Wednesday, February 29, 2012

try


Matthew 25:14-30
“Well done, my good and faithful servant. …Come, share your master’s joy.”

Every day we open our eyes on the same world that Jesus did, and every day we face the same challenge: Confront the evil in our midst or surrender to it; do what we can to help or bury our talents in the ground.

It wasn’t Christ’s practice to address broad issues such as sin, sickness, poverty, or despair. Instead, He approached individuals - sinful ones, sick ones, poor ones, and desperate ones – and tackled problems one person at a time.
That’s all the Lord asks of us.

None of us is ill-equipped for our Christian mission. God has outfitted each of us with something to offer, and He expects us to use our talents — to take risks as Jesus did — and invest what we have been given to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in our world.

This gospel parable is Christ’s polite way of telling us, “Don’t just stand there. Do something.” Because when we are called before God to give an accounting of our lives, the question He will put to us is not, “Were you successful?” but “Did you try?”


{Copied that devotional because the part about tackling problems one person at a time speaks truth ... We believe we're called into relationship and asked to use our gifts in relationship. Our desire should be to truly care about the people we work/live/interact with  - focusing on loving and serving and doing no harm.}

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March Due Dates

EDIT/UPDATE on 3/5/2012 -  Still left to deliver in March - Becky, Chrislene, Vitana!

The list of ladies due this coming month if you'd be willing to pray for them ...

Nadine
Due early March
will be her fourth baby, history of babies dying, history of preeclampsia
26 years old
 Guerline
31 years old, first baby, due first half of March


Becky
 Due March 7 - First Baby
Serving Heartline Ministries as a teacher w/her husband Jimmy

Jeannise
3rd child ( first two are both living)
Due March 14 
28 years old
Husband is very sick, Jeannise is caring for him as well

Dalinda
Due March 30
Baby's 19 y.o. dad died of a heart-condition in January
17 years old
(Daughter of Lucy, a 52 year old that had a baby in our program in 2011)



Vitana
Has one child,
Pregnant with twins! (boys)
Due in mid April, assumed they will come early
26 years old 
due to position of the babies we won't be able to deliver, we plan to do postpartum care




Chrislene 
(nickname Baby)
very recently joined program, lives in a tent w/her Mom
Age 20, first baby
Due March 31


Full list of ladies in the program is located on the top tab called 'prayers for pregos'.  Thank-you for your prayers for these courageous women!

Monday, February 27, 2012

weekend things





The funeral for K was on Saturday. A gathering of the choir that had been singing for her took place Sunday.  Funerals in Haiti are fairly intense and culturally the way grief is expressed looks different than what we're used to  ...We've only been to three funerals in our time here.

A few things that we noted/experienced that are out of the ordinary for Americans ...

  • After the funeral everyone walks together behind the hearse as it travels to the graveyard
  • Some funerals will have a band playing (depends on if you can afford a band)
  • Occasionally grieving people fall to the ground (cleanliness of ground doesn't seem to play into when or where that happens - no amount of grief could bring me to lie down in a Port au Prince street, but I digress)
  • Grieving as loud as you wish or need  
  • The mom of the deceased (especially if the deceased is a young person) does not usually enter the graveyard. Moms should not have to bury their children, so the mother leaves the rest of the crowd before entering the cemetery
  • Once to the place where K would be buried the casket was opened for one last viewing, that was mainly done for us (although we didn't ask for that) because we missed seeing the casket open at the funeral itself
  • Before placing the casket into the cement encasement/tomb it is smashed with a rock (in order to damage it) and the handles are broken off to prevent anyone from coming to steal the casket and attempt to reuse it
  • As we wove in and around the huge cemetery we saw many open tombs with bones visible


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This weekend brought big changes to our 2012 outlook ... a bunch of family and friends in MN were able to find great airfares to come see us.  We now have family coming in March, May, and July and friends coming in June and December. We haven't had this many visitors since our first year here!

The three musketeers got matching baseball jersey shirts and decided to all wear them to school today,  they posed for photos as they headed out this morning.  It has been such a great few weeks of school with the kids coming home excited every day and eager to go each morning.  We're very pumped for Jimmy and Becky's baby to come.  We're all guessing it is a boy.

