Thursday, March 22
U.S. team members traveled back to the States and their homes today and tonight. It began with a five-hour drive from the border to Santo Domingo, followed by flights to New York City and then to respective home airports.
Haitian missionary Miguel was not as fortunate as our U.S. group. Shortly after dropping the team at the airport, “the God truck” broke down again. It was not repaired until mid-day Friday. He was able to return to his home in Jimani Friday evening. “I'm in joy between my difficulties,” Miguel said, giving praise to the Lord. We are praying for God's direction in regards to our Monte Pou Kris vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Frontier, which we have been blessed by for four years on the hard roads of Haiti.
Wednesday, March 21
We said our goodbyes and prayed for Malasi before hitting the “road” — rocky dirt roads that lead to mostly dry river beds all running downhill out of the Chaine de la Selle mountains in southeastern Haiti.
The two vehicles — “the God truck” driven by Miguel and Janelle’s tap-tap — made the six-hour-plus drive to the border without incident. However, we were delayed by another tap-tap that broke down on the one-lane road leading through the mountains.
The “road” down from Malasi. The start of a six-hour-plus drive.
Janelle’s tap-tap was jammed with four “blans” (“whites” in Creole) and 20 or more Haitians, bag upon bag of vegetables, live chickens, and half of our team gear. It was hot and dry as the team made its way, first to Thoman, and then back across the border into the Dominican town of Jimani. Here, we met with Pastor Trezin and two others from the church at Gentilhomme to resolve some ministry problems. We concluded the meeting with a meal together. The Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ in Creole) family remains: Gentilhomme, Malasi, Thoman, and Jimani.
Next stop: Santo Domingo as the American team members make their way back to the States.
Tuesday, March 20
Two kites flew in the sky over the church at Malasi and schoolgirls jumped rope as Eileen played with the children on a windy but sunny day. Down the hill, dozens upon dozens of people stood in a perpetual line to get in the EMT to see Dr. Steve on the final day of medical clinics. Up and over the next hill, Miguel and Joshua helped a group of women plant corn and beans.
This was a mission moment in time that God planned before time began. It was a precious moment on our last full day in Malasi.
People waiting in the Malasi sun to be seen by Dr. Steve on last day of medical clinic.
Jordan and Eileen — with help from Rosie, Pastor Don and Joshua — repeated Monday's Bible school songs and lesson about King Josiah following God. Eileen, a retired teacher, also taught about colors, numbers and body parts.
Dr. Steve and nurse Lisa continued tending to another 400 sick and injured people in the medical tent. Nearly 1,000 people from throughout the area have received health care the past six days.
Steve also did a more extensive mid-wife training, providing photos of babies from fertilization to delivery. The four mid-wives did not know about the formation of babies. “They were amazed that babies look like that,” Dr. Steve said. “It IS amazing; it’s a miracle.”
Even horses were treated in Malasi. Joshua, who works with horses in the States, applies first aid outside the EMT.
Jordan, Miguel and I discussed the Mission: Haiti future while God’s work was being done today. There is the church build at Jimani to be completed, lessons about voodoo to be taught at the monthly seminary, crops to be planted, water systems to be fixed and improved, and many other projects for which funds need to be raised. Sometimes the hardest part of this work is not here in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, but in the fundraising to help a broken people.
We continue to pray for healing for this land. Those who have come to serve through Climbing For Christ have given their best to deliver the love of Jesus to the least, last and lost.
Monday, March 19
Jordan (with Rosie, left, and Eileen) leading the children in song at Bible school.
Jordan and Eileen taught Bible school, opening in song with the Mission: Haiti standard, “I Am a Friend of God,” and then putting on two puppet plays. The first was a review of last year, when the puppets Bob and Anna taught about sanitation and dental hygiene. The second was the story of King Josiah from 2 Kings 22.
“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left,” it says in 2 Kings 22:2 of Josiah, who became king at the age of 8. We used Josiah as an illustration of how the schoolchildren should follow the Lord, and not practice voodoo.
After the teachings, the children received deworming pills, vitamins, tooth brushes, cross necklaces, stickers, and a snack.
Snacks also were provided to the estimated 300 people who visited Day 3 of the medical clinic. Among the many who were treated was a sick child who had polio. All of the other family members received vaccines, and we praised God for the ability to eradicate this needless suffering. The team prayed over the child. A team member has been present to pray for every person treated in the EMT as we continue to address physical and spiritual health.
Prayer is the thing that keeps this — and every Climbing For Christ — team going. Prayer and His provision. Of ALL things.
