Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We Are The World 25 For Haiti - Official Video

Children Amputees Haiti

Universal Day for the Handicapped- Kay Germaine

This video makes me SMILE...this is another organization in Haiti helping disabled children. There were only 9 in all of Haiti prior to the earthquake and some of those 9 have been destroyed in the earthquake.

Haiti - "Everything Falls" music video - Fee

This has been one of my songs for Haiti for a while. I just figuered out how to upload You-Tube videos to my blog so I am catching up with many of the ones I have shared threw facebook.

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

This is my song for Haiti...I have been doing and will continue TO WAIT till I can be in Haiti in 2 weeks also I will continue to WAIT till I can be full-time in Haiti in God's Timing. The lyrics are so powerful and they are my prayer fro my life! I want to take every step in obedience while I am waiting. I want to serve Him while I am waiting in my daily activities...and I want to worship while I'm waiting.

Amputees Post-earthquake

There are estimated to be 300,000 amputees. In earlier posts I have talked about the view of disabilities in Haiti and it is not good. Praying that this will help change the view of disabilties. That each of those 300,000 amputees will know that there life is not over, that they will find hope in the Lord and that they will get the opportunity to learn to live successful lives despite their limitations! PLEASE KEEP them in your prayers.

dance thrapy haiti

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Sign Language/English/Creole Video

Here is the first of 22 groups of Educational Sign Language Videos I am making for Haiti. They will serve a variety of purposes. They will be used to provide the children of the Miriam Center who have disabilities the opportunity to learn sign language for communication. The workers at the Miriam Center will have the opportunity to learn english and sign language threw the videos. The deaf kids at the Prince of Peace Deaf School will be able to learn sign language.

When I took on this project it became a much bigger project than I thought but I truly believe God is going to use these videos for his glory!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

22 Days Till Haiti…

I can’t believe I am saying this…”There are only 22 days till I will be in Haiti!” WOW!!! I remember in January my heart aching to be in Haiti NOW… and May 10th seeming so far away BUT Courtney you were right you back in February that March would fly and poof May would be here. Well, I feel like that is what happened.

Life has been crazy busy as I…-Graduate with my Maters in Occupational Therapy after 5 years of school (only 20 days ) I have been busy finishing my Thesis, wrapping up all my school project, starting to study for my boards which I plan to take July 19th, seeing friends, working as a work study for IRB department at Gannon, and oh yeah Living up my last few months of college!
-Continue to Look for a job…I have a job interview in Nevada May 3rd and I am really excited about his position. It is in a school district working with kids of all ages. I will have the opportunity to pick up extra hours at an outpatient clinic. There is great vacation that would allow me to be in Haiti about 6-7 weeks out of each year. God opened this door and I am TRUSTING HIM and walking threw it till he closes it. PLEASE PRAY for wisdom and guidance as I continue to follow strive to follow God with my everything
-Plan to head back to Haiti for 5 weeks to work in the Miriam Center. I have been busy sending out my newsletters, buying supplies for Haiti, making evaluation forms, meeting with various medical professionals and picking their brains, collecting educational material for parents and caregivers, finding good picture handouts on positioning, etc.
-Share Haiti and my passion for Haiti every time I get a chance. In February I had 4 opportunities to speak at various churches and organizations and this month I have/had 6 speaking engagements. Speaking in front of people is not my thing but God often takes us out of our comfort zone to prove he can do all things threw us is we are willing to let him. We are His vessel for His use.
-Work on a huge sign language project for Haiti. Gannon Universities Sign Language class has partnered in with me make sign language videos that will have the English, the sign, the creole, and picture of over 500 words and sentences. This is going to be an amazing education tool. So many individuals have come together to make this project happen including Gannon Signing classes, Michelle & Rachel (signing), Rolgard (translating creole), Erin (taping Creole), Cara (speaking creole). Thank you to everyone who is helping with this project I will post more about this project in the coming weeks as I get more done with it.
-OH and Finally as I prepare to move out of my apartment as well prior to leaving for Haiti and Graduating.

