Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fall Missions at FUMC

This Fall has been very busy at FUMC.  The South Central Virginia Operation Christmas Child used our facility again as a collection site for OCC.  As a church we packed 525 boxes and as a collection site we took in 13,308.  What an amazing feeling to know that over thirteen thousand children around the world will learn the love of our Lord and Savior this Christmas.
Our Honduras Mission Team has also been hard at work raising funds for their annual trip to bring eye glasses, medicine and health care professionals to poverty stricken villages.  They held their 2nd annual Chili Cook-off raising over $2800 towards their trip.  Fun was had by all.
 In local mission our jail ministry was hard at work this week wrapping gifts for the juvenile detention center and stamping over 700 Christmas cards for them to send to their families!  A group of jolly Elves spent their afternoon wrapping to bring Christmas to our local youth.  Our God is a forgiving God.
Our Mother's of Preschoolers Group provided Christmas dinner, cleaning products and winter accessories to 80 families in a low income apartment complex here in Farmville.  We set up shop in their clubhouse and met with all the residents, shared stories and extended invitations to worship and discipleship opportunities.  The joy of the children in their new scarves and gloves was my favorite sight!
Of course we can not forget our awesome group of United Methodist Women.  They raise funds year round for our missions budget!  This year they hosted their 1st annual Cookie Walk.  Folks were invited to come and fill a box or bag of cookies and they were sold by weight.  Over a thousand dollars was raised.  Not to shabby for their first year!
How did you serve God and neighbor this fall?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The conclusion of our Haiti trip

Hello Family and Church family,
We have arrived safely back to the guest house in Petionville after a very spirit filled week in mission with the people of Zabricot. There are many improvements in some things, many unchanged. The airport has been greatly improved, the guest house has had some improvements as well. There are signs of construction and growth all around. Unfortunately more and more people have crowded an already over crowded Port Au Prince in hopes of resources that may be available in the city, Which has in turn strained the resources. 
The poor, especially those in more remote areas have great difficulty getting basic needs. We found this in the village of Zabricot where we worked this week. It is on the southern end of the satellite island of La Gonave. It is fertile and there are thankfully opportunities to grow things. We had a crowded boat ride to the island on Saturday on a ferry. We arrived in Zabricot on a rough but thrilling ride in pick-up trucks. Sunday morning we had the opportunity to worship with the people of the community. This was done Haitian style with great energy and enthusiasm. A Lay pastor took us for a walk in the community and to visit the Futball stadium. There was a large crowd gathered including vendors. There was a man who was yelling above everyone and we thought he was yelling at us but our translators said he was challenging the locals who claimed they could speak English saying "Now's your chance, the Blanc (white people) are here, show us how well you speak English". We slowly were introduced to the people of the community who welcomed us and shared their excitement for the possibilities of working together.
Pastor Jackie had arranged for us to stay in the home of a local just across from the church. Cots were provided and there was a latrine that had a toilet seat! Monday morning we prepared for the work. Weslynne, a nurse from the coast and the nearest clinic (a 2 hour ride) in Sousa de Phillipe was there to help with the clinic. Men were hired from nearby to lead the construction work at the church. Monday we had our first clinic day and saw approximately 80 patients with the help of our translators (Coz and Peterson), and team members LeeAnn, Gary and Dave and of course the local nurse, Weslynne who helped with triage. Construction efforts included backfilling the foundation with rock moved from a "quarry" carried down a goat trail! Those of us working in the clinic did not get to help with VBS as we decided to continue seeing patients until we were done which was not until about 6:30pm. Jonathan did an excellent job preparing and Coz did a great job translating. We could hear the laughter and cheers from the clinic.
Tuesday we saw many more patients but decided to finish early enough to help with VBS. This day Jonathan planned the story of Moses leading the Israelites through the red sea. (See picture sent....more to come). Some of the activities in the clinic included sharing health kits, birthing kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste, BP checks, treatment for acute and chronic health issues, provision of medications, teaching on sanitation of the water, other health related teaching, vitamins for children, adults and pregnant women, etc. Day 2 of construction included work on the block of the exterior wall of the church.
Wednesday was our final clinic day and we worked until lunch time and had a great time with our final VBS session. The story today was Jesus and the disciples in the boat when the storms came. The children made the sounds of the storm with great vigor and joy. We sang several songs with them in English and Creole. The construction crew continued their work until dinner time.
The food cooked by the four local women included delicious options such as Conk stew, fresh fruit such as mango and watermelon, avocado, lots of beans and rice, fried perch, and the most delicious pancakes we had ever had! Wednesday night we offered our appreciation to the cooks by tipping them and sharing some gifts. We shared the remainder of the donations with Edward the steward of the church including tarps. soccer balls, girls dresses made by the UMW, school supplies and other miscellaneous items. Great appreciation was shared by many, especially Edward the steward of the church who shared that much of the things he thought were impossible for the church were now becoming possible. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve with the people in Zabricot. We would not have been able to do it without your prayers, love and support. We plan to debrief with the staff here including Dr Harbottle of our findings, including water source, agriculture, nutrition and health needs. We look forward to seeing you soon and sharing more with you.
Love, Colleen
Below are pictures from the trip!



