Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back in Port Au Prince

Courtney is back in Port Au Prince. They leave for Miami tomorrow morning. Back home Monday afternoon. She said the trip has been really good. They have been able to help so many and hang out the adults there, along with playing with the kids. Continue to pray for safety for the rest of the trip home.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Update from today (Friday)

From Courtney...

We didn't have clinic today because we were out of what we needed. We hiked up a range of mountains in the afternoon and it was incredible. Tomorrow we head back to Port Au Prince for the night because we fly to Miami on Sunday.

Keep praying for the team. Keep praying for the people there in Haiti. Pray that the people continue to be receptive to the hearing about Jesus. Pray for all the relief workers that are in Haiti as they work to help rebuild buildings and treat the sick and injured.

Thanks again for your prayers!

Update from Haiti

From Shaun...I received some text updates from Courtney...

This is from yesterday...

I'm absolutely baking! I can barely drink enough water to keep up with how much I'm sweating, but I feel good. We saw 75 more people today, almost 200 total in the clinic in 3 days and we've run out of some meds. So many children who are severely malnourished, covered in boils or have malaria. Our help feels so temporary, like a band aid, but for the most part, these people are just thankful to be cared for and loved. And it is a privilege to help in a practical way, even if it is a band aid. I really do love the people of Haiti so much.

Thanks for your continued prayers!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, it was a long 24 hours of travel as Shaun said, but we're in Haiti! I can't believe it! Flying in yesterday, all I could see out of the window of the plane was multi-colored makeshift tents for those who have been left homeless or are too afraid to go back into their homes. As we drove through the streets of Port Au Prince, it was just as bad as the pictures on the news. Piles of crumbled cement...mounds of trash burning on street corners...and beautiful people with the resiliency I don't think any American can understand.

When we arrived at the missionaries' home where we slept last night, my friend Lexie and I walked over to a boys' home that they've converted to a hospital. Thirty beds, patients ranging in age from 17 days to 70 years. Broken bones, malaria, infected wounds. On one of the cots was a woman who had been literally crushed in the earthquake. She had suffered an open pelvic fracture, and both of her legs had been had to be amputated and one was stabilized in an external fixator. While she herself was a miracle, she also held in her arms a miracle. At the time of the quake this woman was 9 months pregnant, and after her rescue, she delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl via C-section. She's beautiful.

I don't get how God can bring something so good from something so bad, but that's what He does. It doesn't change how painful and horrific the situation is, but He brings beauty from ashes.

We're headed out to Desallines this morning...I hear it's a bumpy 4-hour drive into the hills where we will be staying for the rest of the week. I doubt I will have internet or cell reception, but we'll see. I'm so, so thankful for the opportunity to be learn. Keep praying!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Courtney is safe in Haiti

My first official post for Courtney...:) I received a text this morning from her. They made it to Haiti safe and she is so excited for the opportunity ahead. The first prayer request is for energy and strength. They had to "sleep" in the airport last night, which meant about an hour of sleep. As I understand it, they are in a vehicle on the way to the town where they will be helping the local pastor with some building projects and setting up a clinic to treat people medically. Pray for safety in travel. I believe the town they will be at is about 90 miles north of Port Au Prince. Lastly, pray for cell service so I can receive updates (this is a selfish request). Thanks for all your prayers, as well as financial support. I believe that Courtney has raised about $6000 so far. That is a big blessing that will be used in mighty ways in Haiti. Thank you for giving.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crisis averted. Phew. We actually booked tickets today for less than our Delta flight. God is so good! We now leave early Saturday morning. Definitely time to pack!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Please pray! Delta just informed us tonight that they've cancelled all flights into Haiti, and that's who was going to get us there. We're scrambling to find another carrier and flight and have some good options. I'm confident that if God wants us in Haiti, we'll get there. I'm a planner, though.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

9 Months

My sweet boy -

How can it be that we've been missing you for the same length of time that we had you with us? It's hard to understand where that time has gone. I still miss you like crazy every day of my life, Zachary. I love you so, so much and I can't wait to see you again!

Love Forever,
In five days I will be boarding a plane to Haiti.

Through the incredible generosity of the people in our lives, and even strangers, I have raised enough money to rebuild a small part of the world. I am floored by the donations totaling over $4,000. Thank you. Thank you so much.

I've never been so aware of my limitations. All week long, I've just been wishing that I had gone to med school instead of nursing school. I wish I knew more so I could better help these people. But, I'm thankful for this practical skill set as an RN, and, as my friend Lexie pointed out as we were getting supplies yesterday, this is when God works miracles...when we recognize our limitations and are totally dependent on Him.

I just purchased travel medical and evacuation insurance...but I'm not afraid of anything was more for other peoples' peace of mind.

I also purchased my mosquito net, bug spray, and permethrin to treat my clothes today...those WERE for my own peace of mind! :-)

I've never been clingy with my husband before, but I don't want to let him out of my sight right now. I feel like half of me will still be at home when I arrive on Sunday. Fortunately, AT&T is allowing free calls and texts out of Haiti for all relief workers, so I will be able to share with him some sense of what I'm experiencing.

