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