July/August 2017 Newsletter

Mission Teams

We were excited to have two mission teams join us in the months of June and July, one team from Foothills Community Church in South Carolina and the other from Round Grove Baptist Church in Missouri.

Foothills Community Church in Senaca, SC

Trip report from Pastor Bill Swindle

The Foothills Community Church mission team has returned from Haiti! Thanks to all who prayed for us. This was a trip into the most remote parts of Haiti as we joined our missionary friends the Rideouts in their new location and ministry in Bombardopolis, Haiti. Our team made the 11+ hour one way truck ride on roads that can best be described as dry rocky river beds along the coast, through the salt flats, and into the mountains where the hospital and ministry are located. This is the only hospital available in the area for hours. Truly a life and death ministry physically and spiritually to so many. We were able to help by building frames and installing solar panels and wiring on the mission house and hospital, along with building new 16' benches for the hospital which hadn't seen new benches in a long time! Team members installed new switches and electrical outlets where needed, along with helping at the hospital with sonograms, cooking, and doing anything else needed including washing clothes and watching the kids. It was an amazing time to serve others, and to be there to minister to and support Matt and Sarah Rideout and their little children Willow, Olive, and toddler Birch. Despite plenty of times where we could have gotten injured or sick, the Lord protected us all and brought us back to the United States in tact and looking forward to our next journey to Northwest Haiti!

Installing solar panels

Constructing hospital benches

Ladies back from market with a load of bananas

Round Grove Baptist Church

Trip report from Nancy Young and Josh Lusk

A varied group from Southwest Missouri traveled to Bombardopolis, Haiti the first week in June. Josh Lusk, Lynn Andrews, Dakota Comer and Nancy Young from Round Grove Church, near Miller, MO made the trip. They were joined by Springfield area friends Brigette Ketron and Grayson Ketron. The group flew into Port-au-Prince the morning of June 3 and boarded the little nine passenger missionary plane that landed on a dirt airstrip near Mole' St. Nicholas in extreme NW Haiti. That alone was pretty exciting. They then rode in 2 Toyota Landrovers over the creek bed like roads much of the time to Bombardopolis at a speed that didn't top 15 miles per hour. The missionaries typically drive the 8 or more hours to Port-au-Prince for medicines and supplies every month or so.

Worship on Sunday at the Haitian Church next door was great, especially the music, but the distraction of a man hollering outside was a solemn reminder of the voodoo that still exists there. The crew set to work on Monday installing 6 solar panels on the roof of the main house at the IMF mission. The solar panels will greatly improve the electricity situation there as they have depended on generators to supply electricity for the houses, hospital, and shops in the past. Until now the generators powered batteries that the electricity came from. Harnessing this solar power will be a game-changer for the great work going on there and Matt will expound on the conversion to solar power in another article. Just keeping the generators, inverters and batteries working correctly has always been a battle.

Grayson Ketron, Dakota Comer, Josh Lusk and Lynn Andrews installing solar panels on the main house

Tuesday and Wednesday were the days to pull the old pump from the well and replace it with a new pump compatible with solar energy. When the pump was pulled they also cased the well to keep dirt, rocks, and debris from causing a potential cave-in. The well is beneath a wind mill and the water is pumped to a nearby cistern behind the main house that has been on the property for years. This should also very much help the work of the mission. Installing the solar panels and pump required the work of our team, Steve and Matt, and two Haitian workers.

Grayson Ketron, Lynn Andrews, Steve Leach and Josh Lusk casing the well

Lynn Andrews near the top of the windmill during the pump installation

Also, on this day Brigette and Nancy assisted missionary Betsy Rennells in moving medicine from an older room in the hospital to the newer hospital addition built in the last few years. Meds were arranged in order on new shelves in a nice clean well-lit room. Then the medical supplies were moved from that room to the room in the hospital that formerly held the medicines. This project took part of three days to complete. Brigette was also able to observe some of the hospital work and it was interesting to hear Brigette's perspective of all the hospital accomplishes in such a remote area. She is a Physician's Assistant and stated that some of the care provided there isn't even done in the States at that level. She made it very clear how impressed she was with all that the facility provided and felt that most people who aren't involved in the medical field every day may not have any idea of the impact that the mission is making. The three girls also had the great opportunity to meet Dr. Leandre' who has served the Hospital Evangelique, along with Steve and Faith for over 22 years.

One day was spent fine tuning the well project and packing 10 suitcases for Steve and Faith that the team brought home as a help to them. They will be retiring and returning to the States in October. Matt and Sarah Rideout will continue the great work started there in Bombardopolis in 1972.

An air compressor and lights were added in the shop to assist in ambulance repairs. It is essential to stay up with vehicle maintenance because of the remote location and terrain, and repairs are done there, not taken to a mechanic elsewhere. Ceiling fans were installed in Matt and Sarah's home made possible by the up-graded solar panels and system. Air conditioning is not a given there in that hot, humid climate as electricity is rarely seen.