And, I wish I could get on that plane today. I'm ready to go. I know that nothing can prepare me for the devastation that will be in front of me when I arrive. I know my knowledge will be limited, but I'm trusting God to work miracles.

I'll do my best to update the bloggy-blog while I'm there if I have any internet access. Thanks for continuing to pray!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nine days until I leave, and God's already doing incredible things! I called my boss at the clinic earlier this week to ask if I could go to Haiti, and before I could get a word out of my mouth, she informed me of which nurses would be covering for me each day that I'm gone! Money just keeps pouring in, and I'm so thankful. There's no way Shaun and I could afford airfare and travel expenses right now. We are truly blessed. My eyes well up as, once again, I watch the people in our lives shower us with love.

I can't wait to be in Haiti. My arm really hurts from that darn typhoid fever vaccine, though! :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL!! I leave for Haiti in just 11 days! I can't believe it! God is already providing the way and working out the details. Below is a copy of the support letter that I'm just about to drop off at the post office.

February 8, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an opportunity that God has set before me to grow personally, as well as to practically serve people who are hurting.

Just this past weekend, one of my good friends from nursing school invited me to join her on a medical mission to Haiti to provide much-needed medical care in a town just outside of the capital, Port au Prince. My jaw dropped when she told me how soon the team was leaving - the dates of the trip are February 21st through March 1st! But I knew that God was stirring my heart to go, and after talking with Shaun and our families, I have decided to join her. We will be traveling with a team through an organization called Hope for Haiti and my responsibility will be to assist with medical care in a clinic.

I truly count it a privilege, not only to help heal physical wounds that have been left by the earthquake, but also to point them to the One Who can heal them spiritually and make them whole. I am humbled that God would include me in His work and give me the chance to pour out love on the people of Haiti. I can’t wait!

Please pray – for safe travel, as well as safety when we arrive. As I’m sure you know, the conditions in Haiti are still very unstable. Pray for spiritual growth in my life as God gives me another opportunity to trust Him and make myself available to be used by Him. Pray for adequate supplies to provide safe, effective medical treatment. There are still people struggling with broken bones that have not been set and wounds that are terribly infected.

And, lastly, please consider donating if you’re able to at this time. The cost of the trip is roughly $1,000, which is more than Shaun and I can afford right now. If you would like to give, you can write a check to me personally, and it will go straight to the cost of airfare and travel. If I raise any more money than I absolutely need, every penny over that amount will go to purchasing medical supplies for the healthcare providers working in Haiti.

Thank you for your support. I can’t wait to share with you the ways in which God changes my life, as well as the lives of those for whom I will provide care.

With Love and Gratitude,

Courtney DeYager

I almost can't contain my excitement to go, but last night as I was laying next to my husband in bed as he was sleeping (it was like 2am and I was mentally packing!), I got really nervous. Not about my safety...I know I'm just as likely to get in a car accident on my way to the grocery store three minutes from our house as I am to get hurt or sick in Haiti. I was scared to go through this experience without Shaun. I've never been away from him for this long, and definitely not since Zachary died. He's my reality protector...the one who provides so much balance in my life. Really, I'm scared to go through this life-changing experience without my best friend. But even though I'm nervous, God has more than nudged me to go and I know I'll be able to share this experience, even if it's in a limited way, with my husband. And I CAN'T WAIT! I would hop on a plane right now if I could.

Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity. Pour me out, Lord - everything I've got! Amen.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I read Luke 24 over the weekend, and I've been chewing on it for a couple of days now. The scene takes place after the brutal crucifixion of Christ and His resurrection from the grave three days later. Here it is:

"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.
He asked them, 'What are you discussing together as you walk along?' They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, 'Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?'
'What things?' He asked.
'About Jesus of Nazareth,' they replied. 'He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the One who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place....

...He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!'"

How many times have I asked God 'where are You' when He has been right next to me...residing with me in our quiet, empty house...driving with me when I've cried all the way to work...sitting in the living room with us when we receive a phone call that one more job possibility has fallen the doctor's office with me when the news isn't good?

How many times have I just missed Him...ignored Him...been too concerned about my hurts to recognize His presence? And 'slow of heart to believe'?

Oswald Chamber, in My Utmost For His Highest, says this about the poisonous feeling of spiritual dejection:

"[It]...causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today 'the third day' and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer."

My mom reminded me this week that I might not ever understand this side of heaven all of the 'why's'...and when I get to heaven it probably won't matter because I'll have God...all of God! Answers won't matter there, so they probably shouldn't matter so much here, either. My relationship with God (which is an unfathomable gift in itself) must be based on the belief that He is every situation, and it must be compelled purely by a pursuit of the true and living God, not answers.

God, please help me my unbelief.

Please pray with us - yesterday I was asked to join a medical missions team to Haiti and everything in me wants to go. We don't have the money, and they leave in less than two weeks, but maybe this is just one more area in which God wants to stretch my trust in Him.