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Sometimes it’s the little things in life that we take for granted, like electricity and running water. In our little “house clinic” in Gatineau, we had neither electricity nor water. On cloudy days or in the late afternoon, it was difficult to see our patients or write on their charts due to lack of light in the clinic. So, we were especially thrilled this week when John Ohlinger, an engineer who is visiting from the US, installed a battery system with 4 ceiling lights for us. As the clouds came over and the rain fell in the afternoon, we thought we were in heaven with our little lights illuminating each room! His next project is to set up an inverter so we can have fans running on those sweltering summer days.

Engineer John will be supervising the future clinic construction project and we’re very grateful to have him on board with us. He’s also been helping us this week with our house/guest house construction in Jeremie. The first floor of the house was partially built when we bought the land and we finished it up enough to move into it last year. It took months to complete construction on a kitchen and storage area on that first level, because the house was built on solid rock that had to be chipped away with hammer and chisel to give enough clearance to pour the floor. Now, we’re in the process of putting up another two floors, replete with balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We’ve learned a lot about construction in the process, and are convinced that it is only by the Lord’s grace that we’ve accomplished what we have thus far! Pray with us for rapid completion of the house, which will enable us to accommodate visitors more easily.

Rock floor of the future kitchen

Rock floor of the future kitchen

View of the first floor roof when we first bought the house and land

View of the first floor roof when we first bought the house and land

Same view now with garage and front porch

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It’s hard to believe it’s October already! Hurricane season will soon be over and we’re praying no more major storms will head our way. Clean-up efforts are still going on in the areas north of Port-au-Prince, which were the hardest hit by the four hurricanes that struck Haiti. The roads leading to Cayes, in the south, and Cap Haitien, in the north, are still impassable, due to broken bridges and flooded roads. The large transport buses are unable to go from Jérémie to Port-au-Prince, due to flooding of the road outside Miragoane (a town between Cayes and Port-au-Prince). So, they’re taking the passengers to one side of the flooded area, where they get into small dug out canoes, cross the “river” and get onto another bus on the other side to continue on to the capital. The same thing is being done with produce and supplies, including medication and equipment needed in clinics and hospitals throughout the country. It is indeed a difficult time for the country. Everyone here appreciates the prayers of God’s faithful in countries like the US.

Our clinic has continued to function well, despite periodic heavy rain and poor roads. Yesterday, for example, it was raining in Jérémie and we considered not trying to go up to the clinic. There are several areas of the road that are very muddy and slippery and can be treacherous when there is heavy rain. Our patients generally know that when it rains, we are unable to hold clinic. But, since the rain here in town was light, we decided to make an attempt. As we drove higher and higher into the mountains, there was more mud and it was evident there had been heavy rain all through the night. We were thinking that we might find only a couple of patients, and would have made the slippery trip in vain. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the clinic to find over 35 patients waiting to be seen! They had all walked in the rain and mud to get there, many from miles away. Two young people were very ill with fevers of 105 degrees, abdominal pain and diarrhea, probably due to typhoid fever. If we hadn’t been there to treat them, they most likely would have gotten worse during the day and could have died. How glad we were that in God’s wisdom, we decided to make the trip that day.

Construction work continues on Cherlie and my house/guest house in Jérémie. It seems that every day brings a new set of problems as we deal with numerous construction workers, each with their own agenda and priorities. Our goal is to get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Theirs is not always the same! Please pray with us for wisdom and patience. Despite these difficulties, our home has frequently become an outpatient clinic for the construction workers, who come to us with complaints of abdominal pain, toothaches, rashes, cold symptoms, etc. Earlier this week, one of the masonry workers asked if we could look at a tender area under his right arm. It turned out to be a large abscess that needed to be drained and packed with gauze, which I did for him on our front porch after the day’s work. We do whatever is needed to move the work along!

One of our support organizations, Rays of Hope for Haiti, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ships equipment and supplies for us in containers they send periodically to Haiti. They clear the containers through customs and store the contents in a warehouse in Port-au-Prince until we are able to pick them up. This is a very important ministry to us and to other mission organizations working in Haiti. In the past few months there have been increasing problems with getting containers cleared through Haitian customs, resulting in significant charges to the organization for each day they sit in the customs area. Please pray for them as they struggle to provide these important services to us in Haiti and pray that the cost of shipping will not increase as a result of these difficulties.

Thanks to all for your continued prayers and support of our important ministry here in Haiti!

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