The majority of people in this area don't have the luxury of owning a motorized vehicle. Donkeys are still used to haul things and ride. You see more motorcycles as a mode of transportation to those who can afford one and they may pay for it by transporting people or things up and down the mountain. Sometimes you will see a coal truck hauling coal made by hand from sapling trees burned in a pile on the ground in tedious procedure passed down for generations. This is one of the sources of revenue in the area. Another job is hand breaking rocks with a hammer to make gravel or growing vegetables and fruits to be sold at the market. Typically the only time you will see anything other than a motorcycle or coal truck might be an occasional Toyota Landrover owned by another mission organization.

We also enjoyed Faith and Betsy's great cooking and a day at the ocean while there. Ambulance rides were taken and day to day life observed as we traveled the often creek bed like roads.

Please pray with us for the future of IMF. Steve and Faith have built a legacy there that is continuing with Matt and Sarah. We are so thankful and excited to have Matt and Sarah working there now. They have a young family and home-school their children in addition to running the hospital, ambulance, and cistern projects. Betsy Rennells will also be leaving IMF to pursue another direction that God has shown her. They have all made a huge impact there and will be missed. Another family or individual is needed to come alongside Matt and Sarah to help with this life-changing work. The hospital sees about 700 patients a month and serves an area of around 50,000.00 It is the only hospital of any size up in that remote area and is hugely important. Please pray about what your part might be in this great work, whether in person, financially, or in prayer.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. - Phillipians 1:3 NKJV

Hospital Evangelique

Story of Loss

By Sarah Rideout
Our 4th of July week turned out to be more eventful than we expected. A mom showed up in distress, unable to feel movement in her womb for more than 24 hours. When I found out the situation she arrived under, I hurried to complete her sonography. I stepped into the room to prepare. I immediately felt an air of sadness come over me, I prayed that God had spared her baby. I knew there was a chance the prayer was futile, but pray I did, regardless.

I had asked one of the guards to help the distressed mom up on the table since she was emotionally and physically distraught. With all of our equipment ready to go, Sierra and I said a prayer, hoping once more to pray for life. Mom knew we were praying and her eyes glazed over as tears rolled down the sides of her face where she lay waiting to hear the news as well. I put the transducer on her belly. I slowly moved over baby's head and up through the thoracic cavity, immediately noticing that the baby was abnormally tucked and curled forward. As I scanned over her womb, back and forth, desperate to be wrong, I finally conceded that baby's lack of movement and my inability to locate blood flow or a heartbeat was confirming our worst fears. I left mom in the care of Sierra for a moment.

I was suddenly acutely aware that I was "confirming" fetal death by myself and I wasn't ready for the responsibility. Doc reentered the room with me, after placing the stethoscope on her lower left quadrant and looking at the screen, he confirmed the demise of the baby. Sierra and I started washing mom's abdomen off and cleaning the equipment as I asked if she understood everything.

As we helped her into a sitting position and rearranged her clothing, I asked if we could pray with her. I paused, and as she said yes, I took her hand and couldn't get words to leave my mouth. I thought maybe it was the Kreyol just getting stuck on my tongue but then I realized I just didn't have words. All I knew to do was pray for peace...So I forced the words out, unsure of how to bring peace to the situation, comically realizing that wasn't my job, but the Great Physician's. Still unsure of how to console her, I hugged her and told her she didn't need to leave the room faster than necessary. I went to find a place for her to rest until Doc Leon gave her a course of treatment and decided when to induce labor. I locked up the room and spoke with a nurse to let her know how to proceed based on the news.

They placed her in the room with all the new moms and babies. That's the space we have available. Oh what heartache. I couldn't argue; there was no where else to hold her. I left for home, that was all I could do.

I know my experiences of baby loss have put me in a unique position to help these women find peace that tomorrow will come, but it doesn't change the command to "mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those rejoicing" I did just that . The day was long and I don't remember much else from that afternoon, but I do know and trust that the peace of the Savior stays with her.

Since that day, I had the unique opportunity to stumble on her residence while I was running and to be able to encourage her that tomorrow and the next day, He would walk beside her. What a blessing to walk through the joys and the sorrows with these women.

Ultrasound Unit

A Call to Action
A great blessing to share! We just received word that a Phillips Ultrasound unit was donated to IMF. The unit is from a doctor's office in Florida who is no longer seeing pregnant mothers.

The unit is designed specifically for OB/GYN consults and fills a huge need for us. We typically do 10-15 ultrasounds a week. We've gone months without this service because our ultrasound unit has been broken. We have been loaned a portable ultrasound unit, but it is designed for cardiac exams.

The new ultrasound unit is valued at nearly $8000, and it was given to us for free! It has an external monitor and a printer which allows the patient to take home photos from the exam.

Now, we need help shipping it down and paying the import taxes. We estimate the shipping and taxes to be $1100. Any help for this project is greatly appreciated.

Intern

In July we hosted our first intern. We had the privilege of serving with Sierra Kestner for the month of July. She graduated from high school and a few days later, boarded a plane for Haiti. She worked with Sarah to homeschool the kids, re-organized pharmacy meds, and tackled a long list of computer projects. Matt even had her down in the shop changing a tire on the ambulance! She brought great joy to our family, and will always be a part of it.



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