God provided about US$350 through the children at First United Methodist Church in Canon City, CO, USA for the church at Malasi to buy more banana plants. Pastor Don presented this money to Pastor Vilcuis of the Malasi church. Miguel will purchase plants and deliver them to Malasi soon. Farmers in the area are preparing fields for planting because the rainy time has come early, as we have witnessed every day.
Sunday, March 18
The church at Malasi.
We worshiped for 3½ hours with about 150 brothers and sisters in Christ at the church at Malasi. The first two hours were spent in song as individuals and small groups of people lived out the words shared from Psalm 100: “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.”
I then had the privilege of introducing each member of our team, who took turns sharing encouragement (through Rosie’s translation) with the church. The Holy Spirit wove our words together as we shared a message of love and thankfulness.
Joshua started our team preaching with a story about giving our best to the One who gave His Best to us. Jordan then talked about loving the Lord more this year than last. Pastor Don taught about casting aside voodoo and other gods to worship the One True God. I then talked about how God IS love and we are to love as He first loved us. We prayed that the church at Malasi would do its best to love and care for one another and also share the love of Christ with those outside the church.
Jordan closed our team message by singing (and playing on the backpacker guitar) the hymn, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.”
Joshua giving rice to Darisma’s family in their small house.
We then lived out our teaching by delivering one of two 50-pound bags of rice Joshua bought for those in need. We took a bag to Darisma, the teacher who first brought me to Malasi to ask for help in their school. Darisma has nine children living with him and his wife in a tiny one-room house.
“I just buried my heart here,” Joshua said.
Welcome to Mission: Haiti.
Saturday, March 17
Crowds gather outside the Eric Memorial Tent to attend another day of medical clinics. The mission house and God truck are in the background.
Dr. Steve and Co. treated at least twice as many people on Day 2 of the medical clinic — probably 150 or more. They administered more vaccines, and saw scores of pregnant women and babies, a 6-year-old with pneumonia, and children with the usual skin problems. Everyone left the EMT with crackers to eat and water to drink thanks to a financial gift from an anonymous donor in Steve, Pastor Don, Eileen and Lisa's church in Canon City, CO, USA. The medical team also gave out baby blankets and clothing.
The seminary conference ended with a review of the first day’s teachings and words of encouragement from our team to the pastors and church leaders attending. “When God selected you as pastors you were not finished,” Miguel told them. “You need to learn more, more, more.”
Jordan met individually with each pastor to discuss their walks and the role of the seminary. Jordan works with Miguel to prepare the monthly seminary teachings. All of those in attendance expressed appreciation. They also were fed for two days.
Rain continued for the third day in Malasi, making hard work even more difficult. What God is doing continues to face opposition and the prayers of His people are necessary to be a blessing here.
Friday, March 16
“We started this work by God's power,” Miguel said at breakfast, meaning it was God alone who delivered the entire team to Malasi despite constant attacks by the enemy.
With that — and lots of prayer — we began our first day of seminary conference teachings and the first day of medical clinics under the big top that is the Eric Memorial Tent.
Jordan teaching about evangelism with Rosie translating at start of seminary conference.
Jordan, Pastor Don and Joshua taught about evangelism and discipleship to a group of 15 pastors and leaders from six churches. “God is a God Who demands our complete devotion,” Don told them. “The only way the world will be healed and restored is through Him.” And Him alone!
We spoke against voodoo and asked the Haitian pastors if they preach against the evil that grips their country. In unison they said: “Oui” (yes).
While half of the team was addressing spiritual ills the other half was seeing to the physical problems that plague the people of Malasi and surrounding villages. Dr. Steve's team treated about 80 people and gave out another 15 vaccines.
As always our goal — our hope — is to allow God to use us to cure all that ails the people in these mountain villages.
Friday, March 16
The team was reunited at 2:30 a.m. when both repaired trucks reached Malasi more than 20 hours after we left Thoman. Miguel and Janelle needed to return to Jimani, DR for parts while Rosie, Lisa and Eileen waited on Thursday with many of our Haitian friends in Foret des Pins. The rest of us hiked two hours to Malasi to deliver vaccines and set up the EMT (Eric Memorial Tent, which honors the late Dr. Eric Cederstrom of Rochester, NY, USA) for five days of medical clinics.
The new EMT (Eric Memorial Tent) opens for His business.
Thurday, March 15
Another day, another dart from the devil. This time it was the brakes on our Haitian friend Janelle’s tap-tap (a truck used for public transportation).
With “the God truck” broken down in Thoman we moved all the people and bags into Janelle’s big vehicle and drove about four hours. The truck broke down in Foret des Pins.
We were bringing vaccines for polio and diphtheria/tetanus/whooping cough. The vaccines, which were in coolers, might not be good after today. So several members from the team hiked about six miles to Malasi.
The team gave 56 children vaccines.
“I'm so happy,” Dr. Steve said. “I've been wanting to do this for so long.”
We did so, by the grace of God, despite ceaseless opposition from the enemy.
Dr. Steve and Pastor Don giving DPT shot in Malasi.
Wednesday, March 14
Approaching the Dominican border.
The border crossing from the Dominican Republic into Haiti went without incident, which was an answer to prayer considering the border was closed for several days last week and there have been recent “incidents” between Dominicans and Haitians. However, the enemy was still able to hit us with another dart: the God truck broke down as we were reaching Thoman this evening. After working on it for about six hours, we determined that it could not be fixed without additional help, and are making camp inside the Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ) church at Thoman.
Despite all of the difficulties the team is doing well and enduring the many challenges. Next stop: Malasi — God-willing.
Tuesday, March 13
There have been obstacles seemingly every day of late for our team. “Satan just keeps throwing darts,” Dr. Steve said as we endured today’s roadblock — trouble with Dominican customs.
“Is God putting us to the test?” our Haitian missionary Miguel asked after we were reunited at the Santo Domingo airport. “No. God knows we are here to do good.”
And so does the enemy.
It took us longer to clear customs (5 ½ hours) than it took to fly from New York City to Santo Domingo (3 ½ hours). Customs officials went through our 13 duffel bags, nine of which contained medical supplies for the six days of clinics we will hold in Malasi, Haiti. They claimed to be looking for outdated medicines, but then threw down a paperwork gauntlet that took hours to clear.
We could have nearly driven to the Dominican border town of Jimani in the time we were delayed. Instead, we had a long evening drive to the town in which Miguel lives in a Haitian community.
Next stop: Haiti. But we are certain to face more “sleeping policemen,” as speed bumps are called here, on the road to the villages in which we are ministering.
Dominican customs officials opening duffels containing medicine.
Monday, March 12
Six U.S. members of the Mission: Haiti team gathered in New York City this afternoon for a focused time of spiritual training. We viewed Louie Giglio's “God's Passion for God's Glory” DVD and discussed the HIStory of Climbing For Christ and what God desires for us to do in Haiti. The consensus is that we are going to make an eternal difference, to show the love of Christ in very real ways and to teach the people about the Jesus who yearns for them to turn from the ways of previous generations. All for God's glory!
We waited for the evening arrival of our last U.S. team member, who has spent the past two days traveling from Dallas, Texas to the Big Apple — first by bus, then by plane, then by shuttle. Joshua Cook has some stories to tell. We all will testify about the God who watches over us and leads us on. Next stop: Dominican Republic.
Sunday, March 11
NASA isn’t the only one with an international space station. God has blessed Climbing For Christ with a “Space Station” of its own.
This Space Station is a Base Camp dome tent made by Mountain Hardwear and provided by the Lord to do medical missions in places such as Haiti. Our Mission: Haiti team will christen the “Eric Memorial Tent” (or EMT) this week in the Chaine de la Selle mountains.
“The tent sounds amazing. Praise God!” said Dr. Steve Quakenbush, who is going on his fifth Mission: Haiti to conduct medical clinics and teach. Steve, along with other team members from the Western U.S., began to travel East today. The team will meet on Monday in New York City for training before heading to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday and on to Haiti on Wednesday.
In December 2009, Steve brought a backyard tent to hold clinics in, but harsh winds shredded the shelter. As a result, the idea for the EMT was born.
The EMT is named in honor of Dr. Eric A. Cederstrom, a brother in Christ and friend of C4C who died of cancer in May 2008. A memorial fund was started shortly after Eric’s death by his wife Lin Cederstrom. Eric’s service to the sick will live on in the mountains of Haiti, and in mountains beyond those mountains around the world.
“The tent sounds wonderful,” fellow returning Mission: Haiti team member Eileen Lakey said.
God blessed us with financial support and then answered our prayers, shared in a ministry E-Newsletter on Feb. 13. Climbing For Christ member Jeff Murray saw the E-News about our desire for a high-end medical shelter and contacted Brian Delaney, who owns High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid, NY, USA. Brian in turn sold us a tent at a huge discount.
We originally were shopping for the Mountain Hardwear Stronghold, a 10-person expedition tent that retails for US$3,000. Instead, we received the Mountain Hardwear Space Station, a 15-person tent with a price tag of US$4,900. Brian sold us a Space Station for US$1,500.
All thanks, honor and glory go to our Lord!