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Mission: Haiti 2009

Medical Trip – Dispatches

By Gary Fallesen
Climbing For Christ president

Gilbert Lindor's portrait with a new prosthetic leg in Loveland, Colo. (Photo by Craig DeMartino)

Thursday, Aug. 20

Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and the Haitian children — Gilbert Lindor, 15; Sainte-Anne Paul 7, and Miche Fleurisme, 6 — were back home in the Dominican border town of Jimani by late afternoon today, completing about a 34-hour trip from Cañon City, Colo., and ending a 21-day medical trip.

“Many people from the church (at Jimani) are with me,” Miguel said. “They were waiting for me to give me a welcome, praying and thanking God for my safe travel.”

Miguel and the children returned safely to the Dominican Republic in the early morning hours. We thank and praise God for the completion of this first Haiti medical trip to the United States. God performed a miracle through us by providing Gilbert with a prosthetic leg so he could walk for the first time in two years (since his leg was amputated in August 2007). He also provided assistance for Sainte-Anne and Miche, who were both crippled from infancy.

We are thankful to the many servants who supplied prayer and gifts of time, talents and treasures to make this medical trip happen.

Sainte-Anne, above, and Miche, below, walking at Miguel's home in Jimani with their new U.S.-made prosthetics. (Photos by Miguel Rubén Guante)

Here are the entries chronicling the trip Miguel, Gilbert, Sainte-Anne, and Miche made to the United States from July 31-Aug. 20:

HIStory

Sainte-Anne and her family in Gentilhomme, Haiti in April 2006.

Our Climbing For Christ team awoke on Saturday, April 22, 2006, thinking that we were going to spend another day helping the people build the church at Gentilhomme. But God had other plans. We were asked to go and pray for some people in the village, including a little 4-year-old girl named Sainte-Anne. “We laid hands on the little girl — all six of us, disciples of the Lord. We asked that she would be healed in the name of Jesus,” I wrote in the Mission: Haiti 2006 Dispatches. We have prayed for Sainte-Anne ever since.

Gilbert's post-op photo, after having his leg amputated in August 2007.

Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante sent an e-mail on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2007, with the subject line: “A boy of the school of Gentilhomme is very ill.” Gilbert was his name. He had fallen and broken his leg four weeks earlier. His family did not seek medical help, but left him for dead. His father, convinced another family had put a voodoo curse on Gilbert, had already dug a grave. Miguel learned of Gilbert’s injury and sent me a photo; a photo I could not look at. So began “Saving Gilbert,” an opportunity God gave us to help a young man for whom He has great plans. We evacuated Gilbert. He lost his leg, but his life was saved. Within days, Climbing For Christ member and amputee climber Craig DeMartino said when the time was right Gilbert would be able to get a new leg.

Miche hobbling home from school in December 2007.

School was done for the day on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007, and our mission team was making balloon animals for the children. But one little boy slipped away and headed up the trail. He caught my eye. I asked Miguel about him and Miguel called him back. The boy hopped back with a stick under one arm like a crutch. Like Sainte-Anne, he had a crippled leg from a knee injury sustained as an infant. Miche joined our prayer list that day. We made him a balloon hat and sent him on his way – over the mountains on one leg to his home three or four miles away.

In December 2008, we were blessed to have Dr. Steve Quakenbush on our mission team. He conducted day after day of health clinics in Gentilhomme and Malasi. He looked at the legs of Sainte-Anne and Miche. He diagnosed that both could be surgically repaired. When the team returned to the States, Dr. Steve went to work at making this happen. Eight months later, it is a reality. And the time is right for Gilbert to be sized for a prosthetic.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, Miguel is bringing Gilbert, Sainte-Anne, and Miche to the U.S. (with the help of Climbing For Christ and Mission: Haiti team member Sarah Brownell). Is everyone excited?

“Yes!” Miguel said. “Everyone. Gilbert is very excited for he will get his lack(ing) leg. We can see Sainte-Anne and Miche are happy. Gilbert’s teacher said to me, ‘Gilbert looks happy in the class because he will get his lack(ing) leg in the U.S. states.’

