Haiti Reflection: Medical Team (pt. 2)

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Hopefully you were able to read part 1, Shelly’s reflection, from the March 2016 Medical Missions Team to Haiti. We’re back again this week with part two from Jessica Martin.

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|| Jessica ||

My experience in Haiti this year was not what I expected. And in many ways, that turned out to be a good thing. Those of you readers who have walked with the Lord for a while know full well that our expectations always pale in comparison to His plans.

This was my second time in Haiti and I served on the same medical team the last time I went. I knew that I would be assigned the same post as last year–laboratory technologist. And I knew most of the team I was going to be working with and was familiar with the facilities where we would stay and visit while in-country. This brought me a sense of comfort that I was not afforded last year when I went to Haiti the first time.

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However, once again, God has a way of exceeding our expectations and stretching us in new ways for His glory. This trip was different from start to finish. From arguing with officials at customs in Cap Haitien to get our luggage filled with medicine through to the long hours worked every day at the clinic, our team quickly learned the meaning of flexibility. This particular part of our journey was a surprise to me, and became a turning point in the week for me. It was such a blessing to have spent time in Bord-de-Mer to set up our very first mobile clinic at the church that Grace Church partners with through Caribbean Vision Ministries. There, in Bord-de-Mer, we experienced just a small taste of the spiritual warfare that exists in Haiti. This church is strategically set in the middle of voodoo territory, where the eerie drums can be heard from a distance as if in protest every time a team visits–again, just a glimpse into the every-day life our Haitian brothers and sisters live. But, as always, we were protected by Almighty God whom the practitioners of voodoo fear.

But many of our patients who came to the clinic through the week expressed fear from warnings they had received from the voodoo practitioners against coming to our clinic. The witch doctors try to scare their patients and tell them that if they don’t return to them for their medical help, they or their loved ones would die. We were able to pray with each of our patients and I believe that God will protect them from evil as He has protected us.

Pray for Haiti. Pray against this evil that resides there. Pray for strength for the Pastors and their families who minister to these people every day.

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Joan McCracken: Trip to Cambodia and G.R.O.W.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my recent trip to SE Asia earlier this year in preparation for an upcoming opportunity to share this Sunday, April 17 in the Encouragers ABF class. By the way, the class meets 2nd hour (10:45AM) in the music room and you are welcome to come hear more!

Due to a recent life change, job elimination, I’ve found myself faced with new opportunities. Mike (my husband) and I decided I could use this time to reconnect with ministries we have been involved with in Cambodia and Thailand. I knew I would be stretch since Mike would not be going with me and felt I needed to be prepared for the opportunities I would have while on this trip to share with others. I decided to use a bible study called “Add to your Faith” by Bill Perry.

This new Testament Study of God’s spiritual growth plan is based on 2 Peter 1:3-11. And even though my itinerary did not have specific planned times of sharing, I knew if I was diligent in taking time to be prepared, my efforts would be “useful”.

 || Cambodia ||

My week in Cambodia offered opportunities for me to be bold and share encouragement to the ministry partners there in Cambodia that Grace Church has partnered with for many years. I gave them greetings from Lititz Grace Church and read them a letter of encouragement from Pastor Ivanildo. It was so good to reconnect with these men and their families. I also had the opportunity to share in some English classes for university students for three days.

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|| Thailand ||

During my remaining three weeks in Thailand at the G.R.O.W. home, I had many opportunities to fellowship with the kids and staff. One other highlight was that I was able to meet the SIX new children, recently rescued and adjusting well to the nurturing and Christian love of their new home. It was a blessing to enjoy many activities with the children playing games and spending time together. In three different staff meetings and at Sunday morning church time with the kids, I was able to use the study I had prepared–praise God.

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But God had even more in store for me. One Sunday evening, I was invited to visit and share with an Akha Hill Tribe church during a three day Pastor’s seminary training. Had I not been prepared, I know I would have missed out greatly on the opportunity and growth God wanted me to experience through this time.

