Sunday, 12 November 2017

From one world to another

We spent the week before last in Florida with my mum, dad and sister.  This year Bill got to come as EBS was closed for 2 days but he flew back in time for class on Friday.  We had a great time enjoying some good family time, some good food and some great roads! The boys especially enjoyed having all kinds of berries, grapes and yoghurt every day for breakfast which, unfortunatley has made breakfast back in Haiti not so fun.






We, of course had to go to the zoo, spend a couple of days on the beach,  do our Christmas and birthday shopping and stock up on a whole lot of cheese!





Apparently he's called bucket head!

My mum and Leah had to travel home on Saturday in time for work the next week but my dad flew back to Haiti with us for a week.  He got to help Bill with some library stuff, go to school with Sam for the day and preach in chapel here at EBS.  We also had to take him to a Caribbean beach.....something everyone must do when they come to Haiti.   He left on Friday and made it home by Saturday afternoon to Belfast in his shorts and t shirt! But that's another story!



Joel isn't too sure about this whole monkey thing!







The holiday feeling doesn't last too long once your back and back at work.   The poverty, the suffering and the lack of infrastructure always hits you a bit harder when you have been away from it, even if its only for a week.   There has been rain every evening and I can see the road getting worse by the day! However with the rain comes cooler temperatures which we are thankful for...no more 3 showers a day weather.




This is the road when it was good...

The physio building is so close to being finished and I should be in within the next couple of weeks.  Praise God that all of the funding got here quickly and I am also in the middle of getting some Haitian guys to build some equipment for me.  I am hoping that everything will be ready at the same time!!





One quick patient story to finish, about a month ago I started treating a young guy who had a knee accident at work in May.  He went to a doctor in town and was told he would need to go to the Dominican Republic or the USA for surgery or he would never walk again.  Actually they told him he may be better off getting his leg amputated.  So he has been non weight bearing and using crutches for the last 6 months.  His leg is completely wasted away and he could hardly move his knee at all because of the weakness.  Fast forward 4 weeks of exercise later and he is weight bearing, walking with one crutch and working hard to get rid of that second crutch.  Amazing what a bit of exercise can do!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Accrediation at EBS




Thank you for your beautiful, faithful prayers for our CETA Accreditation Site-Visit this past week!

After an exhausting few days full of tons of questions, meetings, setting up interviews, airport runs, committee meals, and an extraordinary amount of time and notes and thoughts and counsel...Friday our administration sat down with the CETA committee.

This committee is an incredibly experienced group, all working and leading seminaries and accreditation processes for years throughout the Caribbean, and they were SO full and free with an incredible amount of good advice and counsel. They had ideas our staff had never even THOUGHT of, concerns we never realized, encouragements we never would have thought to try, wisdom from lessons we haven't had to learn the hard way. 

Emmaus is SO thankful we have been pursing this accreditation, no matter how difficult and time-consuming and LONG it has been. Not only has the process made us a far healthier institution, but we were able to get WELL-evaulated last week by a large organization who has skin in the game and who is able to help us understand and achieve GLOBAL standards of theological education...for Emmaus, for HAITI.

The committee gave EBS 11 Commendations or things that really impressed them or that they believe we are doing really well, 11 Suggestions--things they encourage Emmaus to do--and 12 Recommendations, things CETA would require be done for accreditation.  

They will now submit these items to the CETA Association at large, who has been reading through our massive Self-Study book and will go through their recommendations and notes, and then make the decision whether EBS  1) is not currently able to be accredited, 2) could be accredited after attending to the recommendations, or 3) can be accredited now and continue to work on the recommendations.  

 So we wait, with your prayers!

But today was enough.
The recommendations and suggestions pertained to EBS getting more things more formal...CETA encouraged more review policies, an IT director, a qualified professional counselor on staff for staff and students, a qualified librarian and to arrange the library in a more user-friendly way, that we develop a formal process for board orientation and evaluation, find a degreed finance person, get together a Quality Manual, develop a curriculum review committee, develop measurable instruments for staff and student satisfaction, prepare the campus for hearing impaired or visually impaired students, and exit signs for the doors.