As you can see I am crazy busy. I have been feeling rather overwhelmed with everything going on, all the things to do…that at times I admit God has got pushed to the back burner even though he is my STRENGTH and my SUSTAINER. How come when we get busy the first thing we push out is time with God and in His word. Isn’t this the thing we need MOST. WHY do I fail to draw my strength from him. Everything I have is a gift from Him…and everything I have listed up there He gave me…BUT HE also knows that on my own I cannot do all those things and it is only by His strength I can

A little prayer timeline…Please keep me in your prayer…I really need them!
May 3- Interview in Nevada
May 7th and 8th- move out of my apartment
May 8th- graduation
May10th leave for Haiti (stay overnight in Miami)
May 11th- fly into PAP and spend 1.5 days there
May 12th in the evening arrive at NWHCM and get to see my family and hug my kids

I have so many unknowns ahead…God is pushing me out of my comfort zone in so many ways BUT I am excited/nervous…I want to grow in God and is it means being uncomfortable and even afraid at time then….Here I AM LORD…SEND ME!

Part of me did not want to say that…part of me wanted to come up with the list of excuses of why I should not go interview in Nevada, why staying in PAP for 2 days may have not been the best idea, why I should curl up in my turtle shell (comfort zone) turn on my favorite TV show and not think about any of this…lol… BUT NO! I have been chosen by God to do and participate in the things listed above. NO…I don’t know what he has in store for me exactly but I do know…That God has great plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). I also know that in psalm 32:8 God says that He will instruct me in the way I should go, that he will counsel me and watch over me!

I am not alone…I am NEVER alone. God’s got my back. AND He has gone ahead of me and prepared my way…OH AND MY GOD WALKS WITH ME AND HOLDS MY HAND. What an amazing God I have. My life is an adventure with God and I do NOT want it any other way!

God’s Blessings

As I have said many times…God often speaks to me while I am laying in bed trying to go to sleep...probably because this is the only time I slow down long enough for him to speak to me. As I have shared previously one night while laying in Bed I felt him calling me in the morning to contact 2 companies by email that I was looking into buying supplies for this summer from and see if the would be willing to donate. I was not real comfortable with this idea. I HATE asking for money and for donations BUT I obeyed. A few blog posts ago I told the story about the one company Sydspeak who donated 2 communication boards even though I only asked for one…PRAISE GOD!

I know have the privilege of reporting that the other company that I wrote to that same morning Super Duper Publication (http://www.superduperinc.com/Default.aspx). I sent them my wish list that had 14 items on it and they donated 9 of them. I attached pictures below. I am SUPER EXCITED about these donations. These are going to be great resources and will be wonderful teaching tools for the staff. They will also provide tons of fun for the kids and add much needed movement to their sensory diets.

Thank you soooooooo much to both Sydspeak and Super Duper Publications for their generosity and willingness to make a difference in these chidlren’s lives. I cannot wait to see the children's faces as they get to use this therapy equiptment.

This has been a vivid reminder to me that God blesses us when we step out in obedience and do what he is calling us to do.

I also had the wonderful privlidge of purchasing therapy swings. I got a really good deal and was able to purchase 3 platform swings for the price of one. Satan is doing everything he can so I do not get these swings into Haiti BUT I refuse to give up. It was going to cost me an extra $300 dollars to carry these swings in with me on the airplane ( more than teh cost I paid for them including shipping!) So Since Courtney is flying out this week to KEntucky I am going to ship them to Kentucky (2 out of the 3) for her pack in the crates to be shipped in. I am also looking into ordering a net swing to carry in with me and use with the kids this summer so that we will have 2 swings in Haiti.

I have been wanting to get therapy swings into Haiti for a while now. They are going to be soooo good for so many of the children. The vestibular input is so good for chidlren with Autism and many of the chidlren with CP. There is so much you can do on and with the swings and I am excited to be able to teach the Hatian Staff how to use the swings with the children.

The other day I started thinking about how we were going to hang these swings. I have had many conversations with various people of different professions from OTs to PTs to construction workers, to the lady I work for, to my dad...lol... We had some ideas but no definites this will work in teh budget we have. Courtney a few days later emailed me adn told me their is a guy in there right now willing to come up with a way to hang the swings if I would send him pictures of what we have so far and what we are hoping to get. HOW EXCITING!!! Another reminder that God always provides. Below is pictures of the platform swing we already have and the net swing I am hoping to purshcase before I leave.

Here are a couple other swings on our wish-list to get in soon

BIG GOD = Wheelchairs

The other day I had the wonderful privilege of meeting with Jim Nollan from Presquile Rehab (A wheelchair distributor in Erie). I met Jim during our wheelchair lab at school and started up a conversation with him. He had said during his lab presentation that he had tons of extra wheelchair parts in his basement. Well, of course my little wheels start rolling about Haiti and how bad we need wheelchair parts and wheelchairs. So after LabI went up and asked if he had any parts he would want to donate to Haiti.

