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Note

In some stories on this Web site (including these Dispatches) and in back issues of The Climbing Way magazine, we spelled the village of Gentilhomme “Jeantilhome.” That is because it was spelled for us that way upon first visiting Haiti. Maps and government material spell it Gentilhomme so we have elected to correct our spelling on current and future stories.

 

Mission: Haiti 2007

April Dispatches

Reported by GARY FALLESEN
President/Chief Climbing Officer of Climbing For Christ

 

Team photo

Pastor Tresin shakes hands with Miguel Rubén Guante (white shirt), who accompanied Gary Fallesen and Brian Arnold on Mission: Haiti's April trip. Teacher Mathurin Saenril is far right.

 

Thursday, April 19, 2007 (10:00 a.m.)

We have returned to the U.S. More to come.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 (11 a.m.)

JIMANI, Dominican Republic — We met this morning with Dr. Marc Pinard of the International Medical Alliance to request his help in Jeantilhome. Dr. Marc is Haitian, an NYU graduate, living in Jimani and practicing medicine in the DR and Haiti. He has overseen seven clinics in Haiti for the past 15 years. One of his doctors, Yirdana Corporan, will go with Miguel on April 27 to check on some of the sick and injured in Jeantilhome. She also will be surveying for us the biggest health issues in Jeantilhome.

Dr. Marc and his cousin, Leslie Pinard, expressed an interest in helping us. As Leslie said: “Anything we can do for our country.” He said the problem in Haiti is too many people waiting. “Manna doesn't just come from heaven. The Bible says, 'Knock and ask.' People don't knock; they just wait. God will provide, but you must ask.” We have been asking throughout this trip, and He is providing.

“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!” — Psalm 66:1-5

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 ( 1:00 p.m.)

JIMANI, Dominican Republic — We awoke this morning in Jeantilhome to singing from the church. They prayed for us, for our trip, and for our families. We do the same.

We descended quickly from Jeantilhome, coming 1,700 feet down the steep trails in less than one hour. It was 85 degrees and hot as we climbed out of the clouds. We dropped packs and visited Pastor Italian's unfinished church, which he has requested our help to finish. Then we went to see Pastor Tresin and Pastor Italian's 10-day-old granddaughter. (Pastor Tresin's son married Pastor Italian's daughter last April.) We waited for the truck to pick us up, which was one hour late. Then we drove back across the border into the Dominican Republic.

All is well.

Monday, April 16, 2007 (5:00 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We distributed two duffels of clothing to Pastor Tresin to be given to the men, women and children in the church. The clothing was collected by Climbing For Christ members from Minnesota, the Adirondack Mountatins and the Western New York chapters. Pastor Tresin asked me to express his sincere thanks to those who sent clothing. He was touched deeply.

Monday, April 16, 2007 (2:00 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We bathed and washed our hiking clothes in the cool river water. A river of God. We are not Haitians, but we understand better what it is to live here: walking the steep trails up and down the many mountains in the hot, 84-degree sun, and washing off the dirt in His refreshing water. We were hiking today — up and over and around. Seemingly going nowhere. Welcome to Haiti. We are learning the Haitian proverb: “Mountains beyond mountains.” They are never-ending.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 (5:00 p.m.)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." — Romans 8:28

JEANTILHOME — The church celebrated its one-year birthday today with a 5¼-hour worship. We gave thanks to God for all He has done, is doing, and will do. “When the pastor (Tresin) was under the sun, the raining, and the breeze, he lift up his eyes to the mountain,” Miguel preached in Creole. “He does not lift his eyes to see Món Boukan (Mount Fire). He does not lift his eyes to Pic la Selle. But he lifts his eyes to God mountain. He looks at Jesus’ cross and he believes in Christ.“

After Miguel spoke, Arny and I prayed over Pastor Tresin in front of the congregation of about 250 worshipers. They came from Soliette, Malasi, and Jeantilhome for this la moison (party) for the church.

