Thursday, November 1, 2012
PRAISE REPORT from Stephanie: "Just got back from the Hospital getting evaluations for surgeries for Anastasia and Gabrel. God was truly watching over all of us. While we were waiting, I just starting talking to some of the medical people there. They wanted to know my story. One of the people was the doctor doing the cleft palate surgeries. When we were done talking he introduced himself as the doctor we needed and said he would get us in for evaluations first. Which he did. And he actually scheduled us for surgeries first thing tomorrow. Anastasia's palate and lip will take two surgeries, they will take care of her lip and Gabrel's lip tomorrow. Please pray for these two precious ones...On a side note, taking advantage of our time in Port au Prince. We went and met with Dora today, who works at a special needs orphanage here. We got to see the orphanage and the work that she is doing there, and it is a very precious place. Just felt blessed to be able to have that time and visit today. PLEASE continue to keep them in your prayers. For the surgeries to go smoothly and to be successful. For quick healing. We are still in need of $500 to cover the cost of these surgeries. If you are willing to donate you can go to paypal and donate to firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this email finds you well. I have lots of things to touch on in this Haiti PRAYER request/update. I will try to keep it as short as possible.
ANESTACIA- Anestacia was born with a cleft palate which in the united states is a simple surgery & a few months after birth there are usually no physical signs except a little scar. But in Haiti this is not the case, in her case, she was born with a disability and left at the baby orphanage. Getting surgery in Haiti is not an easy task BUT 3 years later it is finally happening!!! Anestacia became part of the Miriam Home (for the 2nd time) this past summer when the baby orphanage closed down. We agreed to let Anestacia come & stay at the Miriam Home until she was able to get her surgery with the goal of getting her back with her baby orphanage friends up at the Mole Campus after her recovery. Anestacia spent a few weeks in the Miriam Center when she was younger while I worked on developing feeding techniques for her & trained the baby orphanage workers how to appropriately feed her to prevent aspiration. Anestacia has stolen the heart of many and is a typical 3 year old girl who is cute as can be. Heather Meyer and Stephanie Mosier were able to set up with a surgery team coming to Pourt-Au-Prince (PAP) to get Anestacia her surgery. Nahum and Stephanie along with Anestacia left on a bus from the mission last night at midnight to travel down to PAP. She will be evaluated for surgery on the 1st by LEAP Foundation, and then hopefully be selected for surgery between the 2nd and the 5th. Please pray for things to go smoothly, for safe travels, for Anestacia to be picked for surgery, and that the funds will come in to cover the expenses for this trip. If you would like to donate towards this surgery you can go to PayPal and type in email@example.com to donate! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS…I will keep you UPDATED!!!
SANDLEY- Sandley went to be with Jesus on October 25th. This boy was loved by so many…he certainly fought hard his entire life on this earth and though we MUST rejoice that he is free of pain, able to run, dance, play, smile, laugh, talk, sing…It is hard to not be able to hold, kiss, sing to, syringe feed, or love on that boy. I know my heart is deeply broken today alongside many other missionaries. I actually started writing this update the day I got news of Sandley’s passing…I ceased working on it…Sandley and I formed a special bond this summer. He became like my son. I helped develop a special feeding plan for this little boy which involved feeding him every 2 hours. Justin (another missionary in Haiti who called sandley his son & everyone knew him as Sandley’s Papi) helped with these feedings. It was a slow road but he started to gain weight & strength…THEN he would get sick & we would be back at square 1…it was almost a cycle…The poor little man never seemed to get ahead. He never smiled…never laughed…rarely looked not in pain…YET stole your heart the instant you met him. Sandley had a profound inpact on countless people in his short 2 years of life. As Heather Meyer reminded me “It is not about the Quantity of Life but the QUALITY OF LIFE!” I can sit here today and say Sandley lived a quality life that had a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God. 2 songs come in my head when I think about Sandley today “I can only Imagine” and the “Untitled Hymn” by chris Rice. I can’t imagine what Sanley is experiencing right now free of his earthly bondage of a body that traped him…able to dance, worship, singe praises to the king. Able to run, fly…Selfishly it is hard to let go BUT I must constantly remind myself that he is in a better place. Below is a blog that Heather had written about Sandley a few months before he passed.
