Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dreams

Erwin McManus is the lead Pastor of Mosaic church in California.  This past week I was listening to a podcast from back in November and God stopped me in my tracks.

This past week I reached a new point of frustration with one of my projects.  An all time high in the realms of frustration.  I was angry, annoyed, discouraged, bitter, and well it wasn't pretty.   I was ready to throw my hands up in the air and walk away.  Although I knew deep in my heart that it wasn't the best decision, just the easiest, but in fact, it really isn't the easiest.  I know I am not making sense.  

And so I am driving the 50 minutes from Burlington back to Cary, I was reminded of the dream. The dream that was dreamed even before I arrived at Crosspointe, and the one that captured me when I started here.  A dream of connecting resources, and people to a place that needed those resources and people.  A dream of empowering people in both lands to go places they never even considered, both physically and spiritually.  A dream of God using both of us to teach each other and make His presence more widely known throughout the earth.

I was reminded of the dream.  And the attitude towards this project shifted.  The attitude this week was one of defeat.  I was ready to wave the flag of surrender.  When I was reminded of the dream, my attitude became one of triumph and determination.  Instead of walking away, my response to the challenges in front of our dreams are more like those of a stubborn three year old who firmly places her feet in the ground, looks you square in the eye and says, "I am not afraid of you."

So watch out land I love.  Watch out points of frustration.  I am not afraid of you.  I am not ready to wave that white flag of surrender yet.  I still have some fight left.

Friday, February 27, 2009

People focused vs task oriented.

I am learning new things about myself, that make me rather uncomfortable.

This last week I found myself asking forgiveness from those closest to me, quite frequently.

Almost daily I was going to one of my co-workers apologizing for my curt comment, my brevity, my not listening fully, my being distracted....the list goes on.  Usually I am a pretty kind and compassionate person, but these last two weeks I have been walking through a fog, and as I walked out of it I noticed that this was a trend.

It happens every time I visit a third world country.  I return to the USA and I go from my typically people focused self to a very driven, distracted, steamroller task-oriented being.  It is rather Jekyll and Hyde like and almost downright embarrassing.  First, the task oriented self is in part because of the need to catch up, but towards the end of the week I realized there was something else that caused me to lean into the task oriented realm.  It was safe.  It wouldn't hurt my heart any further.  It allowed me to feel like I was accomplishing a task, and I hated it.

It is hard for me to return to Cary, NC after spending a couple of weeks in Africa or Haiti.  I love where I live, but I L.O.V.E walking among the poor.  I know that I am where I am supposed to be, because now I get to teach and guide others as they venture in to walking beside the poor, but my favorite place any given day is the heart of a slum.  Weird I know.  When I am task focused, there becomes less risk for my heart to break, less risk of my soul being wounded, less danger. Because being people oriented is risky business.  It causes my heart to love, to embrace, to mourn and it is such a vulnerable place.  I am realizing that entering into task focused mode has become a way of coping with the ache I feel when I can process all that I see, hear, taste, experience when I return to the USA.

My heart simply doesn't know how to shift back to being in this place.  It doesn't know what to do with the vision of the malnourished 4 month old that I held two weeks ago, or the look of desperation on the mama's faces when they were so weary from survival mode.  I long to do more, and have a hard time returning to the grind.  And somewhere between take-off in Port au Prince and landing in Raleigh, in those few hours of transition, my heart shuts off.  Instead of aching, and wrestling, I am finding that I stop choosing people and start focusing on the task at hand.

Pretty nuts eh?  All this to say that I am still learning and growing, and even though I do this several times a year, it is still as hard as it was the first time to walk away from it.  I need someone to remind me when I land that it is ok to remain people focused, that I like that person much more than the steam-rolling task manager.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We're Home!

What an awesome week!  It was really incredible to see what God can do with a group of people who really didn't know each other 8 months ago.

We arrived in Raleigh around 11:30 last night in  need of showers and sleep.  Thanks for following us and encouraging us on this journey, you have been an incredible support!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Walking the Vision...

Today our team walked the vision of the future of Haitian Children's Home.  I missed out on it, but after talking with most of them they were in agreement that it was "amazing."  They were honored to be a part of our church community and it was fun for them to stand upon the rocks and terrain that Crosspointe helped Haitian Children's Home to acquire.

It is such an honor to be a part of a church community that will commit to doing life together in ways that will affect how so many Haitians will do life together in the future.  Last night as we debriefed we talked about how hopeless this place can seem, how difficult life here must be, how there just seems to be a dark cloud, and this morning, to stand upon land and hear Danny share his heart and then to trust God together that we all can be a part of changing lives together is spectacular to say the least.

The afternoon was spent experiencing the vision in a different way, it was spent playing soccer, in the sand and in the waves at the beach with the Haitian Children's Home kiddos.  Again, it was awesome.

Now the battle of the heart begins, where we must begin packing our bags, where we must figure out how our changed hearts fit into the world we left behind a week ago, and how we live as changed people.

Please pray for us as we make preparations to return and as we travel.  Our travels begin at 9am tomorrow morning, and we won't arrive in Raleigh until nearly midnight.  We look forward to seeing you, and sharing our stories with you in person.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We interrupt this Haiti Trip...

To tell you about another one coming soon.

April 3-11, 2009 myself, two adults and 10 high school students will come to Haiti to help Haitian Children's Home reach out to the community of Jacmel with a Soccer Outreach.

This group is working hard to raise money for their trip and you can join in!

This Friday the group is hosting a Parent's Night Out at Crosspointe Church.

Here's the Skinny:
When:  February 13 6-10 pm
Suggested Donation:  $25 (but you can give more)
What you get:  You can drop off your kids anytime between 6 and 10 pm and they will watch/entertain/take care of them!

It's a win-win if you ask me.  You get a night out, your kids have some fun, and our teens get to get closer to their fundraising goal for the next Haiti trip.


The Patients...

The patients we have seen this week have so MUCH patience.  It really is incredible.  Of the 2000 or so people we have seen in the last four days (yes, you read that right) not one of them complained about having to sit in the sun, or wait, some of them having to wait 4-5 hours to be seen.  We have all commented on how this would not  happen in the USA.  
A few observations to note...

We packed up from clinic today and really, only had enough medicine left for 2 bins, we came with 20 suitcases.  That is ALOT of medicine!

We remarked on the incredible patience with us, with interpreters, with each other.

We noticed how Haitians come, dressed to impress, in their finest clothes to see the white doctors.  

We also noticed that it would be near to impossible to be extremely healthy in the type of setting they live in.

We experienced indescribable gratitude, uncontainable joy, and overwhelming love these last four days.  It is hard to believe we are done with clinics, and that we only have 2 more nights here.  Time has flown by so quickly.

Tomorrow we visit the new land (wonder how long we can call it new) and spend some time with the HCH kids at the beach, and then church tomorrow night.  Saturday will be another long day of travel, with us leaving Jacmel at 10am, and arriving at Raleigh Durham near midnight.  Most of us already made plans to be at church sunday morning, we can't wait to share stories!

In the meantime...here are some more pictures...including a better picture of Leann so she forgives me.  :)

Sunday and Monday (in pictures)






Travel Day (Saturday) Pictures







Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A tale of two cities...and ice cream!


Or rather...two towns.

The first two days of the week we set up a clinic in the church in Jacmel, Haiti.  The church is in town, lots of people, lots of noise, dust, etc.  The first day we were shocked to see 450, the second day we were shocked that there were 850 people seen...and as amazed as we were, we were worn out as well.  The clinic in Jacmel was awesome, we were stretched, we learned, we loved, we grew, we had a BLAST!

Today we headed up the mountain to Chabin, a much smaller "town" and I use the word "town" rather loosely.  We jumped on a tap-tap and took the 20 minute trip uphill to a small church that overlooks everything...it was spectacular, and we again were amazed.  From the church grounds you could see where the river runs into the ocean, you could see land and hills for miles around, and the open expanse was breathtaking...but we had work to do!

Today was awesome, and the experience was as unique as the setting was new.  We had a much slower pace, and fewer patients.  At first this seemed a little disappointing, but at the end of the day it proved to be a blessing, we needed the break.  Had we seen another 850 people, we might have been worthless by lunch.  Today we were able to spend more time with the patients, more time laughing and encouraging one another, and more time taking in what God was doing around us.  It was a BLAST in its own way.

This evening had highlights of its own as our last patient came earlier in the day.  We were back at the mission team housing relatively early so we had the awesome experience of a walking tour of Jacmel.  We explored the market, the town, local stores, and two mission hospitals, and we came back with an entirely new perspective and some of us with bellies of ice cream!  Again, a blast.  

As the leader of this group, I must say I am continually amazed by this team.  They have blown me away with their adventerous spirit, their willingness to do anything, and their servants' hearts.  It has been a joy to work with them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SO maybe it wasn't a teaser...

But instead the real thing.

Our troops are hanging in there, but we are wiped.  A few of us have had a few little bouts with illnesses of our own, and well, seeing 1200 patients in 2 days is hard work!  

Today has been non-stop...literally.  

Set up the clinic at 8.
8 hours later having seen 850 patients we packed up our clinic supplies.
A quick 20 minute break and then a trip to Danny and Leann's house for dinner with the kiddos.  It was loads of fun, awesome food, and lots of laughter and playing with the kids.
Back home, and back to counting meds and preparing for tomorrow.
Around 10 we stopped, mostly because we had to.
Devotions are done, and we are heading to bed.

Tomorrow we start again at 7, with another day of clinic, another day of bringing hope to others, another day of introducing the Healer, another day of lives changed.

Thanks for praying.  Please pray for our health, our unity as a team, and our ability to endure.  


A sneak peak...

There is so much to say...but not much time until dinner.

In short, we saw nearly 850 people today, so we have already seen twice the amount we thought we would see in an entire week. YOWSA!

We are laughing.
We are yawning.
We are grieving.
We are celebrating.

It is an odd paradox, you hate to celebrate in this situation.  The fact that we saw 850 people is awesome, the fact that 850 people needed to be seen...grievous.

More later...but for now, it's time to head to the Pye family home to have dinner with the kids of HCH.

