Guest Post by Nina Brandi
Michel Martelly, former president of Haiti and well known musician, has a song entitled “Haiti”. When I first heard this song I was excited, because I was able to understand a few words!
“Mwen sonje peyi mwen, mwen sonje zanmi mwen,
Mwen sonje fanmi mwen, Mwen sonje Ayiti cheri mwen…”
This is my rough translation:
“I miss my country, I miss my friends,
I miss my family, I miss you, I miss you, my sweet Haiti.”
And miss Haiti, I did.
I’m sure many people are aware of the strong political instability Haiti has faced in the past, and present. This year mission trips came to a complete halt. For the first time since I have been volunteering, it became unsafe. My heart would break as I would see the 5:00 news display clips of the unrest, violent protests, and anger that radiated from the faces and hearts of the Haitian people. Truly a beautiful country who has endured so much, I knew they could overcome this as well. I hoped people would not associate negativity with the country that I had so much fallen in love with and I prayed that this would all come to an end soon. A right to protest, I agree with—but violence couldn’t be the solution.
Similar to the song above, I missed Haiti, I missed the beautiful people who live there, and I missed the friends that have become family. I missed my country. No—contrary to popular belief I am not Haitian. Haha! I am a proud American citizen and I do love the USA. But, if a doctor took a look at the shape of my heart... I think they would see that a part of it would resemble something that looked like Haiti.
While Haiti impacts me every time I visit, there was something different about this trip. Our first day began with the magnificent voices filling the church… the singing, music…. wow… no video would really do it justice. Do I have any idea what is being said? No, not fully. Some may think it’s silly to hear that just the instruments, singing, worshipping brings tears to my eyes. And while I wish he did, God doesn’t talk directly back to me when we have conversations. But He seems to show his presence and love in the most remarkable ways, and on that Sunday in Haiti I think he wanted to touch all of our hearts. I don’t know what His voice sounds like, but when the church in Haiti is singing, you get a small glimpse of what it could be.
After the church, we visited the Les Cayes Hospital, a place where medical supplies, medications, and staff are limited. We brought baby formula, which I recognize is a temporary solution but can still save a life in those visits.
In these hospital visits the constant question rushes toward my mind: Why me? I looked to the left and there was an abandoned child, crying, alone, and terrified. Her eyes and small angelic face are engrained in my mind. She was 6 months old, had a large tumor on her head. This sweet child was not in an environment where she could be treated, have the necessary surgery she needed, heal and grow. Instead, she was born in the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere. Why me? Why was I given so much opportunity and love? We sang a prayer, with all the mothers and children in this pediatric unit and I was in awe of their faith and love for God. Voices echoed throughout the hospital, and people raised their hands in praise. If these situations can’t shake their faith, I shouldn’t let my minor problems at home shake mine.
A visit to the new hospital land, and construction site followed this difficult visit. I tearfully looked at the strong earthquake proof foundation, and cinderblock walls. I remembered this once as a plot of soil. I remember early trips to Haiti and standing on the dirt. I remember the groundbreakers and the first construction trip. Now? Now that 4 letter word… HOPE.
Hope was alive. Hope was there all along, but now hope was tangible.
The days followed with busy medical clinics that had not been present in over a year. We ran out of medication daily and provided care to 550 patients in 4 days. Working in the pharmacy, one of my most favorite things was being able to give people the medications that they so needed. Conversations started out so seriously, as the interpreter began to tell them of their regimen that the doctor recommended. I have learned, that if you take the time to stop, look someone in the eye, smile, ask them how they are doing or even just give them a compliment—you in turn can make them smile. Yes! This is an obvious thing, but when you get caught up in the business of life—or in this case the clinic, you can sometimes forget. In the midst of sickness, I think it is always good to remind yourself that a patient is not just another intake form, but rather an individual with a story, sometimes a struggle, and is looking for answers. This is something that I try to apply to my own life back home.
All people we meet—whether that be in Haiti, your place of work, someone you run into at the grocery store—are going through something. While I don’t have all the answers, I think that slowing down, looking at people in the eye, genuinely inquiring on how they are doing, and smiling can do more good than you can imagine. Today I read a quote from Mark Twain, where he said the most important days of your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why. I think I am still figuring out my why, but one thing I do know for sure is that for as long as I live, I will study and learn and give everything I have to assist in forming solutions to this intense need, inequality of care, and to showing people the true beauty and potential that lies beneath the poverty. All humans are so deserving of being born into a world of opportunity and love where they can survive, thrive, and make a difference in their communities. So I guess, Mark Twain, that’s something I strongly feel is part of my “why”. I feel strongly that a big part of my why, my purpose was to give back the love and opportunity that I have been given to those around me.