On September 24, 2010, a baby boy was born in Cap Haitian, Haiti and was held tightly by his loving mother. He would become baby brother to 3 older siblings. He also had a dad that lived in the small home with them. This baby and family would face many challenges (as if they didn’t already have enough.) This baby, Sandley, was different from his siblings. He was small in size, but had bulging muscles. He had a high pitched cry that never seemed to stop. His eyes were big and he was always looking sideways. People looked at him funny. People knew he was sick, but didn’t know why (Could it be true? Was he seen as a curse on his family? Was he going to die with nobody knowing him? Would he be hidden from the outside world because his family was ashamed of him?) With many “different” looking children in Haiti, this is true, but Sandley’s mother knew she had to do something for her son. She would spend the next year seeking for answers for her son. She would go from hospital to hospital looking for a “cure.” She would spend much of the family’s money to do this and buy all the medications the doctors suggested (vitamins, IV fluid, antibiotics, etc.) See, they either didn’t understand the diagnosis of “spastic quadriplegia” or they were too afraid to tell the boy’s mother that her son would not be “cured” by medicine. If she knew of this diagnosis, would she still care for him or would she give up and let him die in a corner of their home? After all, she had 3 more “healthy” mouths to feed and tend to, and that was a struggle in itself.
Sandley’s mother would be obedient to the feeling in her heart again. In December of 2011, she brought Sandley to another hospital in Milot, Haiti. The baby would be admitted for overnight care, and given a prescription for seizure medication. Sandley and his mother would remain there for the next 3 days. She was unable to buy the medicine prescribed because it was too expensive (in Haiti, you buy all the medications, fluids, IV, etc whether inpatient or not.)
Pastor Daniel (a Haitian pastor who along with his wife has an orphanage) and Bill Waterman (a fellow missionary at Danita’s Children) were on their way to Milot to check on one of the “baby rescue” babies from Danita’s Children. They checked on the baby girl who was sharing a room with about 4 other sick children and their families. Pastor Daniel saw a mom and baby in the corner of the room. Pastor Daniel and Bill walked back to the truck after saying goodbye. They got ready to leave, but Pastor Daniel told Bill to wait in the truck and that he would be right back. Pastor Daniel went back into the room to talk to the mother of the baby boy in the corner of the hospital room. He spoke with her, and noticed the unfilled script for the seizure medication. He also noticed that this baby boy was not well, and needed immediate attention. Pastor Daniel went back to the truck, and asked Bill to come in and see this baby. Bill did, and they took pictures of the baby and also paid for the seizure medication for the mother. They then left the hospital…
Bill came to the main property of Danita’s Children, and said “I have a baby for you, Mami Heather.” I was like, “excuse me.” He said, “this one is for you.” I asked to see the pictures, and I didn’t need to ask anymore. I knew exactly what he had, and I thought, there is nothing I can do for this child. Getting involved would not help this child or his mother. I thought that I might be able to ignore it if I didn’t go see him or if I just convinced myself that I had enough on my plate. This one lived too far away anyway. Surely, there was someone else out there that would help them. Well, that was not what God wanted, and He would keep me up that whole night thinking of this little baby. In the morning, I called Pastor Daniel, and said, “When are you going back to the hospital? I would like to go and meet that baby boy.” The next day, I was in Pastor Daniel’s truck heading to the hospital.
I walked into the room. I went to the corner crib. There he was, laying in his crib sleeping. His mother was not there. Had she abandoned him? Could she not take anymore? Did she have no choice? I stroked his little arm. I kissed my hand and then laid it on the top of his head. Sandley’s mom walked into the room. She had left to buy 1 jar of baby food for her son. I was so happy to see her! She truly loved him. She was dedicated and devoted to her little one. We talked and she asked if I would take her son to the orphanage. She said that she wouldn’t be able to care for him much longer. He was too sick. I knew that I couldn’t do this. I knew it was not God’s timing, and Danita helped me confirm this too. At night I would rack my brain for what I could do for Sandley and his sweet mother. I truly thought of so many living options, but none seemed right. I felt like the mother loved her son, and I felt like I could offer some hope and help at the very least. I had her come every Monday to our clinic. Emily (our nurse) would check and weigh him every week. I would supply his mother with his seizure medication, 1 can of formula, and less than $4 for transportation back and forth (they lived about 45 minutes away.) That mother came every week right at 10am. If I wasn’t there, she still came as she knew we had prepared everything for her and Sandley.
