Sunday, January 31, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Sabbath In Haiti

Mike blogging for Erin.

Here is an interactive map of Port au Prince, Haiti to help you better understand where Erin and the other members of the 14 member Disaster Response team are living and serving.

View DRM Med team #1 in a larger map

  • The tent icon is the Dikini Camp where the 12,000 refugees are housed and where the team is hosting their daily medical clinics.
  • The school icon is the Quisqueya School, the site of the home base and where the relief team is sleeping in tents of their own.
  • The circle icon is the epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit on January 12th.

Translators have been very good. Esaie Etienne (MTW missionary and Haitian national) continually works with the medical team asking how they are doing and what needs to be changed so that the translators can be more helpful. The team’s first request was to establish a mechanism where the relief team can personally pray with each patient.

A couple of relief organizations were traveling around on Sunday purifying water from the city water system to help hydrate the people. But, even with these efforts drinkable water is scarce and unsanitary.

Because of the poor quality drinking water and unsanitary conditions there is an outbreak of diarrhea amongst most of the aid workers living at the Quisqueya School. This can quickly turn into a major problem and further exacerbate the already tenuous hydration concerns. Everyone on the team is taking daily medication to try and fend off these problems. The team is being very careful with food and is purifying water from the showers for drinking.

Markets and street vendors have popped up to address some of the basic needs of the people. Price gouging is rampant. The team paid $100 for two cases of water, two jars of peanut butter and some bread.

On Sunday the team attended morning worship service lead by Esaie at the team's camp site. The second half of the day the team held a medical clinic that lasted five hours. They treated 150-200 people including a young girl whose hand they had to amputate.

The team is still seeing dead bodies in the streets and demolished buildings are everywhere you look. Erin said that no picture does justice to the immensity of the tent cities the refugees are living in. The tent cities go on for as far as your eye can see.

Following Erin’s accidental cut with a contaminated scalpel (earlier reported as a needle) on Saturday the patient and Erin were both tested for HIV and both came back negative. A Hepatitis C test is scheduled to come back soon.

Erin's Spanish is coming in handy. Spanish is taught in the schools in Haiti and most people know a little bit. Sometimes the translators have trouble with English and ask Erin in Spanish how to say a word.

Prayer needs: 1) Pray for unique opportunities to minister through the disaster, especially to people that may have been overlooked by others. 2) Pray for a night of good rest for the MTW team tonight as a long and hot Monday awaits them. 3) Pray that the diarrhea caused by poor sanitation and poor drinking water passes and all the aide workers have good health.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Erin In Haiti – First Full Day Of Work

Mike blogging for Erin.

Just heard from Erin at the end of her first full day of working in Haiti. Their 14-person team spent eight hours today hosting a medical clinic at the Dikini Camp. It is now estimated that the Dikini Camp has swelled to 12,000 refugees. The team treated over 300 patients today. The most predominant cases are pain (from impact or falling debris), dehydration (from lack of water in the area) and urinary tract infections (from drinking bad water and poor sanitation). Erin reports that it is 95 degrees in their medical tent. They are receiving perimeter security from armed U.S. Soldiers.

Erin’s primary tasks have been running the pharmacy and administering all of the injections. There are no latrines at the Dikini Camp, so the 12,000 inhabitants and MTW’s Disaster Response Team have been relieving themselves in the nearby woods. This is causing a major sanitation problem.

Their home camp, located on the grounds of what used to be the Quisqueya School is inhabited by over 125 aid workers. They have dirty water for showers and are purifying water for drinking. Everyone is sleeping on the ground.

Prayer needs: 1) Erin was inadvertently stuck by a dirty needle today. Pray for her long-term health. 2) Hydration and heat issues for the relief workers. 3) Praise God for the cooperation and appreciation of locals.

School Supplies In Honduras - 2010

In Honduras the average person makes less then $3,000 a year and the unemployment rate is above 30%. Because of this and the fact that free and compulsory education stops at the sixth grade, only 1/3rd of the kids attend school beyond the sixth grade. In an effort to make education a reality in Armenia Bonito we asked our friends and supporters to send us school supplies for the school year that begins in February of 2010. We were able to distribute over 20,000 school supplies to over 400 kids, three schools, three churches and an orphanage.