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Team has arrived!

We have made it safely to the guesthouse in Petionville. All is going well thus far. It is exciting to see many more improvements and to greet old friends.

We will not have internet access in the community we will be serving. Cell phone use for texting is unlikely also but we will try.

We met with pastor Jackie from the community and he is very excited about us offering a clinic in his church. He was the first born in the clinic that was built by the church some years ago (I would guess he is in his 30s).

We are going to a very remote community that has very limited access to health care, even in Haitian standards. He says the mission of the church had made him who he is and thus he feels called to serve in his home, in a community in which missionaries ministered to him many years ago. He indicated that we are one of the few missionaries who have offered clinic help.

We will be back at the guest house on Friday the 18th. I am available via wifi tonight if you need to contact us.

Lots of love to all!!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Honduras Day 4

Tuesday June 4, 2013
El Gavilan was founded in 1978 and has approximately 200 people. They have 59 students in the school which is about 12 km away. The roads to get to the village are almost impassible in heavy rain and caused us to leave early again, unfortunately, to ensure a safe arrival home.   

Nury (our Honduran director) gave her cross away today to an elderly woman who approached her and stated "I've always wanted a cross just like that!" This stole Nury's heart and as she placed the cross around the lady's neck, she explained to her that her responsibility is now to serve God and her people since that is the purpose of bearing the cross. There is a midwife in the village, but in order to promote woman getting prenatal care and delivering at a hospital, she does not actively practice.

Medical clinic saw 125 people today. We had mixed assessments of the children, some saw very healthy, well-nourished children, while other stations had multiple congenital heart defects. We saw more GI upset symptoms today, as opposed to respiratory from yesterday.

The eye clinic saw 12 patients, deworming 58, fluoride 15, and dentistry 10 with 10 extractions. Although we had to leave early we felt good to know that many were still seen, many with moderately healthy conditions, as well as such a happy vibe from the village. As a whole, the children were smiling more and were more interactive with the team; seeing the smiles always makes it a good day!

Honduras Day 3

Day 3, June 3  
Today was our first journey to the village - Piedra de Afilar.  The village was founded in 1945 and has 145 families; they are working on getting electricity, but no success yet.  The closest water source is about 14km away, and the closest health center is 8 km away which is equivalent to 1 hour by foot.  60% of the teenagers are pregnant, one family seen today was a 23 year old mom with 5 children ages 1 ½, 3, 5, 7, and 9.  There only source of income is through agriculture-corn, coffee and beans.  To get there by bus from the Barnabas House took about an hour up winding roads.  As you could imagine, getting to the closest city - Las Vegas is quite difficult.  The mountain top where the village is located is simply majestic, above the clouds.  Unfortunately those clouds opened up and a rainstorm poured on us midday which made us close the clinic before every one was seen.  Our Honduran team did a great job keeping their eyes on the weather and holding out as long as possible, ensuring we were able to get home safely. 