When I got back from my 3 week visit to the Miriam Center, I understood exactly why I was asked to wait on a living situation for baby Sandley. I made the decision to move to the special needs home in Northwest Haiti, and I had permission to bring Sandley with me. I was so excited to tell the mother because I knew this is what she wanted for her baby. The following Monday, I told his mom that I would be moving around April 1st, and that Sandley could come. She said that she had been praying for this, and not only had she been praying, she was acting! She had Sandley’s birth certificate made and was ready to sign the necessary papers. She was not giving him up, but rather giving him a chance…
In February, Sandley’s mom brought him on a Monday as usual and delivered the news that his father had just passed away. She was so sad, but was keeping it together for her children. She was certainly a strong woman! On March 27th, the day came for the big move. We left Pastor Daniel’s orphanage at 4am, and we picked Sandley up on the side of the road around 4:45am in Cap Haitian. His mother placed him in my lap, handed me the birth certificates, and then shut the door. No tears were shed. We simply locked eyes, and shared no words. We didn’t need to. This was all just an act of obedience on both our parts. She simply placed her baby boy in my arms for safe keeping and a chance at life…
Sandley cried almost the whole way to the Miriam Center at NWHCM. He ate a little bit, but I couldn’t get him comfortable. He certainly did not enjoy all the bumps along the way. We arrived and the staff immediately took him out of my arms. The new baby had arrived, and they were thrilled to have a little baby to take care of. He even got renamed “ti bebe” (which means little baby in Creole.) He was stealing hearts right and left, but the real “steal” would have to wait a couple more weeks.
Justin Clark (the missionary who was coming down to focus on maintenance work for the mission) would be moving down. I first talked to Justin at church in Haiti. We were outside and I asked him what he would be doing at the mission. He explained that he was there strictly to do maintenance and whatever else came his way (referring to “fixing things.”) He made it pretty clear that he liked the idea of kids, but had “no clue” or “experience” with them. Well, let’s just say, the rest is history…
Somehow, he found himself gravitating towards teeny tiny Sandley who seemed to be battling one illness after the other. I noticed Justin in the Miriam Center a lot. I knew we had a lot of maintenance work to do, but I mean, Justin REALLY liked working in the Miriam Center. It turns out that he might have had some other motives to being there…YEP, little Sandley! That boy had stolen Justin’s heart forever. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed to this date. Justin even changed a diaper for the first time (and many many more after that!) He learned to feed him with a syringe, give him medicine, hold him, play with him, and change some of the worst diapers EVER! Who knew that God could work through something so smelly? Haha. Day after day, the relationship just continued. It gets stronger each day, and Justin now calls Sandley “son” (or little feller,) and we refer to Justin as “Papi.” Sandley is quite blessed to have Papi Justin, and I know without a doubt that Justin has been forever changed by his little feller, Sandley.
LOVE…genuine, innocent, and pure.
On September 24th, 2012 we will be celebrating Sandley’s 2nd birthday. This will be quite the day for 8lb Sandley. I think there might even be some pudding or dum dums involved! I am simply amazed and inspired by Sandley’s story. It has truly taught me obedience to God’s tugging. A lot of people had to play a part in getting to this point. Without everyone being obedient to the Lord’s direction, this little boy would not be where he is today. He is fulfilling his purpose of sharing love with all he meets. It is not about quantity of days anymore, it is simply about quality and Sandley has this!
I would like to say thank you to everyone that has played a part in this “act of obedience.” It has been a blessing that can never be explained…
1) Sandley’s Mother: Thank you for never giving up! Thank you for sacrificing so much to give your boy a chance to fulfill his purpose. Thank you for taking in all the stares and comments that first year. Thank you for listening to your heart and always going the extra mile to seek help.
2) Pastor Daniel: Thank you for going back into that hospital room to see this baby boy and his mother. Thank you for your willingness to remain such a special part of Sandley’s life as his Godfather.
3) Bill: Thank you for sharing your heart and having faith in me to take on this little boy. Thank you for that little nudge to listen to the whispers of my heart.
4) Danita: Thank you for confirming God’s perfect timing for both me and Sandley.
5) Emily: Thank you for taking care of all the “Monday” tasks of this little one. Your faithfulness made a huge difference in that transition time.
6) Miriam Center Staff: Thank you for taking on one more baby without complaining!
7) Stephanie, Courtney, and Autumn: Thank you for allowing one more to join our family!
8) NWHCM: Thank you for having open doors to myself and my little ones.
9) Justin: There are no words…thank you for being the best “Papi” ever!
10) Sandley: Thank you for just being YOU! You are awesome!
*To everyone else: Thank you for your continued prayers for Sandley. Every day is a struggle for life, but we are making slow progress. We appreciate all the support, prayers, and love from you.*
Christ-Tcherry- First off thank you to all of you who have been praying for his surgery…It was a success!! After having his tongue clipped and adnoids/tonsils out 2 days ago he is already breathing better! He is out of the hospital as of yesterday and seems to be doing well!!! Please continue to keep him and his daddy papito in your prayers as their still is a road to recovery. Thank you to everyone who financially donated to his surgery and made it possible! Heather, Peterson, Christ-Tcherry and Papito are still in the DR awaiting the biopsy reports and CT scan results for Christ-Tcherry and waiting on various test results to come back for Peterson & Heather. Hopefully in the next few days all the results will be in, they will get to meet with the neurologist…receive good news and be able to start their journey back home to the mission. Their plan is to stop in Quataminth, Haiti for a day or 2 so Papiot & Christ-Tcherry can visit with family before heading home to the mission.