But can I share with you the commendations?  Because there is SO MUCH glory to God in it that we want to pause again and celebrate that with you...with you who have prayed and come and built and taught and helped and supported and loved and emailed and followed and sent and sponsored and BEEN a part of Emmaus, TODAY. 

They noted that our student-friendly tuition is really impressive and making it possible for men and women in Haiti to follow God's calling on their lives despite social standing, despite the poverty Haiti is known for, and noted that they have NEVER seen nor heard of a work-study program that allows students to work 10 hours a week for all they are receiving.   THANK YOU for the students you are and have supported, making this possible!

They complimented our "excellent facilities" and called Emmaus an "oasis in the dessert." THANK YOU to the MANY of you who have built, paved, painted, designed, and supported Emmaus.

They complimented our huge emphasis on the students educational and spiritual development and were amazed at how EBS is working sacrificially to greatly improve the education of our faculty and staff.  
THANK YOU to those who have been a part of this continued education through teaching, or through the supporting of our staff members!

They noted that EBS's mission to develop Christ-like leaders for Haiti and the World "comes alive through the all the day-to-day activities and interaction on campus."

Finally, they talked of their experiences and ministries in the United States, in Jamaica, in Turks and Caicos, the Dominican, in Haiti, in Cuba, in Trinidad, and noted that the committee was deeply impressed humbled that "Emmaus Biblical Seminary is truly a labor of much love and a Light to the Nations."

"If God uses ONE man from Emmaus," Dr. Stroude said passionately, "if He uses even just ONE woman to change the world for His glory, as we clearly see Him doing, then all of this, all of it, it has not been in vain."

Emmaus is  ok with the library needing work, good with job searching some more talented people for our staff, and ready to develop more documentation.  

But our great prayer has been that Emmaus might be HIS Light to the nations...that the mission of Emmaus--to develop Christ-like leaders for His transformation of Haiti and the world--might be OUR mission, might be real and true and deep, might BE REALIZED.

EBS has been poked and prodded, our pockets turned inside out, our weakest links all tested.  What more could we possibly have hoped for than to have the CETA committee's unanimous observations be THOSE commendations?

That is an answer to prayers of the decades.  

Praise the Lord.

Thank you for being a praying part of people here at Emmaus...for the transformation of Haiti, and the world.


Stacey Ayars, for the EBS Haiti family

Join us as developing Christ-like leaders for Haiti and the world continues TODAY at Emmaus.





Emmaus Biblical Seminary | Haiti | info@ebshaiti.org | ebshaiti.org



Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A day in the life...

The latest update from Bethesda...

A day in the life

Imagine you live in Haiti and you need to go to the doctor, friends have told you that Bethesda is good, that you will find the help you need there, but you need to go early.  So, the next day you get up around 4am to get ready, its dark so you light your kerosene lamp.  Once you're ready you walk to the main road to find a tap tap or a motorbike that will drive you to Bethesda.

 You arrive around 5am and get a ticket from the security guard, you are number 14 which means there are 13 people who arrived before you.  Now you have your place but the staff don't start work until close to 8am, so you wait. 
Once the staff arrive, you hand in your ticket and the staff will look for your dossier (chart). But, for you, this is your first time so the staff create a new dossier for you. 
Then, at 8am Pastor Exalus leads devotions for all the patients, by now there are almost 100 patients waiting to be seen. This devotion time includes a prayer, a song and a message from the bible.  After devotions one of the nurses stands up to give an education session on Tuberculosis.  After hearing what she says,  you begin thinking of people you know who cough a lot, maybe you should tell them to come here...

After devotions you line up to pay, a general consultation including lab work and medicine cost 700gds. ($12 US).  This is a lot of money for you but you really need to see a doctor.  
After payment, the next stop is vital signs where you are weighed, your blood pressure and temperature are taken.
From there you wait until your name is called, then you are seen by one of the four consulting staff: Dr Rodney, Ms Ketlye, Ms Prudence or Ms Jackie.