“I’m excited for I’m desperate to see our work in Gilbert and the kids is done. That will be another victory over the evil. For much time, the people in Gentilhomme and villages around there are saying that children were not so by accident; it is because some demons were trying to kill them. Now the people can see in Gilbert, Sainte-Anne and Miche that God is God and the demon cannot make you something if you are in God.”

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
– Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Friday, July 31

Miguel set out today at mid-day to drive from the Dominican border town of Jimani to Santo Domingo, where he and the children (Gilbert, Sainte-Anne and Miche) and Sarah Brownell would catch a plane to fly to New York City in the early morning hours Saturday. It was the children's first time flying. Sarah flew to Hispaniola from Rochester, N.Y., on Thursday to travel with Miguel and the kids. My wife Elaine (another Mission: Haiti team member) and I were scheduled to meet them in New York City for the flight to Denver. It was about a 24-hour trip from Jimani to Canon City, Colo., where the group was scheduled to arrive Saturday afternoon.

Gilbert and his parents, left, Sainte-Anne's family, center, and Miche and his father, right.

On Thursday, the families of the three children visited Miguel's home from Gentilhomme, Haiti. Today, Pastor Luterne came from Thoman, Haiti, to pray with Miguel before he left.

Miguel, left, with Pastor Luterne.

Saturday, Aug. 1

The Haitians missed the connection in New York City! While our flight to Denver was boarding, missionary Miguel texted: “Fear Gary, we are in the migration. We are too late.” Miguel, Sarah, and the children were held up at immigration leaving the Dominican Republic at 2 a.m. Then, on the early morning flight from Santo Domingo, they were given the wrong paperwork for entry into the United States. By the time they got the right papers and cleared customs, our flight was leaving New York. They are rebooked on an evening flight. They are scheduled to arrive in Denver at 11 p.m. Mountain Time. We will be waiting anxiously for their arrival. We know that nothing will stand in the way of healing the children and glorifying God.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
— Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Sunday, Aug. 2

Missionary Miguel, right, on his first trip to the U.S., jokes with Dr. Steve Quakenbush about having only a two-hour drive from Denver airport after more than 38 hours of travel.

It took the better part of two days, but the entire group has arrived safely in Cañon City, Colo. Miguel, Sarah, Gilbert, Sainte-Anne, and Miche flew into Denver a little before 11 p.m. local time. Miguel and the children had left the Dominican border town of Jimani at 11 a.m. ET on Friday.

These weary, but happy travelers were greeted by Josh Carroll, Dr. Steve Quakenbush, Steve's son-in-law Justin Lee and Justin's two daughters (Taylor and Taran), Steve's daughter Laura and son-in-law Adam, and my wife Elaine and me. Elaine and I flew to Denver from New York City early Saturday morning. Miguel, Sarah, and the kids missed the flight after a delay clearing customs. They needed to wait all day at JFK before flying West.

Many generous people blessed them along the way, however, including a man in New York City who gave Miguel $60 to buy meals for the children while at JFK. We thank God for safe travel, and a good night's sleep after reaching the rooms (donated by the Quality Inn, where we're staying) at 2:30 a.m. local time.

Sainte-Anne, left, and Miche were greeted by nine Climbing For Christ members and friends at Denver International Airport. Many others already have met them and been touched by their stories along the way.

Sunday, Aug. 2

Sarah pointing out a 'mon' in a Colorado book during breakfast with Sainte-Anne.

The travel and illness caught up with Miche, who Dr. Steve says has strep throat. He started him on antibiotics. Sainte-Anne and Gilbert are also feeling poor and on medication. Miche and Sainte-Anne are scheduled to meet with Dr. Jacob Patterson on Monday afternoon for a pre-surgery examination.

Gary and Sainte-Anne outside church.

The kids attended worship with us at First United Methodist Church in Cañon City. First United is Steve's home church and the congregation has gotten behind this Mission: Haiti medical trip. Families from the church are providing dinner for our group each night. Today, Lisa Glab made us a delicious lunch of turkey, rice, corn, and fruit.

During worship, which focused on “Living a Lack-Nothing Life” (based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9), Gilbert and Sainte-Anne left for children's church. The kids from the church raised nearly $300 at Vacation Bible School for the Haitian children. They are also making little Christmas bags in Sunday School for our Mission: Haiti team to deliver in December. They are including photos of themselves for their “heart pals.” Steve said they were careful not to call them their “spirit pals” because of the voodoo connotation.

