You can serve Jesus with joy anywhere. But Haiti in March & April sounds pretty good if you are from Ohio or Pennsylvania and have been shoveling ice and snow for several months. Or if the temperature has been hovering below freezing or zero for a while. So team members had a big smile as they applied sun screen each day.
Now that is happiness not necessarily joy. The joy part comes in when a team member sees the physically sick ministered to and their illness taken care of. Or a prescription filled that will help take care of their problem. Or a baby fed. Or a broken arm treated. Or ears cleaned or..... Joy comes when patients are prayed for, salvation is received, and gospel tracts are distributed.
Joy comes when team members minister to and receive ministry from the children of House of Hope Orphanage. Joy comes when team members can see absolute joy in the faces and lives of children and adults who have little by way of material possessions but have found Jesus as all sufficient.
Joy comes in the lives of team members when they discover their agenda for the trip may not be exactly God's agenda. God often changes agendas, schedules, and location of baggage. Joy comes for team members when they come as learners and listen to the voices of the people God brings into their lives in Haiti. God speaks to hearts through people if team members are listening. And what God says brings joy.
A Three Strands medical team served recently in Haiti. Below is their story from my perspective as I served with them. I am sure that all the team members have their own perspective and are sharing it through social media.
They came on Saturday from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Alumni and first timers. From different churches & denominations. Serving with Three Strands and Caribbean Vision Ministries. Dr. Babak Iranmanesh's team consisted of a Doctor, Physician Assistants, Nurses, other medical professionals, and several non-medical people. The team also included two Haitian doctors, translators, and a multitude of additional Haitian staff.
Team members arrived tired, hungry, and happy to have survived the customs experience. But they were looking forward to the week ahead and they were well prepared for it, except for those eight bags of missing luggage which included medications and clothing. Seven of those bags were recovered om Monday after a typical Haitian adventure. The eighth wasn't recovered until after the team left the country.
After some food, relaxation time, and introduction time to the neighborhood children, the team had a good night's sleep and faced Sunday with a new perspective. The morning was spent at House of Hope Orphanage in a worship time with the children. The alumni enjoyed renewing relationships with the kids and the new team members began making new friendships that we hope will last a lifetime. The kids always love having teams visit them.
The team spent Sunday afternoon setting up the medical pharmacy and making preparations for the opening of the medical clinic at 8:00AM on Monday morning. It is hard to describe this process and photos just can't tell the whole story.
About 6:00AM on Monday patients were arriving at the triage area even though the clinic would not start until 8:00AM. This was repeated each morning Monday-Thursday until a total of over 350 patients were treated. Patients included infants to the aged, the seriously ill, those malnourished, those with malaria, those with injuries, one with a broken arm, and some requiring surgery (which the team will pay for). And also those with physical problems common to those who live in the U.S. The medical team from the U.S. had an opportunity to see and treat some problems they would not ordinarily see in the U.S.
Patients waiting to see Doc or get a prescription filled while our staff
takes time to do their yoga exercises (you think?)
On Thursday afternoon the team went to House of Hope Orphanage where they were able to examine and treat the children and staff living there. Our children at House of Hope are in the best medical condition of their lives and it is because of the medical care they get on a regular basis. We are thankful for all those who minister to these children.
On Friday the team did a follow up on patients who were told to return for prescriptions or treatment and then it was off to the beach for a time of relaxation, swimming, shelling, lounging and hamburgers and fries. The medical team and Haitian staff had a great time of rest before heading back to the frozen Northern U.S.
Patients Processed in the Triage Area
The life expectation for men in Haiti is short by our standards so when I find a man my age in Haiti I try to take a photo with him. It reminds me of the precious gift of life that comes from God.
We are thankful for the ministry of Three Strands in sponsoring this medical team and for Dr. Babak Iranmanesh and his wife Beckie in assembling the team members and directing their work in Haiti. This team was composed of very young and highly qualified team members and they did an exceptional job. Of couse everyone looks young at my age.
They made a hugh difference in the lives of hundreds of people both medically and spiritually and we are thankful for all they did. We are also thankful for the medical companies that donated drugs for this team, the churches who helped in assisting the team, and those who gave financially so team members could participate, and those who prayed for the team while they served in Haiti.