Report by Greg
Yesterday was day 6 of our mission trip. What an eventful day! After breakfast we rode to Jerusalem IV to be with the children and allow Beverly some time to give out medications. When we arrived, some people were having a small worship service. They sang songs and the pastor spoke for a while (all in Creole). We took out the kites and started flying them in the yard next to the church. Linda opened up the big parachute and the little children enjoyed tossing up little beach balls. We got about 15 kites up flying in the sky. It was a pretty cool sight to see. The children, and even the adults, had a lot of trying to get the kites flying and getting them up as far as our lines allowed.
We had a free afternoon to just spend time with the people around the mission house. I played soccer with a few, my dad played baseball, Kevin and Will had guitar lessons going again, and it was a very pleasant day. All was going smoothly until just before dinner when an elderly man showed up outside the mission house with a cut on his ankle. He was bleeding a lot, and said he cut it while riding on a motorcycle. Beverly and I both took a look at it and originally we didn’t think it was too bad, so we cleaned it, put antibiotic ointment on it, wrapped it up, and sent him on his way. Before he left we told him that if he bled through the dressing, he should come back so we could look at it again.
We ate dinner and were getting ready to leave for Daniel’s village to show the ‘Jesus film.’ Just as we were preparing to leave, the man was driven back to the mission house because he had bled through his dressing. I unwrapped it, Beverly looked at it again, and knew he was going to need stitches. Fortunately, Bro. Chuck knew where to find a suture kit and some lidocaine. After cleaning the wound, Beverly prepared the suture and then told me I should do the suturing (due to her arthritis). I just about froze–my heart started racing! Not only have I never done that, I’ve never even seen it done! But this man needed help, and if I had to be the one, then I was going to do my best to help him. We got 2 children to bring out a school bench so we could have the man lie down and gave him lidocaine injections around the wound to numb it. Once he was numb I attempted to make the first stitch…my hands were trembling and I began to sweat. The man’s skin was very tough; it made penetrating the skin quite difficult. I got the first stitch through and then had to tie a knot to prevent the line from running through the skin. This was very difficult. It was getting dark and difficult to see. Ms. Ginette came out and held 2 Luci lights over me so I could see. She also interpreted for us so we could communicate with the man and his neighbors who brought him in. Once I finally got the knot tied it was time to continue stitching. The cut was about 230 degrees around. He had very thin blood, and just kept bleeding. I was saying prayers with every stitch, praying God would steady my hand and calm my nerves. I took a deep breath and continued. With every stitch I was beginning to feel more comfortable (if that is even possible). Finally, I was nearing the end of the wound. I put in the final suture and held it tight while I tied the knot. In all, I placed 12 stitches. It was a miracle, no doubt. I am so grateful Beverly was there with me, talking me through the process and keeping me calm. After we finished, cleaned him up and put on a new dressing, his neighbor came to Beverly and me, gave us a hug, and said, “Thank you and God bless you.” It was an event I know I will never forget. I have heard my entire life that God never gives us more then we are able to handle. If anyone were to ask me before yesterday if I could suture a wound, I would have said, “Not a chance!” But God works in miraculous ways. Nothing I did would have been possible had it not been for God’s divine intervention.
Report by Mike
On Friday night we all gathered in Daniel’s voodoo village to show the ‘Jesus film’ for the families of the village (50-60 persons, very young to old). About 30 children 2-3 years old to young adults gathered to watch the film. The showing of this film is a regular outreach of TEM, so many of the children attending are quite familiar with it. Everyone stood, as there were only a few chairs available (as their guest, I was given a chair) or just sat down quietly on the dirt (there is no grass), and attentively watched for over an hour, totally engaged and participating within their hearts and minds. Two little girls (maybe ages 3 and 8) sat on my lap just like my own children would feel comfortable enough to do. Each held my hand when scenes were scary or hard (such as when Jesus is beaten, when the guard’s ear is cut off, the raging storm on the sea). They both knew the outcome, and they listened to me as I whispered words of encouragement, that “Jesus is going to be OK, and he will rise above all of these evil moments.”
Additionally, we all went to a small church further up the mountain to fly kites with the children–again, amazing how these children act and respond. There is total innocence in context of patience, waiting for their turn, and smiles all the time! In no time, we had 8-10 kites up and flying, all in a pretty small space; some lines would cross–no problem. They patiently worked together and cheered for their kite! I have been around children for 20+ years, parenting my own and leading within church and sports ministries and groups…never have I experienced the spirit of these children. That has been an amazing blessing and experience of this whole trip!