The church took communion. There were so many people, the plastic cups for the wine had to be reused three times. There was a presentation of two children (like Hannah with Samuel in 1 Samuel 1:22) and then, more than four hours into the service, a wedding broke out. I was asked to pray for the newlywed couple, as I’ve been asked to pray for the pastor and the congregation before.

Miguel then closed by explaining the mission of Climbing For Christ and all we are still trying to do here. He said we “promised Jeantilhome with a church — they are a church.” We “promised Jeantilhome with a school — they are a school.” We are now working on clean water, sanitation, and health care. By the grace — and to the glory — of God, these promises also will be fulfilled.

Saturday, April 14, 2007 (10:00 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We worshiped two hours again tonight after a meeting with a pastor from another mountain village (Malasi) who wants to affiliate his church with Climbing For Christ. It will be committed to prayer.

Miguel summed up Climbing For Christ’s mission with the words from Creole Hymn 59: “Far country / far country from here / is there where I want to go. This country has many people lost / those people have a hard heart / but Jesus want to save them / I have to go.”

 

Baptism

Saturday, April 14, 2007 (3:00 p.m.)

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." — Matthew 28: 19-20

JEANTILHOME — Nine new members were baptized into the family of Christ in a ceremony that began in the church, paraded down about 500 vertical feet to the river, and was concluded there.

Those being baptized — eight women and one man — led the procession to the river, dressed in white. Dozens of church members followed, dressed in their Sunday best and singing as they went. At the river Miguel prepared each person to be baptized and sent them into the river, where Pastor Tresin and two other pastors were waiting. A few wrestled with the pastors as they were leaned back in to the water. Miguel said this was because the evil spirit of voodoo that has been a part of their lives was fighting the Holy Spirit descending on them. All emerged from the water baptized. I prayed with each one individually, thanking God that they had chosen to give their lives to Christ and asking Him to protect them from evil and grant them peace in their difficult lives.

After the baptisms we followed the river to survey the village’s sources for water. We made the final 425-foot ascent up a very steep trail to the village. This is something villagers do three times a day. Women also take their wash to the river. These hardy people are part Haitian, part mountain goat.

Friday, April 13, 2007 (9:30 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We worshipped tonight with the church. Pastor Tresin talked about how Climbing For Christ was sent here by God, made a pledge to this remote village, and has returned to keep the promise. There is much work to be done.

Before setting out on a prayer walk through the village this afternoon, Arnie and I spent some time in Scripture and prayed together. Our eyes were taken to Isaiah 58:8-11, which says, in part, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.” It refers to a sun-scorched land. That would be Haiti. Sun-scorched and burned off. The side of the mountain above the village was on fire today, being burned to plant crops. This type of deforestation has led to disaster, such as the 2004 flood that came off Pic la Selle and swept down the valley and into Jimani, DR, killing thousands along the way.

We prayed for two women who are seriously ill (Clerisia Blanc and Jolicia Mondelis) farther up the trail in Jeantilhome. Then we went to visit 7-year-old Santane Senrigene, the little girl we were asked to heal last year. Santane’s left leg is still twisted and frail; she hops about on her right leg. One of our prayer warriors, who has the gift of healing, encouraged me that he has been “pressing God to heal Santane through your hands. Remember, all things are given if we believe and ask for that which is His will. I believe it is His will to heal all His children — Santane included.” I believe she will be healed — not by our feeble hands, but by His all-powerful hand.

Santane’s grandfather, Pastor Armando Paul, says the family feels a curse was put on the girl. The same thing was expressed to us about Clerisia. Miguel said we need to pray that the scales would be removed from the eyes of those who believe in curses, black magic, voodoo. We know such evil exists but it fears the Light. Through Christ alone, all things can be overcome. Miguel said we need to show the people they are sick because of dirt and bad water, and not because of curses. We will do this by improving water quality, sanitation (not a single home in Jeantilhome has a toilet), and health care in Jeantilhome. As I said, there is much work to be done.

