Haitian Donkey and Friends Prepare to take Flight

Hi All:

This is an attempt to bring you up to date on what the Haitian Donkey and his friends and family are up to.  As you may remember, Haiti continues to be turbulent with on again/off again riots for political change and the availability of fuel, at least those seem to be the most obvious concerns.  It was violent enough that Duane and I were not able to go in June, some adjustments had to be made in July, though August went well.  Now, Dan, Duane, Mark and I are planning on going this Friday, the 20th, with plans of either flying to Cayes or, if things are calm, hopefully driving there, which would be easier for me with all my material that has to stay cold, etc.  There is a small fridge in the hotel in Port au Prince, but how good it works to keep medicines cold is another issue and, since it runs directly in my vena cava and I have chronic problems with infections already, I hate to add extra risk.  So pray for peace and wisdom to prevail.

With the new realtor, the house sold in one day, the first 2 people who looked at it gave bids and the competition went up another $5000, so thankful for that.  Hard to leave the home that Karen took care of so well for 21 years, remodeled a fair amount with help from friends and family.  I never thought about it until someone remarked that this was the only house she ever could call home, as we were always in transit to or on the mission field, or, earlier on, in apartments while in medical school, etc. We did have a house during residency, but knew it was temporary.  So, she really put her roots (as well as those of hundreds of her flowers) down here.  A friend of hers down the street, who always walked her dog past the house, and many of the dogs stopped for attention from her, sometimes leaving the owner to run to her,  helped me keep the flowers looking nice in the sale process, family and friends helped tons to get the house empty, clean and ready and also keep the yard mowed, so we have greatly appreciated the efforts of all of you. Thank you so much.

My hole between my intestines and the outside world has matured into a well developed ostomy that will undoubtedly be with me the rest of my days.  The other two holes have closed, so I only have the drain pipe, through which little comes, but a fair amount comes around it, and the single ostomy in the lower abdomen about 3 inches below my belly button, NOT a convenient place to have him show up.  At times, a small flood requires immediate attention, otherwise I change dressings frequently to keep things clean and prevent bad odors.  My energy level has picked up as I have been avoiding the oncologists, who draw bottles of blood on a regular basis and leave me low and dry.  My CT scan showed progression and Dr. Bartlett wants me to do chemotherapy again, but I feel too good to subject myself to being dragged down again.  So, pray for wisdom and God’s direction in this area also.

Will see if I can get this to fly, as so much still is unsettled in my new, lovely downstairs apartment at James and Jenn’s house.  Everyone again worked hard to make it much nicer than I had imagined and I am very thankful.

So, appreciate your prayers, as always, but especially for the trip to be uneventful and productive and us to stay healthy and faithful to our Lord, who makes all this possible.

In His Service,

Dan, Duane, James, Jenn, Mark, Rachel and the Haitian Donkey

The Haitian Donkey Has His Wobbly Legs Back Under Him

Hi All:
First, I want to thank the Lord that Dr. Fred Brown and Tom Failing, both veterans of many trips to Haiti to help at the hospitals there (Fred spent years at Bonne Fin Hospital, our sister hospital in the hills years ago, also right after the earthquake, helping to set it back on it’s feet after years of struggling), have arrived safely without any complications on Saturday.  I spoke briefly with Tom on Monday and all was going well thus far.  It does seem that things have calmed down considerably, though stability is not a sure thing ever in Haiti.  I haven’t heard how the cases are going, will contact Dr. Moise soon and get his update on that aspect.

I also wanted to update you on the Donkey’s health.  Thanks to many friends and relatives working hard, I am now in my very nice basement apartment at James and Jenn’s house.  We still have some things to finish, but sleeping in the hospital bed with the kitty, who thinks the shelf around the room is for strolling at night while he meows.  He and I seem to be settled in quite well.  After 9 weeks of no food and 5 of no fluids except in my central line/TPN, Dr. Dan De Cook explored the mess that is my abdominal wall on the 16th of August, cleaned up what he could (he could not see the fistula, the abnormal connection from my bowel, but it is small, though troublesome, so not really a surprise) and tried to close things in layers.  It is sore, but quite tolerable and I am thankful for his help in trying to get a wobbly Donkey back on his feet.  I will likely wait a few more weeks to take in some nourishment, to let the hole, wherever he is hiding, scar down so that I don’t get a leak in my belly, a very serious complication, considering the mess inside my belly, possibly fatal.  I have been able to keep up my work schedule and Dan, Duane, Mark and I are planning on heading for Haiti in a month.  Also, the Haiti Team is planning on shipping a 40 foot container on the 17th of September with supplies. 