Once your initial consultation is finished you are sent to the lab for tests.  At the lab you are instructed to give a urine sample and you will need a blood test.  Once you have had the appropriate tests done its time to wait for the results.
You wait and by now your tired and hungry.  There are ladies selling food and drinks at the front of Bethesda, its 100gds ($1.60)  for food and 25gds ($.40) for a drink.  Your not sure if you can afford that after spending 700gds on coming to the clinic.
But then your name is called and you go and see the doctor or nurse who did your initial consultation.  You are told what is wrong and what you need to do to get better.  Then you're sent to the pharmacy to pick up your medicine.

By now its early afternoon, you are tired and ready to go home, it's been a long day. But you're happy that you were able to see the doctor, get your test results and medicine to treat what is wrong with you.  On top of that you learnt important information about Tuberculosis and you were encouraged from God's word...all in one day.  

Fundraising November

November is a month of special fundraising for Bethesda.  If you would be willing and able to hold a fundraiser for BMC please get in touch with us.  We will give you all the information and promotional material you need.

Our biggest project right now is to purchase and install a new digital X ray system.  We also need extra funds for the maternity clinic, malnutrition fund, medicine and our general fund which covers day to day expenses.
Perhaps your not able to hold a fundraiser, would you prayerfully consider giving a special gift towards Bethesda Medical Center in November?  All of your support no matter how big or small helps us provide medical and spiritual care to the people of Haiti.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Career orientated

Anyone who knows me well will know I am not career orientated.  Going to uni to become a physio was mostly to fill in time until I got married and had a family.  Don't get me wrong I like being a physio, I like helping people get better but I definitely don't want to do that until I'm 65 or 67 or whatever the retirement age is now.

I remember being at a pilates course and one of the other physios on the course was sharing with the group about listening to a podcast about rehabilitation of hamstring tears.  Everyone in the room was extremely interested in what she was talking about, then other people started talking about different podcasts they listen to.  The whole time I was thinking I don't have enough time or desire to listen to podcasts about physio!

Saying all of that when I am at work I try my very best to get people better, but when I am not at work I don't think about it.  I'm not listening to podcasts, or reading articles or doing research, I'm at home looking after the boys.

But last week the importance of physiotherapy was highlighted to me...I got a man up to walk for the first time in a year.  He had a stroke a year ago and had regained some good movement but had never been prepared for walking. So over the past month I've been working on preparing him for walking and on Friday he walked for the first time in a year.


Little Yvelinda, who first came to me in January with probable CP, uncontrollable dribbling, unable to old her head up or talk is now holding her head up well, rolling over and sitting for a few minutes on her own.  Her dribbling has almost stopped and she is starting to talk.

She came a couple of weeks ago with a skin infection...that's another story.

Little miracles happening in my very hot little room everytime I'm there.  We want to see more of those little miracles and that is why we are building this new therapy room.  We are so close to finishing, all the outside is done next we need to do the electrics, tile the floor, paint and add the windows and doors.  But our funding has run out so were stuck.  Please pray with us for the rest of this funding to come in and if you feel led to give please email me and I will explain the best and quickest way to give.

I have so many plans for this building which you can read about here and we have a PT team coming the first week in January and really need the space for the things we have planned.





Also, I learnt a lesson about faith this past week, on Monday I arrived in my room and my books were spread out over the plinth but my folder of notes along with my diary and some blank paper were gone.  This meant starting all my assessments again and not knowing what treatments I had already done with patients.

It was quite strange how my stuff was laid out when I arrived on Monday. 

 I shared this on Wednesday in prayer meeting and Danni prayed that everything would be returned. I was thinking there is no way, who would steal something then when they didn't find any money there, make the effort to return it.

Yet I was proved wrong, on Friday Dr Rodney came to my room with my folder of notes, my diary and the blank paper.  Someone had found them in the patients toilet.  O ye of little faith.  I didn't really believe that God could do that, but he did.

