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Mission: Haiti 2008

Trip Reflections

Members of Climbing For Christ’s fifth Evangelic Expedition to Haiti – from Dec. 1-13, 2008 – look back at what God did.

Sarah Brownell

Although Sarah lives in Haiti full-time (working on the country’s north coast), she said Climbing For Christ missions hold “a sense of importance and urgency to me. I know that the people we encounter will have little other chance to go to a doctor, to have school supplies or Christmas presents, to learn about community sanitation, or to go to seminary. I also believe that God is for the poor and with the poor, those who depend on Him for everything and need Him most. Only by being ‘with’ the poor both in worship and in everyday life can I truly learn how to be a Christian.”

This was the second straight year that Sarah blessed us with her fluency in Creole and her love for the people and the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, which she has come to call home.

The highlight of the 2008 trip: medical clinics in Malasi and Gentilhomme, where more than 300 people were treated. “Somehow we were able to see and help (even if temporarily) hundreds of people, and we mostly had the right medication for them, just exactly enough in some cases!” Sarah said. “We likely saved a little boy’s leg and also treated burn victims to avoid life-threatening infections. We noted people that need regular blood-pressure treatment and those with severe malnutrition so that more long-term medication can be sent for them. We comforted a woman who had had three miscarriages and was suffering from depression and hearing voices in her head.”

Sarah teaching how to build an arborloo in Gentilhomme.

Other highlights for Sarah included tours by farmers showing us how they were growing the banana plants we provided and the construction of nine “SOILoos” (arborloo toilets designed by SOIL – Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, which Sarah co-founded – that make fertilizer for trees).

Josh Carroll

“I am honored that I was able to be a part of Mission: Haiti 2008. God’s work in Haiti is not finished. I’ll be back.”

Josh, an engineer for Mortenson Construction in Denver, plans to deliver water filtration systems for cisterns in Malasi and Gentilhomme, and begin construction on a pumping system to get spring water up a steep, 400-foot hillside to a more accessible location in Gentilhomme.

Highlights from this trip for Josh included:

  • The small, tightly knit team.
  • Witnessing Pastor Vilcuis’ humble spirit in Malasi.
  • “Feeling the Holy Spirit soften my heart.”
  • Playing with the children … “always a blessing to me.”
  • The jokes, laughs, and games.

Josh Carroll playing ball with schoolchildren in Gentilhomme.

Elaine Fallesen

“Awesome experience, full of God moments, a few nervous moments for me (border crossings and hikes up to and down from Gentilhomme) and many things I'll never forget.”

Elaine, who since 2005 had lived Mission: Haiti vicariously through her husband Gary (Climbing For Christ’s founder), was overjoyed to:

  • Meet Gilbert, the teen whom God used Climbing For Christ to rescue from near-death after suffering a broken leg in a Gentilhomme ravine in August 2007. [See “Saving Gilbert.”]
  • Meet Miguel, our trusted missionary.
  • Participate in all the medical events. “It was humbling and extremely gratifying to be able to help with just a few of the medical needs of people who have never seen a doctor. Doc Steve was incredible – his compassion for the people was amazing.  He turned no one away, and would get super psyched about the things that weren't quite as appealing to some of the other team members, like treating the victim of a lightning strike who had third-degree burns from September, sticking a needle in the tip of a baby's nose to drain blood that had collected, etc. The best news was when he evaluated little Santane and a crippled boy and declared that both of them could be fixed with knee surgery. The wheels are already turning to figure out a plan to get them to the U.S. along with Gilbert to get the medical attention.”

Elaine Fallesen taking blood pressure in Malasi.

Gary Fallesen

“For the second straight year I was content with what was accomplished. I felt that we were abiding in Him and our plan was His plan. I returned home with an even longer to-do list. This mission doesn’t end for me, as I must pray, plan, and raise awareness and funds. The farther (or deeper) we go the more there is to do.”

Highlights:

  • Health clinics. “I waited 25 months for this moment. In God's time, it did occur.”
  • Arborloo construction.
  • Seminary training.
  • Teamwork.
  • Our time in Malasi. “We spoiled the three first-time visitors to Haiti by taking them through the national forest and taking them to a lush, cooler Malasi (at an elevation of about 6,000 feet) before going to the starker Gentilhomme.”
  • Deepening relationships.
  • And, as always, our dear brother Miguel.

Gary, left, with Dr. Steve in a rare quiet moment in Gentilhomme.

Miguel Rubén Guante

Miguel, our missionary who (along with Gary) was part of the original team that God sent to Gentilhomme in 2005, thought this trip went very well. “We were in God’s hands in those villages,” he said, quoting Isaiah 59:1 (“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.”)

Miguel, center, with the two teachers we support in Malasi.

“Between all our activities in Malasi and Gentilhomme,” Miguel said, when asked about the highlights of the mission, “the best was the case of Donya and the little boy.”

Donya is the woman who survived a lightning strike that killed five others, but was badly burned and had not received medical attention in nearly three months. The little boy was a baby who had fallen and injured his left leg, which was treated by some sort of “doctor” (probably a voodoo doctor). The mother did not want Dr. Steve to examine the leg, telling us that the other “doctor” had told her to keep the bandage on for 42 days. It had already been 20 days and the boy’s foot was badly swollen. We used Pastor Vilcuis to intercede and help us convince the mother to let us treat the child. She acquiesced. Steve removed fluid from the leg and put clean dressing on the injury. The woman came back each of the next two days for follow-up visits and each day the baby’s leg was much improved.

“As with Gilbert,” Miguel said, “God is still using us to save many lives – putting His name up in Haiti.”

Steve Quakenbush

“Amazing.”

That’s how Dr. Steve summed up this trip, which he knew was God designed from the start.

“Having God’s calling be confirmed” was one of his personal highlights. Other highlights included:

  • The children.
  • “God-filled, Spirit-filed days.”
  • “Seeing how God provided the means for us to provide in every circumstance.”

Dr. Steve, right, thriving in an outdoor examining room and operating room in Malasi. He is working on the little boy with an injured and poorly bandaged leg. Sarah and Josh, left, are assisting.

Steve even enjoyed the long, rough truck rides on what they call “roads” in the mountains of Haiti – dry riverbeds and rock-strewn paths. He was deeply moved, like the rest of our team, by spending time with “the poorest of the poor.”

Erica Zeiler

Erica recalled the woman in Gentilhomme who told Steve and Sarah that she had prayed for the Lord to send them a doctor, and there he was prepared to treat her – and many, many more. Seeing how God is answering prayers in Haiti and meeting “people whose lives have been impacted by God’s work through Climbing For Christ” have made a lasting impact on her.

Pastor Erica, right, preaching on Ephesians 4:21-24 with Sarah translating in Malasi.

Worshipping with the people in Malasi and Gentilhomme were among the highlights for this youth pastor from Littleton, Colo. She also enjoyed watching Miguel “quiz” the seminary students – seven pastors and eight church leaders from six villages – before we presented them with certificates for completing the first year of study in the Word.

“Seeing the ways God uniquely wired each member of our team and how He used them during the trip” was another blessing for Erica to share in.

Posted Dec. 20, 2008

The Word

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.”
Isaiah 59:1 (NIV)

Haitian Proverb

“Deye mon, gen mon. (Beyond the mountains, more mountains.)

 

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