Mission: Haiti 2009
Mission Moments (January-June)
Sharing news from the mission field...
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
to read Mission Moments from July through December 2009
Thursday, June 24
Seminary in Jimani, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
The seminary was held on Wednesday with seven pastors and 24 church leaders attending, despite the border problems experienced by Pastor Luterne and the church leaders from Thoman. “The seminary was very good,” said missionary Miguel Rubén Guante, who taught about “Angels, Satan, and Demons.”
As one of the Climbing For Christ Prayer Team members wrote, after receiving a prayer flare asking for intercession on behalf of the seminary: “He [Jesus] replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’” (Luke 10:18-19)
When Miguel shared his idea about holding the seminary in Thoman in July, one pastor suggested that no one would attend. He claimed, “People are killing people in Fond Parisien and Thoman to take their hearts for voodoo.” This is what some people in Haiti talk about.
But Miguel shared this month’s lesson on “Angels, Satan, and Demons,” and read from Psalm 91. “The pastors enjoyed the seminary and my idea to (hold) the next seminary in Thoman,” Miguel said.
To show the people we do not fear voodoo, Miguel and the others will arrive in Thoman and sleep there July 21 and then attend the seminary on July 22. “I don’t want to lose one opportunity to go against the evil,” Miguel said.
Another verse from our Prayer Team member: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Leaving after the seminary in a taptap back to Haiti. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
Wednesday, June 24
The monthly Climbing For Christ seminary is being held today. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante will teach about “Angels, Satan, and Demons.” This will be an important discussion in our continuing teaching against voodoo.
One obstacle to the teaching has already been felt. Miguel e-mailed late Tuesday night to say the pastor and church leaders from Thoman would not be able to attend because they are not being allowed across the border into the Dominican border town of Jimani, where Miguel lives and uses his church to host the seminary. “I'm planning to make the July seminary in Thoman's church,” Miguel said.
Please pray for this month's seminary teaching, and all that is being shared through Climbing For Christ to fight voodoo.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7 (NIV)
Sunday, June 21
The wall to the school and church at Malasi has been repaired. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante worshipped there this morning.
The church at Malasi before (below) and after (above).
Additionally, Miguel delivered 525 coffee plants for our 46 farmers in Malasi. The plants were picked up (photo below) in Miguel's hometown of Thiotte, Haiti, from his mother's farm.
“We still have our coffee seeds growing in Malasi (in the Seedling Bank nursery),” Miguel said. “Maybe those will be good to transplant in November or December. So I thought it may be good to bring coffee trees ready to be planted now.
“I'll bring more coffee trees on July 3 or 10 to continue using the raining season to grow coffee until our coffee in the Seedling Bank is good for transplanting.”
Coffee plants being picked up in Thiotte for delivery to Malasi.
Miguel, center, meeting with two of the seven committee members from the farmers' association in Malasi during emergency mission in May. The Malasi Seedling Bank nursery, where coffee plants are growing, is in the background.
Saturday, June 6
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante delivered cement to the church at Malasi. This cement will be used to repair the missing fourth wall in the church/school. This was Miguel's first trip back since our emergency mission trip in May.
Miguel also dropped bags for the coffee plants with Pastor Tresin. He will return to Gentilhomme soon to help the farmers there transplant the coffee growing in the nursery as part of our Seedling Bank project.
Miguel also visited the church at Nicholás, which has requested help from Climbing For Christ. Nicholás, like many other villages in the mountains of Haiti, needs to have a building constructed for its church (the thatch structure above). He finished his tour of some of the outlying churches at are part of our seminary by visiting the church at Bwapins Kouve.
Sunday, May 17
Worship at the Climbing For Christ Church at Jimani. Our emergency mission to Haiti is May 18-28. CLICK HERE for daily Dispatches.
Saturday, May 16
The families of Gentilhomme that were to receive food today as part of our 2009 Food Bank program hiked down the mountain to the riverbed road in Soliette. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante met the people there. We have had many difficulties over the years with people from Soliette. Last year, people from Soliette threatened to attack the truck Miguel was using to deliver food (see June 29 entry in Mission: Haiti 2008 “Mission Moments”).
“Knowing how the people are there, I deliver the food very, very fast,” Miguel said today. “Keeping me in the truck with the list of the people with Pastor Tresin (from the Climbing For Christ church at Gentilhomme) out the door to identify the people I called, the driver ready to run (the truck) in case it is needed, and other people in the back delivering the bags.”
Mission accomplished. In all, 51 bags of food were delivered to the people of Gentilhomme. This brought the total for two days to 147 families provided for by this Food Bank (in addition to Gentilhomme, there were 50 in Malasi, 25 in Jimani, 10 in Soliette, five in Thoman, three at the border, and three for our driver). The total cost for the food — rations of rice, beans, sugar, flour, cooking oil, spaghetti, corn flour, sardines in sauce, and soup — was $2,000. That means, $13.60 of your support helped feed a hungry family.
We give thanks to the One who is the Bread of Life. “... Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty'” (John 6:35).
Friday, May 15
Food Bank delivery today to the hungry at the Climbing For Christ church at Malasi, above, and the church at Jimani on the Dominican-Haitian border, below.