So were praying and believing that God will provide the rest of the funds to complete this project.  Will you pray with us?

Luke 1 v37 
For nothing will be impossible with God 



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Being stretched

I've been working with a little girl called Lanouska since January of this year.  She is now 13 and has a very complicated history...like most medical histories in Haiti.  Until she was 11 she was able to walk, not completely normal but mobile then one day she fell after school and hasn't walked since.



I have been going to her house to treat her every Friday we have been working on getting her stronger and being able to stand.  She has weakness and neurological issues in both her arms and her legs.  Having never worked in neuros or paediatrics I feel way out of my depth but she has definitely made progress since January.  After a few months I was able to get her standing with two people helping her.  Then Phil built me a standing frame for her which we have been using so she can learn to stand independently and she continues to improve. 




I have been trying for months to get her a decent wheelchair so she can go out and maybe even go to school.  Finally and thankfully  I was able to get one from the walkabout foundation and I delivered it to her last Friday.  She was very pleased and even able to push herself a little which I was not expecting because of her arm weakness.  This chair will keep her in a much better position and give her a little independence.




The issue now is the closest school won't accept her, shes 13 and with missing a couple of grades of school because of financial difficulties, then missing again after her fall she is now only in 3rd grade so she would in be in with the 8 year olds.  Not only that she would need someone with her to push her chair and take her to the toilet.  So school is not working out.  The family have talked about paying someone to come to the house but they just don't have the money. 

This is a very difficult situation, not knowing what is wrong with Lanouska makes her difficult to treat.  I am sure her family is putting on their hope on me to help her walk again which I don't know if that is going to happen.  It has also been hard to get her family on board to continue her therapy in between treatment sessions.  I have had lots of opportunities to share the gospel with her family so please continue to pray that God will speak to the family.


The new physio building is so close to being finished and should be done by the end of this month.  We are so thankful to God for his provision for this building.  I am working on getting equipment and other supplies I need so once the building is open we will be ready to go.  My plans for this new building are :

  • To continue to treat patients but have a bigger space to do so
  • To run group classes and education sessions
  • To work with Pastor Exalus and Pastor Daniel to incorporate evangelism and discipleship into these classes
  • To have group treatments sessions for children with neurological diseases so their parents can have a time to talk and support one another
  • When we have visiting PT's and OT's we can use this space as an education room to help develop Haitian PT techs in the area. 
I can't wait for the room to get finished!Dr Rodney continues to amaze me, not only is he a doctor, director of BMC, running the nursing school and teaching there and an elder in the church.  But he drew up the plans for the building and it looks brilliant!






I am still looking for any PT's and OT's to come and work alongside me, especially if they have a specialty.  As far as I am aware, there are no occupational therapists around the Cap Haitian area.  Your role would be to treat patients and educate not only me but other Haitian PT techs in the area.  If you are interested and want to know more please email me.

Meanwhile Bill has been teaching his two residential courses and his translator, Leme, told him 'Bill you don't need me anymore.'  Leme had just been in the room just incase Bill needed him but he is not using him so Bill is now teaching without his translator and is doing fine.  This year EBS is offering weekend courses for people who are working full time and cannot come during the week.  Yesterday was Bill's first weekend class and he will be teaching for the next two Saturdays. 

So were taking it easy this weekend, celebrating Matt's birthday last night and having home church this morning.  I find going to church in Haiti with the boys hard, trying to get them to be quiet and sit for 2 hours takes all my energy so when it comes to listening to the sermon in Creole I barely pick up anything.  Every 6 weeks or so we get together with our neighbours and listen to a sermon online, this morning was Francis Chan on John 21 when Jesus asks Peter, do you love me?  It was great, he challenged us on do we really love God and if we do how does that reflect in our lives.  



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

From one miracle to another

The second session of intensives is over and now residential classes have started.  Over the past two weeks we had...

Dr Charles Lake working with Jodnel teaching Discipleship and Evangelism.



