Tuesday, December 25, 2012

As I sit here on Christmas day, I grieve the loss of one of the most kind hearted, relentless, young ladies I have ever met.  I grieve for a mother who has lost her oldest daughter and a little girl who has lost her big sister.  On the morning of December 23rd Milonia lost her long fought battle with Diabetes.  She had been in the hospital for over a week...they gave her everything they could and helped her in every way they could.  Roseny stayed by her side (as she always does) and she said Milonia just "fell asleep and was gone." Please pray for Roseny as she must now do the unthinkable and plan a funeral in all the ruggedness of Haiti for her beloved first born.  She is barely holding herself together as I would probably be under the same circumstances.

In America, we are sheltered from death.  In Haiti, it is right in your face with all the harshness and in-sensitivities that go along with life here.

I've struggled to find hope in this situation that has overwhelmed me since we arrived.  However, hope is never hard to find when you turn to the word of God.  "But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? ...but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor 15:54-57.  Milonia is no longer in pain and I am grateful.  She is no longer weak, and tired, and feeling hopeless.

However, if we read on one more verse, there is hope in this for us as well.  "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."  The work you do now, is never going to be in vain as long as you are "always abounding" in His work.  It's when we get side-tracked and are abounding in our own work that we get discouraged and want to quit. When God's work seems overwhelming (which it has to me this week), we can take comfort in these verses.  Because of the fact that we have this ultimate victory, we will never stop abounding in God's work.

The funeral will be tomorrow.  We will all gather to honor the brave young girl who fought so hard and sought so diligently after God.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I'm Going to Haiti

I heard from Amy and she recommended that we take some protein powder to Haiti with us for Milonia to help her gain weight.  So we made a quick run to Sams to get the lowest sugar, highest calorie stuff I could find.  Pray it helps her put on weight.  We will arrive in Haiti on Monday afternoon.  Prayerfully Milonia will be out of the hospital.  If not, I will go there to see her.   I'll take pictures of our sweet girl for everyone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Health Update

Jude says that Milonia is still in the hospital and in need of a blood transfusion.  She has probably become anemic due to malnutrition as a result of the diabetes.  Roseny is trying to find someone to donate blood, if not, it's very expensive to buy it.  Amy is in America right now but is going to call Roseny to try to get more information.

We are going to visit Haiti to pick up our boys and I am looking forward to spending some one on one time with Milonia and Roseny while we are there.  If she is in the hospital, Jude will take me to see her.  I pray she is better and at home by the time we get there.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Party

The wonderful girls at Second Mile decided to give their "staff" a Christmas party a couple of weeks ago..  What a treat for all these ladies.

Roseny is on the far left.
Roseny and Nellie.  Milonia wasn't feeling well enough to come.

Continue to pray for Milonia as she is still in the hospital.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In the Hospital

Jude told me that Roseny took Milonia to the hospital yesterday.  She is very ill to the point she couldn't stand up.  They want her to stay there for a few days.

We are expecting to be able to go within the month to pick up our boys in Haiti so I will be able to talk to Roseny and see what is going on and how we can further help.  I am guessing Milonia isn't being consistent with taking the insulin.

I'll update when I know what's going on.  Jude is going to try to go to the hospital today to see them.  Please pray that she has a quick recovery and that the doctors there can help them figure out what's wrong and give them directions (that they will follow) to help her feel better consistently.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is a picture of the group of ladies Roseny is working with at Second Mile making beads.  All these ladies have a child with a serious health condition, I'm sure Roseny appreciates being around others who understand.  Amy and Jenn say she is a hard worker and they are happy to have her as part of their team.

I  posted earlier how we want to empower Roseny, not just give a handout.  I'm happy to say that we can officially take Roseny's expenses down about $50/month because she is making enough money making beads to pay for food for her family.

I would like to set up a way to purchase her jewelry on this blog...I'm working on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sick Again

Jude checked on Milonia yesterday and said she was very sick.  Roseny took her to the hospital in Milot today because she was in alot of pain.  They gave her IV fluids and prescribed medicine for her.  Jenn has set up an account at the hospital so Roseny can go in and not have to worry about paying.  Roseny used to wait until Milonia was on the verge of death before taking her to the hospital because she had no way to pay for it.  Now, she can take her before it becomes life threatening.  This has been made possible because of your donations.  They are now home and feeling better...just worn out I assume.  Hopefully we'll get more information soon and have a better idea of what was actually going on.
Milonia's struggles with her health seem to be never ending...please pray for perseverance, strength, and faith for both Milonia and Roseny as it takes a toll on a Mama just as much as a child when her child is in pain.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Flood Update

I heard from Jude and he says that Cap Haitien is in pretty bad shape right now.  When he went to Milonia's to see if they were OK, they were already gone.  I heard from Amy and she said they have gone to Madeline (a close by community) to stay with some friends.  I'm not sure if their home will even be habitable when they return.  Surely this flooding has destroyed Roseny's business and who knows what else.  Their family will be needing prayerful help as well as financial help to get back on their feet.  Please keep this in mind as you consider in your giving and prayers this month.  