The dogs have to be all up in our mix anytime it is possible. This guarantees that we have a white spot of dog snot on our upper thigh most days. Delicious. Hazelnut won't be one year old until May but is looking like she'll be a bigger dog than Peanut once she's full grown. Peanut is the best Mastiff of all seven of the current Heartline Mastiffs (in our opinion)  - She has totally perfected security detail and knows exactly when to bark and act tough and when to zip it.  We've had Peanut since early 2006 and even as a non-dog person I am forced to admit I love that animal. Hazel needs to get a lot smarter and a lot less 'sou moun' before I'll ever claim to love her.

By Dr. Carroll


C’est la Vie in Soleil

by John Carroll, MD - pjstar.com - February 26, 2012
       
Photo by John Carroll - Cite Soleil
The following post is a description of two interviews I had today with young ladies that live in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince. My main questions for them revolved around cholera.
But first of all, I want to give a very brief summary of where I think the public water comes from in Soleil. These few sentences will be boring, but they are important. Water engineers and smart people out there, please help me if this is incorrect in any way, and I will correct my mistakes. More than ever in Soleil, access to good water can mean the difference between life and death.
The water that is pumped to Soleil is from a water reservoir in LaPlaine which comes from the water table (anba woch) and this water is pumped underground by pipes to the large imposing water tower sitting at the entrance to Soleil off of Route National 1.
Two white PVC pipes run along the northern side of the water tower. One carries water up and the other carries water down to pipes below the ground and through these pipes water is pumped to “basins” spread all over Soleil. A ‘basin” is a series of pipes and spigots that people have access to in the slum. People come to these basins and fill up white buckets of water, put them on their head, and walk back to their shack. It is up to them to treat their own water with Clorox or aquatabs because it is my understanding that the water from LaPlaine has not been treated.
Another important supply of water to Soleil are water trucks that transport water in to the slum. I don’t know enough to say much about this water’s origin, its purity, or its potability. But these points would not be hard to answer.
The importance of this “chain of flow” of water is to figure out the best places to test and treat the water for cholera.
————-
This is Saturday, February 25, 2012, and there is no pediatric clinic today in Soleil. So my goal was to go the Boston neighborhood in Soleil to check out information regarding cholera. I wanted to find out if the people in Boston have any means to fight the oncoming fourth wave of cholera when the rainy season starts again very soon in April.
I met Natalie the secretary who works in the pediatric clinic in the back of Soleil where I work during the week. Natalie is a great gal and lives in Soleil at Soleil 19, just several blocks from the clinic. She and I were going to walk the mile through the slum to Boston but she had some news for me.
Natalie calmly informed me that there was “a war” going on in the streets between the gangs of Boston and Beleko. These are two large neighborhoods that abut each other in the northwest part of the slum. Natalie said that one of the gang leaders in Beleko was shot and killed two days ago and things were still dangerous in the streets.
She advised me to stay in the back part of Soleil where we were and I could talk to her neighbors about cholera. That seemed like fine advice to me.
So we walked through the little pathways of Soleil to Natalie’s mother’s one room shack and sat down inside the room. It was very clean and not too hot.
Natalie said in a hushed voice that we were sitting right next door to the Soleil gang chief’s shack. I asked her about him and she said he was benevolent to the people around this neighborhood and she referred to him as “Patwon”. She also said the people in Soleil are not as mean as the warring people in Boston and Beleko.
I told her I wanted the Soleil people’s perspective on cholera. I asked Natalie to talk to some people close by that had suffered from cholera or had family members suffer from cholera. She concurred and said “no problem”. Natalie said it would not be hard to find people very familiar with cholera.
She stepped outside of her mother’s place and called out the name “Venise”. A few seconds later a young lady walked in carrying her three-month old baby and sat down in a white plastic lawn chair in front of me.
       
Venise--Photo by John Carroll
Venise did not know her own age but she states that when she was 19 years old her mother threw her out of the house in Jeremie and somehow she ended up in Soleil. (Jeremie is a city about 10 hours by public transportation from Port-au-Prince.) She does not know how many years she has been in Soleil. She does not have an electoral card or an identity card, and her birth certificate is lost somewhere in Jeremie. Venise appeared to be about thirty years old.
Venise told me that she had never been to school and does not know how to read and write. She has no job and depends on her neighborhood (lakou) in Soleil to support her. Her neighbors give her and her children some food when they have extra. Typical food for Venise and her children are rice, pureed beans, ground corn, and some meat sauce. If the neighbors have no extra food that day, Venise and her children don’t eat.
She lives in a one room shack near Natalie’s mother and her neighbors pay her 550 Haitian dollars (about 70 dollars US) rent each six months to her landlord.
Venise has five children ages 14, 8, 4, 2 and the happy three-month old she was holding. The two oldest children are from one man and the three youngest from second man. She reports the same as most Haitian women in this social strata about her childrens’ fathers: “Yo pa occupe nou…” which means that the men do nothing for her or her kids.
Venise, with the help of her lakou, had her two oldest children in schools in Soleil. But their father took them with him moved them into a tent city in Fort National. However, the father’s girlfriend was beating the two kids so bad, a neighbor in another tent took them in and is letting them sleep and eat whatever she can find for them. Neither of the two kids are in school now.
Venise no longer sees the older kids in Fort National and she has the three youngest children with her in Soleil.
Venise told me that one day in November, 2011 when she was 9 months pregnant with the baby she is holding today, she abruptly started having diarrhea and began to vomit. And so did her eight year old daughter Mimi who still lived with her. They both went to St. Catherine’s Hospital Cholera Treatment Center (CTC), which is just a couple of blocks away, and was run by Doctors Without Borders-Belgium.
Venise said she went into shock quickly and required 23 liters of IV fluid over several days. Mimi required only a couple of IV liters to feel better. They both survived because the CTC was so close and they went quickly. And the CTC was well stocked with supplies and had people who knew what they were doing. Venise delivered the three-month old baby girl a couple of weeks later.
Doctor Without Borders-Belgium left St. Catherine’s in December and the hospital is now run by MSPP (Public Health Department of Haiti). When Doctors Without Borders was in charge of St. Catherine’s, there was no charge. But now it costs five Haitian dollars (about 75 cents) for a dossier to be made and for a consult with a doctor. If one is admitted to the hospital, MSPP charges one hundred Haitian dollars (12 US dollars) for the use of the bed no matter how long the patient’s stay is in the hospital.
I asked Venise where she gets her water now. She gets her water from some public pipes here in the neighborhood (basin) which comes from the big water tower that sits in the entry way to Cite Soleil. One bucket of water costs one gourde (a few pennies).
She said that she did not treat her water with Clorox or Aquatabs before she got cholera and she doesn’t treat the water now either because she has no money. So she and her kids are drinking this water which is not really clean.
I asked Venise if she is afraid of cholera. She said she is afraid and that “it is coming back.” When I asked her how she knows cholera is coming back, she said “everyone says it is”.
I asked Venise if she was happy with her life in Soleil. She said “Yes, because I have no other place to go.”
————-
       