I have not had a chance to speak to Dr. William the last few weeks, he was doing well after his return from France and the training there, will soon start his last year of surgical residency.  Thus, there will be a lot of work to do to help reintegrate him back in the hospital and in a somewhat new role. As he and Dr. Moise have been friends for almost half a century, I am hoping we can work around potential speed bumps and make the transition smoothly.  The Dutch Donkey (Evert Bek) and I will return in October, Dr. Luke in November, and a bunch of my family plus Sam, Tabitha and myself in earliish December.  The schedule after that is a bit up in the air, I am hoping that the political situation will remain calm and my health will permit further trips to work on the hospital projects, surgery, administration and whatever presents itself.

Thanks for praying for the present team of Fred and Tom, the 4 of us next month and then the rest of the year. Pray for the container loading and safe travels/arrival.  Also continue to pray for especially Drs. Moise and William and the future of the hospital in their hands, plus that of Welser and that, in all things, the will of God will be made plain to us and that we will follow it for His glory.

In His Service, Bill for Fred and Tom and the rest of the crew

An Update On The Haitian Donkey’s Progress And That Of His Homeland

Hi All:

Due to a number of somewhat turbulent events in the Donkey’s life, I have been behind on correspondence.  As mentioned, Duane and Dr. Jim Webb drove in and flew out of Cayes in early July.  We are thankful that it appears that the political situation in Haiti has quieted down for the present time and traffic is going well. I spoke with Dr. Moise today and he reports all is peaceful, they have been able to get supplies, etc.  So, Lord Willing, Dr. Fred Brown and Tom Failing will leave Saturday for a week of service without hassles. 

My fistula has not responded to nothing by mouth at all for the last month in addition to nothing except clear liquids the month before that.  Thus, Dr. Dan De Cook has graciously accepted the challenge to try to explore my belly wall and see if he can find an acceptable solution to the mess I seem to be.  Pray for wisdom and direction for him this Friday as he will try to repair this somewhat delicate situation.  I certainly am praying that it is fixable and I can return to eating, or at least drinking, something for the remainder of my life.  He did a CT scan on me last Wednesday, I don’t know the results yet but very interested in the progress of the cancer, etc, as it has been over 6 months since my last one.  I have been on antibiotics continuously for the last 2 months and have slowly increased in strength and my hemoglobin, partially as blood has only been drawn in small amounts for my TPN control. 

I am almost able to move into James and Jenn’s basement apartment.  It is much better than I had thought it would be, the bedrooms are bigger, enough to have my computer/desk in it in addition to my bed and a dresser.  I am very thankful for everyone who has worked so hard to help make this difficult move possible.  Being in our old house has many fond memories, sometimes sadness as it is so much Karen, and a lot of work to keep up for one simple Haitian Donkey (even with help from his friends).  But, realistically, I cannot keep that up, so the move is necessary.  We have not yet sold it, but praying that also will become a reality soon. I am spending a few days in Arkansas with Rachel, as we brought down some of Karen’s furniture and keepsakes down here and I am helping her settling into a new house, hanging up pictures, etc before returning to Michigan, work and surgery.  It is nice and warm down here, even the Haitian Donkey sweats at times! 

Once again, thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement and help that so many of you have offered us during the last few difficult months.

In His Service, Bill, Rachel, James and Jenn Ten Haaf

Happy Campers

Dear family and friends;    Thank you so much for your generous support which has enabled us to hold camps here this summer.   For our Renault Sunday school kids it has been an amazing time of growth, relationships and fun.

The campers have been well behaved so far, and it has been great to get to know them better.

This past week, the camp was for the “older kids” from the Renault Sunday school and we were amazed to learn that about 1/2 of the kids at camp have been coming to Sunday school since it began almost 12 years ago.

Three young men; Joseph, Berlin and Stanley made the decision to be baptized and we were thankful that Pastor Alneve, the president of our mission was available to come and baptize them.  It was an amazing moment and even this morning at Sunday school we had several requests from young people now wanting to be baptized.

Deb has done a great job of keeping the kitchen running during the camps. She has employed the Angels volleyball girls and they are doing a great job.    

All of our girl counselors are also Angels who have been with us for 8 years now.   In the picture they are getting ready to play soccer with a girls team.

We are very thankful for our mission Harvest International which continues to support and stand with us.    They just sent us a container full of “Manna Packs” which are the rice and soy packets that we give to kids each Sunday.

Thanks again for your prayers and support.   Tomorrow, Lord willing we will be receiving another 200 kids for another week of camp.   We are very thankful to the Lord for all that He has done, and we are thankful that things have calmed down in Haiti for now.   

Bye for now,    Love Rod, Deb and Katie