Our first 2009 Food Bank delivery was this morning to 15 families in our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante's homechurch in Jimani.
Jimani, located along the Dominican-Haitian border, is one of three Climbing For Christ churches that will be receiving food today and tomorrow. The others are in Gentilhomme and Malasi. Two other churches, in the roadside villages of Thoman and Soliette, have a few families that will also receive food as Miguel travels to Malasi and Gentilhomme.
Miguel traveled during the afternoon to Malasi, where he provided food for more hungry families. We pray for continued protection as he travels with food that ultimately will provide for 125 hungry families.
Thursday, May 14
Food was purchased for our next Food Bank delivery, which is scheduled to happen Friday or Saturday in Malasi and Gentilhomme. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante will drop food for 125 families in four villages. The food drop will consist of rice, beans, sugar, flour, cooking oil, spaghetti, corn flour, sardines in sauce, and soup.
Food loaded in the back of “the God truck,” which now has a cover on the back to protect supplies that are to be delivered to Haiti.
Sunday, May 10
Fertilizer is delivered to Malasi in the new Climbing For Christ truck. Praise God! Ten bags were delivered to Malasi and 10 to Gentilhomme on Saturday.
Thursday, May 7
This is a day to celebrate an answer to prayer:
CLICK HERE to read the story about “The God truck.”
Climbing For Christ's 2005 Nissan Frontier at home in the garage missionary Miguel built at his home in the Dominican border town of Jimani.
Wednesday, April 29
Malasi Pastor Vilcuis, right, oversees the purchase of seeds at the market in Piret.
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante returned safely to his home from the delivery of bean and orange seeds to the farmers in Malasi. “I thank God for that,” he said about the safe passage.
Miguel met Pastor Vilcuis at the market in Piret, not far from the Climbing For Christ church at Malasi. They purchased 43 pounds of black bean seeds, which will be mixed with other beans before being distributed to more than two dozen farmers.
On Friday, Miguel will travel to Fond Verrettes to buy seeds for Gentilhomme. Pastor Tresin from the Climbing For Christ church at Gentilhomme will meet him there. We pray for protection for our brothers.
Tuesday, April 28
We had more than $4,200 wired to our missionary Miguel on Monday for the next phase of our Seedling Bank project and another emergency Food Bank drop to the starving people in the mountains of Haiti.
Some beans were planted, and fields are ready for more in Malasi.
“Knowing the money you send will be in my account the farmers are in the last days to get and grow the seeds, I will go to Fond Verrettes to buy the seeds and deliver it to the farmers,” Miguel said on Monday. “After that, I may plan the delivery of food and fertilizer. I called Pastor Vilcuis and Pastor Tresin; they will meet me in the public market of Fond Verrettes.”
Miguel is purchasing corn and bean seeds for 20 farmers in both Malasi and Gentilhomme. He also will be delivering bags for coffee plants to be transplanted from the Gentilhomme nursery to be distributed to farmers. After this, Miguel will work on another delivery of about $700 of fertilizer, and about $2,000 of flour, sugar, cooking oil and rice to about 100 families suffering from the food crisis in Haiti.
Friday, April 24
Rain has come to the mountains of Haiti, providing water for farmers who have begun planting. Many people are planting corn and beans. But some do not have money for seeds. Climbing For Christ will be providing help for those farmers in desperate need as part of our Seedling Bank project.
School in Malasi on Thursday, April 23.
There were 74 children in the school in Malasi when our missionary Miguel visited on Thursday. There are 80 students enrolled in the school. “Pastor Vilcuis and the teachers had called the people to send their children to the school because they are the future of the village,” Miguel said. “I recommended the pastor and the teachers make meetings with the fathers and mothers of the children to be aware of the need to send their children to school for the future of them and their village.”
There is a need for shoes for schoolchildren. We plan to deliver some as part of our Emergency Mission in May.
Gentilhomme's school has 50 children enrolled, but only 25 attended when Miguel was there on Wednesday. “In Gentilhomme, you may see a girl barefoot in the school,” Miguel said. “Some girl came with their mother’s shoes.”
As with the school in Malasi, Miguel urged Pastor Tresin and the teachers in Gentilhomme to encourage parents to send their children to school “for their future and the future of their village.” During the planting season, the boys often are kept home to help the fathers work in the fields. We are working on a way for children to help with farming and not miss out on school.
Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day)
In a country that has been 90-percent deforested, the planting of a tree is a special occasion. It is something to be celebrated. As caretakers of His creation, we at Climbing For Christ take great joy in sharing this photo of Jean Baptiste planting an avocado tree today in Gentilhomme.
Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante
Jean Baptiste was one of the first villagers I met when God first took me to Gentilhomme in 2005. He and Chalisma were going to guide our three-man group up Pic la Selle, Haiti’s tallest mountain, before the Spirit of the Lord interceded and showed us why we’d been brought to this village on a hill.
The Seedling Bank project we started last year in Gentilhomme is based on property Jean Baptiste donated to us. He helped us build the nursery where coffee plants are now ready to be transplanted for distribution to area farmers.
The Seedling Bank and the sanitation project (arboloos that have been introduced in a village where there were no toilets) are two of the ways we are working to make every day an Earth Day in Haiti.
