There are two phrases I use often when training our short term teams to serve in Haiti or Kenya. The first one, flexibility is the key to missions, has been said about 100 times a day since the earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010.
That night whether or not we were going to go to Haiti became a huge, difficult to answer question. We had a group of Doctors, PA's, Nurses and support people who for the last 9 months had been preparing to take medical care to the community of Jacmel, Haiti. This is an annual trip led by Crosspointe church in partnership with Joy in Hope. We had been planning for months, gathering supplies, meds, food, etc. We had NOT been planning on an earthquake.
Flexibility is key.
There were several things to take into consideration for this team. Was it safe? Could we get there (after all the Port au Prince airport was closed?) Could they still host us? Would they? What was best for them with all the work they were doing? It would seem that of course a team of medical professionals would be helpful, but given the pace the missionaries had been keeping...was it a good idea for 3 weeks later to have a team of non-Creole speaking Americans show up?
So we remained flexible. And I found myself saying or typing regularly, "this is the plan, things could change."
Then last thursday we got the go ahead. Joy in Hope wanted us, and they knew that housing would not be an issue, and basically, if we could get to Jacmel, they wanted us. Which started a beautiful journey of watching God provide, again and again.
American Airlines wouldn't let us fly into Haiti. But they were willing to fly us anywhere else. So... how about the Dominican Republic? It's a bordering country, why not? After about 2 hours on the phone with them, we managed to get all 15 of us on a flight to Santiago, Dominican Republic. On the same flight, no less. Not a small feat. We would have to leave a day earlier, but, none of us were really bothered by it! Now to figure out how to get us from Santiago to Jacmel. The plan, fly to the DR on the 5th, and out the 13th. This was the plan, it could change.
A little face book post goes a long way. Who knew people read status updates so frequently?
Within hours we had gears turning and I was filling out forms to apply for assistance in getting from Santiago to Jacmel, which, really isn't that close. Same island, but still not that close. On Friday morning I received a phone call from GO! Ministries working in Santiago. They were willing to help us get to Haiti.
The plan: Arrive in Santiago, DR around 4pm thanks to American Airlines (who by the way reimbursed part of our fare, in travel vouchers no less, but they did reimburse some of it. way cool.) GO! Ministries would meet us at the Santiago airport, help us get food, and then they would drive us (15 people, 15ish carryons, and 30 checked bags of medical supplies (5olbs each) to Pedernales, on the border of Haiti and the DR. It would be a 9 hour drive, so we would collapse into beds of a hotel that GO! Ministries suggested and recommended. Then early on the 6th, we would rise, and be transported to a Dominican Republic Navy boat, and the DR Navy would transport us to the port in Jacmel. This was the plan, it could change.
Crazy. It sounded a bit exhausting, but, honestly the adventurer in me was pretty stoked.
So I emailed the team, this is the plan. It could change. Be prepared for anything. Adjust your carry-on bags accordingly.
And then last night I received word again, the plan changed. They would be flying us into Jacmel, Haiti!
Still an adventure, a much shorter traveling one. This is the plan, it could change.
So this week, the people below are preparing to head to Haiti. That's the plan, we hope it doesn't change. Please commit to praying for them. Our travel dates of Feb 5 - 13, 2010, but as we have learned, things change. We don't anticipate changing them or our plans of how we hope to be helpful and effective, but, things change. They've changed almost by the hour for the last 20 days. I am excited about the journey ahead, and mostly about serving with this group of people. They have proven themselves to be flexible, beyond the breaking point as far as logistics and such were up in the air or changing by the minute.
Crosspointe Medical Team: