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The Journey

My mom has always told me to enjoy the journey.

That's been the theme of her advice to me throughout my short 29 (almost) years of life.

Gosh I love that woman.

But it's not just about rainbows and roses and my mom would certainly not tell me to smile or fake it when life is beating me down. But I think there is a way to enjoy the journey... to learn from the journey, even when it's really, really hard.

I look through the pictures on my Facebook and am filled with gratitude. I have a beautiful life, incredible friends, adventures, opportunities, success, family. It's wonderful.
But in between those pictures are seasons of pain... part of the journey.

It's been a painful few months in Haiti and it's part of the journey. You get betrayed and betrayed again. But there are really beautiful parts too. All part of the journey. I want to enjoy the journey like my mom taught me.

I want to embrace the journey.
I want to accept the journey even at the lowest and most pai…

Dear North American Director

.... this is what every missionary on the field wants to tell you (or maybe it's just me).

We. are. working. our. butts. off.

Please recognize this. Please don't pretend you understand, because you don't. Until you live here for more than a week, 2 weeks, or a month at a time, don't pretend like you know what it's like here.

When starting a conversation, start with encouragement! We likely don't live in encouraging cultures, cultures that understand our culture and give us a pat on the back. In fact, it can be pretty thankless work. We may never know if we're doing enough or how we should handle the new situation that's cropping up every day. It's hard to find the support needed because people back home don't get it and it's often just exhausting to try to explain it (this is not always the case, and good listeners are miracles in our lives).
Start off by praising something.... anything!

Please try to remember that likely in the culture we l…

The worst epidemic in Haiti

“There’s an epidemic in a small port town in Haiti called White Savior-itis and it’s killing all the families in a 3 mile radius.” - a friend working in said community
I had the opportunity to talk at the Global Health and Innovation conference at Yale last month about the greatest health crisis in Haiti- hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. High blood pressure is killing more people in Haiti than HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and Cholera combined. (High blood pressure won't actually kill you but stroke, heart disease, renal failure, and peripartum cardiomyopathy will).

Today I want to talk to you about what the real and often unknown epidemic is. it's killing the family, it's raising up less capable and whole children, and I hope in 10 or 20 years (or tomorrow would be better) Haitians will say "Why did we do this?!"

This topic is in my face every day but if you live in America where we don't have orphanages, it might not be in yours, so please all…

What if $600 could save a life?

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When $600 can save a child's life.
What to do with that information?
How do we reconcile that with the wealth of our Western world.

A few weeks ago we met Nordina, a 9 year old, precious, beautiful girl with one very swollen and painful leg. She was not able to walk and her face was so pale you just knew something was wrong.
With a father who cared about her enough to bring her into our clinic in Onaville, she quietly fought for survival, knowing her family was without a penny of income.  Nordina's father followed instruction to take her to St. Damien's pediatric hospital (the more affordable of the pediatric hospitals in Port au Prince) and St. Damien's told him that surgery would be necessary. He took her back home and cared for her the best he could, knowing he could afford surgery for his beautiful girl.

Our Haitian medical director took a special trip to Nordina's house in Onaville 22 to check on her and speak with her father. Her father reported God told him …

A Letter to My Heart

Dear Heart,

I'm not very good to you sometimes. I'm not very kind and gentle. I expect you to see the worst of the world, the injustice, the suffering, the pain, in the States and in my current home, and I just expect you to keep on plugging, keep on pushing. I haven't given you very much time to process the deep pain and suffering you've seen and felt. And for that, I'm very, very sorry.
It's in the quiet days of listening to worship music, a sermon, cooking, cleaning, that I get to digest the things my soul has seen, has bore witness to. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've let other peoples thoughts and actions invalidate you. I'm sorry I haven't trusted you a lot of the time. I'm sorry I've let you trust people that have proven to not be trustworthy. That happens in this life, even when you're being careful, but I'm sorry I haven't given you the time and safe space to grieve and feel that.

I'm sorry to my heart.

I'm …

Deborah

It was an innocent Wednesday morning at clinic and I was in the office getting some administrative work done. At breakfast with our Medical Director, I heard wind of an emergency in the clinic. Dr. Mainviel was taking care of it. (I'd just sit in my office, our staff can take care of it, better for me to not get involved). Before too long, he was up in my office asking me if there are any ambulance services I have connections with.
Fast Forward to today, Sunday, and here's where I'm at.

I live in a world where babies are born falling onto their heads, where mothers don't have help or support in a maternity hospital (underfunded/undersupported, in a slum, overcrowded), where families abandon a family member when her baby dies (of no fault of her own).

Where is God in this?

Does it help or hurt for a 'foreigner' to get involved? The westerner has a concept of western medicine, of who and what can be saved and protected. My first job out of grad school was in a ge…

Emotions

There are moments when I talk about Haiti when I light up - inside and out. People can see how passionate I am, how much I love this country, how much I love the community of Onaville, how thrilled I am to be partnering with what God is doing through the Onaville Community Health Center and beyond. My eyes have been opened to how the rest of the world lives and I'll never unsee it and I'll never be the same. How special that God is allowing me to do something He has specifically called me to for this season..something He has hand-picked for me to do.

And there are moments, though they are few, when I talk about Haiti to someone who understands Haiti and I express the deep pain I have experienced and the need for healing and rest I am so desperate for. I choke up and cry and can't even begin to express the way my heart feels. The suffering and loss I've seen, the pain I've seen, the injustice I've seen. The loss I've felt, the confusion I feel when I try to …