As we continue to minister to those in need in the mountains of Haiti, we look forward to the day when the hillsides will again be forested, crops will grow abundantly, and all the people will give glory to the Creator of all things — the maker of heaven and earth.
Sunday, April 19
Another praise report from missionary Miguel Rubén Guante:
The woman who brought her burned baby son (photo below with April 2 entry) to see Dr. Steve Quakenbush when Steve, Josh Carroll and Justin Lee were in the Dominican border town of Jimani on a mini-mission three weeks ago, is NOW A CHRISTIAN! Praise God! Miguel said, “She came to the church (today) to thanks God for her son. That is a special result of the Steve trip.”
Thank You, Father. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Holy Spirit.
Saturday, April 18
There are victories even in the midst of a “State of Emergency,” as we declared April 16 for the drought-stricken, hungry villages in the mountains of Haiti. Here is one such praise report:
Photo of lightning-strike victim Donya Jean Riska, taken today.
“Can you appreciate how fat is Donya?” asks our missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante. (Scroll down to see how Donya has changed in the past 3½ months.) “We thank God for the fast recuperation of Donya. Praise the Lord for Donya, and greetings for all our supporters in this case and all we are doing in the 'Valley of the Dry Bones' (that is, Haiti). Thank you for being God’s legs and hands.”
Monday, April 13
The church at Malasi.
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante returned from making the rounds in our villages in Haiti during Holy Week. The situation in Malasi is bad:
- The church (and school, above) still need repair. There are only three walls standing. It is very dangerous. We have proposed building a new structure (estimated at $10,450) and have applied for some church-planting grants for which we are in prayer.
- The people are hungry. Miguel observed that the children are very skinny. Haitian children (other than newborns) are always skinny, so you can imagine what this means. It is the planting season so crops will not be ready for harvest for some time.
- Attendance in the school is down because the children are hungry, lack shoes, water to bathe, and the older kids are helping fathers plant.
- The Seedling Bank is prepared to plant coffee seeds. But there is no water. “As soon as it is raining in Malasi, they will put in the coffee,” Miguel said.
- Plantains are severely damaged by a drought.
Bananas growing in the dry ground in Malasi.
Exima Atimse, right, was injured in a fall in February.
Exima Atimse, a leder of the church in Malasi, who was injured when he fell from a tree while retrieving dried corn kept in “food bags” until times of emergency, is able to stand but still cannot walk on his own power. He is need of medical help, but that requires transportation. Climbing For Christ still does not have a truck to use in medical emergencies or to deliver supplies.
Beans planted in Gentilhomme.
The situation in Gentilhomme is similar to Malasi: hunger, drought, great need. At least in Gentilhomme, villagers are able to get water to drink and for crops.
Continue to pray for the people and the needs in Haiti. In their desperation may their hearts and cries turn toward Jesus. Only He can truly help them.
“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” – Revelation 7:16-17 (NIV)
Tuesday, April 7
Coffee plants: Photographed in Gentilhomme today by Miguel Rubén Guante. (See entry below.)
Saturday, April 4
The coffee, being grown in the nursery we built in Gentilhomme, is ready to be transplanted into bags. “I had not money to buy the bags,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said, when I wired him some money Friday. “I will buy the bags and bring them when I go next week to Gentilhomme and Malasi.”
On Friday, Pastor Vilcuis of Malasi called to say a woman in the village who had breast cancer had died. Exima, who was injured when he fell while retrieving dried corn out of the “food bags” they hang from the trees for emergency food (see March 2 entry below), is still bedridden with injuries.
“The hunger is still killing the people in Haiti,” said Miguel, who added he is praying along with us for financial supporters to come alongside Climbing For Christ to help the mission in Haiti.
He noted that the children in Malasi are still going to school in “the dust and the breeze” of a three-wall school. The church in Malasi needs to be rebuilt. And, he added, we still need a truck for His work. There is much to pray about in Haiti.
Friday, April 3
Donya sweeping at Miguel's house.
Thursday, April 2
This is the burned baby that Dr. Steve treated in Jimani, Dominican Republic last weekend. CLICK HERE to read Josh Carroll's mini-mission trip report.
Tuesday, March 31
Sainte Anne and Miche, the two crippled children from Gentilhomme, are staying with missionary Miguel in the Dominican border town of Jimani. They have started going to school. This is good news because Sainte Anne has never been allowed by her family to go to school in Gentilhomme, where they live down the hill from the church that houses the school. Sainte Anne has hopped on one foot since she was old enough to walk. Miche stopped going to school this year after struggling last year to make the one hour (or more) walk on one leg with a stick as a crutch from his home to the church, where school is held.
Monday, March 30
2:15 p.m. ET: The mini-Mission: Haiti team has landed in its home state of Colorado. Thank you, Father, for safe travel — albeit sleepless. Josh Carroll, Justin Lee, and Dr. Steve Quakenbush have had about 9 hours sleep since Thursday. Get some rest, brothers.
8:30 a.m. ET: The mini-Mission: Haiti team is back in New York City. Here is Josh’s report on Sunday’s happenings:
After a late night of music from a presidential campaign party in the park adjacent to the hotel on Saturday, we finally got some much-needed sleep.