Gilbert, center, and Sainte-Anne attending 'children's church' with Steve and Sarah.

Money being collected by the Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church.

Monday, Aug. 3

Dr. Patterson examining Sainte-Anne with Sarah and Dr. Steve looking on.

Sainte-Anne and Miche were examined by Dr. Patterson, the orthopedic surgeon who will operate on the two children in Cañon City, Colo. Sainte-Anne's injury is more difficult to diagnose than we'd hoped. It might be some sort of hip injury from childbirth or infancy. She will need to have a CT scan done on her crippled left leg on Wednesday or Thursday. Then we may know more.

Miche's injury is also not as clear-cut. The knee on his crippled right leg does not appear damaged; it may be a tendon problem with muscle atrophy from never having used the leg to walk. Dr. Patterson may need to take a tendon from his hamstring and move it to the front of his thigh. He could be put in a brace while he learns to walk and strengthens his leg.

Both children seem to have suffered nerve damage in their crippled legs. We trust that the Great Physician will heal them.

Miche, who came down with strep throat on Sunday, being checked by Dr. Steve.

Before going to Dr. Patterson's office, the children (including Gilbert) visited Dr. Steve. Each had a fever yesterday and were ill. Steve wanted to make sure they were improving, and they have been. That called for a visit to the Dairy Queen and an ice cream treat.

Miguel and Gilbert enjoying an ice cream cone.

Unloading the church van at Dr. Patterson's office.

Miche going down a slide at the playground.

After the kids' examinations we went to the park to play on the playground. Some fresh air and activity probably provided the best medicine for the children.

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Sainte-Anne went for a CT scan on her hip, which Dr. Patterson will review. He also was planning on speaking with some other experts on a conference call. Dr. Patterson, like so many involved with this project, is committed to making Sainte-Anne (and Miche) better. We are thankful for that.

The day began with Sarah and Colleen Carroll (Josh's mother) cooking up a Haitian breakfast for Miguel and the kids, complete with oil-drenched, clove-spiced spaghetti and fried plantains. They ate heartily.

It was mostly a day of eating and playing for the kids, whose health and spirits were greatly improved.

Breakfast of Haitian champions.

Wednesday, Aug. 5

Dr. Steve, his daughters Brooke and Laura, son-in-law Justin, and his granddaughters took Sarah and the three Haitian children to the zoo in Colorado Springs. The zoo admitted the group at no charge when they heard about the Haitian kids, which was a wonderful gesture. The zoo is located in the mountains. Gilbert said it is a “beautiful zoo.” His favorite part of the zoo was the monkeys pavilion. Sainte-Anne and Miche both liked the hippopotamus best.

We are still waiting to hear from Dr. Patterson to find out what sort of medical procedure Sainte-Anne and Miche can undergo, and when. We are anxious to see that happen. Gilbert will be going to Loveland next week to be sized for a prosthetic.

Thursday, Aug. 6

Dr. Patterson, the surgeon from St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo., who volunteered his time and abilities to help Sainte-Anne and Miche, met with us at the rehabilitation center. After consulting with another surgeon from San Antonio, Texas, he said “surgery without follow-up is doomed to failure.” The injuries to the children's legs would require extensive surgery in his opinion.

He would prefer to have Sainte-Anne and Miche fitted for prosthetic-type devices. He had us meet with Bill Beiswenger, a prosthetist-orthotist from Abilities Unlimited in Colorado Springs. Bill will be doing further evaluations on the two kids Friday morning in the Springs.

“If we can make them something functional to send them back with, that would help them,” Dr. Patterson said.

Rick Kamerzell, the acting CEO of St. Thomas More Hospital, experiments with one type of leg prostethic for Miche, who is “funtionally a below-the-knee amputee.”

Dr. Patterson sizing Sainte-Anne's crippled left leg for a possible prosthetic device.

Dr. Patterson, Rick Kamerzell (the hospital's acting CEO), and Bill Beiswenger proposed several different types of crutches and leg platforms that would enable Sainte-Anne and Miche to walk better. Sainte-Anne currently has no use of her left leg, and hops on her right leg to get around. Miche uses a stick (or crutch) to support his crippled right leg.

