This morning was another beautiful morning in the valley of Z’Orange. After our devotion and breakfast I got a call from David Heady, who is head of Global Outreach. He and two men from Healing Hands International wanted to meet me at Jerusalem IV to see about drilling a well. David drilled our first well here at Z’Orange, and he also brought Healing Hands here to have our second well drilled. There is a long list of organizations that are waiting on a well to be drilled, and it seems as if God has showed TEM favor again. After walking the property, we chose a site, and they said they will have the well drilled in the first or second week of October. God never ceases to amaze me!
Now a word from my brother Skip.
Report by Eugene J “Skip” Barth, MD
This is my first trip to Haiti. I was invited by brother Karl Leiber when he came to repair my air conditioner back in St Louis. Pretty short notice – 6 weeks to prepare; I was not sure what to expect. My wife and daughters had been here 10 years ago and rode in “Gabriel” to Bombardopolis, and they recalled how tortuous the journey was. Karl told me that our trip would be much briefer, and would be in an air-conditioned SUV, luxury. I was also told there was a cholera epidemic in Haiti, and that I should bring all kinds of antibiotics – “just in case.” There was no cholera epidemic. I had been warned that conditions would be primitive, that I might not bathe for a week, and would have to brush my teeth without water, etc. This too was untrue.
Karl and I had traveled together from St Louis. We were far apart from one another – I was in the back of the plane. A mother and grandmother with a cute little 18-month old sat down in my row. The grandmother looked at me and said, “I will apologize ahead of time for my grandson.” I told her I was a pediatrician and loved kids, and not to worry. Then a couple sat down in the row in front of me, and I recognized them as parents of children I had cared for in years past. When we arrived in Port Au Prince, I got in the slowest line for customs, it was almost comical. Fortunately, Karl was my point man, and he had already corralled the most seasoned “cart man” in Port, and we were expedited past all of the other “helpers” who wanted to help carry luggage. Chuck was waiting for us just outside, and we were on our way in a flash.
Upon arrival here at Jerusalem, I saw the impressively large church that was built by previous teams – saw our spacious indoor quarters and again was impressed – saw bathrooms with flush toilets and showers, and was even more impressed.
We met a team from Fort Walton Beach, FL inside. They had a dentist with them – John, from Alabama. He had done his homework back home and was very prepared. He extracted ~250 teeth in 3 days. That sounds brutal, but the extracted teeth were rotten and abscessed, and were way beyond repair here. What a blessing that he could alleviate their suffering! It was amazing to see the stoic nature of the local Haitians as they got their local anesthetic and then sat still while teeth were pulled. This took place in the front of the church building, with a tarp for a screen. The other 3 men from Fort Walton were seasoned veterans to Haiti, and were responsible for much of the comfort that I would enjoy. They had helped to erect the church, the school, the pastor’s home, and our quarters – all of these were literally acts of God. These 3 men worked like a well-oiled machine – they were quite different in their personas, but all amazing brothers. Every morning we would start the day reading the Bible and doing a little Bible study together – what a way to start your day! We were all literally “on a mission.” No one had to tell anyone what to do. They would talk about plans for the week and for the day, but also, with the knowledge that we were in Haiti, realizing that sometimes our plans are not what God has planned. I knew this as well, and got to experience this first-hand.
I was thinking that I might do a routine physical on all the kids at the school here. Unfortunately, school here was not due to start until next month for public schools. Our private school did, however, start mid-week. As it turned out, it was not God’s will for me to see the 391 school kids. I saw ~35 kids in the morning on Thursday before my otoscope (ear light) ran out of juice, and we stopped to recharge it over lunch, only to learn that school had been dismissed for the day at lunchtime, and would not meet on Friday. Fortunately, I was able to do other jobs, and was able to help Karl plumb the pastor’s house with sink, toilet and shower one day, and install ceiling fans another. The pastor and his wife appear to be in their late 60’s or early 70’s, and basically have allowed all of these buildings to be built with their full cooperation. You can see the love they have for their congregation, their neighbors, and the school children. The pastor is very much a visionary for being in such a small, back-in-the-hills place. It was truly humbling and an honor to help make improvements for this godly man and his wife. They are the leaders in this community – for the first time they will have running water in their home.
Working side-by-side with these men, and just marveling at what God has done here and what he will do – wow! Being a little part of it was gratifying and humbling. I am not “Mr. Handy” like some people, but I know that I helped, and God has blessed me with the experience. There is something truly spiritual about being on a team with brothers in Christ. There are so many things that we do in life that are just fluff – meaningless. You think about your humdrum workday, and wonder if anyone would have noticed if you missed work for a day, a week or, in my case, for 9 months. Then you look around here and see the work of dedicated volunteers, and see what God has done. Inspiring!
We had a wonderful translator, Simon, who works side-by-side with Chuck here while Chuck is in Haiti – what a true servant for the Lord! Our cook and housekeeper Ginette was marvelous, and spoiled us with delicious food every day.
None of this would be possible without the dedication and leadership of Chuck – what an inspiration! Talk about divine intervention, and direction in a man’s life. Chuck has amazing stories about what God has done and how God has provided here. You only have to look around and see what’s been done, and then listen to what plans there are for the future here, to be excited. What is most impressive and clear is this is not about Chuck, this is about God and what God will do. It’s about winning souls for the Lord! Chuck is a man of many talents, but I believe his greatest is that he is a “can-do” kind of guy, and despite his talents and status here, he is humble enough to listen to everyone and try anything reasonable if it means furthering God’s kingdom and winning souls to the Lord. I was especially impressed with his sincere interactions with the local voodoo priests – not out of curiosity or out of condemnation, but truly out of love and concern for their souls. You could see it with his interactions with them, and could tell they knew he was sincere.
The compound here has 2 wells, and all of the locals come here to get their drinking water. The well closest to the road is a hand pump, while the other is powered by a generator. There is an intermittent flow of people to the hand pump throughout the day, but when the generator kicks on to fill our tanks there is a line of people, all with as many containers as they can carry, if not more. I commented that the children I was able to see were all very healthy, except for a few with mild colds. I was told that this was not always the case, and that the wells have made a huge difference. The well with the generator is a deep well, and during their drought here this past summer the shallow wells, as well as their streams, all went dry, and every day there were hundreds and hundreds of people lined up for water. God has really used this place.
The last and probably most exciting thing that I learned about this facility is that they are beginning to seek sponsors for the school kids so that the teachers might finally get paid. In years past, the teachers have gone without pay for months at a time, as the students’ parents could not afford to pay. Chuck, with the help of others in this ministry, has implemented an innovative sponsorship program through Truth Evangelistic Ministries. As he was starting to tell me what they have up and running, I was thinking that I would pass along what I know about sponsorship, as my wife and I have sponsored numerous kids through other ministries in third-world countries. As I was listening, it was clear that Chuck was already ahead of the game, as far as I have experienced. They will have internet access for sponsors, so that they can see what is happening here at the school, and see how their sponsored child is doing. This ministry is just hitting its stride, and it is exciting and inspiring to see what God is doing and will do!
We will be leaving in the morning to return to our homes and families. It is amazing how quickly the time here has gone. Some things were very different than expected, all in a good way – some things were just as expected. I did not expect the time to go so quickly. I did not expect that things here would be so hospitable. I had no idea what I would ultimately be doing while here, but I can honestly say that it was very uplifting and rewarding. I definitely benefited from working alongside brothers in Christ and seeing their willing spirits and the brotherly love and care they showed. I thank God for the opportunity to have worked here.