Thursday, April 29, 2010

She Lives

Asthma season has struck hard here. The Haitian clinic doctor sent for me - "Wandy Vini Galope", Randy come quickly last night. I was met with woman in her thirties, a look of terror on her face, as she gasped for her every breath. Her lung sounds were barely audible; and what could be heard was tiny little squeaks. She was in bad shape. In a very short time she would have been in the same state as the previous asthmatic that I last posted about. Fortunately God had prompted me to bring adreniline, Atrovent, Albuterol, and steroids when I was called. We had her stabilized within 15 minutes much to everyone's relief - But most of all to the glory of God. I spent about an hour after caring for her visiting with the Haitian doctor, giving her the appropriate medicines to stock, discussing dosages,complications, and medical responses. The importance of my ministry here hit home hard during this time. Helping Haitians Help Other Haitians. This was magnified by the strong hug and cultural kiss on the cheek from the Haitian doctor, followed by a heartfelt, "Mesi".

Having not attended medical school nor an advanced practice nursing program is somewhat limiting in my abilities to provide all of the care I can for the Haitian people. I am praying about this. For now, I'm trusting God to use the knowledge and emergency medicine experience that I do have to help the local health care professionals improve the level of care they provide. This saved one last night.

Pray hard.

Peace and grace,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Dead Man

As I arrived across the yard at our hospital yesterday morning, I was met with the unbelievably, heart wrenching wails of a young Haitian woman. Upon investigation, I learned that her Husband had been brought in 30 minutes earlier having a severe asthma attack. He had passed away and was in our male ward. The reality of life here really struck home. No intubation had been attempted, no bronchiodilators instilled, no shock. Just allowed him to slip peacefully to the other side. In a country with 1 medical professional for every 10,000 people there simply isn't the time for extended efforts. Our Haitian clinic doctor sees over 300 patients - On a very slow day. A typical day is around 500 patients with a few births thrown in. Mind boggling. This is what makes visiting medical teams so incredibly important and valuable; not only to help educate the local medical professionals, but to just help relieve a little bit of the load, and see patients that would otherwise receive no care at all. Death is accepted too easily in Haiti.

Haiti has the most corrupt government of any country in the world as rated by the world transparency organization. Sadly, this corruption filters down to many of the Haitian people as well as an accepted way of the culture. This has been a huge mountain to climb in working with the distribution network here at St. Francois de Sales. After finally seeing more pilferage from the loaders than I could take, I asked Fr. Geordani how we could stop it. Explaining that many donors sacrifice so much to make it possible for these goods to reach those that need them. He understood the problem, called a meeting where he and I addressed it with the employees. Unfortunately, 2 had to be let go as they refused to adhere to the rule of - No Stealing. Fr. Geordani and I are committed to making St. Francois the light on the hill that it can be for poor Haitian people.

Jobs are extremely hard to come by in this country. This makes these 2 terminations a little dicey. At the very least, I know that one of the people plans to send a voodoo spell my way. I am so glad that my God is so much more powerful. He alone is my Strength, my Shield, my Defender, and my Protector.

Still in Haiti. Still saying "Yes" Lord. Still coveting your prayers and encouragement.

Grace and peace,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Haitian At A Time

What a week! Very busy, but very fruitful. Over 650 patients cared for in mobile clinics, more than 800 people provided with de-worming medication, more than 200 surgical consults, 22 surgeries performed before Wednesday; and a total of 59 surgeries for the week. More importantly; due to the Haitian culture and the closeness of extended family, for each one of these patients cared for, an additional 20 to 25 people's lives were touched by the love of Jezi in Haiti just through this work. This is being duplicated across the country by many wonderful groups. God will be victorious in this country.

All of the work we were able to accomplish this week was purely Spirit led and by the grace of God. He sent us a marvelous team of workers from North Carolina from Medical Missions International. Due to some last minute scheduling snafus at another facility, we were able to have their entire team of 15 work with us. Many of them were surgeons that were able to join Dr. Visani, a Urologist here for a month from South Dakota in our operating suite. To increase efficiency the surgeons moved another bed into the OR so we were able to perform procedures requiring local and general anesthesia at the same time. The others, including a great Rehab MD, 2 PT's, Nurses, and the others all quickly jumped in and helped run some of the best mobile clinics ever seen in this area! The group did more to inspire me in their work here than they will ever know.