Both children suffered nerve damage in their legs as infants. Dr. Patterson speculates that it could have been from polio, which is common in Haiti, or possibly an injury sustained during a breach birth.

In addition to seeing about getting some prosthetics made for the children, we will be meeting with another surgeon from Denver Children's Hospital on Wednesday, Aug. 12, to gain yet another opinion. We know that God is continuing to provide for these young children as we seek to improve their lives and bring Him glory.

Friday, Aug. 7

Bill Beiswenger making a mold for Miche's leg.

We made an early morning drive to Colorado Springs (about one hour away) to see Bill Beiswenger and the staff at Abilities Unlimited. Bill made molds of Miche and Sainte-Anne's crippled legs for the construction of prosthetics to be used on their disabled limbs.

Miche's will be an extension to strap to the knee of his right leg, which has femoral nerve damage and cannot be straightened, resulting in an atrophied quad muscle. Sainte-Anne's will be more of a brace attached to her upper leg, which has no functionality because of hip damage. She will be able to rest her leg on the brace while walking.

Bill believes these will help provide better mobility for the two children, ages 6 and 7, but he is also interested in hearing what surgeons from The Children's Hospital in Denver might have to say next week. We appreciate the assistance being provided by Abilities Unlimited and pray for the solutions the Lord has in store for these children.

Michael Hartley, left, and Bill Beiswenger prepare a mold of the left leg of Sainte-Anne, who is held by Sarah Brownell.

Sunday, Aug. 9

Miguel, Gilbert and I had an opportunity to share — at the invitation of Marsha and Ron Hogan — during adult Sunday School at Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colo. The Hogans are sponsor parents for Miguel, whom they had an opportunity to meet for the first time. We are on our way to Loveland to have Gilbert sized tomorrow and Tuesday for a prosthetic for his amputated left leg.

Gilbert with his 'sponsor' parents Marsha and Ron Hogan of Golden, Colo., and Miguel, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti. Gilbert has lived with Miguel and been supported by Climbing For Christ since breaking his leg and being left for dead by his parents in August 2007.

After I reintroduced Climbing For Christ to about 100 people in the Sunday School class, Miguel eloquently and passionately told the story of how God used us “as His hands and feet” to rescue Gilbert from death in August 2007 [see “Saving Gilbert”]. Miguel told several other stories that give glory to God and show how the Lord is working through us in Haiti.

Gilbert also spoke briefly, through Miguel's translation, thanking God for the opportunity to be at Applewood Baptist today. He knows that without God he would not be alive.

This was the perfect (aka God-designed) set-up for the day's Sunday School lesson: “Faith that works or works of faith,” based on James 2:14-26.

“In Miguel, do you see faith that works or works of faith?” asked Bob, the Sunday School instructor.

“Both!” the class correctly answered.

Miguel speaks to a Sunday School class, while Gary and Gilbert listen. A class member is reading our 'Saving Gilbert' brochure.

The class learned that faith that works or works of faith are an issue of seeing a need and taking care of that need, as we try to do through Mission: Haiti and as we are attempting to do on this medical trip with Gilbert, Sainte-Anne, and Miche.

A member of Applewood's adult Sunday School suggested taking a “love” offering for Mission: Haiti, and the class collected and gave Climbing For Christ nearly $600. We thank our brothers and sisters in Christ, and the One who moved them to be so generous.

Meanwhile, in Cañon City, Sarah had an opportunity to share how God burdened her heart for Haiti and what He has been doing through her as she teaches sanitation to the people. Sarah is staying with Sainte-Anne and Miche in Cañon, while my wife Elaine and I take Miguel and Gilbert to the Loveland area.

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?”
— James 2:14 (NIV)

Monday, Aug. 10

The making of Gilbert's leg began this morning with our first visit to Joe Johnson's Quorum Orthopedics office in Windsor, Colo. Joe is a below-the-knee amputee himself, a former Paralympic skier, and a friend of Climbing For Christ's Craig DeMartino. Craig arranged to have Joe make Gilbert's leg, offering these services almost immediately after the amputation two years ago.

