Archive for the ‘Job’ Category

It has been nearly a week since my misfortune, or God’s sovereign plan (whichever you choose call it in this instance), hit me. I dislocated my knee as I was running in Johnson Park. I took two days to try and get the swelling under control. With it being Thanksgiving Week, I had to get to work to help write ahead so we could take Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving.

IMG_2018[1]Today, was a discouraging day. I woke up with pain in my knee that I haven’t had until now. I’m beginning to wonder if indeed I’m going to need surgery. This isn’t something I want or have time for. It doesn’t look like I’m coming to terms with God’s sovereignty, am I? I’m trying to wrap my arms around it, but I’m feeling more like Solomon than Paul. In other words, I’m believing more and more that all is vanity. I woke up to my knee looking like this. While it doesn’t look too bad, maybe even a little bit better, I now can only bend it about 80 degrees. That means it difficult doing anything — dressing, taking a shower, getting out of cars, sleeping (I sleep on my side in a ball — at least i did)anything that requires me to bend my knee.

In 2010 when I injured the same knee in about the same way it required a very painful surgery. They don’t do arthroscopic surgery. They have to open up the whole knee to repair the patellofemoral ligament. It is so painful that they planned on keeping me overnight. The second and third day after surgery is horrible. Then, no weight bearing for almost a month. Therapy is intense. The first step is getting the knee to bend again, while at the same time doing a little strength training. It took a long time. I had the surgery in March and didn’t start exercising on it until June or July.

The last six days have been frustrating for a number of reasons:
1. I only have 45 miles to hit my goal of 700. I have all but come to the conclusion that I won’t be hitting that goal.
2. I’m supposed to travel to Russia to cover the Olympics in February. If I have to have surgery, I won’t be going. That’s so disappointing.
3. I have worked so hard to lose 30 pounds running and cross-training. To think I’m going to have to start over from square one is deflating.
4. I was hoping to run in the 5th 3rd River Bank Run (25k) again in May 2014 and if I need surgery, that won’t be possible.
5. If I have surgery, I won’t be able to drive.

I know, all of this seems selfish and childish. I’m sure there are many others who have much more difficult issues facing them. Issues that are life threatening, debilitating, and scary. For me, I’m just wallowing in self pity, even though I’m scared trying to figure out what’s ahead for me. The stupid thing is, I haven’t even seen the surgeon yet. He may say I don’t need surgery, in which case I’ll be working my tail off trying to get my knee back into shape so I can run again.

All of this takes me back to Scripture. I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” Is just one verse that’s a little convicting. Or Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Or how about, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24.

I know all these things in my head, but understanding them with my heart is tough right now.

So, what do I do? I just keep plugging along re-reading and re-reading Scripture that I know is true and reminding myself that I DO believe it, which I do. I’m just being a little hard headed.

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I made it to Miami, Florida on Saturday, January 8. It was totally uneventful. The only problem that I had was the fact that I had left my coat in my car. I didn’t think I’d need it in Haiti. But, I did need something waiting in the cold jetway.  But that was only minor.

When I got to the Miami airport, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to my hotel. I was told there was a shuttle, but the signs were not very clear. I went outside and believe it or not — I actually ASKED someone. They told me to go back inside and up a floor. So, I did that. Some really short lady pushed the elevator button, so I just walked in. Said something smart — and this woman said, “Greg Yoder.”  It was Kathy Redmond, with Compassion International and Dan Woolley, the Compassion guy who was trapped in the rubble of Hotel Montana, in Haiti.  I couldn’t believe we ended up in the same elevator.

We had a good dinner, laughed a little — okay, a lot. In the middle of dinner I get this strange call from my daughter. She told me that my wife had fallen, hurt her knee and hit her head and she thought she needed to go to the E.R. I couldn’t believe it. Long story short, the neighbor took her to the E.R., everything checked out okay, but she’s really sore. Pray for her.

I hit the sack after watch the football game. I woke up in plenty of time. Truth is, I couldn’t sleep much. I get pretty anxious when I travel. I don’t know why. I love flying. I love adventure. Maybe I can’t sleep because I’m excited about it?  I don’t know. I was told we needed to get the shuttle to the airport at 7:45am. So, I went down to the lobby early to get a cup of coffee and something to eat.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t watching closely enough because my team left without me. No big deal, I just caught the next shuttle and made it to the airport in plenty of time.

