Today’s blog for Monday November 5th was written by Dr Sheri Gillis Funderburk
My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
It is Monday, November 5th and the time is 7 am or maybe it is 8. Yesterday was daylight savings time, however in Haiti the decision to recognize daylight savings is made on an annual basis the day before. If the time does change it is often delayed in remote areas like Dame Marie. Today is the first day of the medical clinic and it starts at 9 am so we are happy to hear it is 7 am and we have a little more time to set up. Since this is the third year of the clinic one may expect we know what to expect. This would be incorrect. Despite months of preparation, set up is always decided once we arrive. The first year we did not know what to expect at all and we set up clinic in the church. The second year Hurricane Matthew completely destroyed the church and we held the clinic on the parsonage porch. This year a temporary structure had been erected to hold church services/activities and three new classrooms were completed and we were able to hold the clinic there. I give thanks for God giving us the ability to adapt. “I have learned to be satisfied with what I have and with whatever happens.”
The clinic focus has been on diabetes and high blood pressure education and treatment. Unfortunately, even with education, due to severe poverty, it is difficult for most Haitians to follow dietary recommendations for blood pressure and glucose control. For example, the average
Haitian diet contains 30 to 35 grams/day of sodium, this is almost 9 times the recommended amount of 4 grams/day. Education centers around reducing the current consumption of salt and starches, increasing water intake, and eating more fruits and vegetables.
After giving a poster presentation clinic clinic began. We saw approximately 100 people on the first day of clinic. The clinic was truly a collaborative effort with my fellow American missionaries, Haitian staff from RMI and a local doctor. The vast majority of people we saw had high blood pressure, many with blood pressures over 180/90. The highest blood pressure was 230/130. It was pressures like these that made me so thankful for God’s provision of a local Haitian doctor to help run the clinic and refer patients to the hospital who needed additional evaluation and treatment. Last year it was Dr. Antoine, who has stayed in contact with our team. Although he was unable to attend the clinic this year he stopped by several times and sent Dr. Phelizar to dispense blood pressure and medications we brought with us and refer patients to the hospital who needed additional treatment.
The clinic felt like a full’s day work but it was over at noon and God had more in store for our group and the community. While the men in our group made church benches the women held a Ladies Tea. The woman of Dame Marie Baptist church surprised us with handpicked flowers and local chocolate. This was followed by a beautiful service of praise through songs and a skit. Our
co-leader Minister Marossa Davis then delivered a beautiful message of being a friend of God. There was pure joy and fellowship as we worshipped our Savior Jesus Christ. The ladies then enjoyed “tea” and krimpets. The afternoon ended with the distribution of solar powered Luci lights. The ladies were jubilant in expressing their thanks for a gift that was only made possible by God’s grace.
While these two events were going on there was also a gathering of the children sponsored through the “Hope 4 Kidz” program. This program provides each sponsored child with tuition, school uniform and supplies, shoes, and hot lunch for one year. I had the opportunity to meet the beautiful little girl my family sponsored. We talked for a short time about her favorite subjects and her family. I look forward to hearing about her progress over the next year and will continue to pray for her and her family.
The day ended with the deacon’s meeting lead by Pastor Barteau Pierot. This was my first year attending a deacon’s meeting and I know God’s hands was at work because I came out of the meeting with a deeper understanding of my missionary journey both spiritually and practically. The needs of the church are many and resources are few but “God’s grace is sufficient, his strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Bondye Beni Ou