Friday, September 26, 2008

God's LITTLE miracles

Alyssa the day she arrived:July 16

Alyssa two months later!! Isn't God amazing!!

Meet the new Richard! He came to us last week and is doing great!

The town criers:The triplets are doing great, 2 are going home this week, the girl on the left is still quite fragile and will stay at HCH for a while longer!
Steeven arrived on June 30th weighing 9lbs at 16months of age. He came to us after the witch doctor gave up on him, and had a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual issues that required a lot of prayer and patience on our part.

Today: Steeven smiling! Isn't this a beautiful example of how God can take something so awful and hopeless and turn it into something so beautiful!!
Samuel is getting so big!

Our newest addition. This is Yvenson, a 31 weeker that arrived on Tuesday. He's obviously very fragile and underdeveloped, but seems to be doing alright at this point. Please pray for him and for us as we care for this precious little bundle.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where things are at

Our night up at the hospital

Contest: How many babies is Pat hiding under there?

Preparing supplies for neighbours who have lost everything

Dear friends:

Many are concerned about how we are doing after the hurricanes. Here is a brief account of the events that happened surrounding the rage of Ike.

The children's home was not flooded although the water came within 20 feet of our perimeter. Most of our neighbors that are on the side toward the river were completely flooded out with some of their homes being completely covered by water! No one was killed, thank the Lord but several were hurt and the terror was beyond anything I can explain as the flooding took place at 2 -3 am and many woke up to the water already high in their homes. One man tells of frantically looking for his two year old in the murky water, in the dark when she fell as they were trying to run. He did find her and was able to pull her out before she drownd.

We had to evacuate as the water kept rising and we felt it wasn't safe to keep the children in the home. At 2 am I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep but didn't realize why at that point. I sat and read a book and then I began to hear the noise from the rising river never dreaming that it would ever be able to come clear up to our neighborhood. Around 3 am I went down the hall and listened and I began to get concerned as it was obvious that the river was quickly reaching our neighborhood as it sounded like it was right outside our gate. I tried to call some of the neighbors to let them know that they needed to evacuate but the phone service was down and I couldn't get through. A few minutes later I hear screaming and lots of it. I knew immediately that some their homes had flooded. I called for our night staff and asked her to go downstairs and wake up the children and start carrying the toddlers upstairs (the babies live upstairs). I went and woke up our 2 volunteers and my mom. I don't think I have ever had an adrenaline rush as huge as that night. Our power was out and the stress was overwhelming as we ran room to room making sure we weren't leaving any little ones behind. As the ladies and I ran from one room to the next suddenly a group of young men from the area came bursting into the house screaming, "get the children, the river is coming." They helped us and within 5 minutes we had all the children safely upstairs. We went back down to get clothing etc.

In the meantime, Thym went to see if the road was still clear so we could evacuate and it was but by time we loaded 15 infants including the 3 premature babies and 25 children in the truck and were ready to leave, the road was covered high with water and the truck could not get through. We unloaded the children and decided to just keep everyone on the 2nd floor of the house and pray for God's mercy as we didn't know what else to do. Thym continued to look around the area to see what we could do to evacuate at least my mom and the children to the hospital up the hill to a safer place. After about an hour and a half he came home with a solution. The neighbors up the hill (so away from the river) had agreed to allow him to drive our truck through their gardens and out to the main road. Thym knew that our new truck would not make it as it lacks height and the engine is not powerful enough so he prayed a prayer and fired up the old Toyota. Within minutes we had my mom and most of the children in the truck. Thym made 2 more trips and got everyone to safety. I stayed behind to pack the necessary items, make arrangements for food, get bedding together and boil drinking water and sterilize enough bottles for all the babies (15) for 24 hours. One of the most amazing things about this part of the story is that the Toyota had not been used for several days because it was out of gas and we were not able to get any. The truck made 3 trips over off-road muddy terraine on E. Isn't God wonderful. His miracles never end.

The water never did reach the children's home. It did come within 20 feet on one side and several yards on another but it didn't come in. There were homes straight across from us that were completely flooded but the water never came in our gates. The local people say it was the work of the angel of the Lord. They say that God put his angels around our home and kept the water out. It is the only explanation really. We are grateful for His faithfulness and mercy.

We spent 1 day at the hospital and by then the water had gone down enough that there was no longer a risk and the rain had stopped and the road was clear. We were so grateful to the hospital for taking us in but keeping 40 children (premature infants to 12 years) and all their stuff in a 12x14 square is a difficult task. The children were so crowded that they could hardly sleep and kept rolling on top of each other as they were spread out all over the floor. At 4 am Monday, I woke up our oldest boy (12 years) and had him start helping me load the truck. We then woke up the 7 school age boys and we headed home with the first load of stuff. The children were so excited when they found out not only were they going home but they could have a bath (the local hospital has no water). One 6 year old boy bounced up and down and on the seat of the truck and said in a sing-song kind of voice: "We get to take a bath, we get to take a bath." By 6am all the children were home. They were so tired and worn out from the whole ordeal that all of them took a nap that afternoon.

The destruction caused by the flooding is wide spread here. The river flooded so badly and the current was so strong that it pulled up everything in its path including homes, heavy equipment from the UN base outside of our village and anything else in it's path. All this debri collected at the bridge on the main road between us and the local village, finally the bridge could not stand up to the pressure and was ripped out completely. With the bridge out the only way from here to there now is by a rough hand-made canoe. This means we have no way out in case of emergency between 5pm and 5am and we can no longer get in our vehicles and go to the village or to Port-au-Prince.

The past few days we have spent every minute we can trying to help those in need. Up in the village there are hundreds whose homes were destroyed by the river. On Tuesday the mayor asked us for help with clothing, blankets and whatever we could give. He said there were 25 naked babies at the shelter and he had nothing to give their parents to put on them. We went through our storage shed and sent several totes full of baby pajamas, blankets, and chidren's clothing across the river to them.

Wednesday and Thursday we went from home to home cleaning up piles of mud, scrubbing floors and walls and doing whatever needed to be done to help the people get back into their homes. All of the homes near us were able to be clean and can be repaired but many of those up in the village are completely destroyed.

Yesterday afternoon we delivered several plastic totes of children's clothing, blankets and shoes to our neighbors homes as many of them lost everything in the flood. We hope to be able to help them more in the coming weeks as the Lord provides. Hunger will become even more prevelent than before over the next several months as everyone in our area lost their gardens. Even the plantain trees were destroyed which means this storm will effect some for up to a year an half from now as plantain trees bear fruit in 12 to 18 months and plantains are a staple here.

Please pray for our community and Haiti as a nation as thousands are suffering the results of the last three hurricanes and many are homeless and hungry.

In His service,


PS: The titles of attachments explain the pictures

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The effects in Mirebalais of Hurricane Ike

Here are a few pictures of how Ike has devastated our area. We are safe and sound considering the circumstances, but our friends and neighbors have been terribly affected. More information will follow shortly, but we wanted everyone to see the reality our community is facing. Please continue to pray for HCH and our community and the country of Haiti.

Waterline high above this toddler bed

Haitian homes across the river destroyed by the water

The bridge is totally blown out causing a kind of island effect

The mud that is covering every square inch of our neighbourhood...the fields, in houses, stores, covering belongings and causing insect infestation

Ike's Devastation

Hurricane Ike has caused wide spread devastation here in our village due to flooding. Hundreds have lost their homes and everything they own. Fortunately the orphanage was not effected other than loss of electricity for 4 days although we did evacuate for a little of 24 hours as the flooding came within 20 feet of the orphanage on two sides.

Our neighbors on the side toward the river have all been effected and really need your prayers. We are spending every minute we can helping them clean out the piles of mud (6 to 12 inches deep) from their little shacks so they can move back in. Please pray for the people of Haiti as the flood damage is nationwide here.