 

School

Students take down the Haitian flag to mark the end of the school day in Jeantilhome. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

Friday, April 13, 2007 (1:00 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We just finished school. Seventy-five students attended classes today in the school where they sharpen pencils with a razor blade. We watched children do multiplication and reading exercises as part of their day. At recess, Arny handed out rubber baseballs, frisbees and bubbles for the children, who played joyfully in the hot sun. It is hot as Haiti here. If not for a cool breeze off the mountain, the 93-degree heat would be oppressive.

During school, a pastor from Soliette visited to ask for our help. His church was destroyed by the flood in 2004 and was partially rebuilt with relief from the U.S. He asked if Climbing For Christ would help finish the church. We explained to him the mission that God has put on our hearts to serve people in the mountains, which Soliette is not. I told him we will take it before God to see if it's His will for us to help, or if we can find others to do so.

We are going to visit some sick people now and pray over them. By the grace and will of God, we will offer them healing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 (3:15 p.m.)

JEANTILHOME — We arrived at the village on a hill after a 2½-hour hike in hot weather. It is cooler here in the mountains of Haiti because of the breeze, but temperatures are still in the 80s. Pastor Tresin and Miguel welcomed us into the church with a prayer thanking God for all of our safe travel — by plane, car, truck, and on foot.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 (8 p.m.)

JIMANI, Dominican Republic — We met with Dr. Yirdana Corporan, a Dominican who is going to help us with the medical needs in Jeantilhome. Dr. Corporan can't go with us from this Dominican border town into Haiti tomorrow, but will visit the village next weekend. We've asked her to identify the biggest medical problems so we can gear up for the placement of a clinic in the village later this year. Dr. Corporan knows that in a remote, malnourished place like Jeantilhome, the greatest needs will include vitamins for pregnant women and children, medicine for stomach ailments such as worms, skin problems, and cold and respiratory issues.

After eating at Miguel's house and playing with his four children and the other kids who live and visit there, we went to visit Compadre. Compadre, a Haitian who, like Miguel, lives in Jimani and helped us build the church in Jeantilhome, was attacked last week by a gang of Dominicans. (For more on this story, click on the link at the bottom of the page.) He was stabbed severely in the back and has rows of nasty-looking stitches. It was only by the grace of God that he survived. We prayed over Compadre, asking the Great Physician to heal him. We prayed that this would soften Compadre's heart and that he will accept Christ as his Savior. We left him with a Creole Bible, our love, and the knowledge that we are praying for him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 (noon)

JIMANI, Dominican Republic — Our midnight flight to the DR was uneventful. We landed in Santiago at 3:15 a.m. and cleared customs. Miguel was waiting outside for us with Willie, our driver and a fireman in Jimani. We loaded the car in the warm (temperatures in the 70s) and slightly humid morning air and hit the road at 4 a.m.

Miguel asked me about Psalm 121, the Scripture he assigned to us for this trip. Then he told a story about the car breaking down between Santo Domingo and Santiago. It broke down in front of a gas station. They asked about a mechanic. One had to be called, but before they could call, a mechanic showed up. He fixed the car. “That was God,” Miguel said.

But our car troubles were not done. It took us nearly 8 hours to make the 6-hour drive to Jimani. We are 12 hours removed from New York City, but in a different world altogether.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mission: Haiti 2007 begins. Brian Arnold and I fly again to Hispaniola. We go to continue growing our relationship with villagers in Jeantilhome, and to help provide for their physical and spiritual needs. We plan to spend time with the 140 children going to school in the church we helped build a year ago, take Dominican doctors to learn about the most pressing medical needs for a clinic we intend to put in place later in the year, deliver clothing and Creole Bibles, check water and sanitation problems, and share the love of Christ. We'll soon learn if our plan is God's plan. We know that all things on Mission: Haiti are “subject to change.”

 

We Are Here

We Are Here: Jeantilhome is located on Pic la Selle in the Chaine de la Selle.

  • Read about the crime against “Compadre,” a friend of Mission: Haiti. CLICK HERE

The Word

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
— Acts 4:13 (NIV)

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