A Dispatch From Haiti

My girls take ballet classes offered by a Christian family of 10.  Their oldest daughter, Sarah, is a teacher in Haiti.  Here is her latest report…

I empty bed pans, I clean out wounds, I remove old bandages and replace them with fresh ones, I clean out and place ointment on holes  in peoples heads, arms, hands and legs, I pat peoples foreheads when they scream in pain… These are things I’ve never done before.

On Sunday we were sent 54 patients the hospital had no room for. These are all people that should have been attended to right away, but there was no room. Audrey Martin, one of our Ywam staff has been heading all this up. She is a wonderful homeschooling mother of three children. The patients are calling her an angel from the Lord.

On Wednesday I was asked to be her assistant as we are scared she is going to burn out soon.. I had spent the last few days before sitting with different patients and their families. (they all have straw mats on our arena floor) I’ve gotten to know nearly everyone there.

Audrey told me that I could walk around and see who needed attending to and then attend to them. I just stared at her thinking that she can’t really mean what she is saying, I don’t know the first thing about broken legs and arms, huge holes in peoples bodies? “Or,” Audrey said “I could help her.” I decided that sounded like a better idea.

I watched as she found a girl who had no more skin on half of her hand. Audrey gently cleaned and and put ointment on the hand, I helped her creatively figure out how to then wrap the hand so it might be protected and heal. Half way through I knew I had to start helping other people. “I could do this”, I said and got up. “Alright” Audrey said and motioned to me where the plastic gloves were. I couldn’t help but grin as I put on the gloves. “Good thing I’m “trained” as a doctor!” I laughed. Audrey laughed too. “ We just have to do what we have to do” she said.

So here I am, in Haiti. I’m a school teacher that never had any training and never has been to school in my life, and now, I’ve done what people go to school for years for as a nurse. Ya, just like you I call this crazy too.

One guy had a huge chunk of leg missing. My friend Anne helped me clean it out and then carefully rub ointment on what I would call the “whale blubber” of his leg. Ya, most people have these huge gashes/wholes on their bodies. It’s this white stuff, that looks like a thick firm sponge. With gauze and tape we figured out how to cover up the area. Anne and I cleaned and re-bandaged a ladies lower back, a boys legs, ( he had four huge wholes on his one leg.

This boy is my favourite. I actually want to adopt him even though this doesn’t seem like the right time of life for me to. His name is Erson. He’s about 7 or 8 years old, he doesn’t know how old he is. He’s the one that had been thought dead and put in a group coffin with other dead to be buried later on. Someone walking by had heard knocking, and got the coffin open, and got him out. He has a gash/crevice in his head two inches long and half an inch wide. He has those huge gashes all over is legs and arms. His one knee is still dislocated and both ankles are broken. He is the most sweetest child with the biggest smile. The last couple of nights I’ve sat beside him an stroked his head until he falls asleep. Last night I sat between him and another orphan boy and stroked both their foreheads until the fell asleep. (six of our patients are orphans from before the earthquake)

Yesterday as I was helping in our area (we now call the hospital) one older lady started screaming as a real nurse was cleaning and redressing her wounds. I went over and held the older ladies hand and stroked her forehead throughout the time. She calmed down right away. She kept saying “thank you Sarah”. Everyone knows my name now!

I ended up as one nurses assistant yesterday as she went around helping people.

We do have a couple of Haitian doctors and one nurse here. They are doing next to nothing. They weren’t here at all on Wednesday, and yesterday they just sat around. I started pulling on gloves and picking up gauze and things and the nurse called over. “what are you doing Sarah?” I said I was going to help people, and she said “ok fine”. I thought I’d offended her so I called out to her, “that since she was the real nurse she should help”. She laughed and came over. I figured out later, she really was never offended and had no worries about me helping the patients, she really didn’t care.

It has been very hard for us to watch how people are being treated. The other day while the doctor was working on one of the little boy’s leg, (he was just re-bandaging) the little boy kept screaming. It was “my” little boy. People were holding him down, and I couldn’t handle it. I went over and started stroking his forehead and singing quietly to him. He calmed down.

Besides the no compassion of these doctors, we don’t even have enough of what we need. We’ve been using the same plastic gloves on more than one patient, cause we don’t have enough. We’ve been reusing used bandages because we don’t have enough of the wrap. Then with the people who need actual surgeries we don’t even have the hospital available to be use. It has been very discouraging.