Manushka--Photo by John Carroll
The second person I talked to was a polite young lady named Manushka. She said she is 24 years old.
Manushka was born and raised in Soleil and lives in the same neighborhood near Soleil 19 near Natalie and Venise. She has no children but she is the oldest of seven and she feels responsible for her six younger brothers and sisters.
Manushka told me that her mother died in 2000 and stated that her mom “was sick all the time”. Her father buried her mother in Drouillard Cemetery in the slum. This funeral and burial cost her father quite a bit so Manushka could not continue in school and she never went back to school. She has four years of education and can write her name and do simple math.
She told me that 13 months ago her father died from cholera. When I asked her what year that would have been, she did not know.
Manushka said that her father did manual labor on Kafou Aeropo (Airport Corner) and drank water while he was at work. He became sick on a Monday and was taken directly to Doctors Without Borders-Tabarre and died on Wednesday. They did not allow visitors in the cholera tent and so she was unable to see her father until after he died. He is buried in the Drouillard Cemetery too.
Manushka seems very bright.
I asked her if she knows why Haiti has cholera. She said no and then turned the question around on me and asked me if I knew why.
I told her that it was inadvertently introduced here by the MINUSTAH soldiers in central Haiti in 2010.
She just slightly smiled and said nothing.
I asked her if she ever heard this explanation and she said no. I asked her if MINUSTAH was doing a good job in Soleil and she said no. She said they are not doing much good work and that they abuse people by hitting innocent people in Soleil. I asked her if MINUSTAH still shoots in Soleil, and Manushka said no.
When I asked her if the Haitian National Police (HNP) abuse people she said yes. She said they tear up ID cards and hit people in Soleil. However, she said that the HNP needs to be supported over MINUSTAH because the “Haitian police are us…they are from here.”
I asked Manushka if she went to church. She said no. When I asked her what religion she is, she said that she has no religion. I asked her if she was mambo (worship the devil) and she still replied no. She said that she doesn’t believe in God…that she is an atheist.
I asked Manushka if she was happy with her life here in Soleil. She said no because of all the “gang fighting and people running”.
When I asked Manushka where she gets her water, she said it is from the same pipes (basin) where Vanesse gets her water. But Manushka treats her water with Clorox.
When I asked her what Soleil needs, she replied clean water, clean streets, and education for young people. She said that she would like to go to a professional school (I think she meant vocational) and that if she learned something and got a job that would be good for her and good for Haiti too. She would like to become a cosmetologist.
I asked Manushka if she became sick where she would go for medical care. She stated that she has nowhere to go since MSPP took over St. Catherines and charge 25 gourdes for a dossier. And she said that she has no money for any medication that would be prescribed anyway.
When I asked Manushka if the Haitian government was going to do anything to help Soleil, she said no. She said that the Haitian government doesn’t respect the young people of Soleil or think that they have any importance, so they are ignored.
She said the only help Soleil gets is from foreigners coming with trucks of water and Clorox. She viewed this as the only good thing being done for the people of Soleil.
————
After talking with these two young ladies, Natalie and I left her mother’s room and walked back through Soleil towards the pediatric clinic. I stopped at a basin where women and children were collecting water coming from the pipes. I asked the women if they put Clorox in the water and they said yes and they asked me to buy them more Clorox.
———
So here are my questions and comments about the water and cholera in Soleil:
Could the water be tested coming from LaPlaine to see if it is cholera free? Can it be tested as it comes out of the spigots at the local basins in Soleil just before it flows into the white buckets?
Can there be a constant supply of Clorox and aquatabs for the hundreds of thousands of people who live here?
Can thousands of liters of Ringer’s Lactate (and IV tubing and setups) be brought to St. Catherine’s NOW so it is ready in one month for the wave of cholera that is to hit.
Can nurses be hired by MSPP for St. Catherine’s CTC NOW so they are ready to begin work. And can cholera community health educators start circulating through Soleil NOW educating people about what is most likely coming back in a few weeks.
Doctors Without Borders and other NGO’s did all they could and saved many lives in Soleil with their CTC. But they are gone from Soleil now and St. Catherine’s Hospital and the CTC are definitely not ready right now for a big hit of cholera patients.
It is time for other agencies to kick in. The Haitian Prime Minister just resigned the other day and there is much political fighting high up in the Haitian government. This instability could easily disrupt the flow of cholera materials that is needed to save lives in Soleil.
The two girls I interviewed are typical of the people of Soleil. They help each other as much as possible under almost impossible circumstances. They want to live as much as we do. We have 16 months of experience with cholera now in Haiti and need to learn from our mistakes. Stopping cholera deaths in Soleil is completely possible. We just have to have the will.
                                
Water Canal--Cite Soleil
John A. Carroll, MD

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ti fi pou Nadia



Nadia's first child died after a c-section. Her second child (a son) is living. At 4:45 today she had a baby girl!

Thursday History Lesson

If you allow yourself to Google search your every.fleeting.thought.  -  you end up not only wasting massive amounts of time on-line, but also on occasion you accidentally learn something. 


The usefulness of said accidental learning is up for debate. But still ...


I'm sharing these interesting (and useful) things I read the other night.  


As a result of thinking to myself "Huh, I bet at least a couple of our kids will have interracial marriages someday", I was researching and reading here about interracial marriages in history and I came across the story of Joseph Philippe Larouche.  It was all quite fascinating. 


"Attitudes towards Interracial marriage have changed dramatically, in just the last generation. In the United States it was just 43 years ago when interracial marriage was made fully legal in all 50 states. Today, in many countries, interracial marriage is commonplace and most don’t even give it a second thought. However, as we all know, it wasn’t always this way in the past. This list includes individuals who didn’t let the prejudice of society make their decisions in life, and also paved the way for interracial couples in the future."
(check the link above)


One story was about a Haitian man that died on the Titanic 100 years ago ...


Mr Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti on 26 May 1886. In 1901, at age 15, he left Haiti and travelled to Beauvais, France, where he hoped to join the high school to study engineering.

Laroche Family
While visiting nearby Villejuif Joseph met Miss Juliette Lafargue. After Joseph graduated and got his degree, he and Juliette were married in March of 1908. Their daughter Simonne was born 19 February 1909; a second daughter, Louise, was born prematurely on 2 July 1910, and suffered many subsequent medical problems.

