Isaiah 30:21 - Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Monday, May 21, 2012

James Joseph: Chapter 4

Last Thursday, Dr. Smith, the pediatric urologist, who graciously agreed to do James' surgery flew in Haiti.  The plan was for him to talk with Momma and Poppa James on Friday about the surgery and then fly back with James on Saturday for surgery the following Tuesday. 

This Spring President Martelly decided the day before daylight savings started that Haiti was going to participate in it this year.  Now most people didn't seem to like this but I on the other hand thought this was a great idea because it means the mornings are slightly cooler and it stays light longer at night.  What this also means is that because Haiti decided to do this so close to the time change the airlines don't recognize this and so we are often a little late or early depending on how you look at it when picking up people from the airport.  It just so happened today that Stephen and I were almost late to the airport because we were at the supermarket doing food shopping for the team.  We picked up Dr. Smith who immediately began telling us stories of how he came to Haiti after the earthquake and all the adventures he had during his travels.  He also told us about Chevy, another boy at Canaan, who he operated on and how he was glad he was going to be able to see him again.  Of course later that night when Chevy saw Dr. Smith he started screaming!  I think it was because he wasn't used to seeing older white males try to pick him up but after a bit of time Chevy warmed up to him. 

Friday I gave Dr. Smith a tour of Canaan, the clinic, the school, and the Mamba clinic.  We also went to visit Momma James at her house so he could see where James and his family lived.  Later that afternoon we sat down with Momma James and Eddy, our translator/body guard when we go to Port, to discuss the surgery.   Dr. Smith did a great job explaining everything he was going to do for James.  The most amazing part in all of this was after we were done talking some of the clinic staff saw we were in there talking about a major surgery and came in to pray for James.  I know through this whole experience God has had His hand on this little one.   We left telling Momma James to be ready to go at 6:00 am to make sure we could get to Port in time for the plane and just in case there were any issues with immigration we would have plenty of time. 

Six in the morning comes quickly when you're not a morning person but that morning I was too excited to think about it being early.  Stephen and the doctor loaded in and we headed down to the clinic to pick up Momma James, Poppa James, James, Poppa James' niece and some other random boy who was with them.  Down the road we went where we picked up Eddy and dropped off the random boy.  I never did figure out who he was or why he needed a ride at 6 in the morning, but in any case we started driving again and I was getting excited thinking after months of waiting today was finally the day we were going to get James to the States.  And then I saw them.  

Rows of tap taps and motos were lined up along the side of the road.  People were climbing down from the huge trucks carrying their fruit and walking towards the cars.  There was a riot.  

Eddy told us to pull over and he would go check it out.   He came back out of breath from running and told us tires were burning and people were shouting and that there was no way we were going to be able to pass.  Eddy being the resourceful guy that he was found someone who was going to take us a back way and into the truck climbs random man who tells us to turn around.  No problem I thought because we can't get through the other way.   The only problem was random man didn't know the road to turn to go around all the rioting so back we turned towards the riot.  

As we pulled off along the road discussing what we were going to do five shady men started walking towards our car.   Out of the car goes both random man and Eddy who tells us that those men are part of the rioters.  Eddy started yelling at the guys telling them we have a baby that needs to go to the States for surgery and telling them they have to let us through.  Well of course there was no way the truck was going to be able to get through this huge riot so Eddy, Momma and Poppa James, and the Doctor all got out and hopped on a moto who was going to take them through the riot and once across they would get a tap tap to Port.  Once the rioter guys found out it was an emergency they actually were pretty helpful.  

 It all happened so fast that before I knew it they were gone.  Stephen, the niece, and I breathed a sigh of relief that despite the major riot James would still get to the airport on time.  Or so I thought because as the car turned around I realized that I had forgotten to give Dr. Smith the paper, something immigration requires, stating that the parents agreed to let him travel with James.  So the options we had were 1. Send the niece through the riot to catch up with them to get them the paper.  2.  Go myself.  Or option 3 send one of the rioters we had just talked to who was conveniently walking back to us at this point. 

I don't really know what other word could describe this guy except shady.  He had this side to side walk coupled with his dreads and missing shirt made him well...shady.  Now normally I wouldn't want to talk to a guy like this but desperate times called for desperate measures.  So I rolled down the window and hollered for him to come over here.  I explained to him the situation and told him it was extremely important the Doctor gets this paper.  As shady rioter guy ran off I thought to myself well I hope he makes it cause there's no way I'll be able to get that paper back if he doesn't.  

I called Eddy to let him know shady rioter guy was coming with the paper and to not go any further than they already had.  Apparently there was a second riot up ahead so they hadn't been able to get far.  After what seemed like an eternity Eddy called and said shady rioter guy made it with the paper!  Praise the Lord!  We waited again for the guy to come back so I could give him some money.  

