This year has made each of us more adaptable, flexible and open-handed with every aspect of our lives. Inevitably, we have all journeyed through disappointment at what could not be, and toward a different understanding of what remains possible.
For Elva and fellow nurses in Saskatchewan, their opportunity to return and continue to work alongside Haitian health care workers was disrupted first by 2018 political unrest, and then the onslaught of a global pandemic. While the opportunity to visit was closed, the opportunity to partner continued.
The initial plan was to work alongside medical students and professionals alike from Gens de Nantes (GDN) and others connected to the AEM (EMCC’s sister denomination) to serve the community of Benoit in the Department of the Nippes in southern Haiti. This clinic outpost is a result of previous investment from Canada and partnership with the AEM to see health care more accessible to this remote area. Previous weeklong clinics in Benoit, with Canadian and Haitian health care professionals working together had a variety of foci and an overwhelming response from Benoit and surrounding rural communities. Elva, and the others she recruited with great passion, were eager for a next chance to visit and participate in-person together.
Convicted to wait no longer…
In the North-East Department in Haiti, the community of medical students and professionals from Gens de Nantes (GDN) were sensing the Lord’s leading to return to Benoit and offer much anticipated medical care to that remote community. Their desire to return was undeterred, even as the pandemic continued, and political unrest rose in Port au Prince, directly in their travel path. Gary Augustine, one of the nurses remarked,
“Before going, I asked God to use me [and] the team as his ears and eyes and hands to help the people in Benoit.’”
This fall, Elva and others in Canada joined Gary’s prayers and God’s heart by releasing a portion of the funds for their cancelled trip to enable the Haitian health care professionals to go and facilitate a clinic in Benoit. Elva shares,
“God just spoke to me and said these are His funds, and I have faith that we will be able to raise money in the opportunity to go again. By letting the funds go down for the Haitian doctors and nurses, we could enable them to care….They are professionals in their field in their country, so if we can support them, it was a good idea…. They live in their country, understand their culture, and they are very capable.”
This sacrificial giving enabled a group of doctors and nurses to travel to Benoit in mid-October where they facilitated a clinic over the course of five days.
The following is an account from those who served the community, starting with Herlynda Philogene, EMCC’s global partner who also serves as a representative of the AEM.
“God was with us on the long journey to Benoit, and even though there were difficulties God made it possible for us to go and return safely. [The team] was able to see 322 patients in those 5 days. I want to thank everyone from EMCC who prayed for us during this week of clinics in Benoit. Thank you to everyone who thought about us and who sent their support. God will bless you for this gesture. As it says in Matthew 25:40, every time you do something for a person who is in need, you are doing it for me. “
Dr Telsie gave care to many patients, from infants to the elderly. She shares,
“When we [can] go frequently, those who are ill find immediate treatment and their health improves quickly. [For example], a little 15 month old child had a large abscess associated with an impetigo infection. It had been at least a month, but the family did not have any money to take the child to the hospital. I was able to clean and dress the wound. When they returned in two days for me to check the area again, there was already significant healing. The mother was very happy for the care given to her little one.”
Soeur Gertha, a nurse from Ti Gwav where Elva and her team had previously worked, joined the team in Benoit and shared,
“I am always very happy when I receive the call to join the team to Benoit. I also appreciate that even when the Canadian team cannot come that you send the Haitian team. That brings great pleasure to the people of Benoit.”
The hearts of these health care professionals join with friends in Canada who both continually pray for ways in which God can continue to work in the community of Benoit.
Elva shares her prayer that
“….Haitian leaders would be invested in that clinic to run on a semi-routine basis, and that their hearts would be drawn by God to serve that community specifically.”
The dream for Benoit rests in the heart of Herlynda, who shares that
“The people of Benoit are really in need of the medical care that can be provided by this clinic facility. We will continue to pray that God will make a way for the clinic to remain open for the community. ‘’
We praise God for the way in which His heart for mission rests in each of us as followers of Jesus. How beautifully that partnership between EMCC and the global church continues to evolve as He makes His faithfulness and all-sufficiency known to each of us, in Regina as in Benoit.
So what are you going to do with this information?
How can we learn from the resilient faith of those friends in Saskatchewan and our Haitian brothers and sisters and apply it to our participation in Jesus’ mission?
How does this story provide a unique way to consider what partnership looks like and how it continues to change over time?
2. INVITE US INTO YOUR JOURNEY
World Partners would love to journey with you as you consider how God might be nudging you and those around you to connect with the global church and the communities nearest you.
This article is featured in the Winter 2020 edition of The EMCC Together Newsletter.
Download a PDF copy of the newsletter and previous EMCC Together publications here: https://emcctogether.ca/emcc-together-back-issues/