Racial discrimination prevented Joseph Laroche from obtaining a high-paying job in France. Since the family needed more money to cope with Louise's medical bills, Joseph decided to return to Haiti to find a better-paying engineering job, the move being planned for 1913.

In March 1912, however, Juliette discovered that she was pregnant, so she and Joseph decided to leave for Haiti before her pregnancy became too far advanced for travel. Joseph's mother in Haiti bought them steamship tickets on the La France as a welcome present, but the line's strict policy regarding children caused them to transfer their booking to the Titanic's second class. 

On April 10 the Laroche family took the train from Paris to Cherbourg in order to board the brand new liner later that evening.

Joseph - who is thought to have been the only black passenger on the Titanic - died in the sinking but his family were saved, possibly in lifeboat 14. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I am curious, do most folks think attitudes toward interracial marriage have changed dramatically? I don't think I know the answer. I'm probably not the person that should determine the answer. Paige was shocked; her jaw dropped to the floor when she realized that it became legal in all 50 states so recently. That is pretty flippin crazy. 


There is an ongoing struggle in Haiti with lighter skin people seen as better, smarter, more beautiful and/or capable. To us it seems that prejudice and race-based hierarchy is overt and deeply rooted. It's discouraging to interact with it and feel powerless to change it. 


Over the last month our kids have been learning about slavery and the civil rights movement at school. They come home to share what they've learned. Their responses and questions have been precious, insightful, and heartbreaking.  


Thursday's blog history lesson has now concluded.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

deep thoughts with noah & isaac

Paige & Noah
Over the past few weeks Isaac has been posing many questions opening the door to deep discussions.  Isaac's brain doesn't shut-off and he receives everything said to him in the most literal way possible. The rest of us get the privilege of helping him sort out his never-ending questions.

There is nothing quite so entertaining as ideological, philosophical, and theological discussions with a couple of ten year olds and a seven year old.

The boys especially love to engage in long conversations that weave hither and yon. They're cholk-full of ideas and enjoy a chance to pontificate upon the deeper meanings of everyday life and some of the regular occurrences in Haiti.  Most interactions are good for a snort laugh or two.

The other night we were discussing K, the young woman that died as a result of AIDS.  Troy and I left to go tell her sister the news. The kids knew that is what we were doing and were anxiously waiting for us to come back home. They know the little sister pretty well and asked how the little sister was and how she dealt with the news of her big sister's death?

We talked a lot about the whole situation and how sad it is. We talked about how some cultural stuff led her to ignore the early diagnosis of the disease. Everyone listened intently and the they were somber as they heard about how our time talking to the sister went and thought about her loss.

Troy said something to the boys about not being able to control the outcomes and the choices people make but needing to love them anyway.  He told the kids that the choices we make to love the people in our lives was one of the things we do have a ton of control over, even if the situations and the people were frustrating or difficult. Troy ended with some statement similar to, 'It is hard to always love other people but Jesus showed us that is what we should try to do.'

Noah thought about it all and we could see him ramping up to give us his two cents and copy his Dad with a word of wisdom.  He said, "Yeah. That is true Dad.  That is true. But you know what?!?  You know what is REALLY really hard?"

(insert pause for dramatic effect)

"It is very hard to love people you've never met."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

opting out isn't an option

Conducting an experiment today ... hoping it draws honest responses.

I am going to say type two words.  In response to the two words you'll need to honestly reflect the first words that came to your mind.

Here we go.

What are the first things that first pop into your head when I say-

"the church" ?

When I did this exercise myself I admit that "fakers" and "liars" are words that pop up for me. When I asked Troy he said, "judgment".

I love Jesus, I am trying to live a life seeking after him even though I jack it up fairly regularly.  I am married to a man that has spent the last 15 years coming to know Jesus without all the strings attached to his former understanding. We think of ourselves and our faith very much in terms of "we were saved, we are currently being made new, currently being saved, and we will be saved".

We confess that thinking of and seeing the church in a positive way has been challenging for us in our adult lives. We've felt rebellious and angry toward the church, toward Christians. I admit that at times I've been unfair and immature in my response to pain caused by 'the church' and by other Christians.

The church I spent a lot of my youth attending was pastored by a pedophile. When it finally came out that he was abusing boys there were people who wanted to cover it up. He was a 20+ year pastor that had destroyed many lives before it all blew up and everyone found out. The response of a handful of people and that pastor was mind-boggling and dishonest. I know my knee-jerk reaction and thoughts stem from my experiences at that church.