At 8 a.m. Sunday we went to Sunday school at “La Inglesia de Jimani” (Miguel’s church). Blanco shared with everyone the lesson from 1 Samuel regarding doing EXACTLY as God asks and not inserting our own desires in HIS plan. Steve shared his thoughts: “We may speak different languages, and have different skin color, but Jesus makes us all one family.” I shared: “You have all recently heard the Ten Commandments. You know them and you try to live by them...” I then shared with them: “One day, one of Jesus' friends asked Him which is the greatest commandment of all. ‘Love the Lord your God... Love your neighbor as yourself.” Justin talked about Psalm 1:1-3. Miguel challenged the church to do exactly as god wants so that the fruit they produce is plentiful and good.
After church, I showed Katlee and Madam San Louis how to make all the supplements for Miche, Sainte Anne and Donya. They all like the supplements. Miguel and Gilbert took us for a walk up the hills to the teacher’s house to see the view of the lake (along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Steve treated the baby’s burns again and they were much better. The dead and burned skin all peeled off easily and Steve re-wrapped the wounds.
After some fellowship, some games with the kids and a final trip to the hotel, we left at 7:30 p.m. for Santo Domingo. Police checkpoints were strict, asking for passports every time. Some stops took 10 minutes.
Sunday, March 29
8:32 p.m. ET: Miguel reported, “We are traveling from Jimani to the airport now.” The team, which spent the day in Jimani and worshipped there, is flying back to the States early Monday morning. It is a six-hour drive from Jimani to Santo Domingo, on poor roads and through military checkpoints.
Saturday, March 28
4:45 p.m. ET: This report from mini-Mission: Haiti team member Josh Carroll:
The Haitian community in the Dominican border town of Jimani was in full swing today. Around 100 people came to missionary Miguel’s house to see what the visiting Americans were doing.
Steve, and Justin and I presented Miguel with a suit (and his son, Jeffery, tried it on, too). We also gave Miguel's wife Katlee a dress, and their children some picture books of the Colorado mountains and snow.
Steve examined Miche (formerly spelled Micho; pronounced “mee-shay”) and Sainte Anne as I filmed the range of motion. Steve reviewed the X-rays and discovered that Miche has evidence of a past break, and Sainte Anne does not. There are no bone problems, though, so Steve is still confident that U.S. surgeons can repair both children this summer.
Donya looks amazing! Praise God. She is smiling, happy and joking with the team. She is not at all shy or reserved like other Haitian women. She was the first to meet the team as she walked halfway down Miguel’s sidewalk to hug Steve when we arrived. Battling back tears, Steve said: “What a miracle, seriously, she is healing!” It gave me God bumps.
Jeffery and I played soccer with Molbe and Gilbert while Steve examined a couple of emergency patients. One patient was a 9-month-old baby that spilled boiling water on its back. The baby has second- and third-degree burns that are infected. Leftover antibiotics from December, extra burn cream added at the last minute for Donya, and fresh dressings brought in Steve's pack got the baby the attention he needed.
Vitamin packages were made for the schoolchildren, Sainte Anne, Miche, and Donya. The remainder of the 14,000-plus vitamins we're passing out to families in Jimani’s Haitian community.
12:34 p.m. ET: Dr. Steve Quakenbush was holding a health clinic at Miguel’s house in Jimani on the Haitian border. They looked over Micho and Sainte Anne. But the praise of the day comes from Josh Carroll about lightning victim Donya Jean Riska.
“Donya looks absolutely amazing,” he said. “Talk about a miracle. Most of the wounds are healed all the way over. She has no pain except for one small spot on her leg. We gave her the cream and wrapped her back up. She’s very happy. I’ve never seen a Haitian smile so much.”
Josh reported that among the sick and injured Steve is seeing was a baby with her entire back burned, probably worse than Donya’s burns. “It looked like she fell in a fire,” Josh said. “So we’re getting ready to take care of that.”
They were also getting ready for a special lunch: fried white cheese and Coca-Cola, something that Miguel’s wife prepares for us each time we visit.
“It’s really hot,” said Josh, who left two feet of fresh snow in Colorado for temperatures in the 80s in Hispaniola. “There are lots of people here. Blanco (Emilio Setoute from the Climbing For Christ Church of Jimani) is here. Pastor Vilcuis is on his way (from Malasi). It’s been a great day.”
Praise God for this day, which He made and during which we’ve been blessed to give Him glory.
10:46 a.m. ET: “We are very well,” Miguel said from Jimani, where he lives. “They (Josh, Justin and Steve) are showing the gifts and seeing the children (Gilbert, Micho, and Sainte Anne) and Donya.”
3:47 a.m. ET: “We are traveling right now to Jimani,” Miguel reported from Santo Domingo. The mini-Mission: Haiti team reached Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and began the six-hour drive to the Haitian border.
“All is well,” Josh said at 2:30 a.m., after the flight from New York City arrived in Santo Domingo. “All the bags are here and Miguel found us.”
Friday, March 27
9:34 p.m. ET: “Flight leaving now,” Josh Carroll said from JFK. The team is due to arrive in Santo Domingo around 2 a.m., nearly 10 hours later than they thought they would. Missionary Miguel has been waiting for our three delayed travelers since early this afternoon. Thank you, Father, for patience.