I was also blessed to be able to get reacquainted with Wilbert and Meg who run the Living Hope Ministry on the other side of O'Cap. Due to space limitations they graciously provided lodging for half of the group. More importantly, being able to spend time in prayer and talking with Wilbert was a desperately needed balm for my soul. He helped me refocus so much on the importance of the work here - Even more that all I am here for is simply to glorify God. Wilbert also shared a very good thought with me in that "We can only help one Haitian at a time".

I am finding that the more I empty myself, the more the Holy Spirit works though me. It is very humbling and emotional; but incredibly awe inspiring to see His power. I am coming to know a "living faith". God is so powerful. He will perform miraculous things through people willing to open themselves to His Spirit. So many "coincidental" things happen that literally save lives that all I can do is proclaim God is in control.

It is difficult to pick an example as these occur so often. One that sticks out was during one of our mobile clinics a little girl was brought in with sever pneumonia. She was in very bad shape according to the Dr's caring for her. Miraculously, an antibiotic that would never have been sent to a mobile clinic had been loaded with the meds that day - in liquid form - Honestly saving this little girl's life.

A happy occurrence during the week was while working in Bois Caiman at a mobile clinic, many of the older women were asking for "dlo" water. This is a very rare thing in the country. Upon investigation we learned that their well had broken and they were having to walk about a mile up the side of a mountain to a spring to get water for the village. They showed us the part that was broken, it appeared that a little welding would fix it. We we able to get this done for less than $5.00 US. I have written in previous posts about how much can be done in this country for so little. This is a perfect example. I wish you could have seen the villager's faces when they saw the cool water flowing again from their well. For some reason the 5 dollars reminded me a lot of the 5 loaves that Jesus fed the multitude with.

I am slowly learning Haitian Kreyol. I was frustrated at first in not being able to share more about God's love with people due to language barriers. I am seeing God's plan though in that He is first helping the people here learn to trust me through the care we bring them,  then I will be a more credible witness for Him as I communicate better. Piti, piti m'arive!

I'll close with the most heartfelt thank you I can extend to the wonderful team from North Carolina that came to help us this week.

I received a phone call from Healing Hands this week that a brand new hospital has been found in Port Au Prince. Built by a mission group, no structural damage, OR, ER, Mother baby, Everything! They just need someone to come open get it up and running.Having done the same here, I am in deep prayer on this. I may fly over one day late this week to assess.

Please keep praying hard for the people of Haiti along with the work here. God is listening!

The perfect song for the work here...

Trading My Sorrows

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

We Say
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord Amen

I am pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For his promise will endure
That his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

We Say
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord Amen

Song writer~Darrell Evans

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Haiti

This has already been one of my most interesting trips here. Flying from Miami to Port Au Prince I met a young Haitian man, TJ, who's Mother runs a school and a feeding program in Port Au Prince. As we neared our destination I gladly accepted his invitation to visit her school. On arriving, I was shocked to find that the school and houses had been destroyed in the earthquake. This dear lady in turn, opened up her property for the families of the school children, as well as anyone in need, to move into one of the tents donated by the country of Japan erected on the property. As she so graciously made every attempt to make me feel welcome, feeding me, moving my chair into the shade, explaining the classes the 200+ children were taking, I was moved beyond words at her expression of grace. Here was a person who had lost everything, yet still sought out any avenue available to her to continue to give. My God, how can we be such a selfish people when devastation and needs like this exist such a short distance from our homeland?

My prayer is that you don't find this a boring blog with it's history; but instead, that you will be touched deeply by what the Haitian people have endured and how they have chosen to respond. There is definitely a lesson in handling adversity to be learned from the Haitian people.