Gilbert was very excited as we drove to Joe's office. “He says he is waiting for the leg to go to school,” said our missionary Miguel, who translated Gilbert's thoughts. Gilbert has attended school on crutches since moving to Jimani, Dominican Republic, to live with Miguel's family.

Gilbert has a cast made of his torso for a mold to have a prosthetic leg fashioned by Joe Johnson, left.

As we watched Joe and his assistant Bryan Fairbanks making a cast for the prosthetic mold, Miguel said: “I am happy, happy, happy.” This is the next step, literally, in the promise God has made to Gilbert for a life that will richly impact others and bring our heavenly Father glory.

The mold is prepared, above, and within hours was a plastic shell that Gilbert will wear, below. The mold represents Gilbert's torso. Plastic is heated to 400 degrees and poured around the base of the mold. After it hardens it becomes the upper part of his prosthetic.

Joe is doing one month's work in two days to prepare a full left leg for Gilbert, whose amputation was made at the hip. The sizing began this afternoon with a fitting of the shell. The entire leg and training is scheduled for Tuesday.

We are grateful to Joe for his willingness to help and to our dear friends Cyndy and Craig DeMartino for their support in this process. Gilbert is blessed, as are we all, by this experience.

Tuesday, Aug. 11

We witnessed a miracle tonight when Gilbert, the 15-year-old Haitian who lost his leg two years ago, walked for the first time without the aid of crutches. We give God the glory and the praise. He used Joe Johnson and the wonderful people at Quorum Orthopedics in Windsor, Colo. to build Gilbert a prosthetic leg in less than 36 hours. This process normally takes one month. It also usually takes one-to-two months for an amputee to learn how to walk. Gilbert did so within two hours.

Gilbert walking without any assistance.

Miguel, our missionary to Haiti and the man with whom Gilbert has lived since he lost his leg (Gilbert calls him “papa”), asked Gilbert if he could walk on the new leg without using crutches. “He told me he can't,” Miguel said. “I tell him to try.” And he did.

Quorum Orthopedics built the leg between 3 p.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Tuesday, when we arrived for Gilbert's fitting. Joe's brother, Jeff, who is also a prosthetist, drove in from Lincoln, Neb. (about a six-hour drive) to deliver the hip joint for the leg. Joe said he “just happened” to be coming this way, but we knew it was part of God's plan.

Jeff, left, and Joe Johnson with Gilbert after his three-hour visit Tuesday night.

We know that God has a purpose for Gilbert's life. “He's living,” said Miguel, who believes Gilbert will one day be a pastor. “As Jesus said to some of His disciples, come with me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Gilbert will now be able to walk with a purpose in the direction the Lord has for his life.

Wednesday, Aug. 12
 
“It's a complicated injury,” Joe Johnson said about Gilbert's hemi-pelvectomy amputation.

Each of the three Haitian children we brought to the United States to seek medical help has a severely complicated leg injury, as we learned when we took Sainte-Anne Paul and Miche Fleurisme to The Children's Hospital in Denver this afternoon.

Children's is one of the top 10 children's hospitals in America, and orthopedist Dr. Frank Chang is highly regarded. Dr. Chang and other doctors from Orthopedic Care examined the two youngsters for three hours. Sainte-Anne and Miche already had been examined at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo., and were referred to Children's.
 
“Orthopedically, not much can be done,” Dr. Anne Stratton said. “Equipment is going to be their biggest assistance.”
 
Dr. Chang concurred, saying: “I don't think surgery would provide any sort of improvement to their functionality.”

Dr. Anne Stratton stretches Sainte-Anne's crippled leg at The Children's Hospital.
 
The doctors all thought the children move relatively well with the aid of crutches (something neither had before coming to the States) and said prosthetics being developed by Abilities Unlimited in Colorado Springs would help.
 
A polio test on Miche indicated that his right leg might be crippled as a result of polio as an infant. Sainte-Anne's crippled left leg was labeled a lumbar plexus injury, the result of severe trauma as an infant.