11:49 a.m. ET: “Checked in,” Josh reported from Denver International Airport. “At gate waiting to depart Denver. We leave in about an hour. Finally!”
The team is only about 12 hours behind schedule. Our schedule, that is. God's timing is perfect.
7:11 a.m. ET: The mini-Mission: Haiti team was still in Colorado this morning, delayed by blizzard conditions. The team's ETA for arrival in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is now Friday night instead of Friday afternoon. Prayer is appreciated. Stay tuned.
Thursday, March 26
Mini-Mission: Haiti 2009 team members Josh Carroll, Justin Lee and Dr. Steve Quakenbush will try to catch an earlier flight than scheduled to get out of Denver and “beat the storm,” as Josh said, referring to the 20-to-24-inches of snow expected to dump on the Mile High City Thursday night and Friday morning.
Will this predicted blizzard interfere with our brothers' travel (flying from Denver to New York City to Santo Domingo)? Only God knows. What we know is this: His will be done.
Carroll, Lee and Quakenbush are carrying about 300 pounds of “blessings” to Santo Domingo, where missionary Miguel Rubén Guante will be eagerly waiting on Friday. Among the baggage are vitamins, dietary supplements, other medicines, and clothing. They will file reports as they travel. (See March 23 update for the goals of this trip. One is picking up X-rays on the crippled legs of children Micho and Sainte Anne, photographed below.)
On Wednesday, Micho (left with crutch) and Sainte Anne (center) after returning from having X-rays on their crippled legs.
Wednesday, March 25
Micho, the little boy from Gentilhomme who has been crippled since he was a baby, was brought to missionary Miguel's house in Jimani last night by Pastor Tresin. Sainte Anne, the little girl with a similar leg injury since her infancy, has been with Miguel's family the past week.
“Sainte Anne came with only one dress (and) without shoes,” Miguel said on Monday. “This morning I buy some things for her.”
On Wednesday, Miguel is taking both children to Barahona, Dominican Republic to get X-rays done on their damaged legs. Dr. Jirdana from the Jimani clinic is helping. The X-rays are being done in advance of Dr. Steve's arrival from Colorado this weekend. Dr. Steve will take the X-rays back to the orthopedic surgeons who are going to repair Micho's and Sainte Anne's legs this summer in the U.S. (see March 23 update).
Monday, March 23
The faces of two of the people from the mountains of Haiti whom God is using us to help: Donya Jean Riska, left, is the lightning victim from Malasi, and Sainte Anne Paul is the crippled girl from Gentilhomme. They were photographed by our missionary Miguel last week at his house on the Haitian-Dominican border. Financial support for Mission: Haiti is improving the lives of people like Donya and Sainte Anne. Please consider helping us with His work in Haiti.
Josh Carroll and Dr. Steve Quakenbush, members of our Mission: Haiti team (2008 and 2009), are heading this weekend for the Dominican border town of Jimani. They are going to deliver more medical supplies and also check on some of the people the Lord is using us to help physically.
This summer, Sainte Anne and Micho – two children with similarly crippled legs – will be brought to the United States to undergo surgery. Steve has been making arrangements for this in Canon City, Colo.
Additionally, we’ll be bringing Gilbert to the U.S. to be sized for a prosthetic for the leg he lost in order to save his life in 2007. Member Craig DeMartino of Loveland, Colo., is helping us with this.
All is being done to bring God glory.
The goals for Josh and Steve’s trip include:
- Acquiring X-rays of Sainte Anne’s and Micho’s crippled knees for U.S. surgeons.
- Delivering vitamin and protein supplements for the children to get them ready for surgery this summer, as well as vitamins for school children in Gentilhomme and Malasi.
- Checking Donya’s progress, visiting with doctors, and observing the level of care available on the Dominican side of the border.
- Exploring availability of hardware for water project scheduled as part of Mission: Haiti 2009. Also, checking on the facility where water pumps and other C4C equipment will be shipped.
- Encouraging Miguel and worshipping with the Climbing For Christ Church at Jimani.
Sunday, March 22
Wedding dresses were donated by Climbing For Christ members Emily Cubitt, Teresa Doenges, and Elaine Fallesen, and ministry supporter Shirley Emery. The Mission: Haiti 2008 team delivered the dresses last December for use in multiple weddings.
Four couples were married: Emilio Setoute and Nathacha Pierre, Ernesto Guano and Elvire Larose Emille, Arnold Samson and Rolquina Joseph, and Leandere Renaud and Elucia Louis Juste. Emilio, Nathacha, Ernesto, Leandere, and Rolquina also were baptized. Praise the Lord!
Monday, March 16
This is “wedding week” for the church at Jimani, the Dominican town where our missionary Miguel lives on the border of Haiti. “We will baptize five people,” Miguel said. “We have four pairs of people for marriage.” The wedding ceremonies will use wedding dresses donated by Climbing For Christ members and friends, and delivered by the Mission: Haiti 2008 team.
“And we are celebrating our third anniversary of the Climbing For Christ Jimani church,” Miguel said. “Our subject is ‘repair your life with your Creator (God).’”
Miguel is preaching from Matthew 6:25-33; 3:8; Genesis 4:1-4, and “last night I preached on Isaiah 1:12-18.”