Watch this 2 minute and 50 second video to see the blessing of these school supplies.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Erin In Haiti – Erin Has Landed And Some Insight From A Haitian

Mike blogging for Erin.

Just heard from Erin. They arrived into Port au Prince, Haiti. Her and the rest of the Disaster Response team are doing well. They set up camp at an old school. They will be sleeping in sleeping bags and tents. They met up with another medical team that is leaving Saturday. The departing medical team painted a bleak picture and said they were exhausted from working too many hours. Erin and a few others went walking around to tour the devastation and meet the people. She reports that there are still bodies in the streets and that sanitation is very poor.

Also, take a look at this four-minute video. The video provides a wonderful glimpse into the hearts and souls of Haitian survivors. It is a conversation with a Haitian national named Esaie Etienne. Esaie’s home was destroyed in the earthquake and he has been sleeping in the bed of his truck. He was born and raised in Haiti and is working as an MTW missionary there. Esaie and his family experienced the 7.0 earthquake firsthand and he has since been active in the relief effort. Mike had the pleasure of meeting Esaie just a few months ago at a missions leadership conference in Colombia.

Please pray for Erin who is exhausted. Also, pray for Esaie who is leading two church services each day for the survivors and relief workers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haiti – A Trip Of 10,000 Miles Begins With A Single (mis)Step

Mike blogging for Erin.

Erin began her journey to Haiti this morning. Lord willing, she will serve the relief efforts there for three weeks.

She will be traveling all day and night today. La Ceiba, Honduras to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to Miami to Chicago, a five hour lay over and then a 5:30am flight from Chicago to Haiti.

Those of you who know Erin well will like this story…it is so Erin: In the last two days she packed and unpacked her three bags five times. She had a detailed inventory typed out, checked the weather in Haiti four times, weighed her bags six times, put all her important documents in plastic wrap, in a zip lock back and in her fanny pack…you know, all the good things a type A would do. Then this…

The picture below was taken at the La Ceiba airport, just five feet from our truck…literally, the first steps of the journey. What you don’t see in the picture is Erin’s water bottle (one of the most important things to have on a trip like this) sitting on the ground just out of frame to the left. Erin got out of the car, dropped her water bottle and started walking to the airport. Ahh…my nearly perfect, big hearted, clumsy and forgetful angel. Please pray for her.

For our Lord Of The Rings friends, “Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'm leaving on a jet plane...I cliche - but it's true! Tomorrow I head out on a long trip, with an overnight stay in Chicago where we will catch the American Airlines Relief flight out to Haiti. I know this won't surprise anyone, but we continue to hear about illnesses, diseases, hunger, problems in accessing clean water, and the stench of decaying bodies in the city. I feel privileged that the body of Christ stands in prayer over what is going on. My pastor from the States, Reddit Andrews, called me today to pray with me, and then the ladies in my bible study laid hands on me and prayed over me. Although no one saw it, I was moved to tears over the love that came from these special women who have come to mean a lot to me. What a blessing to have this group of believers near me to rally around one of their own!

Please continue to check my blog for updates. As Mike hears about what is going on he will be updating my blog for me.

Love to all!

Serving Him where I can - Erin

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti Update #6

As I prepare to leave in two days, information is coming in. I have a stack of papers that include packing list, "bug-out-bag" (in case we have to drop EVERYTHING and leave immediately), personal food to bring, etc. It's a little overwhelming. So - everything that I packed, I will be unpacking to make sure I meet all the criteria of what to bring.

Background: As you know an earthquake, registering 7 on the Richter scale, devastated the country of Haiti. The country is in a shambles. Haiti even pre-earthquake was a dangerous place full of corruption, poverty, and disease. It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But even in all this poverty and chaos, God has His remnant and we hope to minister to His people and show God’s love. We will work through the established church in Haiti and will be representatives of that local church.

So far, our passage to Haiti has yet to be confirmed. The first team will fly from Chicago to Haiti. Once in Haiti, we will move to the compound were we sleep and take our meals. The compound is secured by the US Army and located about ½ hour drive from the airport. The clinic we will work is about a 45 minutes drive from the compound. All ground transportation will be handled by the local missionary. All aid workers leave Haiti by showing up at the airport and waiting in line.

