Thursday, January 23, 2014

For Jonathan Sake Outreach Day 21- LesKatie

LesKatie’s family has been bringing her to outreach for the past 3+ years. 

She has such a sweet spirit, a smile that lights up a room, & a giggle that melts your heart. When she is angry or laughing really hard she has a cute snort. LesKatie’s father brings her most of the time as I believe her mother has a more consistent job. It is rare in Haiti that a father of disabled child stays with the mother let alone cares for the child. It is common in Haiti that if a mother has a special needs child the father will go impregnate another women and if she has a non special needs child then it was the mothers fault and leave. This is what makes LesKatie’s special relationship with her father even more special! I absolutely love watching her father so tenderly care for her!!! He is eager to learn how to provide his daughter with the best care. He gets right down on the floor with LesKatie each week working/playing with her. LesKatie has Cerebral Palsy which causes her muscles to be tighter than normal. Due to contractures in both of her legs from high tone she is unable to stand up straight. She is absolutely loves light up toys & will do just about anything to reach for them even standing up as far as she can :-). Over the past few years we have been working on preventing contractures from forming with stretching/massage, standing & straightening her legs by using her arms to pull herself up, playing with toys, holding a crawling position, and sitting with head lifted in the air. 

I had the privilege of visiting their home this past year. They live way up the mountain (which may be another reason dad brings her as she is getting big & heavier to carry). When I arrived LesKatie was laying on a blanket outside their home with her 2 brother playing with a toy that they had borrowed the week before from the toy lending program. They have a little home made out of sticks and woven in leaves with a dirt floor. There are no doors just open flow throughout. It is a nice house when it is hot but when it rains water would run in and the floors would become mud. I had A LOT of fun playing with LesKatie. I brought a light up fan and we worked on sitting, quadruped position, and standing. While I played with her Presidue talked with Dad. I did not have a translator but later found out that dad was a Masonry but was without work & had few tools. 

It was a blessing to be able to hire LesKatie’s dad on 3 occasions this fall to help with Masonry construction projects that we had around the mission. He is such a hard worker, does GREAT work, & gave a more than fair price. The last job he completed we were able to bless him with new tools that will help him in the future.

In October LesKatie had surgery to release the tight tendons in her legs that prevent her from standing up straight & walking. After surgery she was placed in cast up to her thighs. She stayed at the mission for 2 days after surgery prior to going home. Her mom & dad took turns staying with her, comforting her and loving on her. LesKatie was in her casts for 6 weeks. With the casts on she was able to stand up straight and was starting to take steps. 

She got her casts off just a couple days before I left and we fit her with foot braces to help to help keep a good stretch on her ankle & to prevent contractures from forming again secondary to her increased muscle tone in her legs. Immediately after putting the braces on she was standing up straighter than ever!!! Her family was taught how to stretch her and good exercises to do at home in between her weekly visits to outreach.
It has been a tremendous blessing to get to know this family, to work with them, and to love on them. Please keep this family in your prayers.
·         Pray that LesKatie would continue to gain skills, learn to walk, increase his core-strength & neck control, have increased control over his body, and gain increased strength every week through therapy
·         Pray for LesKatie’s family to grow in their love for God and understanding of His word and In God’s word they would find peace, hope, and encouragement.

For Jonathan Sake Outreach Day 20- George

George’s mother started bringing him to outreach 4 years ago. They have come off & on since then. When George first started coming he LOVED to play with toys especially cars. You could tell he was very bright & aware of what was going on around him. He had tetraplegic Cerebral Palsy that caused increased muscle tone in his right hand and both legs.  He was able to “W” sit to play with toys with his left hand. We also worked on weight-bearing through his feet while standing next to a therapy ball. His mother was trained on massage and stretching to help keep his muscles loose. When George’s mother first started bringing him she was pretty “hands off” and had a very strong personality. She always looked angry & talked in a voice that made it sound like she was angry. On multiple occasions she asked us to take George asked for things. She would bring George most every week at first. When she got there she would set him down and go to the other side of the room to talk with the other mothers who were there but was watching & observant when I worked with/played with George. 

Over the years she has become much more “hands on” with George but as George got bigger she started coming less frequently. She said it was too hard for her to carry him. A few years ago George started having pretty severe seizures. We began to see a decline in George’s alertness and functioning. He went from being able to sit & play, stand with support, and interact with his mother to an almost vegetation state with a glazed glare.

 At that time we did not have a seizure team to provide the best medicine but we did have a Haitian doctor that understood seizures & provided a seizure medication. George’s mom almost completely stopped coming…she was losing hope…she was discouraged…their was nothing she felt she could do. She did not consistently come to get George’s seizure medication (which is not good to go on & off and requires daily consistency to be affective). The rule with outreach was that you had to come 3 out of 4 weeks in a month to be in the program.  After multiple warnings the hard decision was made that she was no longer allowed to be in the program. This past fall when the seizure team was returning we called her and told her we would give her a second chance to bring George, get the needed medicine, give it to him consistently, AND come to outreach on a consistent basis. George’s mother has been doing this the past few months. The medicine is helping George and he is starting to play with toys again and “W” sit as well as stand with support.  

I had the privilege of visiting George’s house this fall. They live a good ways up the mountain on a piece of land that has multiple small building made out of sticks, leaves, etc. with dirt floors. When we arrived I noticed objects hanging from a tree & felt like something was off. Not wanting to ask & make the situation awkward I decided I would wait till the end to ask my translator. When we arrived mom got George out of a small hut and handed him over to me. I played with George while with the help of my translator we talked to the family. I found out that they live on this land home extended family. George is 1 of 6 children. Found out that his mother was a Christian & faithfully went to church until her husband became a witchdocotor (hence the stuff hanging from the trees & my uneasy feeling walking on the land). She has not been to church since. We were able to bless George’s mother with a solar power Christian radio and pray with the family. 

She then walked us to the next outreach homevisit. She is such a vibrant women & full of life. Along the way to the next outreach home we ran into a young man with Down Syndrome. I loved the way Georges mom interact with him. I am excited that we were able to find his family & invite him to come be apart of the special education school at the mission. 

Please Keep George & his family in your prayers
·         Pray for George’s health- protection from illness, that his seizure meds would continue to work, etc.
·         Pray that George would continue to gain skills, increase awareness & energy to participate in his world, have increased control over his body, and gain increased strength every week through therapy
·         Pray for George’s  family to come to know Christ personally and see that Vodoo has no power. Pray that their family would leave such lifestyle. Pray that they will find a personal relationship in the one true God…a God that LOVES unconditionally & can provide their family with  peace, hope, and encouragement.
·         Pray that God would provide for the needs of this family (food, shelter, work/income, etc.)