Mission: Haiti 2008
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Mission: Haiti 2008 team photo: (back row, left to right) Gary Fallesen, Josh Carroll, Sarah Brownell, Steve Quakenbush, (front row, left to right) Elaine Fallesen, Miguel Rubén Guante, Erica Zeiler, and Pastor Vilcuis Verite of Monte Pou Kris (the Climbing For Christ church) in front of the mission house in Malasi.
Saturday, December 13 (9 p.m.)
Most of the team returned to the States today with the exception of Miguel, our missionary, who lives in the Dominican border town of Jimani, and Sarah, who resides most of the year on the north coast of Haiti. Before leaving Santo Domingo, we met with Dr. Jirdana from the Jimani clinic. Dr. Steve told her about some of the cases he treated in Malasi and Gentilhomme and they discussed future treatment. We are planning to bring Donya, the lightning-burn victim, down out of Malasi to a hospital in Santo Domingo for care.
Like last year, there was a sense of contentment at the conclusion of this mission trip. We were abiding in Him and fulfilling His plan for this Evangelic Expedition. But this was only another step in a long journey. The farther we go, the more we know there is to do.
“These two weeks were an amazing time of seeing some of the fruit beginning to show from prayers prayed, and plans made over the past few years,” Pastor Erica commented before this close-knit team separated to return home.
Watch for more reports and photos in the days and weeks ahead as God continues to use us to help the spiritual and physical needs of the people living in the mountains of Haiti.
Friday, December 12 (1 p.m.)
The team woke up at sunrise, broke camp, and descended from Gentilhomme to Soliette, where our rental truck was waiting to transport us back across the Dominican border to Jimani. Before leaving Gentilhomme, we prayed with Pastor Tresin and Pastor Paul (Santane's grandfather). We again lifted the work the Lord is doing there, asked for protection from evil, and continued to pray that Gentilhomme will be a village on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).
Thursday, December 11 (11 p.m.)
“God has called us and will hold us accountable,” Pastor Erica told seven pastors from six villages at the first-year celebration of the Climbing for Christ seminary in Gentilhomme. “God entrusts us with His people. Our job is to love God and love people.”
Fifteen pastors and church leaders received certificates for attending all of the monthly classes, where they learned from a curriculum provided by Climbing for Christ pastors (subjects such as “Who is God?”, “What is the Bible?”, “Who is Jesus?”, and “What is Sin?”). We started the seminary on Mission: Haiti in December 2007.
“God is so big we will spend the rest of our lives learning about Him,” Erica said. She urged them to let their lives reflect God’s word.
It is our prayer that we continued to do that on our last full day in Gentilhomme. Dr. Steve made some house calls, Sarah and Josh continued arborloo work, and the team again shared the Christmas story (Luke 2) and handed out gifts to about 70 students in the school. In the evening, we worshipped for three hours. I shared about all we were and all the people should be thankful for – the many things God is doing here.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who carefully handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Wednesday, December 10 (10 p.m.)
The team saw an amazing 132 people over a ten hour stretch at today's health clinic in Gentilhomme. Dr. Steve and Sarah again teamed up to treat many maladies including:
- Micho, a ten-year old boy like precious Santane, who has a crippled from a knee injury when he was a baby. I first saw Micho last year, as he hopped home from school several miles away. He does not even have crutches; he uses a stick.
- Chalicia, a very anemic 35-year old woman who hadn’t eaten in two or three days. We had Miguel’s wife, Kenya, who cooks for us, make her some food.
- Graciege, a 40-year old woman who like most Haitians, looks much older. She told Sarah she’d been praying for us, specifically for our doctor.
Steve, who was again assisted by Elaine on blood pressures and Josh and Erica in the pharmacy, saw more hypertension and more infection here than in Malasi. He also saw cases of head trauma, cerebral palsy, a benign tumor growing behind a girls’ ear, and of course colds and stomach ailments. God, being the Great Physician, provided just enough and all the correct medication for our needs.
Tuesday, December 9 (10 p.m.)
In April 2006, we prayed for healing for Santane, a young girl in Gentilhomme with one crippled leg. I believe that prayer was answered today. Dr. Steve looked at the left leg that she cannot straighten – has not straightened for five or six years – and said in all likelihood it can be surgically repaired. We learned today that Santane was the victim of a tug-of-war argument between her mother and father when she was about one. Her left knee was either broken or dislocated and never repaired. We will get her leg fixed in the United States. God has a special plan for Santane.
Sarah taught twenty men how to build eight arborloos. Two of the new toilets were completely finished, including the one that “Boss” Chalisma carried home on his head. Toilets have come to Gentilhomme, a place just beginning to learn about sanitation, thanks to Sarah.