Dr Steve Tsoukalas teaching Philosophy for understanding Theology



Dr Don Little teaching Isalm and the christian faith.


It is interesting having all these doctors coming for dinner and listening to their theological discussions (most of which goes right over my head!!) and getting to know them for the little time there are here.  There were travel issues because of Hurricane Irma but we enjoyed having Charles for a few extra days!

Bill has his first class this morning teaching  Old Testament wisdom literature and then on Friday he teaches Introduction to the New Testament.


My routine feels a lot more manageable than last year!With Sam being in school from 8am - 2.30pm means I can work in the clinic the three days he is in school that gives me two days at home with the boys...which is great.



Its always easy to figure out where Sam has been playing...




I was a little worried about Sam being in school for so long especially as he is still only 3 and it was a new teacher. When I picked him up on his first day he said ' Hello, why are you here to get me already?' No need to worry then!!


We've been asking and asking about Withlande (I had previously written Woudislande, that is her sister, you can see how I got confused) and keep being told she isn't too bad and the baby isn't too bad.  I just found this really difficult to believe.  She was so ill, needed 3 pints of blood, miraculously got one and was sent home from the hospital.  How could she be not too bad?
Stacey called in to see her on Sunday and she and the baby are doing great!  The baby is getting bigger, feeding well and looks healthy.  It really is a miracle so thank you to all who prayed.



I'll finish with one more miracle from one of my patients last week.  This lady first came to see me in August she had suffered from a stroke about 4 weeks before.  She could not walk or stand or move her right arm.  She also didn't understand much of what I was asking her to do and she was neglecting her right side.  I explained to her daughter that because of her lack of understanding that therapy may not work very well for her. 

She came back last week, walked in the door by herself, talking and waving her right arm.  It took me a few minutes to remember so I took out her notes to make sure I was remembering the right person.  I couldn't believe the difference so I asked what happened and when?? Her daughter told me
'last week I had a dream and in the dream I saw my mum walking around the house and talking with no problems at all.  So the next morning I  got up and ran to my mum's house to find her walking and talking and having full understanding. She had been healed.'


They left that day praising God for his goodness and healing in their lives. 


Friday, 8 September 2017

Hurricane Irma part two

Well Irma has been and gone and things did not go as they were forecast to.  All of this week we have been checking the national hurricane centre for updates and every single one put the north coast of Haiti under hurricane warning.  I am sure you have read in the news but this wasn't any old storm,
 Irma was a category 5 hurricane, the strongest one to hit the Caribbean in 100 years.  




We live just east of Cap Haitian right beside the coast.

So on Tuesday we asked you to pray for us and for Haiti.  We asked you to pray that the storm would move north away from Haiti's coastline.  We know of people in Northern Ireland, in Canada and in the US who were praying. And God answered.



Yesterday morning we woke up to a little light rain and wind and were waiting for the storm to start.  Every single website we checked said the North of Haiti should be getting heavy rain and gale force winds.  Throughout the day we had short bursts of wind and heavy rain but by 7pm the rain had stopped and overnight we had a bit of wind.  We have experienced much stronger storms here,  in fact just last Wednesday it rained hard for about 30 mins and a natural river formed over the grass outside our house.  Yesterday with Irma we didn't get any of that.


This is last Wednesday after a heavy downpour...a natural river has formed which the kids took great advantage of!

The grass behind Joel is the same spot after an afternoon of Hurricane Irma...


We do not yet know the effects in the city centre, which floods almost every time we have heavy rain, or further along the coast closer to the DR.  But what we do know is that Haiti did not get the battering which she was expecting.  God had his hand over Haiti yesterday and what we were experiencing was a miracle.

Thank you for your prayers, had hurricane Irma hit Haiti with the force it was predicted to,  I'm sure most of the north coast of Haiti would have been destroyed.

Let us take a moment to say thank you to God for his answer to the prayers of many people.  Let us also continue to pray for those who have been devastated by this hurricane and for those whom it will hit over the next few days.