Mission: Haiti 2009
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Friday, Dec. 18
Driving six hours from the Dominican border town of Jimani to Santo Domingo for our flight back to the States, Miguel was listening to Creole music on the God truck's tape player. He was singing to a song that stated: “Haiti is in God's hands.”
“That is not true,” Miguel said. “If it was true so many people would not have the voodoo, especially the authorities — they put so much importance in voodoo.”
Voodoo must be eradicated. Spiritual healing must take place. Haiti must put itself in God's hands. We know we have so much to do in Haiti, and are eager to serve.
We were blessed with a special team on this trip: five Americans (who have returned home to the United States) and two Haitians. Each was a different part of the same body. Each did his or her best to bring God glory.
Thursday, Dec. 17
We spent the day in Jimani, Dominican Republic, hanging out with Gilbert (photo) and the other kids we brought to the U.S. in August.
I met with Miguel to start putting together our 2010 plan for Mission: Haiti, which will include trips for our Gentilhomme water project, a sanitation project, medical missions, and continuing church and school builds. More about this plan will be made public in the weeks ahead.
On Friday, Rosie returns to Haiti and the north coast where she lives, while the five Americans return to the States. We were blessed to be a blessing as an international team united in the Spirit of Christ. Brothers and sisters forever.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
The team (photo) finished up in Gentilhomme with a house call to see 14 members of Pastor Almando's family and the delivery of the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20 acted out by our members), deworming pills and vitamins, and gifts to the 85 students at the school. After that, we prayed with Pastor Tresin and then made the two-hour descent back into the heat of Haiti's lower elevations.
We paused in Soliette, before driving out of the mountains, to share with Pastor Italian our vision for the school at his church. We pledged to help rebuild the structure that was destroyed by a 2007 hurricane (photo above). This will be part of our 2010 plan. Miguel and I will be meeting on Thursday in Jimani to discuss the next year. We returned to the Dominican border town late in the afternoon, enjoying our first showers in 12 days and our post-mission chicken dinner.
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Miguel and I were presenting Pastor Almando with his seminary certificate (photo above) when we started to discuss the big picture. Almando, who is the grandfather of Sainte-Anne (one of the three Haitian children we brought to the U.S. in August for medical procedures), has attended our seminary for two years and has requested affiliation for his little church of 50-60. His home and church sit just down the hill from the Climbing For Christ church at Gentilhomme.
Most of Pastor Almando's family is sick, many with the skin infection that has been No. 1 on Dr. Steve's health hit parade. I told Miguel the skin malady comes from hideous sanitation, pitiful hygiene, and poor clothing (running around barefooted). Miguel had an epiphany, saying: "It is a BIG problem." He said if only one village suffered from it, we could fix the problem easily. "But it is here and here and here."
"Our arm is too short," he added.
We know only God is big enough to help Haiti.
We can do our part, which today included Steve, Lisa and Rosie seeing 88 patients, including a house call for a woman suffering pain from what Steve said was probably a broken back and leg at some point. There was also a young baby suffering from pneumonia and, of course, countless people with skin infections. Steve, Lisa and Rosie loved on them, even as they continued to teach locals how to do the same.
Our part also included another day of Bible teaching by Elaine, Jordan and Miguel in the school. Today, 82 students heard "The Best Story of All" as well as Jesus' calling of the 12 disciples and His feeding of the 5,000.
This part of the team also had an opportunity to deliver a prayer shawl to Boss Chalisma's widow, Roseta Charles, and blankets to their six children. The shawl was made by women in our home church, Hope Lutheran.
We know that curing all that ails Haiti begins with education, be that in the school or in a health clinic. Our team has had contact with more than 180 students and about 350 medical patients in Gentilhomme and Malasi these two weeks. But we also know the big picture: Haiti needs Jesus. This is a country that can only be saved through revival. Its people must turn from voodoo and to the Savior. Only by turning to Christ can all the social programs being offered by a myriad of ministries and organizations take hold, and help these people.
"We need a prayer for Haiti," Miguel agreed.
Join us in praying for revival, first in Gentilhomme and Malasi and then throughout the land.
Monday, Dec. 14
Pastor Tresin delivered a bunch of bananas to us this morning. He could get US$7-10 for so many bananas at the market. We have been blessed by his giving during this visit. He also gave us a chicken for dinner on Sunday.
Our team did some giving of its own today as Elaine and Jordan taught Bible School to 75 children in our Gentihomme school and Steve, Lisa and Rosie saw 67 patients at the health clinic.
Steve is assisted by Lisa, left, and Rosie as they see a patient in the mission house.
Elaine teaching and Miguel translating during Bible School.
It was the first day of the three days of Bible School lessons taught last week in Malasi. We are condensing this week's Bible School into two days. The clinic will also be two days. We are shortening our stay in Gentilhomme by one day. The water project scheduled for this visit had to be pushed back when the pump and filter ordered in October from New Zealand failed to arrive because of a shipping error. Plans for a special trip for the Gentilhomme water project will be made after this trip.
Steve said high blood pressure, skin infections, worms, and many pregnant women were the order of the day for those who came to the clinic. Dozens were waiting to be seen when we closed the clinic for the day at dusk. They will be looked at on Tuesday morning.
We toured several of the farms of Monte Pou Kris members, looking at banana and coffee plants provided through our Seedling Bank program. Many of the banana plants should be yielding their first fruit in the spring. Ninety-one farmers (51 from the church and 40 others) each received from 30 to 70 coffee plants when they were transplanted from the nursery next to the church a few months ago.
We also stopped at the cemetery to visit the grave of "Boss" Chalisma, our friend who was struck by lightning and killed in October. We later saw four of his six children. One of Chalisma's older brothers is looking after his widow and their children. Gentilhomme is not the same without Chalisma.
Sunday, Dec. 13 pm
Among the 290 in worship were women dressed in white who were baptized on Saturday and received their first communion.
A tempest seemed to be blowing outside the church at Gentilhomme during our five-hour worship. It felt as if the enemy was angry. And for good reason. I spoke to the 290 in attendance about how God had blessed them by sending us here in 2005. We could have ended up in any mountain village in any country, but we were brought to this place. I told them God does not need me or Miguel or Pastor Tresin; we are blessed to be used by Him. It was my prayer that this message from the Lord would be heard and taken to heart by those who might be prideful about the work God is doing here.
After speaking, I introduced the team and we sang "Hear Us From Heaven" to the congregation.
Miguel then preached about God blessing those who are "trustworthy in a very small matter" (Luke 19:12-21).
Following worship, we presented certificates to the pastors and church leaders who had completed the second year of our seminary. Seven pastors have attended all of the monthly teachings the past two years, while five attended this last year. In all, 21 church leaders participated. There is a feeling that these are godly men serving the Lord to the best of their abilities. We are charged with helping them as we can. All to God's glory.
Sunday, Dec. 13 am
I told the team at the start of the trip: the enemy does not give up his territory easily. For centuries, the devil has owned the people of the world's mountains. Few, if any, missionaries have ventured into the mountains at the ends of the earth. That's why we say Climbing For Christ goes where other missionaries will not or cannot. Early this morning (1 a.m. local time) we may have experienced a counter-attack by the evil one, who is fighting to keep a foothold in Gentilhomme. A BIG wind woke us up as it roared down the mountain slope and knocked down our medical tent. Steve and Jordan were sleeping in the tent. Steve, Jordan and I collected all the supplies and folded up the tent. As we were doing this, Jordan said what I was thinking: "I don't know if this is demonic or what." Everything is OK. We got the guys situated in the mission house for the night. And then the wind stopped.
We rest on the knowledge that we are protected by our God. "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2)
Saturday, Dec. 12
We walked down to the river (a steep, 450-vertical-foot descent) to baptize 19 from the Gentilhomme church. Miguel and I prayed for each before they were fully immersed into a pool in the river by Pastor Tresin and Pastor Italian (from Soliette). Three of them thrashed about in the water with the last one putting up the biggest fight. "Did you see that last woman?" Rosie asked team members who were witnesses, along with half of the village. "She had evil spirit. Jesus said 'no way' (to the devil). They can't get past Him." Amen.
In the evening, we worshiped for more than three hours in preparation for Sunday. There was much singing (“Haitian Idol“ night) and pastors here for our Seminary Sunday afternoon spoke. It is incredible, in a God way, to think how far this church has grown since the Lord first brought us to Gentilhomme in 2005.
Friday, Dec. 11
Today was moving day. We packed up camp in Malasi, prayed with Pastor Vilcius, and trucked back down the mountains toward Soliette. We made the hike up Mon Boucar (Mount Fire) toward Pic la Selle and Gentilhomme, arriving at dusk. We prayed with Pastor Tresin and members of the Climbing For Christ church at Gentilhomme before setting up camp again. I was informed that we will be baptizing 19 believers on Saturday morning. "...baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded..." (Matthew 28:19b-20a)
Thursday, Dec. 10
A road was built, midwives taught by Dr. Steve, Christmas gifts delivered to 100 schoolchildren, and 50 more patients seen on a day when no health clinic was scheduled. In other words, it was a long, productive day that began at 6am and stretched into the evening hours. “What a perfect day,“ said Steve. “Just awesome. Probably the best day of my life.“
Pastor Vilcius recruited men to carve a road out of a hillside so our truck can carry supplies to the building site for the new church. Roadwork began at 6am and was done by 2pm.
After meeting with midwives who have delivered babies for 35 and 45 years, the team went to school with Christmas music, The Christmas Story (Luke 2:1-20), and gifts from children in Steve and Lisa's church.
Returning to the mission house, the clinic tent was surrounded by patients. Most were not from Malasi; they had walked many miles. Steve saw them until way after dark, including a 14 year old boy with a wrist broken 22 days ago, which Steve and Lisa splinted, and a woman with a cancerous growth on her arm. In three days, Steve saw blind people, women who had lost babies, a baby who had lost his mother, and many ailing who were both young and old. He also taught three people from the village how to care for the sick and injured in between our visits.
Wednesday, Dec. 9 pm
Feeding the 90: Elaine taught the children about Jesus feeding the 5,000 on the third day of Bible School in Malasi. Afterward, Elaine, Jordan (photo), Miguel and I distributed two Swedish fish and five pieces of flatbread to each of the 90 students in attendance.
Meanwhile back at the mission house, Steve, Lisa and Rosie were seeing another 60-70 patients in the C4C M*A*S*H-unit tent.
Many things have been given out the past two days, including medicine, Gospel teaching, baby blankets, and the love of Christ. We are blessed to be used as His hands and feet.
Wednesday, Dec. 9 am
We worshiped with about 40 others at the mission house last night. I spoke briefly about our love for the people of Malasi and how God desires their hearts for Jesus, and only Jesus. I told them they cannot love Christ and do voodoo. As the Lord would have it, Miguel was prepared to teach from Ezekiel 7 and God's judgment on the people. He echoed that they can't be Christ followers and keep a little bit of the voodoo in their hearts. There was also much singing and praising of the Lord, including our singing of the Mission: Haiti theme song, "Hear Us From Heaven," with Jordan leading on the backpacker guitar.
"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Tuesday, Dec. 8
The doctor was in again in Malasi. For the second straight December, Dr. Steve is holding health clinics for us here. "To have the medicine come to them is a blessing from the Lord," said Rosie, a Haitian who is serving as Steve's translator. Steve, who was assisted by Lisa, saw 50-60 patients. It was the usual maladies. "The Haitian have many pains," Miguel said.
Elaine, Jordan and Miguel taught a second day of Bible School to 100 students. Jordan led singing ("I Am a Friend of God") and repeated "The Best Story of All." Elaine taught about Jesus calling the 12 disciples.
After school and at the clinic we again had an opportunity to share with the resident voodoo chief. He knows about Christ, but doesn't want to lose his business. We are praying (still) for a change of heart.
Monday, Dec. 7
Elaine, Jordan and Miguel substitute taught the 100 students in the school at Malasi. It was the first of three days of Bible School. Jordan led them in singing and Elaine taught The Greatest Story Ever Told, a picturebook made by C4C member Katie Kimble and translated into Creole by Mission: Haiti alum Sarah Brownell. It tells God's story from creation to the resurrection of Christ. After that, they did a craft project, making Gospel bracelets with each of the children.
We were surprised by God's miracle known as Donya, the lightning victim we found here a year ago who was healed by the Great Physician. She came to see us at the school. We took her back to the mission house to see Dr. Steve. Steve and Lisa were busy setting up the medical tent for three days of clinics and teaching first care to a few of the locals.
It is a beautiful sunny day in service to the Lord.
Sunday, Dec. 6
We are in Malasi after a day of worship, prayer and travel. Miguel prophesied that God was going to do great things through us in Malasi because we had “many, many attacks“ on the drive there - two flat tires and a brief experience of going off the road.
We began the day in worship at the Climbing for Christ church at Jimani. In 2005 there were only 12 members. Today there are about 100 members. We shared about how they are amabassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
On the road to Malasi we stopped to visit the church build at Thoman. We prayed with the leaders of the church and blessed the building that is under construction. We thanked God for His faithfulness as the church at Thoman waited patiently for His provision to build them a church. God is good.
Saturday, Dec. 5
We are driving across the Dominican Republic, packed in "the God truck" - five Americans and a Haitian at the wheel. The back of the truck is full of gear and supplies for the mission ahead. It is mid-evening and we have miles to go before we sleep. The usual very full day of travel to initiate an Evangelic Expedition. Miguel greeted us at the Santo Domingo airport with a "Welcome Climbing For Christ" banner. We are back in Hispaniola to do the Lord's work. God is good.
Mission: Haiti began, inadvertently on our part, when three Climbing For Christ members blindly ascended the country's highpoint, Pic la Selle, in late June 2005. On our way up the deforested slopes, we handed out a few Creole Bibles. We were there to answer divine appointments. A big one — bigger than we could have imagined — awaited us when we “found” a village called Gentilhomme.
Long story short, I was taken to a pastor, who shook my hand excitedly and said, “I have prayed for two years for God to send help.” We were that help.
In April 2006, the church at Gentilhomme was built. It was only the beginning. Another Climbing For Christ team — our seventh short-term team — is going. Josh, Lisa, Elaine, Rosie, Dr. Steve, Jordan and I are being sent to work with Climbing For Christ's Haitian missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante. We are being sent to share the love of Jesus with people in four “Climbing For Christ churches” (Jimani, Dominican Republic, and Gentilhomme, Malasi and Thoman, Haiti) and beyond.
We are being sent — as Jesus sent His 12 disciples in Matthew 10:5-20 — to seek the lost, preach that “the kingdom of heaven is near,” heal the sick, drive out demons, and simply open our mouths so the Spirit of our Father can speak through us (Matthew 10:20). To God alone be the glory!
Posted Friday, Dec. 4, 2009
Join us in lifting God's work on Hispaniola. CLICK HERE for Project Prayer for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“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 7:17 (NIV)
USA — Elaine Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y.; Gary Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y.; Lisa Mehle-Glab, Cañon City, Colo.; Steve Quakenbush, Cañon City, Colo., and Jordan Rowley, Rochester, N.Y.
Dominican Republic — Miguel Rubén Guante, Jimani.
Haiti —Ann Rose (Rosie) Joseph, Borgne.
CLICK HERE for Team Bios.