I came across a song today written by a minister and musician, Bryan Sirchio

Staring At My Overflowing Plate

It's so easy not to see you
Close you out like a shade in the window
Your condition seems so foreign
Are you lazy? Why are you so poor?
Someone said you and I are connected
That your hunger is linked to my fatness
But how can that be-I never met you
I don't know your name
I've got problems of my own
I'm so busy-I do good things
And I don't know if I can make room
in my life for your misery
Someone said that the whole world is changing
For you no longer will stand to be used
But talk like that-it makes me frightened
Scared what I might lose

Apparently Bryan wrote this song in Haiti after dining at a restaurant. As his plate, overflowing with food arrived at his table, the waiter was quick to pull the shades to block out the noses of the starving children's face pressed against the window. In a country where over four and a half million people try to subsist on less than a dollar a day, it is very easy to want to pull down the shades. Anytime I am stopped for more than a few seconds, the whiteness of my skin draws children, old women, and men with outstretched hands crying M'grangou - I'm hungry. And they are. I have no concept of real hunger other than what I have witnessed here in Haiti. My son says he has seen the change in me when I visit home in that I really just view food as fuel. It is so hard to enjoy any kind of luxury meal after seeing how gratified a person in Haiti is for a simple plate of rice in a day.

As I study more of Haiti's history, it is so disturbing - Even guilt inducing to learn the role that even we have played in oppressing this country over the past 100 years. Yet the Haitians still love us. These are the warmest, most loving, and most forgiving people I have ever encountered. After living in such incredible oppression for the entire life of their country, I guess they have the choice of going to either extreme. God bless them for choosing the good path.

Knowing these things, seeing these things, seeing the mountain sized garbage piles on every street, seeing the women and children wasting away from AIDS (which incidently sex tourists from the USA introduced to Haiti), and seeing the determination of the people in spite of these things is both heartbreaking and an incredible motivator all at the same time.

As I spent the afternoon at the tent city with my friend and his family - and 400 of their closest friends - it soon dawned on me that I would be spending the night in Port Au Prince on Monday when I arrived. I knew God had a plan, so I just said my yes and went along with the program. We shared a meal of rice as they told me of their losses in the earthquake. More importantly they shared their hopes and dreams. Plans to rebuild stronger than  before. The perseverance to continue their school and classes in the midst of the tent city. Along with the love and affection that any normal family expresses when a loved one has come home. It was hard to watch TJ's expressions seeing the devastation of the quake for the first time. Seeing his crumbled home. Seeing the secondary school he graduated from in ruins was very hard.

As darkness fell, with no electricity, bedtime comes early. The mother prepared things for TJ and I to shower, then told me we had to walk over a mile to where would be able to take a shower. She would never have presumed to ask me to shower as they did with small buckets of water drawn from a larger bucket behind the tents. I finally convinced her that I was really okay with it, and was able to join 50 close friends in a shower area. After the shower, I found that the mother had moved her things out of her tent for me to sleep in, and she would be sharing a tent with her son and daughter. No amount of arguing on my part could change this. If you haven't seen pictures of the tent cities currently in Port Au Prince, please do a Google image search for them so you'll have an idea of what the conditions were like. Not only could you hear the sounds from the tent next to you, but the next ten tents or so as well. I count it a blessing to have been able to have this experience just ot have a glimpse of what these people are so cheerfully enduring. As roosters can't tell time in Haiti, they began their crowing around 3:00 in the morning. As we had planned for a driver to take me to Cap-Haitien at five O-clock, I decided to go ahead and read my Bible a little while while I waited for others to begin waking up. For the third time since beginning this mission, God had me read Luke 9. While the 1st part seemed to apply early in the mission, now it seems that learning to die to myself is really the message meant for me. It was a very powerful time of study and prayer.

At breakfast I learned that this tent city, along with all of the other "small" ones, aren't receiving any medical care or community clinics. I had some medicines donated by church members that I was able to leave with them, along with several hundred cell phones donated by Digicel. Additionally I agreed to try and spend my last week of this trip helping provide community clinics for their tent city along with three other nearby. Each one is progressively closer to Cite Soleil. A massive slum, built on a landfill, with more than 300,000 inhabitants. Mother Teresa once called this two and a half square mile area the poorest spot on earth. I am actively seeking a medical team willing to come to Port Au Prince on May 9, and stay as long as they can or until the 17th. I plan to provide community clinics there during this time. Please pass this on to any doctors and nurses you know that might be interested.

