Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pictures from Tara's Team

Here is a link to a lot of shared pictures from the team that Tara was with. You can see what the team was doing, as well as many pictures of the mission and city.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Now What....

As Tara heads home today and tomorrow, I want all of you to know what our plans are.  I want you to know all of the aspects of this journey.  We have almost two years before we plan on moving, but we want you to know how God is continuing to work in our lives during this time, and how He continues to prepare us for what He has called us to do.  We have been blessed to have a supportive family and church through this process.
One of the things we have asked ourselves is how we are going to stay excited for the next two years. As these trips help, we have also been blessed by our pastor's sermons at home.  They have been speaking to us almost every week!  I wanted to share his last sermon with you.  Please take the time to watch it.  Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!

Nov. 2, 2014 - Follow: Deny Self - Ken Kersten from Olathe Christian Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Update #4 from the Team

Another update from Mark.  I'm simply amazed at how many people they were able to see!


We happily started our day with a team photo, attached. Maybe missed a face or two. It was a good start after another rainy night. The successes and camaraderie have been enough to draw a grin from us. 

The clouds are smiling in there own way, as rain is falling multiple time a day. It is often a happy time to receive the moisture in a land that experiences draught. I just heard an unconfirmed report of 15" in the last three days. 

With more than 500 patients seen and 99 surgeries, we are keeping a delightful pace. Some of today's patients were from Bombardopolis in the west region of the NW zone. They left home at 1am and drove all night to arrive around 9am. Two had surgery this afternoon and the group will make the drive back home tomorrow.

The food is good, if starchy. Chicken and some goat are common parts of meals, with beans, rice, avocado, tomato, onion, plantain and cabbage among the veggies. The cooks have flavoured our meals well, but various condiments are available. 

We provided the cooks with gift bags of toiletries such as lotion, shampoo, soap, razors and other goods they will appreciate. We will do the same with translators tomorrow. 

Our devotion focused on how great a forgiveness we have received from Jesus Christ's sacrificial gift. Is it a response to his sacrifice, the father's love, our great forgiveness, our changed hearts or is it other reasons that brought us here? Each has their own answer. God may smile no matter what when we love his children. 

M Lancaster

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Update #3 from the Team

Another update from the team leader.  Day #3


We expect four full days of clinic (think of the eye doctor office) and OR (that surgery place) this week. As we began our day, we could peer from the second floor roof down on dozens of patients standing next to a chain link fence waiting to be let into the two acre compound in which we eat, sleep and work while in Saint Louis du Nord. 

Today was full indeed. Rain in buckets full fell. For the OR, less of an issue, but taking patient histories while inches of water rush near are feet, just beyond the overhang produced some diversion from the task. The Strait of Tortuga half mile north of us was tainted with brown silt washed down from mountain streams. We know many of our patients trudge across streams to make it here today. 

The A Scan machine, essential to measuring optical characteristics, was on the blink. Cannot progress without it. About the same time a Phaco cataract surgical machine failed. Time and again it was reboot, restart, turn off then on. We had prayer offered on these accounts. Soon both performed as they should. Restart, restoration!

All told, this full start day produced 30 surgeries and about 145 patients processed. This is a great day for an efficiency-sized team. Part of this is because of the attitudes brought in from the mainland. We moved with obstructions, avoided obstacles, made a clean beginning. 

More tomorrow and more rain, as the rumbles in the distance remind us. The God who makes thunder is the one we are here to serve.

M Lancaster

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Update #2 from the Team

This is the 2nd update from the leader of Tara's group.  I was able to chat with Tara tonight.  She is doing well.  She is one of the people in the tents.  She really isn't liking me much right now for talking her out of taking the camping fan.  It sounds like the heat is taking some getting used to!  Luckily, Stephen (the lead missionary) has let her use his phone the past couple of nights.  There is a designated time people can use the net at the mission, and it has been bogged down by everyone jumping on at the same time.  Tara hasn't been able to touch base with her own phone because of that.  I will keep the updates coming as they come in!  Thank you all for your continued prayers.



It was still and humid under cloudy skies when the lights went out at 10pm Saturday. Maybe 6 tents are setup with most of the team in dorms. Around 4am the rain began falling, driving a few from tent-to-dorm. It was a substantial storm, but it cooled the air and surprisingly a less humid day. 

It was fully bright by 6am, but the roosters were ahead of the sunrise with their crowing. There were sounds of all sorts in the open air or open screen accommodations. Motorcycles, donkeys, chatter from the street, singing from early church services, hiphop or kompa tunes, slamming doors all graced the airwaves. 

The time shift was not clear here. Apparently, DST has been in use this year, but the church and other practices didn't seem to fall-back. The normally 2.5 hour service was an hour on when our group arrived at 9:30am. So, a shorter long service in which Pastor Dale Thiele preached on the greatness of God from Psalm 145. We had a nice breeze blowing thru a sometimes-stuff building. 

Lunch was ham coldcuts and cheese sandwiches with piklis which is a spicy coleslaw. After lunch, a tour of the campus for new visitors, then various forms of rest and setup for a full load of patients Monday. We fit in a visit to the city jail for 13 of us. It was oddly disappointing that only one prisoner was in the hoosegow. He had been hit by a man, then in retaliation he threw a rock and broke a different man's car window. Jail time. He will see his accuser and perhaps a magistrate tomorrow. 

Chicken, French fries and fried plantain with more piklis for dinner. We had team meetings for OR and eye clinic, working out some bugs and assignments before startup tomorrow. Devotions at 7pm, then casual time. Some playing cards, others online, many chatting.

This is a cooperative, congenial group. It is a pleasure to serve with flexible servants. Praise The Lord for his work in us. 