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We are so thankful to God that He opened the doors for Joan to make this month-long trip to our ministry partners in Thailand and Cambodia. Please keep them and their ministries in your prayers as you read this. And don’t forget, you’re invited to join the Encouragers ABF on April 17 at 10:45 in the music room to hear more about Joan’s time in SE Asia!

Haiti Reflection: Medical Team

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[Rooftop Sunset from the Institute]
Last month, Shelly Lutz and Jessica and Jonathan Martin joined the medical team of 10 from PA and Ohio to serve  through Three Strands Ministry and CVM at the medical clinic housed on the property of the Bible Institute in Cap Haitien. While there, they served from morning till night, working alongside the incredible staff, translators, and Dr. T (a man loved and well-known by a number of Grace Church Haiti Team members who have been blessed by his care while battling sickness in-country). After serving 100-150 patients each day at the clinic, a morning in Bord-de-Mer with a mobile clinic, and a check-up for the kids at House of Hope Orphanage, there are too many stories to count. What an incredible mission field and opportunity to show the love of Christ. I asked our three friends from Grace to consider a few moments that stand out from their week in Haiti and some reflections they have had since returning home. Today, you’ll hear from Shelly.  

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[God bless Dr. T and his ministry!!]

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My reflections of this trip are many which is often the case for me when it comes to Haiti. As I thought through the week, the people we interacted with kept coming to mind. People are the same all over the world regardless of their age, skin color, language, or class. We all want to be loved, remembered, and valued.

I had the opportunity to interact and pray one-on-one with so many people throughout the week. Listening to their stories and prayer requests was an experience I will cherish always. For a few minutes, I was given a glimpse of what their lives were like and became connected with these people. Looking into their eyes and listening to their stories revealed so much…hurt, pain, desperation, sadness, joy, hope, love, and peace.

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No matter what the story or prayer request was, everyone wanted to be prayed for.

The simple thing of just listening to someone else’s needs was welcomed genuinely by those served by us. And it hit me how we can get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and overlook that need by those around us. People enjoy conversations and interactions, whether it be the physical touch of a doctor or a conversation while waiting in line. There was genuine appreciation for what we were there for and what we were doing to serve.

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[In line at the Medical Clinic]

Earlier in the week, there were times when I wondered if what we were doing was making a difference or if it was just a free clinic. But seeing the sincerity and thankfulness in the eyes or tone of voice in certain people quickly pushed those negative thoughts out of my mind.

At the end of the week, we had a single mom of three adorable little girls come back to the clinic for a recheck. She herself had an eye issue and could only see clearly out of one eye. Her toddler daughter has some serious health issues going on as well. After her exam, she had her two older girls hand a slip of paper to Jessica Martin, Beth (a teammate from Ohio), and me. In broken but neat English, she had written her sincere thanks for our being there all week. It brought tears to my eyes and it reminded me of the Bible story of the ten lepers (Luke 17). One came back to give thanks after being healed.

I don’t know if God will heal her eye or her daughter but I do know that He heard every single prayer from that week. I do know that giving of yourself makes a difference in another person’s life, no matter where you are. I do know that we all need love. From Michel, the 85 year old man still thinking about accepting Jesus, to the young man who accepted Christ on Friday, all were impacted by this team. And God has all of us in His hand, waiting to use us at the right time.

All we have to do is be willing.

We serve an amazing God who has a plan to use us for His glory (yes, even on a Monday). If you’d like to talk or learn more about serving, no matter where it is (Grace Church, locally, or in Haiti), contact our missions coordinator, Alyssa Weaver at alweaver@meetgrace.org. Grace is sending our next Haiti team this July to co-host a VBS with HoH. Find out more about their trip and ways you can support them (financially and through prayer) at our missions table in the lobby!

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[Goodbyes at House of Hope]