While we were waiting more and more cars and trucks came, saw that the road was blocked, and pulled over to wait until the road opened up again.  After what seemed like another eternity shady rioter guy returned and collected his money for safely delivering the letter.  As we were pulling away this lady with a huge smile on her face flagged us down and said she recognized the Mamba truck and asked if she could have a ride back to Montrouis.  Of course we said and she ran happily back to the stranded tap tap to collect her fruit.    

While we waited for her another lady approached the truck and said Caroline are you going back to Montrouis?  Can I have a ride?   I didn't know either of these ladies but they recognized me and the Mamba truck.   

Sure I said again and turned to Stephen and said Haiti really is a small world.   We made it safely back to Canaan and Eddy called a little while later saying they took a moto the whole way to the airport but they made it.  The Doctor and James were on the plane! 

This past Tuesday James had his surgery and it was a success!  Dr. Smith was able to repair both the hernia and open bladder.  James is now recovering in the States and will be there a couple more weeks to make sure there aren't any leaks.  Thank you to everyone who kept James and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Eddy, Dr. Smith and Momma James after we talked together about the operation

James after the operation

James with his host family

Discharge day from the hospital!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

James Joseph Chapter 3

Great news from Haiti!  For all those that have been following James Joseph his visa was approved Friday and will be going to the States for surgery!  It was the last and final leg in the journey in getting him approved to go to the States.  After being away in the States for two weeks I came back this week and went down to the village to check on James and his family.  They were all doing well though James had some stomach swelling and didn't like the fact that his Mom was trying to show me his belly.  He's gotten so big over the past couple of months and looks a lot older with his new hair cut.  I told Momma James that she, Poppa James, and Baby James needed to come with me to the American Embassy Friday and that we would leave at 7:15 to make sure we would be there in plenty of time for our 9:30 appointment.   

Appointment day
Friday morning Stephen and I drove down to the clinic where we met Eddy, a neighboring Haitian, who was going to Port with us to run some errands, but no Momma, Poppa, or baby.  After waiting a few minutes we called the cleaning lady over, who happens to live next door to them, and asked if she would go tell them that we had to leave.   After what seemed like an eternity the family finally showed up and we were on our way!  We still had plenty of time according to the clock but poor Momma James got car sick so we had to stop.  Then the dreaded thing I was trying to avoid happened.  Traffic.  There are two ways to get to the embassy.  A shorter route distance but usually has more  traffic and a longer distance with less traffic.   I thought with it being early in the morning we could avoid most of the traffic....well I was wrong.  

One thing about Port is you never know how much traffic to expect...well I guess I should say expect a lot.  The minutes crept crawling by until finally we had twenty minutes left to make it to the appointment on time and even though there is no speed limit in Haiti there was no way we were going to make it on time.  I closed my eyes to pray for the traffic to part like the red sea and when I opened it the red sea of tap taps and cars were still there.  We were at a stand still.  We had one option.  I turned to Eddy and asked him if he would take the parents on a moto.   I handed him everything I had brought for the appointment and said they needed to get to this appointment on time.   Off the four of them went leaving Stephen and me waiting in the traffic jam for word that they got there on time.  Well not more than fifteen minutes went by that Eddy called saying they made it there on time!  Praise the Lord!  After waiting about 90 minutes I got the call that the appointment went well and they received the visa!  We will be getting the official paper this week and Dr. Smith, who will be operating on James, is coming to talk to the parents in two weeks about the surgery and then will be taking James back.   

Thank you for everyone's prayers for James, for his family, and for this whole process.   We serve a mighty and powerful God and it is only through his works that this all came together.    

On a side note, a couple weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet the Tony, the Dad from the host family.   He came to Haiti on a mission trip and we met him at the airport so he could meet Momma James and see baby James.  Here are some pictures from that day.  Blessings.

Tony, James and Mom meeting for the first time

Tony showing Momma James pictures of his family

Praying and saying a final goodbye

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's going on around Canaan!?

Hey friends,

Want to know what's happening around Canaan?!  We have a new facebook page Canaan Christian Community that you can join.  Also take a look at our first newsletter of the year.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

James Joseph Part 2

Dear friends,

About a month has passed since my last post and as always a lot of things have happened.  I went home to the States for Christmas and New Years and had an absolute blast.  I told myself at New Year's I would blog more and hopefully this year I'll write more than once a month.  I wanted to share with all those that have been following James' story that our prayers have been answered and that we have found a surgeon!!!   One of the girls who used to live here emailed my blog to a pediatric urologist who actually had performed surgery on a little boy now living at Canaan and he agreed to help out.  Praise the Lord!!  There are more stories and posts to come about how the Lord is piecing everything together but until then please continue to pray as we work on getting all the massive amount of paperwork needed for a medical visa. 

Many blessings from Haiti,