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

The Haitian Donkey And Friends Return To The Northland

Hi All:

Since the last update had technical difficulties and I could not figure out how to send it out until I got home (will see if can get technical help in that department, no hope for the Donkey to learn such high tech skills), I will update you further on the rest of the week and specific prayer requests.  The week continued to be quite productive, though had another major struggle in that we had another ruptured tubal pregnancy come in that we were preparing for surgery when she passed and we could not bring her back.  She was the sister of one of our guards, Baoo, so that was doubly hard as part of our employee’s family.  Such a reminder of how fragile life is, how quickly, as James tells us, “for what is your life, it is even a vapor, that appears for a while and then vanisheth.”  We are thankful that, although there is NO functional Red Cross facility in either Cayes or Port (and thus all of south Haiti), that our lady with the huge tumors and considerable blood loss is doing well despite the hurdles thrown at her. 

The rest of the 40 some surgeries went well for the week, thankfully.  Saw a cleft lip, which I will do next time, and a cleft palate, which I will not do (as don’t have the obturator, like the top half of a denture, custom made for the little one, so that s/he will not tear up my repair with the tongue).  She seems to be growing well, but hope Smile Train or someone similar will come in the near future to do this.  The surgery itself is not all that hard, I have done it before, but was dismayed when the repair was destroyed when the child tries sucking (even if we dropper feed it).  I also saw the 90 (now) year old man Moise and I resected a huge cancer from his nose and face, I do have some positive margins, but no visible cancer, so discussed with him and his family that I would wait til some came back (not wait so long so it is huge again, though) and reresect if it does, as at 90, he might just live a happy life and pass away of other causes before it becomes a problem again.  He was quite happy with the overall situation.

Duane and Evert fixed a number of problems (though decided that we would not have the Haitian employee who considers himself an electrician after a week of classes in Port do any more electrical work, as he attempted a project with some quite negative results).  Bravery sometimes can have less than desirable endings, especially in the electrical realm.  Sometimes it is braver, and certainly wiser, to ask for help before attempting something we are ill prepared to undertake, whether in the medical/surgical realm or building repairs.  The battery backup system batteries, originally installed by USAID, have started to come to the end of their lives at about 7 years and we are exploring which of a number of expensive alternatives to give us power when we don’t run the generator (or the few hours a day the government may decide to give us some electricity)  This also requires considerable prayer for wisdom to maintain this vital system.  We are working at limiting electrical usage, it seems that turning off lights and fans, etc is an unknown concept in Haiti, one does not stop the water in the river from running, why stop the electricity when it wants to come out?  Or, for that matter, the water that wants to come out of the faucet?  Novel concepts. 

Unfortunately, despite being on both IV Vancomycin and oral Levaquin, I spiked a temp on Thursday evening and have been struggling since. I got repeat blood cultures and other labs done which showed no growth (good, but then why the temp)  but need prayer for wisdom as my Infectious Disease doctor is afraid that the only solution is to pull my last upper body line and then have to go to the groins, difficult to take showers, be active with a pipe sticking out there, not something I am looking forward to.  I also will see my cardiologist before work on Tuesday and see if my heart is functioning better.  So appreciate prayer for wisdom and favorable outcomes on these fronts.  At present, the oncologists state that they want to wait 3 months to see if I can remain infection free before considering further treatment, especially in the immunotherapy realm.  My blood results also showed that my anemia is slowly getting worse, I was reduced to begging to get one unit of blood transfused (all sorts of new rules based on numbers, but what about the poor patient?) 

Dr. WiIliam has gone to France for his 2 months of required training in laparoscopic surgery, I was finally able to make the proper arrangements, we could not purchase the tickets til we got the visa to go there and we couldn’t get that from the French Embassy til we had the letter of invitation from the hospital in France.  I can see that I still have considerable work on the transition front at Centre de Sante Lumiere, to get the situation ready for my possible absence, so would like to be as functional as I can be for a while longer, the Lord permitting.  Also have things to settle and organize on the home front, so Karen is not left with a bunch of problems. 

As always, thanks so much for your prayer and support of our service for our Risen Saviour at Centre de Sante Lumiere in Les Cayes, Haiti.

In His Service,

Bill, Duane, Evert, Linda, Robin, Ruth and Tabitha