M Lancaster

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Update #1 from the Team


A long day of travel got the whole team (35) on the NWHCM campus by late afternoon. The last bags are rolling in right now. There was some rain on those traveling by van. Nearly all flew in single engine planes - 9 & 5 seaters for the later flights. 

Hot and humid here. Some are in tents, but most in the dorms. A cooling breeze would be welcome, although most likely in our dreams alone. 

The eye clinic was opened and nearly ready for patients by the good work of the Texas group. The Operating Rooms are on the cusp of surgery as well. 

We saw about 16 patients in the eye clinic with maybe 10 needing cataract surgery. Most were patients who we saw in February that we could not fit in at that time. That is the only hope most have for clear vision - wait for foreign surgery teams to arrive. 

No other teams are on the campus, so the pace is less hectic. Tomorrow is our day of rest, with worship at 9:30. It will be grand!

Mark Lancaster

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Actual First Step

If you look at the clocks on the right hand side of the page, you will know that Tara's first trip to Haiti is in less than a week!  We have so many emotions going on inside of us right now.  We are excited to start, nervous about the travel, but more importantly, we're totally pumped to finally be helping where God has called us!  We will keep you updated as the information is passed along.  Tara is traveling down with an eye surgery team.  We aren't precisely sure what her role will be while she is there, but I've already heard her talking about the orphanage.  One thing I have learned about my wife, is that she LOVES to love on babies.
For those of you that have been praying for us, thank you.  We need your continued prayers for the journey that is coming, and those in the future.  Pray that God's calling will stir in those that NWHCM is ministering to, and that they will see God in the team that Tara is traveling with. 

More posts to come soon!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Process

Hey all.  I know it has been a LONG time since we have posted.  We've done some talking with different people, and have clarified the process.  Tara will be going with the iTeam (team of eye doctors and nurses) to Haiti at the end of October.  It's coming up so quickly, and she is excited!  We will keep everyone updated with progress as it comes along.  We will definitely post pictures once Tara returns.  Thank you all for your continued prayers.  This is the process we hope to go through:

STEP 1: Initial Inquiry

All initial inquiries need to be sent to the web page to fill out the missionary candidate application. The application is then linked to an e-mail address that John and Barb will check.

STEP 2: Initial Contact

* Phone interview with John Harvey, initial questions asked and candidate process explained (see sheet).
* Notes put into Google Drive and reviewed by Janeil and Jody
* John contacts Barb to send Missionary Candidate packet out.
* John contact candidate once they have had two weeks to review the packet they have been sent; answer any questions and set up phone interview with Jody.
* Phone Interview with Jody.
* Jody decides whether this person can enter the candidate process with us.
* John informs applicant of the decision

STEP 3: Initial Trip into Haiti with NWHCM

* Once approved, the candidate(s) needs to make a 10-14 day trip into Haiti with NWCHM, accompanied by John Harvey or Jody Castillo.
* John contacts candidate to let them know the next step.
* John contacts Barb to let her know who the candidates are and that they will need to fill out a Barnabas application online, introductions made by e-mail.
* While they are in Haiti, they have a required appointment with John to get to know each other and see if we want to carry on.
* John follows up with candidates after 3 weeks home for second debriefing.
* John to e-mail Janeil and Jody a report.
* Janeil and Jody pass decision to John for possible next step.

Step 4: Meet NWHCM Zionsville staff (1-2 day trip)

* John contacts candidate; Barb to set up Zionsville trip with candidate(s)
* Janeil to oversee Zionsville time: setting the schedule, including Myers Briggs testing, “transition” information as they get ready to leave, and arrange meetings with all of the Zionsville staff.
* Theology / Bible knowledge testing for each candidate, (both husband and wife if a married couple).
* Candidates leave with NWHCM Binder full of information from each department.

This is a more informal time of getting to know everyone and a tour of the facility…

Step 5: 7 month Required Internship: Spring/Summer or Summer/Fall (with no breaks)

* Scheduled internship begins, schedule arranged by Jody and John.
* Bi-monthly touch points with John or personal committee, required.
* Final exit interview with Janeil if he is in Haiti or Jody if Janeil is not in Haiti.
* Debriefing stop over in Florida with John Harvey.

Step 6: Post Internship Testing and Formal Interview

* Final stages of candidate process held in U.S.
* Formal interview by Executive Team, John to oversee and arrange.
* Candidate is notified of results from formal interview, that day.

Step 7: Board Approval

* Janeil arranges time for Personal Committee with candidates.
* Board formally approves candidates.

Step 8: Commissioned as NWHCM Missionaries

* Certificate of NWHCM Missionary Status given.
* Official job description given
* Time commitment of __ years signed.
* Annual review required.
* Commissioning Service.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Calling

Let me start off with a little bit of history.  Tara and I (Josh) have been married for 7 years.  We have two wonderful children.  While in church a couple of weeks ago, Tara and I both felt a tug on our hearts while the video you see at the top of this page was being played about an upcoming mission trip our church is taking.  They had played this video months ago, but that feeling wasn't there for us.  This time was different.  We talked about it, talked to the missionaries about it, and decided to pray about our motives to make sure that this wasn't a decision we were making of our own accord.  God took no time in answering our prayers. Three days after we had started seeking God about this, our pastor gave this sermon:
Tara and I were both in tears as we realized our prayers were being answered before our eyes.  And so the journey begins.  Tara and I are planning to become long term missionaries at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. We have applied, and had the privilege of entertaining Janeil Owen (the mission's president) last week. We all believe that this would be a good fit. 
Our plan is to move to Haiti in 2 years. We are planning on making a few trips down to the mission in the mean time. What we are asking of you is this. We want as many people praying for us as possible. We want you to approach the throne boldly and audaciously on our behalf, believing that God will answer your prayers. We want to be on your long term prayer list. It is amazing how God has been piecing all of this together in our lives.