who ensures our safe delivery to the general aviation airport, a short distance from the international airport in Port. Always thankful for an uneventful trip.

As people are learning they can rely on our consistent services provided because of our solar system and its reliable electricity, the emergency room, orthopedic, physical therapy, and maternity departments at the hospital continue to get busier and busier each month. Due to this growth, our increased electricity usage exposed a problem with the system we didn’t realize we had, resulting in a system shutdown. Thanks to many hours of sometimes frustrating work Micah discovered the problem, and I can once again sit in my office in the US and watch the whole system work wonderfully. Unfortunately, when the system shut downs, we have to fall back on our existing generators. The electricity they generate is not very stable and caused problems with other pieces of equipment, so we had several machines that we also repaired when there and others we brought home with us to repair.

As a tribute to Dr. Bill, the nurses at his practice wanted to do something for the hospital and bought a backup sterilizer for use in the surgical department. Installation had been put on hold while we got the solar system up and running. However, Duane & Tom were able to get it mounted in place on the last trip. Of course, the door on our main sterilizer broke and parts need to be ordered. So on the last afternoon we were there, Evert and Micah hooked up the electric and we ran the first cycle in the early evening the night we were leaving. The solar system repair also gave us the capacity to run this sterilizer, something we didn’t think we’d have off the generators. God’s timing is always providential!

Public education is non-existent in Haiti. All schools are private, and parents must pay for their children to attend. It costs about $350 USD per student each year, and for parents making $100-$150 a month this is a hardship that causes a lot of worry, concern, and stress. We have been able to support some of our staff and I soon hope to have a formal program that supports the education of our staff’s children who cannot afford it on their own.

This young lady (her mother works in our housekeeping department) came for a visit while I was there to show me how well she did in her first year of medical school. She is preparing to start her second year and we want to encourage her to continue her hard work. God knows, maybe she will one day be a CSL doctor!

Back home, we are prepping to send another container. Duane and his crew have been very busy. Much work goes into preparing a container as we need to think through projects and supply needs, sometimes up to a year. There is no hardware store to run to if something is forgotten. Thank you Duane for the many, many hours and miles it takes to organize!

I don’t think I can say this enough, but without your support our work at the hospital wouldn’t be possible. We are so blessed with literally over a hundred people who support this ministry in various ways. The Haitian people are helped in so many ways. Please continue to keep the staff in your prayers as they live in very difficult times, as well as praying for all the patients who come through the door. We want everyone to hear the good news of the gospel!

Thank you for your continued support,

Dan

CSL News – July 2023

The Centre de Sante Lumiere staff continue to serve in mighty ways. The hospital is busier than ever as we see much activity in the surgery, orthopedic, and OBGYN programs. These increases require our staff to become more knowledgeable and efficient, demanding extra effort from all. It is a joy to see their desire in improving their service to the Haitian people. By exhibiting God’s love to all patients, they are opening doors for the chaplains to be met with open minds in their gospel discussions. We continue to rejoice with many salvations each month. Our goal is not just to heal the body, but to share the source of healing to the soul as well.

A few patients that we’ve been able to administer much needed medical care to are highlighted below.

Ms. Rosnie is a 54-yr old woman who developed gangrene in her left leg. She first went to a hospital in her town 5 hours away but they had no surgeon. She was referred to CSL for treatment. This was the initial presentation of diabetes. She required an emergency amputation above the knee, along with aggressive antibiotics and diabetic education.

Kentia is a 6-yr old girl that sustained a major open fracture of her leg in May of 2022 when she was backed over by a car. She came to CSL from 3 hours away because of our orthopedic trauma program. She required multiple surgeries, a hospital stay of 3 months, and a return in December to undergo additional surgeries to repair her leg. She likes to play with dolls and wants to become a nurse when she grows up. All of her treatments have been covered by the Poor Fund as her family had no money to pay her medical bills. Your support of this fund is such a blessing!

Duane and Ruth Verkaik and Tom and Laurie Vander Kodde made a recent trip down to the hospital. Duane writes about their trip:

“The travel into Les Cayes was uneventful and without any trouble at all. The road between the small airport and the international airport was not busy.

Monday morning Tom started with 10 Haitian workers rebuilding shelving in the operating/surgical room area where the termites had destroyed the old shelves. The guys finished and the new solid surface shelving will hold up much better than wood.

Duane repaired the sterilizer, washing machine and physical therapy equipment, as well as sorting and putting away the many items that arrived on the last container.

A high point for Duane and Tom were morning devotions with the workers. The discussion was very honest in trying to answer questions the Haitians had regarding God seemingly not hearing their prayers for daily food and work. Their day to day struggles are difficult for us who have an abundance and appear to have it all in their eyes. What do we say?

Ruth and Laurie did a variety of jobs including sorting and putting away, feeding the workers each day, along with encouraging the housekeeping staff with a fun afternoon meeting. Laurie shared with the ladies the importance of praying together for their children.

The staff at the hospital have become a team, from the doctors, to the finances, patient care, guards, and housekeeping crew. It is very encouraging to see. Dr. Bill would be pleased!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” – John 3:16”

July and August are extremely hot months in Haiti which puts extra stress on everyone. For me, it means 3 showers a day – morning, noon, and night. Think about those who don’t have the luxury or ability to even shower once a day. Life continues to be hard in Haiti with lots of shortages, inflation, and violence. Pray for the staff as they continue to minister to all who walk in the doors; that in spite of the many struggles they face each day, they will showcase the eternal hope and joy found only in the Lord. As always, thank you for your continued support!

Blessings,

Dan Boerman

Haiti News – March 2023

The staff are excited when we bring doctors along on our visits as there always seems to be extra hard and trying cases needing special attention. This trip we were accompanied by Dr. Luke Channer, Dr. Dylan Nugent, and Dr. Pierre Schwab. Dr. Luke, a general surgeon in Hamilton, MT, is on our CSL board. Dr. Dylan is an orthopedic surgeon from Springfield, MO, and this was his third trip to Haiti, his first being right after the earthquake in August 2021. This was Dr. Pierre’s first trip. He is a resident in an orthopedic program and has worked with Dr. Dylan in the past. Dr. Pierre immigrated to America from France some years ago, and his ability to speak French helped him make quick connections with staff and patients. We hope this is the first of many trips for him. We are so thankful for these doctor’s willingness to spend their time and money to come and minister to the Haitian people. As those of you who have gone to Haiti know, being presented with a tote (to keep belongings in for future trips) and your own set of hospital keys is done in ceremony fashion. I wish we could have presented Dr. Dylan with his keys and Dr. Pierre with his tote in true ceremony fashion this trip, but time robbed us of the custom.

Dr. Dylan & Dr. Pierre

We had a couple of special cases this trip. A gentleman showed up in the emergency room one morning with a severely broken leg from a not so uncommon scooter accident. Thankfully for him, we had just delayed an orthopedic surgery, had an opening in the schedule, and operated on him within a couple of hours. He now sports a rod in his leg and was a very happy man when he walked out of the hospital the next day. We never know what the Lord has in store for us from day to day.  We also operated on a 6-year old little boy who had broken his leg 3 weeks before he came to the hospital. I wasn’t able to get a great picture of him, but the before and after pictures show the extent of his injury.

When thinking about this ministry – it’s past, present, and future – I realized that we have devoted much time planning and working on projects that needed to be done and provided what tools we could to aid our staff.  Our present outlook has shifted to walking beside and working with our people.  Our staff work in less than ideal conditions every day, in a country where it is hard just to live. They care for people who only come to them when they are having a bad day, and it’s hard to always exhibit care and compassion under these circumstances. They have kept on through hurricanes and an earthquake, while violence is always close by. In appreciation for what they do, we hosted a special evening for our staff – a nice dinner with a band from the local church. It was a refreshing night and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, over 30 of our staff’s homes were damaged – some completely destroyed, others needing major repairs, and many roofs basically gone. We put our team of Haitian workers that we hire for special projects to work and they replaced about 30 roofs, mostly with donated material we shipped over from the US. We had done about all that we could when the earthquake hit in 2021.  Since then we have been doing repairs once more, but getting material to Haiti has become difficult. We have given money to purchase local materials where it made sense and progress is being made, albeit slowly. Duane was out in the field every day this trip giving directions for these repairs and lining up work to be done while we are gone. This is hard work and takes up a lot of his time both in Haiti and at home. I was made aware this trip of one of our guards who is still living in a tent with his wife and two children. The need is still great. If you would like to designate a gift for staff housing, please make a note on your donation. As with all of your gifts, 100% of the money goes directly to Haiti. We cover all administration costs.