Conditions: There is limited electricity and running water, but it is doubtful we will have showers or luxuries of any type. The smell of decaying bodies is prevalent. The government said the death toll is over 200,000.

Toilets: Pit

Food & Water: The compound (which used to be a school) where we will lodge, will provide a cold breakfast, and hot supper. It is simple food. There is also adequate safe water but we are bringing water purification. As for food, we will eat only our own food or food that has been cooked.

Lunches: We must each provide our own lunch.

Lodging: We will camp in tents in the school compound.

Security: The US Army is staying there and will provide security

Weather: Temperature in High 80 to 90 degrees. Lows in low 60’s

Medicine: malaria medication – we will be taking either Doxycycline or Malarone

Haiti Update #5

The assessment team leaving Haiti did not have any trouble getting out of Port-au-Prince.
The first and second medical teams are complete, including Team Leader, ADC (Aide-de-camp who does logistics); Medical Team leader, doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants, nurses, medical support people (EMT, paramedic, pharmacy, lab, etc), engineers, and non medical support personal (security, supplies, etc). All are highly trained and experienced.

Please continue to pray for the logistics of the teams, for those overseeing organization, and for the team members as they prepare to travel to Haiti.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti Update #4

I received the official notice from my mission agency, MTW, that they are sending me out with a 14 person team into Port-au-Prince this Thursday. We will be working in a medical clinic in a refugee camp housing about 10,000 people. This is going to be difficult, tiring, yet part of my calling into missions. It is possible I will be there for up to 20 days. Please continue to pray in advance of my leaving and the time I am there. Please pray that although I will be praying for people in English or Spanish, that they would feel His presence while I am there.

Haiti Update #3

The assessment team from our organization has completed it's assessment, and are returning to the States as we speak.

On Sunday, they were able to assess Dikini Camp, a tent city outside of Port-au-Prince. With this new information, they feel that medical teams should serve there. At Dikini Camp, our team will run a full-fledged clinic.

Our team will be based at Quisqueya School, which is now the Quisqueya Earthquake Crisis Center (QCS). We will most likely sleep in tents and eat meals there. Because of safety, we cannot stay overnight in the unofficial refugee camp.

American Airlines is providing flights for relief efforts into Haiti. There is room for a 14-person medical team on a relief flight out of Chicago at 7 am on January 29.

Please pray for the assessment team that they can get a flight out of Port-au-Prince today, for safe travel, and continued logistical planning. Please also pray for Christina Davies. She is the MTW staffer who coordinates the logistics, travel, and medical supply procurement for the medical teams.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti Update #2

The Assessment Team from our mission agency, MTW, is healthy and well and progressing with their evaluation. They repaired Esaie’s truck (Haiti missionary) and determined his house is unlivable. They also assessed the Notre Dame del Lourdes hospital; there is some capacity for surgical work and a possible dental clinic. Another hospital they assessed had been completely destroyed. The team has had to wear masks; removal of bodies is the current focus.

It has been determined that there is a need for the next team to be focused on medical needs and they are seeking approximately 8 people, hopefully departing on January 29 for nine days in Haiti. There will be a focus on post-op wound care and amputations.

The future team will stay at Quisqueya School, where the assessment team has been located. Unsure yet if team will stay in tents or if there will be room in buildings. Quisqueya School has become more than just school grounds. It is now the Christian coordination center, being run by people who know Haiti very well and almost every mission group in the country sends their children there or has in the past.

Please pray for the team as they meet with Charles Amicy in Caberet on Sunday, January 24 after church and for their final assessment as to how to best implement Disaster Response teams and how to best use financial resources. Please also pray for their continued safety and health, and for safe departure as the assessment team hopes to fly home on January 25.

