It was sometime in September when the “last straw” was piled on that tipped the balance. I do not know the young lady’s name, but I do know that she was a 20-year-old who attended the local Baptist church in Saintard. She was an asthmatic who was in the midst of a respiratory crisis and our facility was closed for the day. Her family transported her to the under-funded government facility about 30 minutes away that did the best they could for her, but being financially strapped, they were without a working nebulizer, without oxygen, and without many of the things that we take for granted as a “given” in an emergency room. After they did all that they could with what they were given, the young lady succumbed to her asthma attack.
Her story quickly spread through the village and someone or someones asked why the Church of God hospital was still not open 24/7. After all, the Church of God hospital has oxygen. The Church of God hospital has nebulizers and albuterol.
The Church of God hospital has a lot of medications that the government hospital is unable to obtain. The Church of God hospital has also been telling the citizens of Saintard for years that they have a desire to open an ER. Why has this not happened?? So the community decided to discover why the Hôpital L’Eglise De Dieu Réformé (Church of God hospital) was still not open around the clock to service those in need and to find out what they could do to “make it happen”. The inquiries began. Local leaders began to visit. Government officials asked questions of us. The UN stopped by. All of them emphasized that because of our inability to open 24/7, people are dying. As I tried to explain that we needed more education for our staff and we needed more funding to make it happen, the answers fell upon deaf ears. People are dying, they said. So, the Haitian hospital board, along with the US hospital board, began to pray more earnestly.
What are the barriers that keep us from opening? The barriers fell into four main categories:
2) Facility limitations
3) Trained staff to complete necessary treatments
4) Ongoing procurement of necessary supplies
All of us, the Haitian component as well as the US component, bathed the issues in prayer. After weeks of praying, and hours upon hours of crunching numbers, discussing logistics, making plans for continued intensive education, and identifying Haitian staff, we all felt led to open Hôpital L’Eglise de Dieu Réformé as a 24/7 facility in January 2018.
We are all excited…and some of us (namely yours truly) are scared! Scared of failure. Scared of inadequacy. Scared of the mistakes we will make. Scared of this and that. We only have funding to cover the expenses of the ER for a few months and maybe God will choose to close the doors after that. We only have supplies that will last a matter of months. Our staff is still unsure where they will sleep and how it will work. The facility and training may never be finished adequately. I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that we serve a God who is bigger than finances, facility limitations, and staffing and supply issues. We are jumping off of the proverbial cliff with our limitations and baggage in hand and pray that we are making the right choices.
I am told that when people trust God in situations like this, that they grow. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have growing pains. Maybe I don’t want to grow right now. For me, it is often tough to let go and “jump” for fear the landing will be ugly. I am afraid of the landing, but the only thing that I know for sure, is that there is a landing somewhere, sometime, and God will be there too. I only hope that after I land, I have the faith to say “…and now what should I do?” and be willing to jump again, before someone piles on another “last straw”???.
I hope that you, my friends, “jump” with the faith that God will help you land.