Josh also surveyed the mountain spring at the river bed 400 vertical feet below the village and is starting to formulate a plan to get water up the hill to the people.
These are all different parts to the overall mission of bringing Christ and the Father’s love to a lost and desperate people.
“You can give a man money but it can be lost,” Miguel said. “But when you can help a person, that is what they’ll never forget. If you are doing it for God, they do not remember you, they remember Jesus.”
Monday, December 8 (9:15 p.m.)
We broke camp and prayed before heading out of Malasi. The three-hour drive to Soliette turned into a five hour drive when we encountered a broken down dump truck on one of the turns on the rough road out of the mountains. It took a while and a little money to get around the disabled vehicle.
We made the hike up to Gentilhomme in about two hours, climbing the 1600 vertical feet in the shadows of the late afternoon. As is my custom, I stopped to see Chalisma on my way to the church, where we camp. Chalisma is the man who first took me to Pastor Trezin in 2005. He was the “boss” when we built the Gentilhomme church in 2006. This time was different, though, because I was greeting my brother in Christ. Chalisma accepted Jesus earlier this year through our food bank project (See “A Brother From Another Planet”). Praise God. It was a joy to see him this way.
On Tuesday, we go to work on sanitation, water, education, and seedling bank activities. Our time is short but we are ready to act.
Sunday, December 7 (4 p.m.)
Today was a day of worship and much needed rest (for the most part – people continue to come to Dr. Steve with health problems). We spent about three hours in worship at the church in Malasi. Our original plan had been to travel to Gentilhomme, but God had other plans for us. We stayed and learned about the suffering lightning victim. Today we were blessed to worship with about 90 of our brothers and sisters in Christ from Malasi.
I spoke from Galatians 4:19 and told them my heart will be burdened for Haiti until there is no voodoo and only devotion to Jesus. I then introduced each member of the team, who spoke through Sarah’s translating:
- Elaine, as a mother of two, from Mathew 19:14 about how Jesus loves the children. She urged parents here to bring their many children up in the Lord.
- Dr. Steve, who looks forward to the day when he will be out of a job (Revelation 21:4).
- Josh, who used Habbakuk 1 and 2, told the people: “Be happy as you look out at your country. God is at work.”
- Erica, who as pastor was asked to provide a message, brought us back to Jesus being our everything. She used Ephesians 4:21-24 and said: “If we call ourselves Christians there is no room for our old selves. There is no room for voodoo.” Amen.
May these teachings spoken by God through us touch the hearts of those who heard. “Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:8)
Saturday, December 6 (8 p.m.)
On September 9 lightning struck in house in Plaine Mare, a “suburb” of Malasi. Five people were killed by the lightning struike. One woman survived. By the grace of God. We visited that woman, twenty-year old Donya Jean Riska. “I can’t believe she was still alive,” Dr. Steve said after treating the deep third-degree burns on her left arm, buttocks, upper legs, and feet. Amazingly, after nearly three months, she is not suffering infection. But she was suffering.
“We need a truck,” Miguel said. “We are trying to help. We have the doctor. All we need is the transportation.”
Climbing for Christ pays for “health insurance” to get members of our churches treatment in Jimani, Dominican Republic. But there is no way to get the doctor from the clinic (Dr. Jirdana) to Malasi. To deliver our missione we needed to rent a heavy duty truck at a cost of $1100. We have prayed for the provision of a truck for many months. This prayer is heightened now. We will meet with Dr. Jirdana before leaving for the States. Donya will need more medical attention, probably skin grafts.
“The woman will sleep tonight,” Miguel said. “Like the woman who touched Jesus’ clothes and her bleeding stopped, today this woman touched Jesus (Mark 5:25-34).”
Dr. Steve was the hands of Jesus. Sarah was His mouth, translating for us. We pray Christs' love has touched Donya and the Great Physician will provide healing. To do so He may first provide the transportation.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
The day began with pastors from two other villages visiting to request affiliation with Climbing for Christ. We prayed with them and for them in hopes that their hearts are true to the Lord. We invited them to participate in our seminary, which will begin its second year in January. “We are trying to get our pastors to fight against the voodoo,” Miguel said, repeating our goal for pastors and church leaders in Chaine de LaSelle.
Sarah and Josh built an arborloo and Sarah taught a seminar on sanitation to fourteen people from Malasi today. At the same time, Dr. Steve, Erica, Elaine, Miguel and I went on a three hour hike over two mountains to make some house calls. We visited the wife of the “Boss” (the local who heads up our construction projects), who recently lost their third newborn baby in as many years. We talked with her, gave her some medicine and vitamins, and prayed with her family. Boss Molier and Crislene have five other children. Erica prayed for peace from their sorrow and that they would be godly parents.