Tuesday, March 10
A portrait of Donya Jean Riska, a woman injured by a lightning strike that killed five people (including her husband and child) six months ago in Malasi. A miracle by God.
On Friday, March 6, our missionary Miguel sent Donya to the clinic in the Dominican border town of Jimani. “Donya's wound is very bad,” he reported, adding that her third-degree burns were now infected. “Much infection that (caused) stench. It like she wet it.”
However, on Monday, this had changed.
“I have a very, very good news,” Miguel said. “God is God, nobody may be like God.”
A doctor gave Miguel cream to put on Donya's burns. He sent the cream to be examined by Dr. Jirdana on Friday. “Today, I sent her again for (examination),” Miguel said yesterday. Dr. Jirdana was surprised to see the cream working to eliminate the infection.
“She (Dr. Jirdana) said if she use this cream for around 10 days, she will not need a graft.”
That would only be explainable as a supernatural healing. The Great Physican has heard our prayers and provided a cure for Donya. We give Him all the praise, honor and glory!
Monday, March 2
The need in Haiti continues to be great. We have a deficit of more than $2,800 on our Mission: Haiti budget for last month. Much remains to be done, including rebuilding the church at Malasi (where only three walls stand and students go to school there every day). In addition to the ongoing work, supporting missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and teachers in Gentilhomme and Malasi, new emergencies continue to arise.
“Food bags” in a tree in Malasi.
In late February, Exima Atimse, a leader of the church at Malasi, climbed a tree where he had stored his “food bags” (dried corn that is reserved for the planting season when Haitians in the mountains have nothing left to eat). He fell from the tree and was badly injured. We have taken him to the clinic in Jimani, Dominican Republic, where we pay monthly “health insurance” to get care for people from Climbing For Christ villages. However, he may need hospital care. When something like that is required, more money is needed.
Donya, right, in waiting room at Santo Domingo hospital on Monday morning.
Donya Jean Riska, the lightning victim so many have helped by praying and giving, was back at the hospital today in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is again being examined by doctors to see if she is physically ready for surgery to do skin grafts on the third-degree burns she has on parts of her body.
DONYA FOLLOW-UP: Miguel sent news on Tuesday about Donya's SIXTH trip to the hospital in Santo Domingo. This time her examination showed that she is ready for the surgery! But Miguel said, “In all Dominican Republic, they only have one burns hospital with 10 beds to admit surgeries. The doctor say we have right now 8 very critical burns people waiting for a bed. Between them, they have a woman 86 years old and a 16-year-old pregnant girl with 70 percent of her body burns. Can I let some of these critical burns people (wait) to admit Donya?” He went on to say Donya is not near death because of her burns, but the girl may be. So he feels (rightly) that we must wait.
As he returned to Jimani, he thought about what the doctor had said and Donya's situation. “I thought, we must seek a new place for Donya. A new hospital or clinic to make the surgery. Because every day Donya look better, at every moment she is looking more strong. More new burns people come to the hospital and it is more difficult for her to be admitted.”
On Wednesday, he e-mailed that a friend contacted a clinic where Donya may be able to have the surgery. “The doctor tell me we must bring her to be evaluated by him.” Pray on.
The newspaper El Nacional recognized Climbing For Christ in its Jan. 31 issue as an official organization in the Dominican Republic. This is part of the “legalization” of Climbing For Christ in the DR. We are recognized as Christian community/religious/educational organization. The hope is that such recognition will make working in the Dominican easier, and halt incidents like the Jan. 14 deportation of Haitian pastors attending our monthly seminary in the border town of Jimini (see below). We filed for legalization on Jan. 19.
Saturday, Feb. 14
Donya Jean Riska still is not strong enough to undergo surgery on the third-degree burns she received in a lightning strike more than five months ago. But she is much improved in the care of missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and his family.
Look through the three photos below – from Jan. 3 (before we evacuated her from Malasi) to Jan. 9 (when she first saw doctors at the hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) to now. “See the difference between Donya, the death victim, and Donya’s life rescued,” Miguel says, quoting Ezekiel 37:3-4.
Miguel said Donya requires an iron level of 37 grams in her blood to undergo surgery. She is currently at 35. The doctor recommended bringing her back to the hospital on Feb. 26.
In the meantime, she will continue to recover while living with Miguel’s family in Jimani. This most recent hospital visit cost $720.50. Donya’s rescue and care has been done for $4,217.19. Members and supporters of Climbing For Christ have provided $2,819.17. If you can help with the Donya Relief Fund, please send your gift to Climbing For Christ. Thank you!
“He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!’”
– Ezekiel 37:3-4 (NIV)
Friday, Jan. 30
“I am right now in the hospital with Donya waiting for cure and the evaluate for the surgery.” — missionary Miguel Rubén Guante at 10 a.m.
Read about our project to bring safe, clean water to Gentilhomme and Malasi. CLICK HERE for “Drinkable Water.”
Thursday, Jan. 29
Those of us who have seen Donya Jean Riska can feel for her suffering. Nearly 5 months with third-degree burns caused by a lightning strike that claimed the lives of her husband and child. Nearly unfathomable. Those of you moved to pray for and give to the Donya Relief Fund can empathize in some way with her.