Our OBGYN program continues to be an area of major growth. We have started to interview doctors for this program, and have identified a few pieces of equipment we need to send on the next container. Please pray for wisdom as we cautiously expand in this area.

Lest I forget, none of this would be possible without your support. You are the Lord’s means of sustaining this ministry.  Some of you give your time, some your talents, some your resources, and a lot of you pray for us and those who come to the hospital. We continue to be encouraged by the response to our Chaplain’s ministries; every month we see 50-75 patients give their lives to the Lord. They are then introduced to a church near to them that walk alongside them in their new journey. This is the reason for our ministry – to glorify God in our work and see Christ’s name exalted.

Thank you,

Dan and Duane

Another Safe Trip

We are so thankful to have been able to visit Haiti within the last few weeks – our second time since July. The unrest does continue, but the gangs have backed off a little, allowing fuel to be delivered and some shipping containers to leave Port Au Prince, bringing vital supplies to the rest of the country.

There were five of us on this trip, the first trip since last April where we brought team members along to work on various projects. Dr. Jose worked alongside the doctors and organized and prepared for the installation of donated Endoscope equipment. Patti Hicks assisted Dr. Jose and organized surgical supplies again (not her first time). Mark Snyder and Paul Grifhorst worked with our Haitian construction men to install roofs on two of our employee’s homes.

It seems like I am mentioning this continually, but the solar system has become a huge part of our ministry. I don’t think we fully understand the importance of having consistent electricity. Take a moment and think how your life would change if you didn’t have electricity – no lights, no water, no computers, no microwaves…and the list goes on. But this is everyday life in Haiti. Having a solar system giving us 24hr electric every day is changing our ministry, especially with the number of patients we are seeing as CSL is becoming the hospital to seek medical care at. We are blessed to have dedicated staff who desire to serve their community, not just to have a job, and we do our best not to turn any patient away. There are medial issues that we are not equipped to handle, but we continue to improve and expand our services. Most patients are able to pay some, if not most, of their bill, but Poor Fund needs do continue to grow as we see more patients come through our doors.

Deliveries at CSL have exploded recently, from 4-5 a week now up to 3 a day. There is always one, sometimes two or three, women in either labor or delivery. Within minutes of our arrival, Dr. Jose was already assisting in the delivery room. A 32-yr old woman requiring a C-section with her second pregnancy came to us after she had been turned away by two hospitals. The first because they don’t perform C-sections; the second (government hospital) because of a lack of power. She was referred to CSL after being in labor for 16 hours. Dr. Moise & Dr. William called in staff from their homes and Baby Angeline was delivered at 7:30pm on Friday night!

One day I found Patti taking a break in our office; I asked if there was a problem, to which she had me listen to a recording on her phone she had taken of a woman in delivery. The surgical supply area she was organizing was next door to the delivery room. Haitians are quite vocal and loud, and after listening to the sounds of women in delivery for the past 3 days, her ears needed a break!

Ms Aurelia, a 65-yr old woman, was another patient we helped during the week. She had been traveling to the market by motorcycle taxi when the motorcycle crashed and she sustained a lower leg (tibia and fibula) fracture. The local hospital gave her a shot for pain before turning her away because she had no money. When she arrived at CSL, she went into surgery the same day, all thanks to the generosity of our supporters. The Poor Fund covered the cost of her care, and the digital x-ray machine we used was donated by Samaritan’s Purse in 2021 after our organizations worked alongside each other following the August 2021 earthquake.

Ten of our employee’s homes had been damaged or destroyed in the earthquake and we have been raising money since then to help them rebuild. Civil unrest and a lack of funds had placed this program on temporary hold. After receiving some more generous donations, it was a blessing to have Paul and Mark on this trip so they could work alongside our Haitian team in the rebuilding process. Two roofs were installed! In addition, they helped set-up for another roof to be installed by our Haitian team this week. We also supplied the materials for a member of our staff who will complete the work himself. There is more work to be done as soon as we are able to ship more materials and we look forward to completing more of these necessary repairs.

The Lord continues to bless our ministry in every aspect, including through your generous support; we are excited to continue our work and hope to send another team to the hospital in March. Please pray for our efforts supporting the hospital and for the many staff who work and live in difficult conditions. Pray also for the gospel to be carried forth throughout Haiti. Every patient who comes through our doors is an opportunity to witness about God’s redemptive grace, which we then pray will be shared in their local communities.

Blessings, Dan and the whole team