On our way we'd been met on the trail by the aunt of Donya. This was a divine appointment. We praise God we were there to answer.
Friday, December 5 (8 p.m.)
“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17-18)
The people were lining up for day 2 of our health clinic in Malasi before we got out of our tents in the morning. Word had gotten out. By the end of the day, (hours after dark) the team had seen 86 people, many from several hours away in the village of Nikola.
“Everyone is malnourished and they don’t get enough water,” Dr. Steve said, after dealing with case after case of stomach, skin, and pain issues. “It’s not Biafra yet but it’s pretty close.”
Before treating the physically ill, we went to the school to deliver vitamins, de-worming pills, and the Christmas story. We told and acted out Luke 2:1-20, then handed out Christmas gifts to 80 children who normally don’t receive anything.
Then we returned to the clinic with Elaine again checking blood pressures, Sarah translating for Steve, and Josh and Erica dispensing medicine for another 8 hours. Steve was struck by the lack of mental illness in a place where people are physically in survival mode. We did see two people with serious emotional problems: a 25-year old husband and father of four who hasn’t spoken since June because of some sort of head trauma and a 24-year old woman who has had several babies die. In Haiti when a woman loses a son she wants to die. Steve told this woman named Rosemene that Jesus loves her and so do we. We then prayed for her to be healed. We pray for all of Haiti to be healed, for a turning from darkness to His light.
Thursday, December 4 (9 p.m.)
The team saw 78 people in our first health clinic in Malasi. Dr. Steve was praising God throughout the ten hour day for the opportunity to examine and treat so many. Like…
…Merimene Louis, a beautiful twelve year old girl who complained of the same acid reflux and headache as most others and then told us she does not eat every day. Welcome to Haiti.
…the woman with the one year old boy who fell twenty days ago and hurt his leg. She took the baby to a “doctor” (probably a voodoo doctor) who wrapped the leg and said leave it for 42 days. We used Pastor Verite to talk her into letting us look at the swollen leg. Steve drained fluid and dressed the wound, which should heal now.
…the two year old who was burned six days ago. As with all of the other illnesses and injuries, Steve treat it and we prayed for healing.
Erica and Elaine lined them up, starting with blood pressure checks, and Sarah translated for Steve all day. Josh was our professional pharmacist, dispensing the many drugs to those in need. The team was just that, doing amazing work for the Lord. We get to do it all again on Friday as we hold a second day of health clinics in Malasi.
Wednesday, December 3 (10 p.m.)
We went to school this morning and spent time with the 60 students and their two teachers. Elaine taught the children how to count to ten in English. A wall in the church/school is gone and must be replaced. It will be part of a long laundry list of projects from this mission.
After class, we visited a half dozen farms that are growing banana plants that God provided through our seedling bank project. We walked all over the hillsides to make our visits, prompting Miguel to say: “When the Haitian who lives in the mountains tells you 'just over there,' it is one hour, maybe more.”
We went “just over there” to visit a sick woman. Dr. Steve provided medicine and prayer (the best medicine) during his house call.
For the second straight year, Sarah and Erica celebrated their birthdays with us on mission to Haiti. It is a gift to the people in the mountains of Haiti (last year in Gentilhomme, this year in Malasi).
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Tuesday, December 2 (7 p.m.)
We reached Malasi after our six-hour drive in the rented Climbing For Christ “tap-tap” (a heavy-duty truck that doubles as a bus in Haiti). We had an uneventful border crossing and picked up Sarah, who works full-time on the north coast. She met us where we left paved road to start driving rocky roads and riverbeds into the mountains. We are a full team now. We reached Malasi at sundown. The missionary house has been completed along with a basin, sistern, and shadecloth for the seedling bank project. Things are growing here. Prayerfully the peoples' faith is as well. That's why we're here. Our work begins.
Tuesday, December 2 (10 a.m.)
Before breakfast and making our way to the border, Dr. Steve (who has done short-term missions to Romania and India) was talking, “I'm ready for this,“ he said. “I've been waiting decades for this. I think my whole life has been leading to this. I'm so grateful for the opportunity.” We are grateful that God sent us a brother from the medical profession with a passion to serve those in need.
Tuesday, December 2 (1:30 a.m.)
