The week before Haitian President Jovenel Moise closed the airport in PAP and essentially put Haiti in a lockdown, we had a wonderful visit from our friends at Kingston Presbyterian Church (KPC), Dr. Wolf’s home church in Kingston, NJ. This was a trip that was planned for two years, since the visit a year ago had to be cancelled due to political instability. Two days before they were scheduled to fly down here, the US Embassy raised the Security Level in Haiti to a Level 4, advising people not to travel to Haiti. We felt that the risks to the group, who were flying from PAP to Jérémie and back (rather than driving), would be minimal and the intrepid group of 7 came down on March 7th as planned. We had a wonderful week together with important work being done, lots of good fellowship and plenty of interaction with our staff and patients. The group consisted of David Raduzycki and his daughter Emily, Steve Parker, Brad Clifton, Robin DeGutis, Juanita Ashby and team leader Scott Hodge.
The group arrived in Haiti on Saturday, March 7th and flew right away from PAP to Cayes, since the airport in Jérémie is closed for construction. We picked them up in two vehicles and brought them back to our house. The following day, we all loaded up in the jeeps for a trip to Duranton, a village back in the hills below the clinic where there is a Baptist church that we’ve designated as a “sister church” for KPC. We shared Sunday School lessons together, were treated to a wonderful breakfast of boiled eggs, fruit, bread and juice, participated in their communion service during worship, sang a song for them and many with them and shared a fantastic fried goat dinner with the leaders of the church. In spite of windy, blustery weather, it was a great time of fellowship and rejoicing at the goodness of the Lord and the warmth of being with His people.
Haitian pastor, Pastor Noel, bringing greetings from the Duranton Baptist Church to the visiting group from NJ
There was lots of special music, including from this women’s group at the Duranton Church
The men had their own group who serenaded us as well.
Some of the young people in the church enjoyed trying out their English skills with the visitors after the service.
Members of KPC and Duranton Church share some conversation in English
Delicious fried goat dinner prepared for us by the Duranton Church women
There were many highlights of the week, as the group worked hard to help us accomplish some important tasks. For quite some time, we had wanted to create a “patient collage” – basically a big poster with photos of our patients over the years, mounted on the wall in our inside waiting room for all to see. On a prior visit, Emily Raduzycki downloaded photos from my (Dr. Wolf’s) computer and used them to create a beautiful collage of patient faces. She had it printed on a vinyl poster (6ft X 4ft) and the group mounted it on a mahogany frame with plywood backing and hung it on the wall in our clinic. It’s been a tremendous thrill to our patients as they look over it to see if they see their own face! Much thanks to Emily for her creativity and to Brad and Steve for their carpentry skills.
Brad (L) and Steve (R) attach the wooden frame for the patient collage to the wall
Collage of patient faces now hangs on the wall in the inner waiting room in our clinic
One of the fun things about visiting groups is that they bring with them gifts and craft projects for our patients to enjoy. While Emily took photos, Juanita and Robin helped distribute gifts they brought from our supporting churches in the New Brunswick Presbytery in NJ. They also helped patients do some crafts while they waited to be seen in consultation.
Juanita helps a little patient put together a hand-made puzzle created by the Sunday School at KPC
A young girl shows off the necklace and bracelet she made while waiting for consultation
The mother of this infant was thrilled to receive a handmade baby quilt from the NJ group.
One of the main tasks of the week was to build cabinets in the kitchen of the residence quarters where our visitors stay when they are working with us in Haiti. David Raduzycki was the foreman for this project, following the plans designed by NJ architect Tom Lee. The group was able to build and mount all of the cabinet boxes, leaving only the shelves and doors to complete them. It was a huge task to accomplish in a week’s time and we are grateful for their diligence and expertise.
David is assisted by daughter Emily as he cuts plywood for the kitchen cabinets
David attaches the cabinets to the kitchen wall as Scott and Brad help hold them
Cabinets mounted over the stove and refrigerator in the residence kitchen
Cabinets mounted over the counter and sink in the residence kitchen
The KPC group poses in front of the kitchen cabinets after they were attached to the wall in the residence kitchen on their last day.
Group members were (L to R): Brad, Robin, Dave, Scott, Steve, Juanita, Emily.
Cherlie and I are grateful for the support of Kingston Presbyterian Church and all of the churches in the New Brunswick Presbytery, for their encouragement, their faithfulness and their generosity to us and our ministry in Haiti. This visiting group represented KPC and the Presbytery in an amazing way and we were grateful to have them with us. They are truly family and we love them dearly! To the group we say thanks for all your hard work and the efforts of those at home in NJ who sent you and prayed for you!