We have been told that Sainte-Anne was the subject of a tug-of-war between her parents in her first year. She has since lived with her grandfather in Gentilhomme. He was the person who asked our missionary Miguel if we could pray for healing for her during Mission: Haiti 2006. We have been praying for her since that time and continue to do so. We were given some exercises to help stretch her upper leg, which extends from her body at a 90-degree angle. There may be a future surgery that could help her range of motion. Dr. Steve, a member of the Mission: Haiti 2008 and 2009 teams, will examine Sainte-Anne in December when we again travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
 
While more may be done for Sainte-Anne and Miche, much has already been done for Gilbert. He took his new leg home to Nick and Sarah Stevens' house, where he and Miguel are staying while in Loveland, Colo. He spent the day working with Joe Johnson at Quorum Orthopedics in Windsor, Colo. On Tuesday evening, Joe said he had “just wanted him to stand” in the prosthetic, and “he started walking. He's doing really good.”

Joe Johnson working on Gilbert's leg.

Gilbert is a teenager, however, and he had other ideas. In the morning, he was reluctant to do much in the leg. “He's afraid,” Miguel translated. “I tell him fear is his enemy.”

Satan would like nothing more than to steal God's glory in all of this. By frustrating Gilbert to the point of not wanting to use his prosthetic (as a large percentage of hip amputees do), the enemy would do great harm to the good work being done for and through Gilbert.
 
Miguel also told us, “He think when we say we will give him a new leg, he'll get a leg (that looks like his old one).”

But Gilbert worked through those issues and continued to be far ahead of the average amputee's curve. When he went home to the Stevenses tonight, he walked up and down the stairs to their basement in the new leg. “When I see Gilbert going up and down the steps, I am very, very happy,” Miguel said. “He is happier now. He did not know he could do it.”
 
Through the grace of God he will do much, much more.

Thursday, Aug. 13

When Joe Johnson of Quorum Orthopedics heard about Gilbert climbing up and down the stairs last night, he was impressed. “Amazing,” said Joe, who is a below-the-knee amputee.

Gilbert with Joe Johnson in Windsor, Colo.

Joe, like all the rest of us, has been impressed with the speed with which Gilbert is adjusting to his prosthetic left leg. He has a training schedule to get adjusted to it. Our Haitian missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante, will oversee this as he learns to walk again. Joe also gave Miguel a special set of wrenches and extra screws for upkeep on Gilbert's leg after they return to Hispaniola next week.

Joe tightened the screws and gave Gilbert's prosthetic one last look-over before saying goodbye for now. Gilbert will need to return to Windsor, Colo. in a year for another leg. By then the Lord may have Gilbert saying what is written in 2 Samuel 22:34: “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.”

Friday, Aug. 14

When Craig DeMartino met Gilbert Lindor on Thursday afternoon in Loveland, Colo., he was genuinely impressed. DeMartino is the Climbing For Christ member (and below-the-knee amputee) who arranged for Gilbert to receive his prosthetic leg from Quorum Orthopedics in nearby Windsor.

Craig watched Gilbert walk without any sort of aid on only the third day of having his prosthetic. “It took me three months to do that,” he told Gilbert.

DeMartino is not only a Christ follower, husband, father of two, champion competitive climber and first amputee to ascend El Capitan in less than a day; he's also a professional photographer. So Craig asked Gilbert if he could make a portrait of him before we left the area to head back to Cañon City and the other two Haitian children.

Craig DeMartino photographing Gilbert with missionary Miguel Rubén Guante looking on.

Sainte-Anne and Miche were taken to Colorado Springs on Thursday to get their prosthetics from Abilities Unlimited. The children were scheduled to begin rehabilitation at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, but it was moved to Monday.

Gilbert thanked Craig for helping him reach this point. We have received many messages from members praising God for the miracle that has occurred this week.

Saturday, Aug. 15

The Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald today published the first part of a two-day series on Gilbert and his new prosthetic leg. CLICK HERE to go to the Reporter-Herald's Web site to read Pamela Dickman's story and see photos by Jenny Sparks. Pamela and Jenny spent Monday through Wednesday with us at Joe Johnson's Quorum Orthopedics office in Windsor, Colo. We are grateful for their interest in Gilbert's amazing story.

Sunday, Aug. 16

Miguel preached at Cañon City's “church in the park,” sharing about Climbing For Christ and the work God is doing through us in Haiti. He again told listeners how God is using him “as His hands and feet,” and shared from Romans 1:16 (“I am not ashamed of the Gospel”).