I arrived home in Cap-Haitien late Tuesday evening. A wonderful man, Sandro Visani, MD, gave up his medical practice several years ago to do volunteer work as a Urologist. Despite his rocky arrival - I was in Port instead of Cap on Monday to greet him, he found his way to the hospital and we began seeing surgical patients today to schedule procedures for him to do during the month he is working here with us. He has volunteered all over the world and has the  most incredible stories that I could sit and listen to for hours in the evenings. Many patients will be very blessed by his work here. I'm also busy preparing for a second medical team coming in next week. We will be providing some much needed community medical clinics with part of that team during their visit. As you can tell, it is a busy time. More importantly many Haitian people are being blessed by your prayers and support for the work here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Loaves and Fish

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:16-21

It has been a very good visit home. I have been able to catch up on sleep, emails, relationships, and letter writing. As I prepare to return to Haiti next Monday, it feels like I need another week at home. At the same time, it feels like I have been away from Haiti far too long. It is really hard having your heart in two countries at the same time.

I was able to spend two days in Nashville, TN last week. The main purpose of the trip was to watch my Daughter perform in a singing event at her college. I also used the opportunity to visit with a couple of international Aid groups that are headquartered in the area. Both meetings went very well. One of the groups, Mobile Medical Disaster Relief, is going to begin helping send medical groups in to work with our patients and to conduct village clinics. This will be a great help for the Haitian people.

The second group I met with, Healing Hands International, is currently active in supporting aid workers in Haiti. There are a couple of areas that I am going to be able to help them with. They may also be able to answer a prayer of ours by providing a portable X-Ray machine. A huge blessing from God is that they have agreed to provide some of my financial support. This has been a constant prayer of mine since beginning this ministry. Again - God comes through! We really do serve an amazing and powerful God. Please join me in prayers of gratitude for His care and protection.

When I return to Haiti next week, I am meeting with Digicel Foundation of Haiti. They are graciously donating cell phones that will be used by the clinics and hospitals we work with in our medical supply distribution network. They are also looking at ways to support and help with the 911 emergency system being developed in the Cap-Haitien area. 

I am continuing to seek new avenues of support and funds. It came to me in one of my morning prayer and quiet times that with the next disaster in the world, the bulk of the aid workers currently in Haiti will be on the first plane out. This will return Haiti to the levels of need and starvation so prevalent before the earthquake. I am committed to doing as much business management training and as many micro-loans for business start ups as funds will allow. This is the area that the majority of your donations will be going to over the next few months. In Haiti, family takes care of family. If a micro-loan can allow 1 person to eke out a living, that "living" includes the support of her or his extended family. Typically this is for a group of 20 to 30 people. Hopefully you can see the potential impact that one loan of $300 to $500 can have on a relatively large group of Haitians. Perhaps most important is the impact this has on the esteem of the recipients.

In this effort we will soon be kicking off a "Loaves and Fish" campaign. If God could take 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread and feed a multitude; I know he can take a multitude of us to help a country.feed itself. This will be the focus of the Loaves and Fish campaign. We are praying that God will provide 5,000 pledges of monthly support. This will have an enormous impact on reducing hunger in Haiti. These funds will go to micro-loans and the training of the recipients of the loans to help insure their success. Your prayers, support, and spreading the word about this campaign are requested. Look at the top of this blog for coming details on this.

If anyone ever has any questions regarding the budget for my work in Haiti, or would like to see an accounting of the donated funds, please ask. I operate with complete transparency and will gladly provide any of this upon your request. I work with no salary and do not use any fund raising companies. Campus Church processes my donations. Their address is:

Campus Church of Christ
1525 Indian Trail Lilburn Road,
Norcross, GA 30093

Please attach a note indicating that the contribution is for Randy Moore:  Haiti mission fund

God is good. He does hear our prayers and He does provide for His children. Say "yes" to Him and brace yourself for the sheer power He will display through your life. This is my testimony.

Grace and peace,