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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Clinical Perspective

I wanted to share some thoughts and things I learned when we went to the Clinic in Haiti. Me and another girl went to the clinic on Wed. and thought we would be doing counseling. Since I am a counselor, I thought I would be talking to people about how they are feeling about life events. Well, we did do counseling, but not that kind. We did medical-type counseling. We talked about the importance of taking medication and preventative measures they could take to help keep them healthy. Although it was not what we originally thought we would be doing, it was still helpful for the people.

Something I have been thinking about is although many Americans realize they are supposed to take their prescribed medications, there are also many that don't understand the importance of continuing to take it even when they are feeling better. I know several people that stop taking their prescriptions without talking to their doctors as well. This abrupt discontinuation of medicine can cause serious side effects if not careful. It is important to continue taking medication until you and your doctor have come up with a different regimen for you to follow.

It is also important to stress preventative measures. In Haiti we talked about ways to prevent getting Malaria and Typhoid, such as covering your water with nets to keep mosquitoes from getting into it. So this reminds me, we need to stress preventative measures here in the United States as well. We may not have to worry about Typhoid or Malaria, but there are other things we can prevent. For example, we can prevent anxiety by planning ahead, managing time effectively, keeping a journal to reduce stress and avoiding alcohol and drugs which may add to one's problems, only to name a few. Prevention before a problem exists is better than trying to cure a problem after is has already occurred.

Something else I heard while in Haiti is that counseling is not something they are familiar with. Some say it's because they have too many other basic needs to worry about rather than the tradegy that has occurred in their lives with the earthquake or other circumstances. Others say it's because they have not been introduced to the concept of talking through their issues. I am not sure which it is, but I am curious about your opinion.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God is Great All the Time

Yes, I have more ramblings from my recent trip to Haiti. I am sorry that I continue to post about Haiti, but I want those who want to know about my trip to have the details they want. So for the next few weeks, if you don't want to know about my trip, you don't have to read my blog!

Anywho, after we went to the Children's Home on Monday, as I talked about in my last post, then I went to teach English in a tent camp in Karade. It was amazing to see how eager they were to learn English. In America, we cringe every time we step into a required foreign language class, but these Haitians were excited to be able to communicate with others in a different way. I was helping with the intermediate English class, so most of them could already understand and speak English for the most part. The class occurs on Mondays and Wednesdays; the first hour is set aside for teaching English and the second hour is an optional Bible Study. To my amazement at the end of class on Monday, all of the students agreed that they would rather study the Bible in English both hours on both days (all 4 hours) and learn English through learning about the Bible! So the class is going through Genesis now in order to understand about Creation. There was a question about Darwinism and Evolution, so they decided they wanted to study Genesis, so they could compare Evolution to Creation. Ah-mazing!

We were able to go back for half of the class on Wed., so I was able to hear John teaching them about Creation. John is amazing at teaching the Bible. He is so knowledgeable and inspired me to get more in the Word to know the ins and outs of the Bible in order to can teach others more effectively.

Monday night started the first of three nights of leading a Discipleship Training at the church. By the end of the 3rd night, the training seemed to be a big hit! We taught them to discover where they were on their path with Christ, to determine where their strengths and weakness lie in being a disciple, and challenged them to be proactive in being a disciple. At the end, the majority of the people at the church had come up with 3-5 names of people they wanted to begin to disciple! It was awesome!

On Tuesday, we also got to experience visiting with church members. We went out into the community and visited with new believers and church members and prayed for them. To my surprise, they did not pray for food because they were hungry or healing because they were sick, they prayed for spiritual guidance and strength! They want to share the name of Jesus to those they know! They have nothing, but they do not care because they love Jesus and know that Jesus loves them!

We were also able to meet with the Haitian  ladies in the house that day. It was hard because none of them know English, so we had a communication barrier. The ladies were precious, and I am saddened because we were supposed to meet with them again on Wed., but were unable to because of that language barrier. They do not get much attention in the house, again because of the language barrier, and my prayer is that they will find a way to be included in the discipleship efforts much like the Haitian guys in the house. The Haitian guys do speak English, so they were able to communicate and have started a discipleship program. They also decided that they were going to start another ministry to help older adults-God Supports Adults Ministry. These guys pledged to give 15% of their weekly income to help people in wheelchairs and with special needs. We are talking about a country that lives on $1 a day, pledging 15% of their income to help others! I am speechless!

God is doing amazing things in Haiti!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

With Love, From Haiti

I wanted to share more about my trip to Haiti. I will try to add a counseling twist to it today, as I talk about the Children's Home we visited on Monday.

As, I said, we visited the Children's Home, Little Hands and Feet, on Monday. As I was there, I begin to think about adoption. Many of the children there are being adopted by families in the U.S., but there were a few who were not yet being adopted. As we talked with Greg later in the week, he gave us more of an insight on the adoption process in Haiti, as he is in the process of adoption a Haitian child. As the children clung to us soon after we walked through the door, I thought to myself how loving these children are. I thought, we look so different from them, but they do not care about the color of our skin or the texture of our hair, they just want to be held and loved in return. They could not even speak to us or us speak to them in a language that both could understand, but I realized love is universal.

What a wonderful reminder those little children brought to my life. They did not care who I was or where I came from, but openly accepted and loved me, just as I did them. It reminds me of John 13:34: A new command I give to you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. As I reflect back on being at the Children's Home and the orphanage we visited, the friendly smiles and hugs given, it reminded me of how much more Jesus loves us!

As for the children I met and their fate, I am not sure. I know that children are resilient, and I can only hope that they can feel and learn the love of Jesus too! It makes me sad and uncomfortable to see so many children in orphanages around the world, but to know they are resilient and can still love and be loved by complete strangers warms my heart! I am thankful for this gentle reminder and the smiles that will warm my heart forever.