“It was very good,” said Miguel, who spoke to an audience of 600-700 people from several different churches. “I'm very, very excited. My visit was very, very good for Climbing For Christ work.”

This work was mentioned in a story on Saturday in the local newspaper, the Cañon City Daily Record, which highlighted the visit of Miguel, Sarah, and our three Haitian children. CLICK HERE to read the story, which seemed to be the talk of the town.

In Loveland, Colo., Part 2 of the Reporter-Herald's story on Gilbert — “One step at a time” by Pamela Dickman with photos by Jenny Sparks and video produced by Steve Stoner — appeared today. To read this excellent behind-the-scenes story CLICK HERE.

Monday, Aug. 17

Six-year-old Miche had three teeth pulled at the dentist's in Pueblo, Colo. Dr. Eric Berry said they were the worst set of baby teeth he's ever seen. Miche was taken to the dentist for the first time last week. His teeth were rotting.

After the dental work, Miche and 7-year-old Sainte-Anne went to work learning to walk. They used the prosthetics made for them by Abilities Unlimited in Colorado Springs. The physical therapy was done at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo.

Neither child has ever walked with two legs, having been crippled since they were infants. But, thanks be to God, due to prosthetic devices they experienced walking for the first time.

Miche, above, and Sainte-Anne learning to walk at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo. (Photos by Josh Carroll)

“For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.”
— Psalm 116:8-10 (NIV)

Tuesday, Aug. 18

There was a “farewell dinner” for the Haitians at Lisa Glab's home in Cañon City, Colo. Lisa is a member of First United Methodist Church, which graciously hosted our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and the three children during their 2½-week stay. Miguel, Gilbert, Sainte-Anne, and Miche will fly out of Denver on Wednesday morning, heading first to New York City and then to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They will return to the Dominican border town of Jimani on Thursday.

“The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
— Romans 15:33 (NIV)

Wednesday, Aug. 19

Sainte-Anne (left to right), Gilbert and Miche waiting at JFK in New York City to fly to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)

Missionary Miguel and our three Haitian children were flying back toward their home on the island of Hispaniola. Each is thankful to God and to the wonderful hosts they had during their stay since Aug. 1 in Colorado.

“The children are very excited to go back home,” Miguel said.

Gilbert Lindor, who came to America an amputee and goes home with a new prosthetic leg, walking without crutches before leaving today. Scroll to the photo at the beginning of the Dispatches and marvel at how far Gilbert has come by the grace of God. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)


Read more about this journey in our quarterly magazine, The Climbing Way (Volume 15, Autumn 2009), due out in the fall.

Special thanks

It takes the hearts of many servants to make a special project like our Mission: Haiti medical trip happen. We thank the Lord for those who have allowed Him to use them to help Gilbert, Sainte-Anne and Miche, and by extension many other Haitians who will be witnesses to the glory of God. Thank you ...

... Rick Kamerzell and the board and staff of St. Thomas More Hospital, Canon City, CO
... Dr. Jacob Patterson MD, orthopedic surgeon
... First United Methodist Mission's team
... Pastors Don Bird and Emily Earnshaw
... Joyce Gregor and Cathy Curnutt and the VBS children and staff
... First United Methodist Church family and staff for use of the fellowship hall and van
... First United Methodist Sunday school children and church school children
... Quality Inn, Canon City, CO for donating accommodations
... Joe Johnson, Quorum Orthopedics, Windsor, CO
... Sarah Brownell
... Sharon and Guy Buffum
... Benae Burbank
... Gary and Colleen Carroll
... Josh Carroll
... Contributors to the Dr. Eric A. Cederstrom Memorial Fund
... Katherine Cook
... Cyndy and Craig DeMartino
... Elaine Fallesen
... Gail Freeman
... Lisa Glab and Family
... Bruce and Sue Hitt
... Ron and Marsha Hogan
... Eileen Lakey
... Justin and Brooke Lee
... Steve and Barb Quakenbush
... Della Rieger and family
... Larry and Barb Tarnow
... Abilities Unlimited and Bill Beiswenger, Colorado Springs
... Adult Sunday School class at Applewood Baptist Church, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
... Orthopedics staff, headed by Dr. Frank Chang, at The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colo.

 

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