The good news is there are doctors and surgeons coming in on Sunday. They are from Canada and the USA, and they are supposed to be flying in on a plane that can land on the water. (we are right beside the water) as the airport apparently is closed? That’s just what I heard.

Speaking of what I’ve heard. Every day we hear about more devastation. More gangs taking over Port au Prince, more looting and people rioting, more deaths.

But with each piece of bad news we hear about good news. People are getting rescued. One five month old was pulled alive from the rubble the other day. There is no way the child would have survived with out the presence and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have Ywam staff staying in Port au Prince helping with clean up and finding people. We’ve been having teams from all over come in and help out. It was been a very big blessing.

Please do not stop praying.

If there are people who want to help or send supplies the best way is to contact our Ywam base her in St. Marc. Keturah Snow should be the one that you would correspond with. (she is overly busy, so you might not get a reply right away, or else it might be someone else responding to you.)

My personal prayer request is that the Lord would continue to lead me and guide me each day. It has been challenging to teach school as well as help out with all the other needs. As a school we’ve gone over to the “hospital” three mornings this week and sand for half an hour for everyone. My dance students were able to perform one of their choreographies. I now that not only the patients were blessed, but our own students as well.

One special moment for me was on Tuesday evening I’d been talking with some of the patients and their families. (They are all here together, because they’ve lost their homes and are just waiting until the refuge camp that we are running will be open) As we were chatting I mentioned that I am a ballet teacher. Later two girls came to me and asked if I could teach them ballet. So I did! I spent half an hour with them. We had no music and many people watched as I taught these precious refuge girls ballet! It was a beautiful time.

On Wednesday, I got home pretty late, I poured myself a glass of water and just sat down totally exhausted. That was the first night I’d started actually helping patients. I was so tired. All day I had been planning to spend quality time with the Lord. I read my bible and pray tons through out the day, but hadn’t spent actual time with the Lord. “Lord” I said out loud. “I haven’t spent any time with you today!” I felt like the Lord spoke to me. “What you’ve done for the least of these you’ve done to me”. I just started weeping. I thought of the Lord’s heart for these people.

I am crying as I write this now. The Lord loves these people and this nation so much. One of our Haitian teachers shared with us this week. He says how the devil has had the nation of Haiti in a prison for years, and now God is breaking that prison and setting Haiti free. My prayer is that the Haitian people would walk in the victory the Lord has ready for them.

The last story I will share with you is as we went around physically helping the people the other night. One man called us over. Anne and I cleaned and bandaged his leg as Audrey checked his back. (He also has a broken arm) As we finished bandaging up his leg Audrey asked us to pray with her for the man. Half his back is open and raw and there is something sticking out of his back. “this one is too big for us” she said, “ this one God is going to have to take care of.” We prayed to God, who is the healer.

Audrey herself has led five people to Christ. One lady, she discovered was a new Christian for only a couple of days. When asked when she decided that Jesus was her Lord. “The day of the earthquake.” She answered, “I knew then”, she grinned, “that if I was alive, it’s only because of God.”

Please do not stop praying.

Also, every time I close my eyes I can feel the earth shaking. The hard thing is that sometimes, it really is. Much of our staff sleep with bags packed by their doors just in case we need to run in the night. Anytime, anything moves or shakes people get startled. There is much fear in Haiti.

Thank you for those who have sent me bible verses! What a huge encouragement this has been to me. My sister Hannah sent me this one, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

To donate to the ongoing aid effort in Haiti, Socon or Bust readers are reminded NOT to support PRO-ABORTION GROUP FINANCIER Development & Peace

Instead, readers are encouraged to give to one of the following organizations….

Chalice
http://www.chalice.ca/

Aid to the Church in Need
http://www.acn-aed-ca.org/1-anglais/eindex2.htm

Serving Charity
http://www.servingcharity.com/

Reformed Churches of Canada’s effort, Coram Deo International Aid
http://www.cdiacanada.com/ 

Missionaries of Charity
185 Dunn Ave.
Toronto, Ontario
N6K2S1 Canada
(Note: Donation should include note asking funds to be directed to their Haiti relief efforts. While the Missionaries cannot accept online or phone donations, monies donated to the Missionaries will be put directly into the hands of the Haitian Missionaries of Charity.)

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