When I got there, I was told Dan Woolley’s passport was set to expire in March. Typically, you’re not supposed to travel on a passport with your expiration date so close — six months is typical. So, Rich Van Pelt told me if Dan doesn’t go, the team’s staying home. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. My last trip to Haiti was memorable, but not for pleasant reasons. However, Dan made it through to the gate, security and on to the plane. He even made it past customs in Haiti with no trouble.

We arrived in Haiti Sunday, January 9. It was a partly cloudy day. Temp was about 80. A far cry from the 12 above in Michigan. From the airport we went immediately to the new Compassion Village. Wow, what a nice place. It’s certainly different the the Haiti Hilton last year. I was in a tent on the parking lot of the Compassion Haiti headquarters. This place is beautiful. It’s three two story homes all in one gated community. It has a generator, air conditioning (when the generator is running), hot water and great cooks.

Dan Woolley at Hotel Montana

Dan Woolley with Luckson Mondesir at the rubble of Hotel Montana one year later.

After our arrival, we quickly got ready to head to Hotel Montanan where Dan Woolley had a couple of interview scheduled with Reuters and AP. In case you’re not familiar with his story, he works in the website department at Compassion. He and his friend, David Hames, were taking a look at Compassion’s Child Survival Program. They had just been let off at the lobby when the 7.0 earthquake started. According to the driver, he thought the hotel collapsed. He looked for survivors, but couldn’t see any. David was killed. But, Dan — by God’s grace — survived with a badly cut leg. He used his Iphone to get his location and managed to find the elevator shaft. There he was trapped for 65 hours. Had he not made the decision to move, he would have been killed in the resulting aftershocks.

While trapped, he realized he wasn’t alone. Mondesir Luckson, a hotel employee was also trapped. They were able to encourage each other. They talked, sang and Dan shared the Gospel with his new friend. They were both rescued together.

On Sunday, January 9, the pair reunited at on the rubble of Hotel Montana. They shared stories. Dan showed Lukson his new book, “Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Hotel Montana” It was an emotional time for Dan. Making it even more difficult, the media following the two around. AP, Rueters, MNN, and the local press all wanted to know how he was feeling. At one point, Dan just knelt near where he thought the elevator shaft was in the rubble and appeared to pray. It was very moving.

Personally, It was strange standing there, knowing the dozens of people who died in the rubble of Hotel Montana. People from all over the world perished there.

I interviewed Dan at the hotel. I asked him, “One year later, could you have ever imagined that God would have allowed you to share the Gospel with so many people by way of television, radio and print?” He said, “For me, there was an opportunity to witness in the dark. And [I’m grateful] that God chose to use me in that way. After that, there was a wider stage that I didn’t expect. I have a little bit of a dramatic story, but God wants us all to testify to His goodness in our lives. It’s just a matter of what does that look like for us.”

Click here to listen to the interview.

It was an amazing first day.

Day number 2 was equally as amazing. We traveled to a the Berea Baptist Church in Port au Prince for a service celebrating what God has done in

Teen singing

Teen sings, "Hallelujah I have Jesus" one year after losing his mother in the earthquake.

the lives of Compassion children, families and staff. The morning was full of praise and worship, testimonies and God’s Word. One young lady shared how she was trying to get out of her house with her sister. The building came down on both of them. Her sister died. She was also trapped. The beams had pinned her head to the ground. After much pain, rescuers got her out. She is a part of the Leadership Development Program, Compassion International’s program to develop new leaders. She took a year off to recover, now she’s decided to become a Christian school teacher so she can have an impact on her country.

Another young man got up in front of the church. He said, “I lost my mother. She meant everything to me.” Then, he and his friend began singing a song with the lyrics, “Hallelujah, I have Jesus” in the most emotional, convincing way. The day was truly a blessing to me.

Unfortunately, I had to excuse myself from a meeting tonight. I’m not actually sure what the whole purpose was. I will find out when the rest of the team gets back. I had to write stories for Mission Network News and Remember Haiti with Compassion special that’s airing Wednesday on stations around the country.