This water is very contaminated to say the least.  Please pray for the health of all those in Cap as a cholera outbreak is of great concern right now.

This is close to Milonia's neighborhood.

This picture is just outside the orphanage we work with in Cap that is about a block from where  Milonia lives.

This drainage ditch is about a block from Milonia's house.

Friday, November 9, 2012

No Higher Ground

Jillian wrote this blog about the flood that happened in Cap Haitien last night.  Milonia lives a block away from the orphanage and her family would have had no higher ground to go to.  I am waiting to hear from Jude as to how everyone is doing, but it may be awhile before he can get somewhere to the internet.

Please pray for all of Cap Haitien.  This much rain would be tough on America (look at Sandy), but Haiti, with it's lack of drainage system and infrastructure, a situation like this becomes nearly impossible to deal with.  This will affect everyone in Cap.  Again, please pray for those we love in Haiti.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Don't you Know There's a War Going on?

"We really want Rosenie to trust the hospital in Milot."  Amy, the nurse from Second Mile writes to me in an email.  Milona had been sick the last two weeks and instead of going to the hospital they tried natural remedies and other "remedies." Later, Jude tells me that Roseny believes that Milonia's diabetes is "caused by an evil spell someone had cast on her, so she took her to someone who could help her with some special remedies."  If you are going to be involved in Haiti at all, it is important to understand their culture, their belief system.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul talks about the "heavenly places" and in chapter 6:11, he says that "our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."   In case you're wondering, you're sitting in the heavenly places right now.  This battle is constantly taking place all around us and we rarely take notice.  In Haiti, the battle is real and unlike in America, it's in your face every day. 

In Haiti, VooDoo is rampant.  All Haitians believe in VooDoo, even the Christians.  And, although I believe Satan to be a very powerful and active force in our world (I Peter 5:8) and that we in America tend to minimize his power, he only has as much power over me as I allow him. Haitians turn to VooDoo out of fear, they are fully aware that Satan is prowling about seeking out prey.  

To us, it sounds irrational that Satan could cause something like Diabetes, but for those we love in Haiti, it is a daily struggle to let go of this pervasive belief that controls almost every aspect of their culture. Most problems; illnesses, poverty, unemployment, death are believed to be caused by a curse or from someone casting an evil spell.  So, our dear Roseny and Milonia are also acting out of fear and not trust.  Please pray that they do learn to trust not only conventional medicine but their Creator as well.

Trust is a difficult thing to earn.  It's also a difficult thing to give.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Difference of a Mom

Orphanages fill a great need in many aspects.  Without them, thousands of children would be dead.  That's just a fact.  But nothing can replace a mother. 

 In Haiti, there are so many reasons children end up in orphanages. You say, "Well, aren't their parents all dead?" Some yes... however, many end up in institutions due to extreme poverty.  Parents feel they have to make the impossible choice to give their children up in order to give them a better life; three meals a day, clean clothes, medical care, an education to name a few.  These parents choose an institution over parenting their child to simply improve their living conditions and give them a better chance at life...or even just to prevent their death.  A child needing the type of medical attention that Milonia does, many times is "thrown away" as caring for a child with this serious of a need seems hopeless. 

I have always respected Roseny (Milonia's mother) for choosing to keep both of her children. As an unemployed single mother in Haiti I'm sure she has lived through countless nights of listening to the whines of her girls going to bed hungry. I know she has seen Milonia deteriorate and get sicker, near death lying in a hospital bed.  As a mother myself, I can hardly stomach the thought of what this woman has been through with her dear daughter. This could be so easily solved by walking her girls right down the street to the nearest orphanage. There, they could have adequate nutrition, schooling, and life saving medical care for her daughter, Milonia.  Instead, Roseny chose to hang onto her girls.  I've never discussed with her as to why... however, as a mother myself; my guess is that she just couldn't bear the thought of her babies not being with her.

Milonia has a mother, someone to love her and ultimately take care of her.  This isn't the case for so many just like her in Haiti who suffer from such a serious disease as Diabetes.  