I can see it.
I can see people walking into the doors of a clean, well equipped hospital. I see babies being born in sanitary conditions, in a place where they can survive. I see people getting x-rays and MRIs and cancer treatments. I see people getting their broken bones healed in a sturdy cast, I see the surgical room with Haitian doctors and nurses and anesthesiologists, I see educational programs for moms, women, and children. I see nursing students and residents. I see a pharmacy equipped with the necessary medications needed for their survival. I see computers and medical records and birth certificates. I see photos of the land, the first wall, the second walls, the ROOF, decorating the hospital walls. I see patients in individual rooms, with clean sheets and IV poles with functioning IV drips. I see people pursuing careers in research, and even finding cures to diseases. I see an elevator! I see staff! I see my friend Ti Madi working security at the front desk. I am so overwhelmed with a vision of this place in my mind. It is like I close my eyes and I can SEE it. I see people walking in and out of a hospital. Not just walking in. I am excited for the changes to come…one step at a time.
Nina, the dreamer. She needs to take one day at a time. But man, I can’t help but get excited. And I hope whoever you are reading this, that you get excited too. Whether that is for this hospital in Haiti, or some other adventure God has in your plans. Embrace it, be who you are, enjoy the journey, and don’t fear if it takes you in a new direction. His plans are much better than mine… (Jeremiah 29:11) but that’s a story for another day.
Lastly, I see myself—graduating next year from my Master of Public Health Program. And I see this as only the beginning. I am excited for the plans that God has in store for me, and the different ways he will use me to help his people, however that may be.
My sincerest gratitude goes out to the other piece of my heart, Steven Rohrig, who is fully aware of my dreams and love for this work. I am still figuring out many things in life but one thing I know for sure is that I have never been more at peace than when I am with you, and when I am serving the people of Haiti. Know that you also have my heart too. And I am so thankful for this incredible Christmas gift. You are one of my greatest blessings.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this. And as PL says, if you are moved to want to come to Haiti, lets talk about it over some lunch, maybe a prestige too! 😊
“I will bless the Lord at all times,His praises shall continually in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1)
FIND A WAY TO REFLECT ON THE AWESOMENESS OF GOD throughout 2020!
Remember sometimes God is quiet, sometimes he is loud. It is at times in the quiet, crushable, hopelessness and darkness of your personal private suffering, that your noblest dreams are born, and God greatest gifts are given, in compensation for what you've been through.
Get ready for an awesome 2020!
Set the tone. Let your new year begin with Praise.
Happy New Year from Pastor Lubin and Abbi, John and Gardinette as well as the ministry staff in Haiti.
Hello dear friends,
For the first time in a while we are receiving good news from Haiti. Thanks to your fervent prayers we can report that the winds of stability are now blowing towards Haiti.
In the last few days a Mercy Ship has been docked on the Haitian shores, and brought much needed medical aid and supplies to help the thousands without any assistance. Also soldiers are assisting with street security and clearing the way.
We received news that the highway to Les Cayes is now open and all the activities in the city have once again regained their normalcy. Pastor Jean Phares Beaucejour and Gardinette will finally be leaving this weekend to return to the front line to shepherd their flocks.
This is not a solicitation note, instead I’m happy to say it’s a praise report and to say thank you for once again standing with us and the people of Haiti .
We have a tremendous amount of work to do: Continuing with the work of the Mercy hospital, seeing our beloved children at the orphanages, visiting our loving patients at the villages, and sharing the good news of the gospel. As you can tell, we have a busy 2020 ahead, and we need peace and stability to achieve what God has trusted us to do for His glory.
Bénit swa L’etenel.
In Him Always,
As times goes on, the political situation in Haiti worsens. The country is paralyzed. No schools are open, no public transportation, no banks, no market days and most churches are closed.
At issue: the resignation of the President. 20+ political parties are fighting by paying some of the poorest of the poor to take to the streets all over Haiti requesting the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. The reasons are: high cost of living, corruption and a lack of security.
