Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back From Haiti


Patients lining up to be seen outside the Church

We returned late Saturday night from our one week medical mission to the parish of St. Simon and Jude of Port-Au-Prince. Many prayers were answered and God's favor was upon us. In JFK at our departure, several of our bags were over the 50 lb limit. We were prepared to pay for the extra fee but the ticketing agent declined to charge us. She said she knew we were doing this as a mission and it was her way of supporting us. (The hundreds of dollars this saved was then given to Fr. Andrew at the end of our trip to help pay for ongoing medical issues in his parish.) After a 4 hour flight we landed in Port-Au-Prince and got all of the medicines and supplies through customs without a hitch. (or a bribe)

We brought 28 duffle bags and suitcases to the Church and set up our 'pharmacy' in the sacristy of the Church. Four medical doctors and one pediatric nurse-practitioner saw over 900 patients in 4 days. The patients suffered from many bacterial and parasitic infections, poor nutrition, anemia, diseases of the skin due to poor sanitation and severe uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes. A young girl in line to see us suffered one of several gran-mal seizures she has had since birth. We did not have any seizure medicines and left some money with Fr. Andrew in the hopes that he can connect with this family later to provide them with the funds to get further medical care at a local hospital. The local government-run hospitals in PAP are poorly equipped and usually turn away the poor non-paying patients.

One of the saddest cases of the week was a 19 year old boy who had just been released from prison after being held for three years with no charges against him and no trial ever conducted. He was randomly pulled out of a soccer game one day by the police for unclear reasons. He was the son of a baptist minister. He had been beaten daily in prison and was now critically ill. When I saw him he had a high fever and was filling up with fluid and appeared to be in severe congestive heart failure. If he was in the States, he would have been in an ICU. Father Andrew decided to pay for him to get treatment at a local hospital and gave his father money. We were later told that the hospital refused to admit him saying they were full.

The saddest but perhaps most gratifying part of the week was taking a trip down the road from our compound (less than a mile) to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity orphanage and hospital. We had the opportunity to tour the hospital and spend time with the children. It has been a dream of ours ever since we became Catholic to visit this orphanage. As we walked through the very same halls that Mother Teresa once walked, the orphan children held up their arms to be picked up by us strangers.

We went to the hospital portion of the orphanage and were encouraged to lift the crying babies up from their cribs and hold them. When it was time for lunch, metal bowls of a nutritious rice and meat gruel were brought out and we helped the staff feed the children. Some children were able to take the spoon and feed themselves, others had to be coaxed and some refused to eat at all. I cannot describe the simultaneous feelings of pain and joy and grace that I experienced as these tiny sick children clung to us and buried their febrile heads in our chest. Deborah and I could not look at each other for fear of breaking down and sobbing. All I could do was whisper a few Haitian phrases to the babies I held and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet- "For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

I thank you all for your prayers and support. The Lord heard your prayers and allowed us the privilege of being His hands to reach out to the body of Christ while we were in Haiti. Could you remember to offer a prayer for Fr. Andrew and our brothers and sisters of St. Simon and Jude parish from time to time? Thanks so much .

4 Comments:

Blogger Rachel M said...

Welcome back.

I just can't imagine seeing the things you saw up close and personal like that and not feeling a mixture of heart ache and a kind of exhaustion at the hugeness of it all.

November 22, 2009 10:26 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Wonderful chronicle Russ. Jeff J.

November 23, 2009 9:10 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Pinyan said...

God is blessing the work you do more than you can imagine!

November 23, 2009 11:29 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

thanks guys

November 26, 2009 11:36 AM  

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