Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth

The country of Haiti is in turmoil. Civil unrest brews thanks to the unresolved elections as well as lack of progress in the recovery process from Jan. 12 earthquake. At this moment there is an relief worker sitting in a Haitian prison for no good reason. People are living and dying on the streets: homeless, sick, with nothing really to look forward to.

It's not just Haiti. All over the world people are hurting. They are sick, hungry, and homeless. Some live in constant fear for their lives. Others feel that their situations are completely hopeless. And this the time of year we talk about Peace on Earth?

I guess Jesus wasn't born into a peaceful situation either, and after my experiences this year, I am more and more blown away that Jesus left paradise in Heaven with His Father to die for this. Crazy (unselfish) LOVE.

Take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas and what it means. And enjoy time with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Free LP!

Hello all,

A lot has happened in Haiti since I left almost 4 months ago. Cholera, hurricanes, elections, riot, and now Paul Waggoner (Little Paul) of MMRC has been falsely imprisoned. Please keep him in your prayers.

The story made Anderson Cooper 360 tonight
Watch here:

For more info just google his name.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LLU Chapel Talk

I spoke for University@Worship along with Andrew, Dr. Nelson, Shane, and the Lindsey's. Here's my part. (if I find video I'll post it later)

In January of this year, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Not in the short term anyway. I was at La Sierra University winter quarter, completing my final pre-reqs for the Medical radiography program here. I did a lot of praying and soul searching. And after a few inquisitive e-mails and some opened doors, I decided to go to Haiti to help out at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. I arrived on April 9, not really knowing what I had gotten myself into.

I did lots of things while I was there. I helped pass out food, organize transportation, pick up big groups at the airport, organize our church service, and oriented short term volunteers. But my main job was taking care of central supply.

Being in charge of Central supply proved to be quite a challenge. After our morning meeting I’d spend my days, sorting supplies, seeing what we had and what we needed. It was particularly hard for me since the extent of my medical training at the time came from watching “Srubs” and “House”.

However, the real challenge came when I had to find medical supplies that we desperately need. Because many relief and medical supplies were stuck in the ports we had no real chain of supply. We were forced to rely on our ground connections as well as volunteers flying in with suit cases full of supplies. It was a constant struggle to keep the hospital stocked with simple things such as the proper bandages, right size of needles or IV catheters, sterile OR equipment, and IV fluids.

Like many other medical needs, blood was in short supply and in high demand in Haiti, as I discovered in the case of Johnny Cherry.

Unlike many of the ortho patients, Johnny’s injury was not earthquake related. In early June, he fell off a building, was paralyzed from the waist down, and needed spinal surgery. Dr. Nelson was leaving the hospital in a few days and we didn’t know if the surgeon following him would be comfortable doing the operation, so we needed to do get it done asap. In order to do the surgery we needed a unit of blood. But there was no blood for Johnny.

So I volunteered to go give blood. I went to General Hospital downtown with one of the translators. It was my first time taking a tap-tap (public transportation). It was not the most pleasant experience: really loud, very cramped, and super hot.

I was able to just walk in to the Haitian red cross and donate without too much hassle. The process was similar to donating here, there were fewer questions in the screening exam and there wasn’t a big comfortable chair, just a metal folding chair with a blood bag hanging off the side. But the donation itself went smoothly.

However, they were very slow and reluctant to cross and type the blood. We waited for a few hours, and then, we were told to come back later in the afternoon. After a frustrating wait, we returned to retrieve the blood the following morning.

When I returned to the hospital, cooler with blood in hand, Johnny was in pre-op. He was borderline hysterical. I understood the jist of what he was saying because he was speaking Spanish not creole. He was feeling abandoned, angry, and scared. I would be too.

He calmed down when I came in with the blood, saying this was my blood that I was giving to him. He replied with a simple, “gracias amigo”. In that moment, a calm wash over him that impacted me deeply.

Working in central supply, I didn’t get to directly see the results of the work I did at the hospital because most of it was behind the scenes. But this experience was so personal. Knowing that I gave Johnny the opportunity to have a better life and being able to witness the calming effect was a humbling and mind blowing experience.

So what is there to take away from this? I left my family, friends, and the comforts of home for a few months and gave a pint of my blood for a stranger. Why? Because Jesus left paradise in heaven with His Father to live on earth and gave ALL his blood for me! That’s true love. In response I don’t see how I can do anything but share that love with people around me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

GHI presents Haiti at LLU University@Worship

Hello all. It's been almost 3 months since I've been back. Crazy to think about. I'm doing well. Haiti...not so much, hurricanes and cholera will do that :/ Please continue to pray!

Just writing today to say that Wednesday @ 11am Dr. Nelson, Andrew Haglund, Nathan & Amy Lindsey, Shane Gemoto, and I will be sharing some of our experiences during LLU's Chapel. Obviously many of you won't be able to come to the church, but you can watch it live at or


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Speaking at LLU Vespers

I spoke about my time in Haiti @ LLU Back 2 School vespers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another New York Times Article

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two weeks later.

Hello, I've been home for two weeks now and it would take two hands to count the number of times I've tried to sit down and blog since I've been back. I have thousands of thoughts running through my head, some positive, many negative, but mostly confused and uncertain. I've been pretty occupied seeing people, taking care of school stuff (I'm officially a Loma Linda University student), playing basketball late into the morning, etc. I don't know that I'll ever be able to completely sort out/process the things that I experienced and the emotions I'm feeling now. If/when the moment of clarity comes I can't promise it'll get posted on a blog. Until then here are some answers to some frequently asked questions.

How was Haiti? I addressed this question in a previous post after I visited home in June. June 12 I believe, the post is titled "there and back again". My answer remains pretty much the same.

How's the situation?
At the hospital? I'm not too sure, two weeks is a long time and like always things are ever changing. I snuck a look at the "Master List" for the 1st time since I've been home and teams are still coming and going weekly. Jessica's still blogging and Amy and Nathan should start blogging some time soon (like Jesus is coming soon), so you can still get updates.
Haiti as a whole? Put it this way, clean up and reconstruction is still going on due to the results of hurricane Katrina. That was five years ago. In Haiti, there was much more destruction and devastation and many more people were killed and injured. Lack of resources, strong infrastructure, education, and so much more. Progress is slow, but it's happening.

What did you do there? By the end of my time there my responsibilities were narrowed down to being in charge of supply and church music. But during my time there, I helped coordinate transportation, pass out food, orient volunteers, and child care at times.

What were the highlights and lowlights of your time there? Lowlights? Probably the first week of May, ask me about details on your own time. Highlights? The people, the trip to Bassin Bleu, and giving blood to Johnny Cherry.

What did you learn? SOOOOOOOOOO much. But two biggest things, in some cases ignorance really is bliss. And I was reminded countless times to love in all situations.

When are you going back? It's not in my current plans. But only God knows. As much as I miss some of the people, the simple living, and actively "making a difference", I quite enjoy being in a place where I can freely communicate with 99% of the people, access the internet at high speed, flush the toilet paper, drive at 80mph. If I was to do something like this again it would probably be in South America or Sub-Saharan Africa, but again, only God knows.

In closing, I'd like to say thank you to EVERYONE who's read this blog, supported me financially, emotionally, and through prayers. Thanks to everyone who came down and worked at the hospital. Special thanks to Nathan and Amy Lindsey, Brooke Beck, Dr. Scott Nelson, Luke Davies, Jessica Scott, and Alex Sokolov.

That's it for me, who knows when I'll blog again. Until then, peace.