Jim went on to tell me how his wife and him recently went to I think Honduras was the country and flew in and measured 40 children, flew home and built the wheelchairs and then had the privilege of flying back and delivering the wheelchairs to the 40 children. Jim told me to call and set up an appointment to meet with him and we could talk.

Needless to say I spent much time in prayer for God to open doors if it was his will. We are now up to 28 children in the Miriam Home and 26 in For the For Jonathan’s Sake Outreach Program. One thing we are in desperate need of are wheelchairs. Wheelchairs mean so much more than mobility in Haiti. They mean that a child can be fed safely and have a decreased risk for aspiration, it means that a child has a decreased chance of being left in their crib, and most of all it puts them in a position that makes them feel apart of what is going on.

I finally got the opportunity to meet with Jim 2 Fridays ago. We had a wonderful conversation. Jim started out taking me into the workshop area and showing me all the tools I would need to make a basic wheelchair kit to fix and adjust the current wheelchairs we have in Haiti. Last summer, I attempted to do adjustments on many of the children’s wheelchairs but did not have the correct tools. The next day God lead me to K-mart that was going out of business and I found a tool kit on sale with most all the tools I needed in it  How awesome talk about BIG GOD!

Back to my visit with Jim, when we got back to his office I began sharing about NWHCM and then specifically the Miriam Center. I showed him a book I made with the children’s pictures and a description of each, I showed him a video of the building and some video and pictures of the kids.

Previously I had talked to Jim about making an electric wheelchair for one of the girls Courtney and I think would really benefit from 1. Jim was against this idea, he did not think there was any place for an electric wheelchair in a 3rd world country. After proving that I 100% believe Kem would benefit from an electric wheelchair, showing pictures and videos of her and showing that our facitily had electric to charge the battery and concrete floors for her to get around on…Jim agreed to make Kem an electric wheelchair!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE GOD!

Then as Jim was watching the video he saw Den-Den and said…”He would benefit from an electric wheelchair.” I was like “YEAH…He would.” Jim and I decided that He would make an electric wheelchair that would fit both Den-Den and Kem. He then said he would also donate 5 more manual chairs. That I should pick the most cognitively aware children. The children that know they have a disability and it would help them feel apart and increase their independence and ability to participate. (I was thinking…Somebody pinch me….is this for real…did someone just say that they would give 6 of my kids custom fit wheelchairs)

As our conversation continued and I handed Jim a copy of my most recent support letter and a CD of videos and pictures of Haiti. He turned the letter over and began to read my needs list. He said, I can help you out with some of these…First I have some matt tables down stairs you can have those, wheelchairs I got covered….He then looked at me and said, I have tons of standers and other therapy equipment in the basement of Shriners you can have to take to Haiti (WHAT REALLY…that is what was going threw my head…at this point it is taking everything in me not to run around and jump for JOY).

Our conversation did not even end there…NEXT he said that he wanted me to come back before I leave for Haiti and he will teach me to take measurements for the chairs. Then when I get back from Haiti he wants to meet to go over the measurements. He will then make the wheelchairs and ship them to Haiti. When they arrive in Haiti, He wants to fly in with me to deliver them. AND if everything goes smoothly he said he would then make wheelchairs for all my kids 5 at a time!!!!! PRAISE GOD…I serve a BIG GOD that provides for our every need when we bring the needs before Him and lay them at His feet and WAIT on His perfect timing.

Ok…so I am not done yet…Jim had been texting a friend of his who does work in Haiti, by the end of our conversation Jim ended up calling this friend and I got a chance to talk to him. He has been doing work in PAP and has been there since the earthquake doing work. God had laid a burden on his heart for a need for a amputee trade school that would teach amputees to use the remaining limbs to be productive and to provide for their families and to give them purpose and worth in a society that looks at people with disabilities and handicaps as worthless, possessed, and as though they did something wrong and are cursed.

Well, God then laid upon my heart to share about the new compound that we are in the process of designing and that the land has been bought in Bono. This compound is going to be focused on disabilities. It is going to hold the Miriam Center, an Autistic boarding school, our deaf school, the Miriam Home that will be able to hold 100 kids, For Jonathan Sake Programs, etc. I discussed the possibility of adding a school for Amputees to learn a trade. Later that week I talked to Courtney and she liked the idea as well.

I don’t know what God has in Plan for us BUT 1 thing I do know is that is was not a coincidence that I met Jim. I also know that God has great plans for our friendship in the coming months and years. God has given Jim a heart for missions and heart to help those in need. He brought our 2 similar hearts together to make an eternal difference in the lives of disabled children in Haiti. PRAISE GOD!!!!!