I am on stand-by and will be hearing about my departure date and length of stay when a full assessment of the team has been evaluated.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti Update

Late yesterday afternoon a flight opened up for our assessment team from our mission organization, MTW, and they went running for the airport with minutes to spare. A Haitian Air Tran worker stopped one of the flights from leaving when she heard they were relief workers. They had to run 10 gates and barely made the flight. As they ran, she yelled "Go help my people!" They boarded a small flight into Cap-Haitian airport in northern Haiti. They will then be traveling 5+ hours over a dirt road to get down into Port-au-Prince. As soon as they get a report back from the assessment team, they will start planning the immediate follow-up group and multiple groups after that. The plan is to be there for a long time. Again, our organization is not the "get in there and get out" kind of group. They are the "get in there and stay." MTW's Disaster Response Ministry is not a first responder ministry. It is intended to come along side a church or missionary and provide long term tangible evidence of Christ's mercy through word and deed. So, pray for the assessment group, my preparations to leave, and the people we will be serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scholarship Kids and ESL

We have, once again, knowing that God will provide all the needed funds, took the kids we are going to scholarship for school shopping for school supplies, uniforms, etc. School starts in a few weeks and we wanted to have time to get out and purchase what we needed, and be able to go additional times if need be. After 5 hours and about 30 different stores, we ended up with all the supplies, books, uniforms, and shoes that they need. Take a look:

Everything is still in bags and boxes because there was a LOT of stuff.

Walter, Alicia, George, and Nancy

English class continues to go well. We have a pretty good number of kids that continue to return each week. As school starts in a few weeks it will be interesting to see if those kids will continue to come, but those that are - are really starting to learn some things.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


In my previous post I talked about the Disaster Response teams our mission agency has. What I didn't explain is something very different in how we approach disasters. We are NOT a first-responder team. I know this is when all the "excitment" is, but we also have already seen what happens when a country is over-run with relief agencies. So we wait. We send in an assessment team to evaluate where we can be used. After that we start sending teams in. We don't set up "camp" and have people come to us - we set up camp in refugee camps - and typically in refugee camps where aid is not being reached. So, we wait. Right now our assessment team is unable to get into country because of the congestion at the airport. They are debating going into the DR and driving over if things don't clear up so we CAN get in country. And so I (not so) patiently wait :-)

Mike is finishing up his time in Arizona, and will be returning home on Monday (YEAH!!!!!!). Also on Monday, we have two families coming in on a vision trip to La Ceiba to determine if La Ceiba is where God is leading them to come serve. So, prayers for them and opening or closing of doors.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Disaster Relief Ministry

Our mission agency, Mission to the World (MTW), has within it, several different ministries. The first and foremost is the process of church planting. Along with that as the primary focus there is a Street Children's Ministry, and a Disaster Relief Ministry. Teams have been to countries all over the world responding to disasters with medical and construction teams. Honduras, The Philippines, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, just to name a few. Quoting from their web page:

"MTW's Disaster Response Ministry (DRM) is a unique area of ministry that is both physically and spiritually demanding. Our volunteers respond rapidly to calls around the world to bring medical care, crisis counseling support, and engineering/construction assistance after a disaster strikes. We partner with church planters already in the field to strengthen church plants and gain access to areas that may not have been previously open to the gospel.

What makes DRM different from the other numerous relief organizations? We respond as a small, self-sustaining, mobile unit that allows us to set-up and live in the refugee camp with the refugees. This opens up incredible opportunities to show the eternal truths of the gospel…even in closed countries that otherwise would not have been accessible. Our prayer is that even in these extreme circumstances, God will use our hands to show His love to His children."

MTW will be sending out an assessment team ASAP, and shortly after that follow up teams to serve in Haiti. I am on the short list to go. Those are all the details I know. Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti, the teams that are on-ground and on their way and the lives they touch.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scholarships For Kids In Armenia Bonito

In Honduras education is compulsory up to sixth grade. The only way to attend school beyond the sixth grade is to pay for a private school. However, the average person in Honduras makes less than $3,000 a year. So, unfortunately, many parents must choose buying rice and beans for their family over sending their children to school. Understandably, providing education for the kids looses out to survival more times than not. Only 1/3 of the children in Honduras attend school beyond the sixth grade.

With this, we are excited to announce a new program to invest in the future of Honduras, its families and children. We are offering scholarships for the kids of Armenia Bonito to attend school. It is our desire to build the leaders of tomorrow and equip them with the education and theological training they need to benefit their community, Honduras and the Kingdom of God. We are seeking financial sponsors in the U.S. to partner with us and change the future of a child.

Here are the details of the program:

Ninety Percent - we will pay 90% of all costs for the child and require the family to pay the rest to us in cash or labor.

School Costs - we will pay for tuition, schoolbooks, school supplies and uniforms.