Troy grew up filled with fear about what would happen if he stepped out of bounds. He was taught that salvation had to be earned and maintained - legalism prevailed." Certain things made him "good" other things made him "bad". Mostly he lived feeling bad. When we first met and began dating he suffered from occasional panic attacks that were based on his struggle to find peace with himself as he began to love and know Jesus outside of the box in which he had always lived.

Because we're a jacked-up fallen mess of humanity we can always count on the fact that we will let each other down and say and do hurtful things. Spiritual abuse is commonplace. The ways in which Christians abuse and judge each other can be mind-numbing and the fact that so many reject our faith and mock us shouldn't surprise us based on our own behavior and judgement of one another.  Using God to control, shame, manipulate, or dominate people or arguments is called spiritual abuse, and it's not cool.  Jesus didn't win arguments or change minds that way. I'm thinking we shouldn't either.

Making giant sweeping statements about "the church" based on our personal experiences isn't really fair. However, it seems to us that a lot of believers (and of course non-believers) have similar negative memories, images and thoughts. I don't know where others in our generation fall, I would venture to guess a lot of us are uncomfortable with the things "the church" has done in our own history, let alone hundreds of years ago.

It is totally up to us to change this.  It is totally up to us to "be the church" we wish the church of our past had been. Our bitterness and rejection won't change lives, but our participation and forgiveness could. (writing this to myself as much or more than to you)

I listened to the sermon below while I ran Monday. I don't post sermons often, I recognize that I have no idea who reads and what biases and distrust readers may bring. I don't think of Troy or I as in your face kind-of-people.  We're more interested in just sharing the ways the love and forgiveness of Jesus in our own lives has compelled us to try to love a little better ourselves.

With that said, please know I wouldn't post any old sermon and ask you to consider listening to it. If you struggle to let go of past hurt or even refuse to go into any church setting at all because of your history with the church, I think you'll find some true and convicting things here. If there is any way you can listen to it start to finish, I'd encourage you to do so.  Listening to only the first half wouldn't give you the core message, so only listen if you can give up the full 49 minutes. You'll also need to be willing to overlook the giant head of puffy hair Greg is sporting. That was no issue for us, we stare at ridiculously large John McHoul hair every day.

Click this link for options to listen or download.
This is an MP3 link.
Attempting to embed video below as well ...



We found it helped us confirm that "opting out isn't an option" (as much as we tried that avenue for many years, we kinda always knew it was a cop-out) and it helped us see Christ and His Church in another way. My cynicism and disgust over things we've experienced doesn't draw anyone to Jesus or change anything.
It is a big ole mess, but God is kinda sorta really awesome at working in the middle of our big messes.


The Church is the body and bride of Christ. And while Paul says that we are holy in Christ’s sight, we don’t always act like it. In this sermon, Greg talks about how difficult it is to hope in the Church, and how we can still strive to be the Bride of Christ.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Home


The beautiful soul written about in yesterday's post, as well as here and here - left her tired and weak earthly body this afternoon shortly after 4pm.

In the final weeks of her life many visitors came and sang with her and spent time at her side. Multiple people were touched by her life and the joyful spirit with which she battled disease. While AIDS ultimately stole her health from her, it did not steal her faith or her spunk. She did not die alone or unloved and she now is Home where her suffering is no more.

Please pray for her sister (18) and her mother and their family. 

K. R.
Born in September 1992
Went home February 20, 2012

I’ve been feeling kind of restless 
I’ve been feeling out of place 
I can hear a distant singing 
A song that I can’t write 
And it echoes of what I’m always trying to say 

There’s a feeling I can’t capture 
It’s always just a prayer away 
I want to know the ending 
Things hoped for but not seen 
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway 

I’m confined by my senses 
To really know what you are like 
You are more than I can fathom 
And more than I can guess 
And more than I can see with human sight 

But I have felt you with my spirit 
I have felt you fill this room 
And this is just an invitation 
Just a sample of the whole 
And I cannot wait to be going home 

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table 
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air 
And you are never too young to think about it 
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home 

Face to face, how can it be 
Face to face, how can it be 
Face to face, how can it be 

"Going Home" by Sara Groves


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life is Fragile


{Background information at this post written by Troy.}

If you don't remember the story of 'K' , a 19 year old woman with TB and AIDS  - please read the past posts about her.  Heartline had a pre-existing relationship with this family and began to walk along side them and provide care and advocacy through some of what they have faced in the last year.