By the way, you can catch my Mission Network News reports at http://www.MNNonline.org.

Because of bandwidth issues, I haven’t been able to upload any video. So, you’ll have to wait for that until I get home.   More reports tomorrow.

A little girl gets ready to do her craft

A little girl gets ready to do her craft

The final day of ministry in Russia and everyone’s wishing we could stay longer. August 20 was a great day for everyone. We basically did the same thing we did Thursday. We went to the special needs children (Orphanage 40) camp. This day, I started out with the craft group with the less challenged group. I wasn’t feeling all that great and I thought this would be a good start to the final day.

Today, they were decorating picture frames. The story was, “While man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart.’ So we wanted them to make picture frames and then we were going to take pictures of the kids. We were going to print them out and let them frame them in their frames. It would have worked great, but the printer never worked.

Nicole Latimer with Oxanna

Nicole Latimer with Oxanna

From there, I went over to the ‘difficult’ area. One of the girls in particular, Anna, was a biter. Thursday, she bit me on the hand, arm, twisted my neck, bit someone on the nose, threw someone’s glasses and was just a little terror. For whatever reason, she was so pleasant. I sat with her. Bounced her. I gave her a ‘trot-trot’ ride. Swung her around and she only ‘tried’ to bite me once. Others of the team were able to spend some quality time with her.

Many of the guys just played ‘boy games’ with the boy. We rough housed, ran, threw them in the air, climbed the monkey bars with them, tickled them — just had ‘guy time’ with them. They don’t get much male attention,

Chad with boys

Chad Klumpstra with boys at Orphanage 40 camp.

so this was great.

After our morning, we again went to the beach along the Gulf of Finland. It was very close — right across the street from Orphanage 40’s Camp. We simply crossed the street because we wanted to get a team photo.

MNN/Way-FM Orphan Outreach Team

MNN/Way-FM Orphan Outreach Team

After lunch back at the hotel, we traveled again to Orphanage 14’s camp. Today, however, the director was there and he handled things quite differently. After lunch, they were required to come to attention outside the dinner hall by dorms. Each dorm had a dorm leader who was responsible for their campers being there. When he called them to attention — not a sound was heard.

Greg plays basketball with girl

Greg teaches girl how to shoot basketball

Following that, we got back to work. I stayed in the recreation area this time to try to help keep the kids interested. It didn’t work. However, we did keep a few kids around to play a few games. When it was the girl’s turn, most left — but a few came over to see what was going on. I was actually able to have a great conversation with a few of them and was even able to coach a couple of them on how to shoot a basketball.

One of the girl who came over was a gal who didn’t want ANYTHING to do with us. She looked like she was only interested in being an athlete and didn’t have time for anything we had to offer, until someone told her I was coaching girls how to properly shoot a basketball. She has lots of natural ability, but couldn’t shoot well. By the time I was done, she was shooting a jump shot and making most.

kids listening

Kids listening to story times in the morning.

Gray skies greeted us Wednesday, August 18, 2010 the final day with kids from orphanage 2 and 60. We started off in the morning with the little kids again. We shared the verse, Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands: your walls are continually before me.” Many of these young people seemed to respond to this verse. Many understanding it and talking about it. The craft today was making picture frames. Then we took each child’s picture. We were going to print them out at lunch time, but the printer malfunctioned. So, we’re going to print them in the city and Olga and her team will take them back after we’re gone.

Unfortunately, I spent most of my time with the memory verse group because of a couple of issues, so I didn’t get to see much of the other groups. I know they told a story, and there was game time, but I have no idea how things went.

Little boy listening to directions

Little boy listening to directions.

Just before we left for the morning, we presented Orphanage 2 with donations. We had underwear, socks, clothes, lice shampoo and lots more. I was able to thank the ladies for their dedication to the kids, telling them it was a thankless job. I also quoted James 1:27, “Pure religion is caring for the orphans and the widows….” and I encouraged them to trust God for guidance and wisdom.