A few more from monday...

It takes about 3 to 4 tries, at 3 to 4 minutes a pop to upload a picture...I managed to get a couple up before breakfast this morning!

Today is more of the same from yesterday.  More clinic, more patients, more reminding people they are loved by their Creator and that He is their healer.  It is surely going to be a blast!



Monday, February 09, 2009

Finally...Some Pictures!

I'm having a little trouble loading pictures...here are a few from today to tide you over...








Dreams becoming reality...

Last July I came to Haiti with Stephen and C.C. Claybook, and Gwenn Mangine.  During our trip here I had a meeting with Danny about how Crosspointe could be a part of 2009 through short term trips.  When we met, he mentioned how he had been dreaming about Haitian Children's Home having two teams per year that were devoted to medical clinics, as a way to minister to the Community of Jacmel.  One thing I appreciate about the Pye family, is that raising 21 kids is not enough.  Really, they could focus all of their efforts on the kids in the home and leave it at that, but they don't, they instead feel it is important to reach out to their neighbors...

So Danny asked, "Pam, can Crosspointe lead two medical trips here in 2009."  I said, "No, we don't want to rob another church community of the opportunity, but we would gladly do one."  

And this week, this dream that became known in a small office is becoming a reality and I LOVE that Crosspointe Church gets to be a part of it!

Danny hoped we would treat minor illnesses...  

We have seen a variety from worms, scabies, urinary tract infections, pregnancies, malnourishment...the list goes on and on...and on.

Danny hoped we would see around 600-800 people in the week.

We saw and treated about 450 people TODAY.  

Danny hoped people would receive the care they needed.

450 people today not only received medicine, but were also reminded of God's love for them as Doctors, PA's, nurses, and us not so medical folks laid hands on them and addressed their needs.

Danny hoped we would be able to bring some medication.

God provided nearly $500,000 worth of medication for our team at little or no cost.

Danny hoped lives in Haiti would be changed.

Lives in Haiti have been changed...and so have ours.



Sunday, February 08, 2009

The team.

The Noise!

Tonight as we debriefed our day, there were several comments about the noise.

The noise of babies crying.
The noise of cars honking.
The noise of dogs barking.
The noise of radios blaring.
The noise of engines purring.
The noise of children playing.
The noise of parades passing by.
The noise of community.

It kept us awake last night, even though we had ear-plugs, and it likely will tonight as well, but there is this strange feeling of gratitude as we recognize that these noises are the sounds of life.

Thanks for praying for our team today.  We had the opportunity to worship in a lively Haitian church, share meals together and become stronger in our team unity.  We are learning a lot, and being stretched.  There is still that battle between our hearts for home and our families, and our hearts for here.  There is a longing to dive in, and we all are, but people remind us of loved ones back home, and there is a sadness that they can't be here with us.

Tomorrow is our first day of clinic, and we are starting at 7:15am.  Pray for wisdom, discernment, endurance, and our own physical health as we try to bring healing to others.



Saturday, February 07, 2009

We're Here!

It has been a VERY long day!  Our 3:15 am meeting time came way too soon for most of us, but we are all still smiling as we embrace our new friends and family for the week! As I sit in another room writing the update, I am listening to our crew adjust and laugh with each other and a few of the kids from the Haitian Children's Home.  Supper is cooking, bags have been opened, and only 1 thing broke!  The medical professionals have been briefed by Doctor Teresa and the excitement is building.  The last few months of preparation, fundraising and planning has gotten us this far, and we have so much to learn and experience in the next several days!

Thanks for praying for us, our day had a few adventures as we had an engine that wouldn't start, then another plane with toilets that didn't want to flush, and then, the smallest plane most of us have been on ever...a 17 passenger plane from Port au Prince to Jacmel.  The view, spectacular, the experience, breathtaking, and we are all stunned.

Thanks for praying for our safe journey, your prayers were heard.  Please continue to pray for us as we adjust to the heat (it's HOT, and HUMID) and none of us are complaining!  Pray for good rest tonight as we dive in tomorrow.

And yes, pictures will come:)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Haiti or bust!

I have an AWESOME job!

On Saturday myself, 9 others from Crosspointe Church, and 4 others from Illinois will make the trek to Jacmel, Haiti to work alongside Danny and Leann Pye of Haitian Children's Home for the week!

This trip is trip focused around sharing the Gospel through providing medical care to those in Jacmel who have little or no access.  Don't worry, I am not the one providing the medical treatment, rather, I just get to be the "assistant."  We will leave the real medical treatment in the hands of the trained Doctors, Nurses, PA's, and an EMT traveling with us.  

There will of course be stories of lives changed, hopefully pictures, and since I am going along, there will probably be some humorous, "these types of things only happen when Pam travels types of stories!"

If you have a chance, please pray for us:
Chris Bingham
Brittany Clark
Duchess Diard
Caleb Gallentine
Darla Gallentine
Bill Gallentine
Jackie Grinstead
Pam Johnson
Rachel Johnson
Robert Johnson
Angela Kline
Jennie Kowaleski
DiAnn Valentine

Keep checking back.  It's sure to be an adventure.