Life could not be sweeter at the moment. I love my job here, the community, and all our new friends here at Mission of Hope. Every day, I am excited to wake up and see what God has in store for the day, and I can honestly say I’ve never been this excited to wake up for any other job or school… God has blessed me so richly in this season of life, and I’m just trying to soak it all in.
i continue to work as the coordinator for the prosthetics lab here, and feel in awe that God placed me in this position that I never would have dreamed about 5 years ago. i feel so fulfilled doing this work, which includes communicating with incoming prosthetists, organizing and getting all needed materials, keeping records for and getting to know patients and their stories, going to pick up patients each week from two different tent cities where there are lots of amputees we've committed to help, translating for the patients all week as they stay here, and in between, learning LOTS about the fabrication of prosthetic legs! i am loving it. it feels so right to me, and i love, just love, getting to know the patients and seeing their faces change as they walk for the first time (happened TWICE today!) or even just begin to walk better with more confidence. it is so life giving to them, as amputees in haiti are led to believe they are now worthless b/c they can't get around and they look funny. today, jean louis, after walking for the first time, threw his arms up in the air and said, "Thank you Jesus Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!! I PRAYED for a good leg and HE GAVE ME ONE!!" it put tears in my eyes, and i couldn't have had a better day. it was incredible.
another man came in today named jean reuben who was about 50. he was wearing a prosthetic leg that was about 15 years old. it was the most raggedy, terrible thing i've ever seen. when we took the shoe off to see the foot, it literally crumbled in our hands. i have no idea how this man was even getting around!! anyhow, he was SO HAPPY to know we'd make him a new one. someone had made his leg that came down for a mission trip 15 years ago, but since then he had nowhere to go to get a new one. thus.. the silver lining of the earthquake....we are HERE doing prosthetics because of the earthquake, and never would have been here to help him had that not happened. God uses all bad for good. the same thing with stevensya, the 2 year i talked about last week. she came in this week and was WALKING!!!!! she even kicked the ball back and forth with me! … supporting her weight on her prosthetic leg! Check it out:
Here's a few more pictures from last week. First, these are all the patients we had stay with us last week as they were being fitted for legs and getting physical therapy. Below is us celebrating Jay's 26th bday with a dance party!
Last Sunday was surreal. I (Jay) was sitting in our room working on a proposal, and Jeremy called my name, saying, “we gotta go, there has been a wreck.” If you haven’t read about it, read Jeremy’s account here: When in Haiti
. I was not a part of the initial receiving team because there were about 5 injured people on the first tap-tap, and we had about 10 staff people receiving them. I do not handle blood, injury, pain, or trauma well, so I did not jump right in. But then more and more injured people flooded in (about 30 in all), and God sustained me as we spent the next 4 hours treating severely wounded human beings.
But I was really sad after all of it, and didn’t really sleep that night. It took me about 6 hours for the adrenaline to wear off, and fortunately everyone lived. But my heart kept reliving the mayhem of the day, and it triggered stinging memories of the earthquake. The influx of pumping adrenaline from seeing injuries no human should have to experience brought back many, many memories. The sense of hopelessness in someone’s eyes when they think they are about to die was exactly the same last Sunday as it was after the earthquake. I will never forget that look.
Last Sunday night I struggled to sleep as I replayed the day’s events with 30 traumatically injured people, and I contemplated how the earthquake on January 12 created that feeling of trauma for at least 10,000 times more people. But that day they had no hospital to go to as those buildings had collapsed. There was no medical treatment for loved ones as their fathers, daughters, mothers, sons, brothers, and sisters held the injured and dying. And the thought of such hopelessness made me want to cry last Sunday, and I sit here wanting to cry again. But I still have hope for these people and this country. I know Jesus came to bring redemption to this broken world. And this world is very, very broken. The sadness is real. But so is the hope. We see people hope every day, when orphans laugh or amputees walk, when sick babies receive medicine or school children are given a meal. We see many Haitians that have hope for tomorrow, sometimes for the first time in a very long time, or ever. And it gives us hope for them too.