Here is the story of Kelinise.  I have heard her story several times but this time it resonated with me in a different way.  She is just as sick as Milonia.  However, in addition to the nearly impossible daily struggle of dealing with a disease like Diabetes in Haiti...she must also deal emotionally with the fact that her family, those who by nature should love you most...have turned their back on her.  To quote Amy in her post "The difference between Kelinise and Milonia is that Milonia has a mom. She has someone that she can call during the day when she isn't feeling well. She has someone that believes in her enough to send her to school even though she might not be able to attend everyday, even though she might never make it past the 5th grade."

What a difference a mom makes!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Insulin

Milonia is now on insulin.  This is great news because several doctors said she should wait before starting on insulin until she was a bit healthier.  She must be a bit healthier.

She has started school and Jude says she is doing great.

Tony and I are hopefully heading back to Haiti in the next couple of months or so to pick up our boys we are adopting. I can't wait to get there and see how well Milonia and Roseny are doing for myself.  If you have any special notes or small gifts you would like to send along with me to take to Milonia, get them to me and I'll make sure she gets it.

Thank you to all who are supporting this family prayerfully as well as monetarily.  I can't wait to tell them all about God's people who have stepped up to help them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things Just Keep Getting Better!

  You may recognize this young lady as Roseny (Milona's mother.)  Second Mile has hired her on to help with their bead making.  If you have never seen the paper beads these ladies make, they are very fun!

  This will be in addition to the business that she is running outside of her house.  She is a hard worker and they are excited to have her as part of their team.  This job is helping Roseny to become more independent and rely less on others.  Her expenses with Milonia's healthcare are such, however, that she may never make enough money to fully support Milonia and her health.  Please continue to pray for this strong woman as she works to provide for her sweet girls.

Photo: Meet Rosenie!
This is our newest bead maker. Rosenie lives in the Cap Haitien area and has two daughters. Her oldest daughter is an 18 yr old living with Type 1 Diabetes. Having a child with a chronic illness isn't easy in the United States. Imagine the extra obstacles one might encounter in Haiti. Rosenie is an amazing mom and we are excited to have her a part of the team! We are thankful for all the jewelry sales (and sellers) that are making these jobs possible!!
Recent Facebook status for Second Mile:
Meet Rosenie!

This is our newest bead maker. Rosenie lives in the Cap Haitien area and has two daughters. Her oldest daughter is an 18 yr old living with Type 1 Diabetes. Having a child with a chronic illness isn't easy in the United States
. Imagine the extra obstacles one might encounter in Haiti. Rosenie is an amazing mom and we are excited to have her a part of the team! We are thankful for all the jewelry sales (and sellers) that are making these jobs possible!!

These are examples of the jewelry that they make.  Each piece comes with a card telling about who made the jewelry as well as her story.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I got word from Jude yesterday that Milonia is starting school today!  This is a big deal for her as it takes a great deal of energy just to walk there when she is feeling sick.  So, that means she is feeling better!

I also got word from Jenn that the doctors have started her on insulin.  Milonia seems to be doing so much better.  I can't wait to get out there myself to see her.  Thank you to all of you who have prayed and supported her financially to make this possible.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thanks to Mckinney Pharmacy

I recently got a dose of what it may be like to be a type 1 diabetic in America without insurance.  I went to Walgreens to get a monitor and some test strips to send to Milonia.  I was unprepared.  They give you a monitor for pretty much free, which is nice because the least expensive test strips that work with that monitor are $70 for 100 strips.  That may not seem like a bad deal, but Milonia is currently using 5 strips per day to monitor her sugar levels.  So, that will cost $70 for 20 days of use.  I don't know about you, but that would alter our budget significantly.

And that's in America...$70 and 10 minutes of my day.

If you've ever been to Haiti and tried to accomplish, well...anything, you know it's not like America.  You can't just run down to your local Walgreens and get what you need.  Most likely it will be a project consuming half if not all of your day.  Imagine heading down to your local Walgreens to get any given prescription.  They tell you they don't have your medication and won't for an indefinite amount of time.  Or they tell you that it will cost you more today than usual because...well, they don't have to give you a reason.  Or they just give you the wrong medication, but it's close to what you need (this summer, Milonia had plenty of pills for type 2 diabetes...useless to her.)  In short...EVERYTHING IS MORE DIFFICULT IN HAITI!!!

So...I called my sis-in-law who is a pharmacist.  She has told me before that the pharmacy where she works is very charitable and the owner has a heart to help the poor.  Well, by American standards, you can't get more poor than Milonia.  He graciously agreed to give us 3 monitors and sell us the test strips for his cost...half of what they normally cost.

So, here's a shout out and a thank you to Mckinney Pharmacy in Springdale, AR.  If you live in Northwest Arkansas, head down to Mckinney Pharmacy in Sprindale, AR the next time you need a prescription filled.

 Mckinney Drug Store
601 W Maple Ave
SpringdaleAR 72764 

 (479) 751-4536

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Not a Handout

I've never been one to believe in "handouts" or "entitlements" as some call it. As I sat in my Social Work courses in college I tended to disagree with 100% of my classmates and instructors 100% of the time as they claimed that we all have the right to equal material possessions.  In other words, if you have it, and I don't...I should have it too.  This just doesn't work in the real world.  

I teach my children "life is not fair."  And that would be because it's not.  There is a world of truth to the what Madame Blueberry needed to learn... "a grateful heart is a happy heart."  God created us to be grateful for our blessings, not entitled to what we don't have.   If you are in Christ, by God's grace you have the spiritual blessings of holiness, blamelessness, adoption by God, redemption, and the inheritance of eternal life (Eph.1.)  If that's not enough to keep a person content, I'm not sure what else God can offer.

Before we arrived in Haiti last July, I had told Jude to let Roseny know that our team was willing to help her start her own business when we came. Upon our arrival, I was anxious to get over to see Roseny and hear about her "business plan" for lack of a better word. As we got comfortable with one another again and I introduced her to several new visitors, she explained that she would like to sell snacks and drinks from a stand on the street just outside her house. It was agreeable that there was a market for this in the neighborhood and she should move forward. Then, she asked me to look out her window. Perplexed, I stood up and I saw a half-built wooden structure. Roseny had managed to scrape up some wood to build the stand for her business herself. She said, "I wanted you to know that I'm serious about this. I'm willing to work for it. I want to provide for my family myself." I fought back tears. Tears coming because I see a woman who just wants a chance, a chance to fight for her family herself. Not to be rescued by someone who considers her to be a "project."

I was impressed once again by the strength of this woman. She was excited about the fact that she could provide for her family...that we wouldn't have to support her for a lifetime.  This is a chance she is not going to let slip by.

The guys went over on one of our last days in Haiti and used some of the lumber and materials we had left over from another project to help her complete her stand.

Roseny and Nellie.  This is the stand Roseny had worked on herself.

Tony and the guys  worked hard on the stand on the last day.

The stand completed.  From left to right Tony, Milonia,
Roseny, Jude, Trevor, and Silas (in the front)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time for School

School in Haiti usually starts in October (it always seems to be up for debate every year when they will actually begin.)  Well, I've been told that our Milonia is feeling well enough to attend school this year.  The local congregation here has collected a backpack (which will swallow her whole until she puts on some weight) and school supplies.  Thanks to the members of the the Logan church of Christ for meeting this need.

The money needed to pay for school will be in addition to the monthly funds that are needed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Check Up

This last week, Cap Haitien Children's Home had a group of doctors come for a mission trip.  I asked if they would spare someone to go over and check on Milonia.  This is Dr. Ken Turner from Johnson City, TN who went to see her family.  He agreed that she should wait for insulin until she is a bit stronger.  

Roseny (Milonia's mother) had an infection on her leg so they gave her some antibiotics.  Many children in Haiti are orphaned by such infections.  Thank-you to this team for taking time out of their hectic schedule in Haiti to visit their family.

Anyone who doubts the benefits of short term mission trips, here is an example where their visit made a difference to one.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuesday Dr. Appointment

The following is a report from Amy Syres, a nurse in Cap Haitien who is working with Milonia.  She was fortunate to make it to Milonia's appointment last Tuesday, August 27.

 Jenn and I met up with Milonia and her mother at Milot at about 1 this afternoon. It turned out to be great timing. They were finished with the visit and had had a chance to put prices on her prescription. Just a few vitamins and supplements today. I really think the doctor is focused on getting her at a healthy weight and nutritional status before attempting insulin. They don't feel she needs it yet. I think that getting a consistent 2 blood sugar readings a day will let us know for sure whether she does or doesn't need to start. She doesn't have a rendezvous until September 25th but we will keep in touch with her to find out if she needs to go back sooner. 