Mr. Moise, a hand pick of his predecessor (Michel Martelly) came to power to fight corruption. But it is almost impossible to succeed when Haiti doesn’t even know what it looks like to live without corruption.
Some of the heavyweight business donors propelled Mr. Moise to power with their deep pockets, and now they don’t like his reforms and therefore are now retaliating against him at all cost.
Haiti is in dire need for a leader who simply cares for the country and its people. Period. To see tangible progress in Haiti will take many years, but at least people need to feel safe to tackle their daily tasks.
Christmas is around the corner, and it will be a perfect opportunity to shine the light of Christ in the lives our beloved Haitian brothers and sister in one of their darkest hours.
“What can I do?”, you ask. I’m scheduled to go to Haiti once again this Christmas. As I go, I’m asking for your help so we can bless our helpers, interpreters, drivers and security staff. We would also ask you not to forget the needy babies at the hospital in dire need of some lifesaving formula.
Due to the situation on the field, I’ll not have a team with me, but with your help I’ll be delighted to have four feeding stations or more to feed as many kids and adults as possible. Since I’ll be limited with bags, I will take some toys with me, but may have to purchase most of the toys in Haiti.
This Christmas, please make a difference by sending Christ’s love and yours to the needy in Haiti. Please donate now, or send your life-saving contributions (payable to BEM) to: PO BOX 6060 Wallingford, CT 06492.
I know Haiti’s best days are still ahead. Let’s not be discouraged in well doing. Now more than ever before, your support is critical to the needs in Haiti.
Thank you in advance for your kind generosity.
Have you ever wondered if you’ve contributed negatively/positively to your current situation?
According to Nature.com in its Nov. 2nd article, "A tropical cyclone is a rare occurrence...The frequency of intense cyclones such as these has risen in recent years, and there is evidence that the observed increase is the result of a general shift towards conditions more favorable for intense tropical cyclones."
Our beloved Haiti is now experiencing another stormy moment in its history. The frequency of intense political storms such as these has risen in recent years and there is evidence that the observed increase is the result of a general shift towards anarchy. It’s not a nature-made one, rather its a man-made storm.
The mindset of most Haitian politicians is set on personal profits instead of the welfare of their country. This narrow thinking simply puts Haiti’s future in serious danger.
The actions of the current Haitian opposition parties are both harmful and dangerous to the advancement of the Caribbean island. It is not to say that the current Haitian President (Mr. Jovenel Moise) is blameless. Instead, we are experiencing a lack of rule of laws on display. The democratic process would make the political party in power pay for its consequences on Election Day by the people. Their failure to lead and provide security and meet the basic needs of the population has resulted in what we are seeing now.
The opposition parties called Monday October 7th 2019 (Black Monday) meaning nothing was supposed to move on that day; no public transportation, no schools, no markets, no stores, nothing at all. This is exactly we experienced with the Duvalier regime in 1957. While we can’t afford another Duvalier style of government, we are in dire need of serious leadership and rule of law to govern this nation.
It’s simply a shame to once again call upon the United Nations to bring stability. It minimizes our sovereignty while the poorest of the poor are paying a high price by not having access to basic daily necessities.
I know of many patriotic man and woman living abroad willing to help their country but they are prevented to do so due to the unnecessary law in our constitution today.
So, I'm asking the Haitian parliament to quickly rectify the laws that are preventing the Haitians living abroad, either in the U.S., Canada or elsewhere, to be engaged in the political process and to run for political offices to facilitate help for their country in serious need of their assistance today.
While we are making plans for January 2020 for our mission teams, hoping for a break in the situation, I’m asking once again for your much appreciated prayers. I truly believe Haiti’s future is bright but we need people with a sense of "Haiti First" to get there.
-Please pray for the weak mothers who can’t nurture their newborn and have no access to the formula.
-Pray for the construction workers who cannot purchase construction materials to continue with the Mercy Hospital project.
⁃ Pray for our dedicated interpreters depending on our arrival for survival
⁃ Pray for our kids in our orphanages; they miss the visits of their sponsors
⁃ Pray for our leaders to make hard but necessary decisions for the advancement of our beloved Haiti.
This terrible storm is man-made. Men need to take responsibility and fix it.
Thank you so much for your time.
- Pastor Lubin Beaucejour