Since my last update, I have become obsessed. Literally obsessed. With prosthetics!!! The hope it gives people... the art involved in making them… the one on one time spending with patients, encouraging them and counseling them…it is flat out incredible.
I think last week was my favorite week I have had thus far in Haiti… I got to see a 2 year old little girl, Stevensya, STAND for the first time in her LIFE!! She was born with a leg deformity, so is missing nearly everything below her knee on her right leg. Her mom brought her in on Tuesday, completely hopeless, and skeptical that we could actually make a leg for her daughter. I could tell she didn’t believe me when I said that soon she would walk just like the other little kids. From the minute they walked through the doors on Tuesday, I could not stop thinking about Friday, the day she would receive her new leg!
Immediately after they left, Harold (the prosthetist on site for 2 weeks) and I got to work. He had been teaching me all throughout the week, and I was ecstatic when he let me do a few things for Stevensya’s first leg. As I was working on it, I remember thinking, “There is literally NOTHING on this planet I would rather be doing right now than building this little girl’s leg. Nothing!”
Trying to paint the white foot brown!
filing the leg so it is nice and smooth :)
So Friday morning, Stevensya and her mom came bright and early to see if what we promised was true. The leg fit perfectly! She was able to stand on it, but didn’t have enough strength to walk on it yet, which is completely normal. I will keep you updated throughout her journey as she will be coming back every week for check-ups and physical therapy.
On the wall of our prosthetics lab, it says “Behold, I am making all things new” (in Creole), Rev. 21:5. When we sent this precious momma and 2 legged daughter on their way, Harold and I gave her a note, encouraging the mom to help Stevensya on this journey, and promising that we will always be here to help her and revise her leg as she grows. I read the letter out loud to her, and at the end, shared this promise with her, and that God is making Stevensya new too. Tears flooded my eyes, and her mom nodded and said she knew.
God is so faithful. And He TRULY is making all things new!
Stevensya wearing her new little leg! This is her twin brother on the left.
At one point, Stevensya curiously trying out her new leg.. she is standing on her prosthetic leg while lifting up her good leg!
I recently read an incredible article on “Where is God in Haiti?,” by the president of World Vision. It is DEFINITELY worth reading..:
Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, who of us has not asked the question, “Where was God?” The sudden deaths of so many innocent people and the staggering human suffering that persists seem to mock the very notion of a loving God. Where is God in Haiti?
There was another time that God was mocked in the face of suffering and evil. It happened on Calvary as Jesus Christ, God’s own son, was spat upon, beaten, and hanged on a cross. And people asked, where was God then? If he was God, why didn’t he save himself?
God had another way. On that cross, Jesus faced all the evil that ever was or ever would be. He took upon himself the sins of mankind, the evils of injustice, the pain of suffering and loss, the brokenness of the world. He felt every pain and took every punishment for every person who would ever live.
Where is God in Haiti? Christ is not distant from us in our times of suffering. He lies crushed under the weight of concrete walls. He lies wounded in the street with his legs broken. He walks homeless and hungry through the camps. He weeps uncontrollably over the child he has lost.
Where is God in Haiti? He hangs bloody on the cross: “A man of sorrows, and familiar with our suffering” (Isaiah 53:3).
“But where is hope?” we might ask. Here, alas, we need to see something not easily seen from human perspective. We, not God, are trapped in time. We, not God, see only in part and cannot yet see the whole. We, not God, must wait for that day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
What then must we do? Unlike God, we live in the time between the already and not yet, and we must wait until then. Until then, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Until then, we are called to comfort the afflicted; give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Until then, we are to shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and grieve with the grieving. Until then, we are to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger.
We are to let our light so shine before others that they might see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven. Until then, as the apostle Paul wrote, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors … as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Until then, we must show forth God’s deep love for Haiti.
I continue to be amazed at God’s faithfulness here.
He is good.