The picture below is Milonia with Ms. Celestin. She is caring nurse and a compassionate woman. She takes the patients under her wing and patiently walks them through their visit. The diabetic clinic at Hôpital Sacré Coeur du Milot operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the rest of the week it services people with other chronic conditions. Ms. Celeste knows every patient and is quick to give her phone number to those who need extra support. She was happy to see Milonia today and had two things to say about her visit. 
a) Her blood sugar isn't too high. Her fasting blood sugar was within range and her the result of her Hba1c wasn't terrible.
b). The doctor's assessment of her general condition was positive. She has definitely improved since her first visit (4 weeks, 6 weeks?? ago).

More troublesome is her degree of malnutrition. Today she was prescribed only vitamins, protein powder, and iron. She didn't have to do any other laboratory analyses which, with doctors that aren't afraid to order tests, is actually a really good sign.

We had a chance to practice using the glucometer they received last week. She'll be testing twice a day, once before a meal and once a few hours after eating. She'll record these numbers and bring them to her next visit. If she runs persistently high or low she can head back to Milot with a better idea of what's going on. 

Thank you to Amy for going the "Second Mile" and being there for Milonia.  Progress is going to be slow, but I am encouraged to hear that the medical staff seems to think she improving.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Medical Update

At the end of last month Milonia had a blood test done called the Hba1c. It is a good indicator of overall blood sugar control over the life-span of your blood cells... (or 3 months). It took a few weeks to get the results as the blood sample had to be sent to Port au Prince for testing. Milonia's mom was able to pick up the results Friday and she will bring them with her when she goes to Milot for an appointment on Tuesday. The doctor will analyze the results for her then. Amy Syres, the nurse from Second Mile Ministries will be by in the afternoon to find out from the clinic staff how things are going.

Jude brought Milonia a blood glucose monitor last week and this will afford an opportunity for Amy to show Milonia and Roseny how to use it.

We'll let you know how the appointment goes.

Prayerfully, we'll see Milonia getting the correct amount of insulin, gaining weight and strong enough to start school soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac

This image was from yesterday at 2:15 PM ET. The storm was projected to hit a bit harder in the southern part of Haiti (Port au Prince,) but on an island only 100 miles wide, likely everyone will be affected.

Please pray not only for Milonia and her family during this tropical storm, but all those in Haiti who are homeless, or live in tent, tin, or other shelter unable to protect them from the winds and rain. Milonia's family is fortunate to live in a concrete house so they should be fairly safe, the main worry would be flooding. It should be over by tonight. I haven't heard anything about how Cap Haitien was hit, likely because the power is out, but will update when I hear how everyone faired through the storm.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Email updates

If you would like regular updates on the blog, type your email address to the right where it says "Give us your email if you'd like updates." An easy way to keep up with how to pray for as well as progress being made for Milonia and her family.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Difference to One

"The Star Thrower"

This story is told based on the original work of L Eiseley's allegory called the "The Star Thrower"

A father was walking for miles along a white sand beach covered with dying starfish with his son. As he watched his son, he had stopped walking and rolled up his sleeves. Then he picked up a starfish and threw it into the ocean. He watched as his son diligently worked at scooping up starfish and throwing one by one back into the sea. After an extended time and curious, he asked, “What are you doing with the starfish?” His son replied "When the tide goes out it leaves these starfish stranded all over this beach. They will dry up and die before the tide comes back --- so I am throwing them back into the sea where they can live."
His father then asked him, "But this beach is miles long and there are thousands upon thousands of stranded starfish, most will die before you reach them. Do you really think throwing a few starfish back into the ocean is really going to make a difference?"
His son picked up a starfish and looked at his father and then at the starfish. He then drew back his arm and gave a mighty throw with the starfish landing in the waves. He turned to his father and said, "It makes a difference to that one."

No doubt you have heard this popular story before. I heard it for the first time when seeking insight from our adoption caseworker, who has worked tirelessly in Haiti for years. I was feeling overwhelmed by the inability to help the country of Haiti in any truly productive way, having spent the last 2 years searching for the answers that would put a dent in the problems that plague the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. She used this as an analogy with regard to our adoption. Our family could make a difference to one (or two.)

I've always been one who wants to make a difference in a HUGE way...to thousands. As I've matured, I've realized that this desire was more about me than it was about God and His glory.

Milonia is just one of thousands in Haiti suffering from an deadly illness that needs continual monitoring yet is neglected because of a lack of resources as well as education.

Yes, as an individual, I am helpless to change the politics, culture, and satanic forces that plague Haiti. But I can reach out to "the least of these" individually; teach the gospel to one person; feed, clothe, give water to that one person. God can use us to make a difference to one.