London-A missions team from London saw firsthand the plight of Haitians who lack access to basic medical care-but only after doing their part to bring hope and healing to the sick.
“I was more than a little shocked at the differences we saw in U.S. healthcare and that of Haiti,” said Rebecca Rollins, a registered nurse who recently returned from a trip to the impoverished Caribbean nation. “The chart was a piece of white printer paper with their name, age and physical complaints written out-no computer, no privacy, no cleaning between patients, and certainly no government agencies regulating the practices.”
Rollins was one of seven members of Hawk Creek Baptist Church of London who served on a mission trip to Le Digue, Haiti, in late September. The trip was the third annual trip that Hawk Creek has taken to Haiti since 2012.
The goal of the trip was to work in a clinic during the day and at an orphanage in the evening. The team brought 550 lbs. of medical supplies for the clinic, and the team taught Bible stories in the orphanages and provided outpatient medical care to the children.
Haiti received international attention in January 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince. The death tolls from the earthquake and its aftershocks range from 100,000 to 360,000, and some 280,000 residential and commercial buildings collapsed.
The tragedy has strained an already struggling healthcare system in Haiti. Rollins cared for a woman who was 5-months pregnant and rode three hours on a motorcycle to receive treatment. Rollins immediately noticed the woman’s high fever and rapid heartbeat. She was extremely ill, and a sonogram did not detect a heartbeat for the baby. Her child had died, resulting in a severe infection. Rollins and the doctor told the 18-year-old woman that she had to go to a hospital in Port-au-Prince to receive additional care.
“She said that she didn’t have the money to go to the hospital and that she had to go back to tell her mother where she was,” Rollins recalled. The doctored urged her to go, even offering to pay her way. But the woman said she would go later.
“Later never came,” Rollins continued. “We went home the following day and she stayed on my mind. I texted the mission director about two weeks later to ask about her, and she said that she had died from the infection-a needless, senseless death of a beautiful young woman because she had no money, no ride and no support. I can still see the fear in her face.”
Despite such heartbreaking stories, Rollins was struck by the joy of many Haitian believers. “In the direst conditions I have ever seen, I met the most God-loving, thankful, spirit-filled people,” she remembered.
Hawk Creek partnered with the Kentucky-based Children’s Lifeline, a Christian ministry that provides biblical teaching, medication, food, clothing and education in the poorer parts of Haiti.
The church was drawn to Haiti because they wanted to work among the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Other churches are invited to join Hawk Creek for future trips to Haiti.
“I encourage churches that feel ‘too small’ to do an international mission to come join our team at Hawk Creek,” said Hawk Creek’s team leader Debbie Gilbert. “I will certainly be more than happy to travel to churches who are thinking about planning a trip and share our experiences as a team working with Children’s Lifeline,” she added.
Their next mission trip will be Sept. 22-29, 2015. For more information, contact Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org. (WR)