1. I also wanted to share with you some more of Christ-Tcherry’s story I learned from Heather over the past few weeks. In my last email you learned that Christ-Tcherry’s mother died during child-birth and Christ-Tcherry was born prematurely & so was in the the hospital for weeks. Most fathers in Haiti would have left the child to die…in fact his wife’s whole family wanted him to leave the baby telling him that it was Christ-Tcherry’s fault that his wife had died. Papito refused to accept their advice (and has since never talked to his deceased wife’s family) INSTEAD he started working 2-3 jobs to earn enough money to pay for Christ-Tcherry’s hospital stay and to buy formula for him to drink. After LONG days of work…every night he would drive to the hospital on his moped to check on Christ-TCherry. One night on the way to the hospital he he had a pretty back wreck…one in which he needed medical attention. He got back on his moped and drove straight to the hospital TO SEE CHRIST-TCHERRY first and once he made sure his son was alright, he checked himself into the emergency room. Talk about 1 dedication and loving father.
2. Another story Heather told me the other day was that Papito was back at the hotel room in the Dominican Republic (DR). She came back from running errands and Papito could not wait to show her a video he took on his phone…She sat down and watched the video…Papito had taken a video of a commercial on the TV in the DR of a father taking his special needs child to the doctor to get help…He then explained (with passion) you would NEVER see this happen to Haiti…children with disabilities are cast away & fathers don’t stay…Heather made sure to point out that He made sure to get his son help, He stayed with him, and has POURED LOVE over him…The though that he is probably in the 1-2%. CRAZY how different it is between 2 countries that share the same island…
I could go on and on and tell you stories about this AMAZING father who has such a BIG heart for not only his son but now for all the Miriam Center children. He has not only become the supervisor of the Miriam Center but more importantly has taken on a fatherly role to these children!
Sydney- I found out the same day that Christ-Tcherry had surgery in the Dominican Republic…my sweet little outreach girl Sydney had corrective foot surgery at the mission while the surgery team was there. Sydney holds a dear place in my heart. 3 years ago her mother asked if I would be her God mother :-) She was brought to the mission by her father as baby Sydney was very sick. Courtney saw her in the waiting room & could tell that she was an extra special child. Long story short we found out mom was super sick and the family would not take care of her. Baby Sydney was malnourished & no doing well. The Miriam Home agreed to take Sydney to love on her & get her healthy. A few days later a frantic mother arrived at the Miriam Home looking for her baby girl! She was so sick she did not know her husband had brought sydeny to us. The moment we saw the love & dedication of this mother to this girl we knew we had to get momma & baby healthy. We provided Sydney’s mother with medicine and food to get her healthy over the next few weeks while simultaneously working on getting little Sydney healthy. I love the fact that before the end of that summer these 2 were back together. LOVE LOVE LOVE this girl & her momma! Last year when surgery team was at the mission, Sydney’s mother was informed that Sydney would need to be able to bear weight on that foot in order to have surgery. Her mother worked all year to get her to put weight on her foot. I will never forget the first day of my outreach program this past summer when Sydneys mom ran to give me a hug and passed Sydney off to me to hold (Sydney does not like white people so cries every time I hold her ;-( BUT mom insists that every week I get to hold her ;-) Then she informed me she had something exciting to show me…she proceeded to show me that not only is Sydney weight-bearing on her foot but is walking!!! This mother has so much love & dedication for her daughter!!!
1. Please pray for me as on Sunday Nov 4th I make a BIG transition…I will be moving to Philadelphia for 3 months working as a contract therapist to a nursing home. I have not worked with adults since my fieldworks back in college and have never worked in a nursing home setting. Lots of unknowns! BUT I am excited to see what God has in store and how he will use me.
2. On November 11th I will be back home for 2 speaking engagements. I will be speaking Sunday morning at Cintonville Presbyterian Church in Clintonvile, PA and that evening I will be hosting a dinner at New Bedford Presbyterian Church at 5:30 to share videos, pictures, and about last summer and my future plans as I move full-time to Haiti. If you are able please come! The dinner is free (donations accepted) so bring the family out :-)
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT
ps. Attached is a little picture handout to go with this email update :-) Hope you enjoy!
Autumn Marshall OTR/L
Miriam Center Therapy Coordinator