“You may feel in your heart Donya’s suffering,” said our missionary Miguel, “but I’m here with Donya. I can see her. That makes me feel more responsible for her.”
Miguel asks, pleadingly, for prayer for Donya as she prepares on Friday to make her fourth trip to the hospital in Santo Domingo. Possibly for more treatment, but prayerfully — at long last — for surgery on her burns.
“She looks very strong,” Miguel said. “I think God will help us to get the surgery for her now.”
That is our prayer.
Donya Relief: Expenses to date US$3,497.45. Funds raised $2,819.70. Shortfall of $677.75.
Tuesday, Jan. 20
Missionary Miguel met with the immigration chief in the Dominican border town of Jimani and received permission for pastors and church leaders from the mountain villages in Haiti to cross into the D.R. for our monthly seminary.
“I must call him one day before the seminary day to make him know the people will come,” Miguel explained. “The people may cross the border in little groups, never much people together. And during the two days of the seminary, if he know something will come for the illegal people like the past, he will call me to make me know and take care with the people.”
Next Monday, lightning victim Donya Jean Riska will again be examined by doctors at the hospital in Santo Domingo to see if she is physically ready to undergo surgery on her burns. Please be praying for her, and for all Miguel is doing on our behalf for the glory of God.
Sunday, Jan. 18
The incident with immigration authorities at the Climbing For Christ seminary on Wednesday [see lower on page] did not deter Haitians living in Jimani, Dominican Republic from attending church today.
Donya Jean Riska (photographed here resting at missionary Miguel Rubén Guante's home Saturday) needs surgery on third-degree burns. “But the doctor said until she get to be strong for the surgery, she must go every three days to the hospital,” said Miguel, who took Donya to Santo Domingo on Friday and will do so again on Monday.
Wednesday, Jan. 14
Pastors and church leaders attending Climbing For Christ’s monthly seminary in missionary Miguel Rubén Guante’s church in the Dominican border town of Jimani were taken custody by immigration authorities today. They were returned across the nearby border and released in Haiti.
Pastors and leaders from seven churches in six villages have been attending our seminary for more than a year now. This was the first incident.
“Please pray for our work in Jimani and Haiti,” Miguel asked. “The evil one doesn’t want to see our work prospering against the voodoo.”
Miguel has contacted a friend about the legalization of the seminary so pastors and church leaders can attend without being hassled by immigration authorities. Of course, that would cost money – as most things with Dominican authorities do. Miguel will look into this further when he goes to Santo Domingo on Friday with Donya.
DONYA UPDATE: Donya Jean Riska was evaluated by doctors on Monday, but could not undergo surgery because she is anemic (not enough iron in her blood). She will return to the hospital in Santo Domingo at the end of the week for further treatment on her burns from the lightning strike in September (see below). “She is eating very well,” Miguel said.
We have been blessed by Dr. Jirdana, who is loaning us her truck to transport Donya. The only expense will be gas. Of the initial $1,630 in expenses for the rescue of Donya dating back to Jan. 3, $1,177 has been spent on transportation. “If we had our own truck we might save this money,” Miguel said last week. We are waiting on the Lord to send us a vehicle to use in Haiti.
Sunday, Jan. 11
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante is taking Donya Jean Riska by truck this afternoon from Jimani on the Haitian border to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, about a six-hour drive. “I will use the same care I used when I brought Gilbert,” Miguel said, referring to 2007, when God used us to save a dying 14-year-old boy from Gentilhomme [see “Saving Gilbert”].
Donya, whose story unfolds below, is to be evaluated by doctors on Monday for possible surgery on Tuesday on the third-degree burns she has endured since being struck by lighting in the mountains near Malasi four months ago. “Please pray for my trip and for her,” Miguel requested.
Friday, Jan. 9
Donya Jean Riska is a miracle of God. Four months ago today, she was struck by lightning. Lightning that killed five people, including her husband and child. For four months she has lived, by the grace of God, with third-degree burns on parts of her body. Only yesterday was she finally able to see a doctor in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who will operate on her next week.
“We thank God for He broke the walls and get the rescue of Donya to the hospital,” said our missionary, Miguel Ruben Guante, who was with the Mission: Haiti team last month when we first learned of Donya’s plight.
“Many people were ready to help Donya,” Miguel said. That includes the Climbing For Christ members and supporters who have donated $1,539.70 and pledged another $1,677 since we first sent out a Donya Relief Fund appeal on Jan. 2.
All things considered, Miguel said, “Donya look very well between her bad situation of hunger and burn.”
Donya, right, in the hospital waiting room with Miguel and a sister in Christ.
The doctors did not keep Donya in the hospital. She is staying with Miguel and his family in the Dominican border town of Jimani, about a six-hour drive from Santo Domingo. After her surgery (possibly on Tuesday), she will return to Miguel's home to recuperate under the care of his family. And the loving hand of our Great Physician.
Wednesday, Jan. 7
Missionary Miguel took lightning victim Donya to a hospital in Santo Domingo today. The doctor who examined her did not want to keep her in the hospital, despite the third-degree burns on parts of her body. “He tell me we must go again tomorrow for consultation,” Miguel said. “After that, we will know if she may stay in the hospital and what they will do for her.”
Please pray about this.