Life is fragile.

Tonight I am sad to report that things have taken a fairly dramatic turn for the worse for K.  After Troy and John visited her Friday they came back saying that they could see her heart beating through her chest as if her heart sat below a layer of tissue paper and no muscle or fat protected it at all.

Last week other patients in the tent with K told John and others that K had been throwing her meds away, refusing to eat or take them. Since then she has resumed taking her meds and claimed it was just a one time thing, but that isn't what those watching her said.

We'd like to get to the bottom of that, but right now K is too weak to question her about why she chose to do that. There are a couple possible reasons that we can guess, but the time to press her further on this - well - it just isn't now.

Life is fragile.

Many people have been visiting and singing and encouraging K and her mom and sister.  The visits are as much for the visitor as they are for K. I had been putting off a visit, hoping to keep from seeing K on a terribly bad day. Just hearing Troy's take on it made me kind of afraid to go.

Visiting is important. Standing so close to that level of suffering and courage has a way of stirring and changing people.

Life is fragile.

If we believe what Jesus said, there is great importance in visiting the sick, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult it might be.

Matthew 25:31-40 says:

31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. 34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
   I was hungry and you fed me,
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
   I was homeless and you gave me a room,
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
   I was sick and you stopped to visit,
   I was in prison and you came to me.'

 37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Life is fragile.

As is so often the case here, we're learning that there is a lot more to K's story than we originally thought.

Like the proverb says, 'Deye mon gen mon'.  Behind mountains there are mountains. 

At one point we mistakenly believed that she learned she was HIV + from a test done at Heartline in May 2011.  On that day last year when she was told the result her sister cried as if it was the first time they had heard.

Today as we drove away from the tent hospital where K rests we (again) asked her sister some questions, hoping to better understand how in the world she could be this sick this fast.  As we bumped along a back dirt road trying to avoid the Sunday night Mardi Gras (Kanaval) parades she shared a much more detailed version of the history of K's illness.

In 2005 when K was 14 she was in a physical 'relationship' with a 19 year old.
In 2006 the 19 year old guy died - "everyone knew it was SIDA". (SIDA is the Haitian acronym for AIDS).
In 2006 after the guy died they went to be tested and got a negative HIV result on K.
In 2007 she was sick a lot and they tested again. The 2007 test was positive.
There was a lack of belief about the result and K's sister said "they gave her medicine but she did not take it."
In 2010 we met K because her sister was a field hospital patient post earthquake.
In March 2010 K was well enough to give birth to a daughter.
In May 2011 K comes saying she is sick. Dr. Jen does and HIV test and informs her she is positive. 
In mid 2011 the TB tests done come back negative. (Or so we were told.)
In late 2011 K's sister tell us she is very sick. 
She is admitted into a HIV/TB program. 
Today she continues to reside at that same program, living in a tent with other patients.

She has probably been HIV+ since she was 14 years old.  Her birthday is in the month of September.   She will not turn 20 until September.  She is 19 years old and this is what full blown AIDS and TB looks like on a person that didn't have the support and couldn't or wouldn't believe she should take the HIV medications back in 2007.

Life is fragile.

We asked her if she wanted to stick around with us much longer or go home to her father in heaven...she says she'd prefer to 'stay here a while'.
We asked her to come dance with us in a Kanaval parade, she declined but said 'maybe next year'.
She continues to have some of the spunk we have come to love in her, but there is less of it.

Please continue to pray for K. 

Friday, February 17, 2012




Down on my knees
Praying please, have mercy now
Christ my shelter, in a world that tries to drag me down.
Open your mind.
Open your heart.
Open up your soul.
Jesus come in,
and make a broken man whole.
Carried the cross.
Carried the pain.
Carried the love.
We don’t belong here, 
but to the Father above.
Jesus in heaven and
Jesus in hell below.
Paid for our sin,
broken body with the red blood flow.
Rise up in glory,
raise your hands to the risen King.
He’s God almighty, listen to his children sing.
Let em sing. 
Hallelujah to our King.
Hallelujah, ruler over everything.
The children sing.
Hallelujah to our King.
Hallelujah, ruler over everything.
In this world you will have trouble.
But Jesus overcame the world.
And our body is His Temple.
And we will worship forever more.