The church at Jimani welcomed us with songs and joyous smiles, including our dear friend Gilbert. We prayed with the church. Pastor Enel, who is taking over leadership of the church, is part of our first seminary class. The former pastor was killed in the 2004 flood, and Miguel has rebuilt the church. We gave thanks to God for bringing another team back here safely. God is good.
Monday, December 1 (11 p.m.)
We arrived in the Dominican border town of Jimani after flying four hours from New York City to Santo Domingo and driving the usual adventurous six hours. The Climbing for Christ church of Jimani is waiting for us so we need to go visit them now. Tomorrow we return to Haiti. To His glory!
Sunday, November 30
Preparing to go. But God has already gone before us and prepared the way — just as he did in 2005 when He first took us to Haiti to start a mission we could not have envisioned. Now, 3½ years later, we are going on our fifth Evangelic Expedition to the Chaine de la Selle mountains in southeastern Haiti. We have numerous goals for this latest short-term trip:
- First, and foremost, answering divine appointments and sharing the love of Christ with those He puts in our path.
- Conducting health clinics in Malasi and Gentilhomme. We are very excited to have Dr. Steve with us on this mission. “I would hope that this trip wold lead to a long-term relationship with these villages,” Steve said recently. “I definitely feel the hand of God on this trip.” Steve acquired 100 pounds of medical supplies from the World Health Organization for this trip.
- Teaching sanitation in Malasi and building arborloos in Gentilhomme, a village in which there are no toilets. Sarah, our resident sanitation engineer, provided instruction in Gentilhomme last December so the people there would know the importance of and desire to have toilets.
- Surveying water sources to begin construction on a system that will provide easier access to clean drinking water. Josh, another engineer, is lending his expertise in this area.
- Teaching and playing with schoolchildren, and delivering CHRISTmas gifts (bouncy balls, hair things for the girls, pencils, and crayons donated by friends) and sharing the message of hope to the youth in Malasi and Gentilhomme. We're also providing school supplies for the teachers, wedding dresses, and some clothing.
- Worshipping the Lord with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Gentilhomme and the Dominican border town of Jimani, where Miguel lives.
- Recognizing the 15 pastors and church leaders from six villages who have completed the first year of theological study about God and the Bible in the Climbing For Christ seminary. Those receiving certificates are: pastors Vilcuis Verite (Monte Pou Kris, Malasi), Meristene Trezin (Monte Pou Kris, Gentilhomme), Enel Fleurimon (Subiendo Para Cristo, Bwapin Kouvé), Edma Saintilme (L’eglise du Christ, Soliette), Luterne Polissain (Legliz Nazareyen, Thoman) and Almando Paul (Gentilhomme), and church leaders Fleuruis Atisme (Monte Pou Kris, Malasi), Exime Atisme (Monte Pou Kris, Malasi), Miluis Jesilus (Legliz Nazareyen, Thoman), Junior Edma (L’eglise du Christ, Soliette), Renold Vil (L’eglise du Christ, Soliette), Emilio Setoute (Subiendo Para Cristo, Jimani), Saint Louis Mardi (Subiendo Para Cristo, Jimani), and Emile Duvalier (Asanble Kretyen, Bwapin Kouvé). These 15 met with instructor Miguel Rubén Guante (a Haitian national and our missionary) once a month from the time we initiated the seminary during last December’s mission trip until our return.
“I will go before you and will level the mountains...
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. ...
“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it.”
— Isaiah 45:2, 5, 8 (NIV)
“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
— Ezekiel 47:12 (NLT)
Sarah Brownell, Rochester, N.Y.; Josh Carroll, Denver, Colo.; Elaine Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y.; Gary Fallesen, trip leader, Rochester, N.Y.; Miguel Rubén Guante, missionary to Haiti, Jimani, Dominican Republic; Dr. Steve Quakenbush, Canon City, Colo.; and Pastor Erica Zeiler, Littleton, Colo. CLICK HERE for the team bios.
Monday, Dec. 1 – Five members of team (Josh, Elaine, Gary, Steve and Erica) travel from New York to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where they meet Miguel and travel to the border town of Jimani.
Tuesday, Dec. 2 – Team crosses border into Haiti, meets Sarah, and proceeds to Malasi.
Wednesday, Dec. 3-Friday, Dec. 5 – Working in Malasi.
Saturday, Dec. 6 – Travel to Soliette and trek to Gentilhomme.
Sunday, Dec. 7 – Worship at the church in Gentilhomme.
Monday, Dec. 8-Thursday, Dec. 11 – Work in Gentilhomme.
Friday, Dec. 12 – Trek and travel out of Haiti, returning to Jimani.
Saturday, Dec. 13 – Travel to Santo Domingo and return to U.S.