Miguel is staying with Donya in Santo Domingo tonight. He is providing her with food and medicine recommended by Dr. Jirdana of the Jimani clinic. Dr. Steve from our Mission: Haiti 2008 team, who treated Donya in the mountains near Malasi when we learned about her having been struck by lightning in September, shared information with Dr. Jirdana while we were still in Hispaniola.
“I think we are getting a life in the right place for God,” Miguel said. “She is eating well and getting doctor’s care.”
Miguel often says, “If only I could, if only I could” when he is trying to help others for the Lord, but feeling thwarted [see Trip Report]. But, Miguel said, “For today, I will not say ‘if I could’ because I’m doing it for God.”
To His glory.
Tuesday, Jan. 6
At 2:44 p.m. yesterday, it looked as if Satan would have his day. There was no truck available to rescue the injured Donya Jean Riska and our missionary Miguel was desperate. “I don’t know what I will do,” he cried.
At that moment, we prayed:
“Dear heavenly Father. We are trying to do Your will. Trying to help one of Your children. The evil one is standing in front of us, blocking the way, keeping us from bringing You glory. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Lord, You are MOST POWERFUL. You can do ALL THINGS. Send us a truck. Send us a way to get to Donya, to rescue her, to bring You the GLORY only You deserve. We pray this in the name of our Savior, the powerful name of JESUS CHRIST. Amen.”
Fourteen minutes later, Miguel heard from Janelle, our Mission: Haiti 2008 driver. Janelle was in Haiti with his truck and he agreed to go to Gwo Chavel to get Donya.
That happened today!
At 4:45 p.m., Miguel reported: “We have good news. Donya Jean Riska just arrived in my house (in Jimani, Dominican Republic; photo above). I have the doctor reference to carry Donya to Santo Domingo tomorrow morning. Give GLORY TO GOD for His power to break any walls.”
Monday, Jan. 5
The plan to take a truck to Malasi to rescue lightning victim Donya Jean Riska last Saturday was foiled by our inability to rent a truck. No trucks were available. But our missionary Miguel went anyway — by motorbike — to visit Donya.
“I saw Donya was a little better,” Miguel reported today. “She looked hopeful when she saw me. So hopeful she wanted to cry.”
“Try to read the face of Donya to understand what she is feeling,” Miguel said. “She is not looking at the camera. She is looking at Jesus and she is hopeful in Jesus.”
That’s because Miguel provided Donya with instruction as he told her what we are trying to do to help.
“I asked her, ‘Who are doing this for you?’ She answered me, ‘You!’ I tell her, ‘No, I’m not.’ She said, ‘The white people.’ I tell her, ‘No.’ She looked at me and asked, ‘Who?’ I tell her, ‘God is doing all this for you!’”
Miguel prayed with Donya and with Donya’s mother. “I gave thanks to God for keeping Donya with life from September, for using us as instruments of salvation, and that we may glorify His name above the voodoo.”
Arrangements have been made to transport Donya from her home in the mountains near Malasi down to Gwo Cheval, a village on the road about 5 or 6 kilometers away. Miguel is working “desperately” (his word) to locate a rental truck to get to her on Tuesday.
Pray that a truck can be found. Pray also that a truck will soon be provided to Climbing For Christ so situations like this can be averted and we can do the Lord’s work. There are many challenges in Haiti, not the least of which is the spiritual battle that rages as Satan clings to a nation of people he has deceived with his lies. God will prevail!
Friday, Jan. 2
When we were taken to Donya Jean Riska on Dec. 6, she was sitting in the dirt outside her home near Malasi, Haiti. She'd been struck by lightning on Sept. 9. It had been nearly three months. Miraculously, her wounds were not infected.
Photos by Miguel Rubén Guante
Donya Jean Riska is treated by Dr. Steve Quakenbush.
But the lightning strike, which killed Donya's husband and child (and three other people), had left her with third-degree burns on her left arm, legs, and feet. The wound on her arm was so deep that the bone was visible. Her toes were twisted grotesquely. The burns on her legs were in need of skin grafts.
Dr. Steve Quakenbush, from our Mission: Haiti 2008 team, treated Donya and we prayed for her. We did all that we could at the time.
Before returning to the States, we met with Dr. Jirdana in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Dr. Jirdana works at the clinic in the Dominican border town of Jimani. Climbing For Christ pays for “health insurance” to get treatment there for sick and injured people from the Chaine de la Selle mountains, where we've been ministering since the summer of 2005. Steve told Dr. Jirdana about Donya and the need to get her hospital care. The lack of a truck to evacuate Donya from Malasi impeded this process.
But on Saturday, Jan. 3, our missionary Miguel will take a rented truck to Malasi and bring Donya to Santo Domingo. “We are doing something for the glory of God,” Miguel said.
In 2007, Climbing For Christ members gave more than $3,000 toward “Saving Gilbert,” a 14-year-old boy in Gentilhomme whose untended broken leg threatened his life. Gilbert lost his leg, but his life was saved. Today, he is a healthy boy living with Miguel.
We again need your help to provide healing for a medical emergency in Haiti. We cannot imagine what it must feel like to have third-degree burns for nearly four months, and to have lost loved ones from the same tragedy. The pain and suffering Donya has endured are beyond description.
Would you please pray for Donya and consider giving financially to end her misery?