The after noon was full of excitement. We started off breaking the teens and older elementary kids into four groups. We actually had more kids than we had the previous day. One little boy was NOT getting along with anyone. It finally culminated when he bit the neck of another boy and wouldn’t let go. He bit so hard it was back and blue. When asked why he did it, he could only tell us that the other boy had taken a blue dolphin bracelet. Not sure that was true. I actually pulled the kid off the pile and put him in a wrestling hold so he

watermelon party

18 watermelons helped us celebrate our last day.

couldn’t bite me and tried to take him back to the dorm. An older teen ran over and encouraged me to put him down. Mistake. She grabbed her hand and bit her hard, leaving a back and blue set of teeth marks.

After he was taken away, we had a great day. Paul told his testimony along with a story out of the Bible. Then

Sasha and Nastya

Nastya and Sasha eating watermelon.

Jenn shared her testimony, which also was able to connect with the other teens who were listening.

The day ended with a watermelon party. We’d purchased 18 watermelons. It was gone in 10 minutes or less. It was great fun. It was sad leaving. Be praying for Elya, Alena, Nastya and Zyna. Elya is 14 and we believe she’s close to seeing God do a work in her heart. These others who were special to me. They need Christ’s love, too.

Nastya and Sasha play with 'clay'

Nastya and Sasha play with 'clay'

Tuesday, August 17 was the first day of vacation Bible school at the camp in Zelenogorsk, just outside of Saint Petersburg, Russia. We arrived at around 10:30 am to teach the little children at the camp for orphans about the Potter and the Clay. We sectioned the kids off into three groups. And, simultaneously we would hold story time, craft, memory verse and recreation, then rotate throughout the morning.

The kids seemed really receptive to hearing the Bible story. Olga, the Orphan Outreach Director in St. Petersburg, has done a great job teaching these kids. Many of them already knew the songs, Bible verses and at one point even helped us through the days of creation.

Zyna is new to Orphanage 2

Zyna has only been in this orphanage for a few days.

Following our formal VBS, we just PLAYED with the kids. It is truly amazing how spending a little time with a child who feels worthless can pick up their spirits. There are three kids that seem to be ‘hanging out’ with me. Nastya, Alena and Sergey. These little ones so want to feel worth. The want to be loved. They want to be important. That’s been my focus all week. Just to give extra attention to a few kids who don’t get one-on-one time with adults.

Today was an emotional day for a few in our group. They haven’t verbalized why there have been tears. I’m sure they’re processing everything.

Chelsea stands with Elya

Chelsea (left) stands with Elya (right) as they listen to verse together.

Perhaps they’re feeling badly that these little ones have no where to turn, no one to love them, no one who cares. Perhaps they’re feeling guilty because they’re going to leave and then these kids will be right back to where they were before we came.  Or, maybe they are concerned for their souls.

We got a taste of what’s it like in the orphanage when a fight broke out between two boys. These two boys were sitting in craft time when one tried to take something from the other. The other objected. The one got up, stood above him and (before we could do anything) cold cocked him right in the face. It had to hurt. That drew MY attention obviously. As I stood to get him off this unsuspecting kid, he took off. We tried to get the situation under control. The next thing we knew the ‘victim’ took off after the boy.  That’s the picture of orphan life — looking out for self, because nobody’s looking out for you.

Officially, there are about 800,000 orphans in Russia. Many of these kids have been abandoned at birth, have

Teen girls orphanage

Teen girls get their name tags before VBS starts.

been taken away from parents, or both parents have died. A few of the teenage girls look so hardened by years of institutionalism. One teen, 16, has been in the system for more than 11 years. It’s heartbreaking to hear that many of them have no dreams — other than leaving the orphanage, getting an education and find a job. They can’t tell you specifically what they’d like to do. The reality is most of these kids will end up selling drugs, other organized crime, prostitution, or dead by the time their 18.

These girls listened to every one Emily’s testimony. They appeared to connect with her. Then, Katie was able to share the Gospel through chalk art — telling the girls that our sins put black marks on our lives, but God removes the marks through His blood and changes our ‘marks’ into a portrait of Jesus. They just LOVED watching her do this. Rather than being cold and inattentive, they became warm and open.

Wednesday, we’ll be doing ‘Part 2’ of our VBS with this same two groups, (Orphanage 2 and 60). More posts to follow.

We’ve be planning for this for several months. Finally, we’re on our way to St. Petersburg, