Friday, January 25, 2008

More Emails from Haiti!

These are the last two I received from Mary...

We gave 140 eye exams and glasses today. It really is amazing. The contrast of filth and pride is amazing. The people are truly happy. Love to you. Mary

The food has been really amazing. I had goat roast last night . Beans and rice tonight. It was made by Haitian women that work for the missionaries. The place we stay feels safe, but when the Voodoo Dr. and his followers march right by the compound with their drums, it is so wierd and scary. The drumming is amazing. Today we did 100 more eye exams. My job is fitting people and I could almost cry when they get so excited because they can read again. Love Mary

YAY GOD -- the voodoo doctors can drum all they like, but the GREAT PHYSICIAN restores sight!

One more from Eric

Hey Mark,

I have wept in my proverbial closet twice today, my heart is broken for these people. Today Gail told me that they view us blanc's as their only help from God. Today a woman came in with her husband he was almost blind with severe cataracts. They only had one ticket. She asked if we could see her also. I went to get her a ticket but I was told that we couldn't give her an exam because we were short supplies as it was and there was no way. I gave her a quick Glaucoma check. She had severe Glaucoma and will probably start to go blind from nerve damage in a year. I asked for a ticket again, I understand the predicament, but I also knew her consequence. I had to take a break to weep in private and pray for strength. I begged God to not allow my heart to become hard to these people and their great need. I think the Lord cut deep into my heart today to take me to the next level of commitment. I cannot NOT come back here.

Thank you so much for asking me to oversee this trip a year ago. You will never know how much your leadership, friendship and mentoring have meant to me.

Thanks, Eric!

Hey Mark,

Just a quick update. We handed out another 140 glasses today. My job is to check for Glaucoma with an angle test, something they call PRRL, precheck for nearsightedness, distance acuity and dilate the eyes. I work with Debbie Dushane on this. Jamie and Dave obviously do the eye exams. Emily and Mary distribute glasses. When Debbie and I finish the prechecks we help Emily and Mary. This is an extremely hard working team. No one feels like they have to be controlling which makes for a great working atmosphere. We have seen the miracle of sight given to many people. Unfortunately the people, because of disease and a lack of nutrition, have terrible eyes. There are so many cases of Cataracts and Glaucoma that it is gutwrenching. Some of the cutest kids are coming through here. One girl around 7 had glaucoma so bad that she suffered from nerve damage. she could only see about 6 inches in front of her face. Her script was a -9.0. She could see then but unfortunately you have to take the glaucoma medicine every day to keep the pressure off of the eye or have surgery. We could only give her a couple months of medicine. Without the medicine or surgery she will probably be blind before she is a teenager. Bummer!!

I was doing a distance acquity check and scratched my eye with a piece of paper. The doctors gave me an eyewash with antibiotics. They told me to apply it every hour for four hours, then once before I went to bed and when I woke up. We had finished all of the prechecks so I stuck the bottle for dilating eyes in my pocket. I was distributing glasses when it came time to put the antibiotics in my eye. I wasn't paying attention, because we are working hard, and I grabbed the bottle for dilating eyes. I put that in my eye and it felt like it was on fire. I just thought that my eye must be very sensitive from the scratch. I still thought that I had put the antibiotic in my eye. Well everything started getting cloudy and fuzzy in that eye. I went to Jamie and told him that eye was really bothering me. He looked at my eyes and started laughing telling me that I dilated my eye. I felt pretty silly.

It is really neat around here because you can hear them playing drums in the evening and it kind of feels like you are in Africa. Last night a local witch doctor had a meeting next door. The drums and singing was very loud. That was unbelievably awesome.

Last night on the way back to the compound there was a fire on the hill above our compound. We found out this morning that it was a house fire and a baby died. Maybe that is why the local witch doctor was doing his thing last night.

I have been many countries suffering from sever political unrest. This place is great but I will not develop a sense of false security. I do not share this with the team because I don't want to prematurely alarm them or take away from the experience. I am telling you this so that you know that I am watching over them like a hawk, especially the women. If Mary tells you that she feels very safe then I am doing my job right. I would not hesitate to cause severe harm to anybody that would be a physical threat to this team. I know that this may not reduce any worrying that you may do, but I want you to know that I am committed to this teams safety and to the success of this mission.

More Emails!

From Eric, our team leader...

Hey Mark,

Here is a quick update. The trip went well. We got to our hotel in Miami at 2 a.m. everyone wanted to shower and catch some shut eye before we flew out to Haiti. We were at the airport at 5:15 and on our plane at 6:30. They told me to look for Theodore when we got our luggage. I found him and for $20.00 we completely bypassed customs and he took us straight to Gregg Ennis. Everyone rode with Gregg except me. I rode with the local minister, Charity Noel. Your grandpa ordained him as an elder in the church. He said that your father has given him a ride from Indianapolis to Spring Arbor before. He is a very nice man and had some pretty wild stories. He has been a preacher for 33 years. His daughter is in NY getting her masters and his son is going to be a doctor. He starts his residency here at Dessalines next year. The poverty here is very extreme. 2 out of 3 babies die by the age of 3. The average age of a pregnant female is 13. The average man lives till 47 and the average female lives till 52. Gregg and Gail have worked here for 22 years. The quarters they have here are quiet nice. We had a Haitian chicken meal with rice and beans for dinner it was rather good. We are in a compound which seems rather secure. There is a disco tech next door and they are really partying it up tonight. There are no speed limit signs on the roads and no stop signs or lights. Their roads are about 60% covered. There are some very beautiful places by the ocean owned by rich people. We saw quite a few UN troops and very few police. I attached some pictures that Dave took. I have no idea the specifics since my upidstay computer won't let me view them and took me 30 minutes to attach these enjoy. :-) There is great need here and a people that are longing to hear the good news because most of what they get is bad news. pep ietian mwa foo pu u. I can see why Gregg and Gail have devoted their lives to helping God's children here. God has blessed us with an exceptional team to Haiti. We all get along very well and I sense a longing from this team to serve God's children in Haiti with the love of the Lord. I have kept a constant eye on the women to assure that they are not in any immediate danger. They are awesome! I have never served with women that long to serve so much and not worry about controlling events around them. The church, this mission team, and Haiti have been truly blessed with having them here with us. Jamie Casper has fit right into the team. with his previous experience he provides a sense of continuity with the work that we need to do and our longing to do it correctly to be blessing to Haiti. thank you for the opportunity to serve God and our congregation in this task of utmost importance to God and his children.

In Christ,

Emails from Haiti!

The first one, from Mary...
Hi, we're here. The mission here is really neat. It is really dirty and really a beautiful country. I had a lizard in my room tonight. I guess he will keep other bugs away. Two big cockroaches in my toilet tank. Something ran across my bed. I think it was a gecko. It is really hot. Tomorrow we go to the church to do the glasses. We had no problems getting in or travel to the mission house. I love you guys. Love to you, Mary Mommy

And then, a couple days later, also from Mary...
Today was really cool. Gave away 140 glasses today. About 138 yesterday. We are only doing 100 pair tomorrow. My job is fitting the glasses. It has been really rewarding. I can't wait to show you the photos. It is really hot and humid. We are inside all the time. It feels safe, but don't worry I'm not wandering around by myself. I have so many neat stories to share. I can't wait. Love to you, Mary

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Well, here we go!
January 19, we are sending a team from CrossRoads to Haiti. They come home on the 26th.
And in between, they will be putting eyeglasses on people who cannot afford them.
Imagine, helping the "blind" be able to "see"!
And the people of CrossRoads have brought their nicely used glasses. Eric and a few others have checked them out, and made them ready for wear.
We have two doctors ready to go - and what a week it will be.
This group will have some great stories, great videos and they'll do some great things for God.
For my wife, this will be her "return" trip to Haiti - having gone there as a high schooler a bunch of years ago.
I wish I could be there! What an amazing trip this will be!
Pray hard!