Medical clinic saw a total of 178 patients at 4 stations.  Most families had at least 3 children with multiple ailments.  Cough, cold, and ear infections were the chief complaints.  We did refer 4 patients to Dra. Moncada for the extended care program.  Pharmacy did a great job keeping up with the flow and making sure our stations were fully stocked.  Our translator, Kindle, gave her cross to a 9 month old girl who stole her heart and ironically found the cross to be helpful as a teething ring!

The dental clinic saw 18 patients and extracted 33 teeth.  Everyone at the clinic, including the dentist, was out of their element.  Sasha helped administer anesthesia after a quick lessen and proved to be indispensable.  Marisa was cleaning instruments keeping everything going for work to be done.  Her personality and joy helped calm many patients who were afraid.  Nick, the dentist, gave his cross to two young children, both brothers.  Each brother was extraordinarily brave, but very fearful during treatment.  They showed true courage.

The deworming/fluoride station treated combined 130 patients.  Brandy gave her cross away today to an elderly woman-age 82- in the village who brought laughter and joy to our team as well as to the village.  
The eye clinic saw 17 patients and gave away 23 glasses (both reading and prescription).  They were recently seen 6 months prior, so not as many were in need today.  The elderly woman that received Brandy's cross was fitted for prescription glasses and no longer needed help to walk around; she refused to take them off!!

Although we left the village early, the village leader was very thankful and said prayers for our safe travel home.  Tomorrow we anticipate a special 'Foundation Breakfast' where we get to share a meal with the staff  of Funda├žion Amigos de Bernabe.  Then we will head off to El Gavilan. More to come!

Honudras Day 2

Day 2:

After a good nights sleep, we all woke up Sunday morning to a wonderful breakfast prepared by Sandra and Margarita; pancakes with a homemade pineapple jelly. Delicious!  Soon after breakfast we had devotions and a commissioning ceremony.  This was an incredible start to our mission journey.  We each were given a cross (donated by Patti's father), anointed with oil on our hands, and blessed by prayer.   The cross is meant to be shared  sometime during the week with someone through whom Christ is revealed.

Nury, the Honduran director, took us on a tour of the garden (farm), the Foundation and the Barnabas house extended care program .  We went to bi-lingual church and witnessed the many faces of Christ; one in particular stands out.  A Honduran man, who had been in prison for two years, was released not long ago.  He was invited to church, not sure of what to expect.  With the help of our translator Kindle, he was able to find the courage to pray with the ministers of the church and find his way to Christ.  Sasha, seeing Christ in this man, gave her cross to him in celebration of his awakening. 

 After lunch, we prepared for the mission by collecting our instruments and sorting our medications.  We ate dinner not at Barnabas house, but a fellow Americans restaurant near the lake.  Nightly devotions were short, but a very sweet ending to this special day.  Tomorrow we travel to Piedra de Afilar where we will set up the first clinic for this week.  Please continue to prayerfully support us on our first day of medical service.  More to come!

Honduras Day 1

Day 1

Despite the early trip the airport (4:30 AM), we made it safely to Newark for our connection to Honduras. We arrived in Honduras ahead of schedule only to find ourselves missing a teammate-Kindle-and our bus. No worries...both showed up! We arrived at the Casa de Bernabe around 3:30 PM (Honduras time) and soaked up the beautiful scenery. An amazing decorated dinner table was laid out for us. Chicken, rice and vegetables were on the menu for this evening, and didn't last long! We shared in a quick but meaningful devotional and then it was PARTY TIME! A delicious cake was prepared for us by the Honduran staff for Hadley's birthday. Glad to report showers were taken, but no electricity for now. More to come.

Buenos noches from the Farmville Team in Honduras.

Nick Schroeder
Lauren Johnson
Josh Threatt
Jennifer Roller
Patti Wagner
Dave Wagner
Brandi Hogan
Jeff Kinne
Marisa Hume
Hadley Sporbert
Sasha King
Anne Mcmullen
Maureen Neal
Gale Kennon
Kindle Higgins
Jackie Covolo