Transportation - we will provide transportation to and from school via public bus.

Grades - we will check exam results and grades to keep up with their progress.

Tutoring - If a child is struggling we will provide a tutor.

Discipleship - Every child is required to attend a weekly biblical discipleship program taught by a member of our mission team.

Life - This program goes beyond school. We are partnering with the parents to invest in the life of the child.

Contract - Each child, their parent and one of our missionaries will sign a contract. The contract outlines exactly what we each commit to.

Communication - The sponsors in the U.S. will receive regular updates on the progress of each child. This will include written reports, pictures and videos.

Duration - We will commit one year of support to each child and we reevaluate at the end of each school year. Children who are not putting in the required effort may be dropped from the program.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child please print this form, fill it out and mail it in. The school year runs from February to November.

Here are the first three kids we have agreed to scholarship this school year:

Walter Samir Pineda Lopez - 14 years old

Jorge Jonathan Padilla Lopez - 12 years old

Nancy Munguia Meraz - 12 years old

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Making it from scratch

I used to get mad...okay - maybe not mad...just grumpy when I couldn't find something that I wanted at the store. Now - I just buckle down and figure out how to make it. When I couldn't find sourdough bread - I made it (including the starter) from scratch. No sourkraut? From scratch. Ravioli's - from scratch - the pasta, the ricotta cheese - everything! Tortillas, empanadas, whatever - from the basics. The latest was apple butter. Now, I don't know how many people like apple butter, but it was a fun thing I used to eat growing up. My grandmother introduced it to me. So - I started on my quest to figure out how to make it. One of my resources I use is a cookbook put out called The Wycliffe International Cookbook. This is a cookbook that makes things from the basics, no "use this cake mix...or purchase 2 packages of refrigerator bisquits, etc". It also has a substitute page - if you can't find a certain item, then it gives ideas to use instead. This is where I found the recipe I needed. End result - FANTASTIC!!!!!

10 apples peeled and ready

ingredients added and cooking

3 hours later

The end results - YUM!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life Under The Mangos

Life Under The Mangos is our new ministry center in the heart of La Ceiba, Honduras. This ministry center will be a location where the people of La Ceiba can receive a large number of services addressing their spiritual, physical and emotional needs. In addition the facility will be suitable to house up to 60 short-term missionaries.

Watch this 3 minute video to help set your heart on this new program:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


So today we finished up doing things around our house before our ministry starts back up. Mike took a drive out to a city about 2 hours away to help a local pastor move some things to his new church. I finished packing up our Christmas things so our house is looking like it's ready for the new year. We have clinic this week, then Mike leaves for a few weeks to the States for a missions conference, and to spend some time with some of our new team mates, The Troxell's. They are currently support raising and are hoping to join us after the next year (must attend some training then language school first). When Mike returns, we have two families that will be spending a week with us on a vision trip to see if La Ceiba will be their future ministry site. All in all, our year is starting off with a bang, and we know it's not going to stop! We have our two new properties to start developing, teams to welcome, and lots to do! Welcome 2010!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


So here we are, at the tail end of our little vacation. All in all we had a nice relaxing time just being together as a family. Christmas was fun, New Years nice, and Madison got to spend some time with a few girlfriends. Currently she is up at her friends house - an hour away - on a weekend sleep over. I'm trying to shake this cold that has lingered on in my body, and realizing that my body is not as "springy" as it used to be. I'm struggling to read tiny print anymore, and have found myself a little more tired each morning. Ah well - I'm here where God has placed me, and I know that He will provide.

The end of the year has us reflecting on things we did in the past year, but also allows us time to look to the future. In December we placed a down payment on two properties. The first is downtown where we will be building team living quarters for short-term teams that come, a big multi-purpose building for street children's ministries, and outreach things, etc. The other property is in Armenia Bonito where we will be building a church, soccer field, clinic, etc. This upcoming year has a lot of things we will be doing along with our on-going ministries, hosting teams, etc. Busy year (but that's nothing new). Welcome 2010!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Year In Review

Here is an end of the year video showing highlights of our mission work in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2009. None of what was done could have been accomplished without the dedicated prayer and financial support of people like you....THANK YOU!

Enjoy this 4 minute video that your prayers and support created: