2019 Medical Mission Trips
OCTOBER, 2020 Trip
"The Greatest is LOVE"
After much anticipation and deliberation, our team of 14 American team members set out for the orthopedic clinic on the 16th of October in the infamous year of 2020. Finally, the window of opportunity opened for a medical team to safely return to our clinic…..to our staff and to hundreds of awaiting Haitian patients in L'Estere. So we geared up, masked up and prayed up!! Away we flew! Once arriving in-country, we met up with 3 additional Haitian team members, in addition to our dearly loved Haitian staff who have been working 5 days a week through some extremely challenging times over these last months of civil unrest and COVID19 risks. We also arranged to utilize Haitian Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to assist the operating room team with anesthesia. We perceived that the week ahead would likely be a challenging one yet we trusted that God had made a way. He would remain faithful.
We were all delighted to experience a break in the pre-presidential drama going on in the U.S. and to find that acute cases of COVID19 were fairly rare among the Haitian population. We did continue to screen our patients and followed COVID19 precautions as best we could. Who was famous for declaring the cry, "And the show must go on"?
The team's makeup was surely handcrafted by our Father. Each and every person was on task every day, all day. As Dr. Etienne shared at our end-of-the-week debriefing, there wasn't one person on the team which we could have afforded to have done without! All hands were on deck each and every day. Altogether, our God-made team consisted of 3 orthopedic surgeons, 1 doctor of osteopathic medicine, 1 primary care physician, 4 nurses, including an RN First Assist for the OR, an orthopedic Physician's Assistant, an athletic trainer, a more-than-valuable support person, 2 pre-med graduates, a physical therapist and a nursing student, rounded out by our Haitian nurse anesthetists. This team was unique in countless ways. The theme of "Love Well" quickly revealed itself through word and deed as everyone worked together. News spread quickly that the medical team had finally returned. Patients came from as far away as the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. The acuity and complexity of our patients' problems reflected their most recent hardships. Everyone had a story to tell........ Life had been even harder here in Haiti in these last months. With lockdowns, reduction of imports and an even poorer economy, people had not been afforded even basic medical / surgical care. It simply did not and does not presently exist.
Memories of specific patients will long remain in our minds. Nirva was one of those special ones. She was a 9 year old little girl on whom the surgeons performed bilateral osteotomies to repair her "crooked legs" or genu valgum. This little gal's smile and gratitude were infectious! Then, truthfully, there were so many that came, young and old, whom we could not help physically. Oh my...... it was and continues to be so tough. It is in those moments that we are called to remember that Jesus is our Hope. In response to such great emotional and spiritual need for patients and their families, this team set up a prayer station in the main waiting area. People were offered the opportunity to pray with a team member and were given a creole bible prior to departing the clinic. This new addition was warmly received in conjunction with our other individual and group prayer, devotion and worship times.
This trip brought a heightened level of dependence on the Holy Spirit to shower the promises of God upon us all. There was an often unspoken understanding of each other's and of our patients' needs by this team as we went through our hectic days. Weariness was thwarted and hopes restored through God's presence and the Spirit's anointing of this team. As prayers were being offered; guidance was granted. Don't you know that it is when we cannot fix things in and of ourselves that we rely most on God...often when we come to the end of ourselves. Here, in this holy little place, so far away from the familiarity of our creature comforts, the Lord shows up again and again, changing us all. May we continue to give God all the glory and may our / His impact be lasting. May we continue to have faith, hope and love in our lives, with the greatest of these being LOVE. It was an honor to serve with this team and to, once again, have the privilege to "love on" God's sons and daughters.
May His blessing be upon every one,
Loretta Speicher, RN
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." Luke 4: 18