Thursday, May 16, 2013

A View from the Clouds

Sometimes, it's so frustrating that I can't see the forest for all the giant trees surrounding me.  

I know the view from up high (and by that, I mean a heavenly one) is quite clear.  If only I could see the big picture that God sees!  

And yet, I wait (not always patiently) for Him to reveal pieces at a time, thereby demonstrating His power and love for me and giving me an opportunity to practice and demonstrate my trust in and obedience to Him.

I took a trip up to the Citadelle of Haiti Tuesday. It's an old fortress built at the top of a mountain between 1805 and 1820.  It was a hike up to the top, but well worth it.  I kept trying to imagine all the people and resources it took to build it...  Truly amazing.

The view from the top was astounding!  As you walk up the stone path past little stick houses and meandering horses, you can't even see the enormous fortress through the plantain trees. From the bottom, it almost seems like it's touching the clouds.


And then, suddenly, there it is towering above you--emerging from 
the fog like a hulking, steel ship on the ocean.

That's my friend, Esther, who hiked up with me.  Yep, the same one who had a baby not long ago!  Baby Elijah slept the whole morning in a sling.  She's been up to the Citadelle about 18 times so far, so there was no need for a guide.

See the bright orange colored mold/mildew on the walls?  Striking.

The cannons were still there, waiting for an attack that never came.

I was making Esther nervous, lingering too close to the edge.  Historic monuments like this in other places would be blocked off for visitors--imagine the liability nightmares!!
See the brick, Sarah?  That's called the EDGE.  Danger! Danger!

She felt better when I had laid down to peer over the edge.

  More of the bright orange mold...  Grassy walkways... And stray cannonballs here and there...

Some type of royal stamp on the cannons.

Giant piles of cannonballs are still lined up on the grounds around the fortress.

I came back down the mountain resolved once again to be patient.  I imagined all that The Citadelle has weathered over about 200 years on this island.  No wonder it has become such a symbol of Haiti and its people!

Pieces of history like this one remind us that there are things larger than ourselves going on in the world.  There is a big picture, and even though we might not have the perspective to see it, we know we're a part of it.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wheeling and Walking

Mark's going in for some training tomorrow.  And this time, he's the trainee.  He'll be learning from coaches from Switzerland about wheelchair basketball. Later this month, a team will be visiting from Calvary UMC and together, we'll be hosting a Hoops for Haiti basketball clinic and tournament.  Some of the tournament games will be wheelchair basketball games!  

Last week, we went to the hospital and rehabilitation center to meet with the people we'll be working with, check out the gear, and take a tour.  We started with the basketball gear and court first, of course...

This storage room was full of all kinds of recreation gear, including 
enough sport wheelchairs to outfit two teams.

Danielle and Elli hopped right into two chairs and headed out to the court. 
 I was impressed with how easily they figured out how to push and steer!

Naomy's arms weren't long enough or strong enough to 
make the chair go, but she hitched a few rides...

...and gave some pushes.  

The girls quickly realized that while making the chair go isn't difficult, 
you have to be very coordinated to do so WHILE dribbling and/or shooting a basketball.

Next, was our tour, and it started off with lots of cheering and singing.  

A patient who had suffered a stroke about 6 months ago and had been confined to bed or a chair ever since... was WALKING again for the first time.  She was followed by an entourage of ladies chanting, "Mesi, Bondye!" (Thank you, God!)

Oh, and yes, she was walking while TALKING on a phone!  I overheard her talking through her tears: "Wi, mache! Wi, mache!" (Yes, I'm walking!)

In addition to the basketball clinic and tournament, we (we count ourselves as part of the team that will be visiting!) will tackle cleaning and maintenance projects at the complex, visit with patients, and possibly even have a training session with the resident therapists.

Here's a photo of the rehab building.

Next on the tour: the hospital, starting with the NIC unit.  The girls got to see some very, very tiny babies.  They had never seen such little ones, and at first, I think they were a little frightened by all the machines and tubes. Since then, they've been praying for those babies every night before bed, so I know it made a big impact on them.  

Finally, we visited the health clinic and it just so happened that there wasn't a wait to get in!  Elli had been complaining of an earache and Naomy had been battling pinkeye, so we had a reason to see the doctor.  The nurse took their temperatures, just like usual...and she weighed them, just like usual...and the doctor used the same tools as usual to examine their eyes and ears.  

What was UNusual was the fact that there were three other patients in the examining room with us--and one of them was intermittently moaning from a cot!  The girls didn't seem fazed...but this mama was a little weirded out.  We were prescribed some antibiotics and went through the process of obtaining them (in the attached pharmacy) and paying for them, which was interesting for me.  I had to pay super careful attention to dosing instructions, as they were delivered to me in Creole and measured in metric units.

Here's Elli being weighed.  She weighs some number of kilograms that I can't remember.  Tell me again--why are we Americans pretty much the only ones in the WORLD not on the metric system?

What a visit!  We came away with medicine that got us on the mend and huge excitement over the work cut out for us later this month.  Stay posted for details about tomorrow's training...

Would you please start praying for God to move in miraculous ways to prepare the Calvary team and the people they'll meet here in Haiti?

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."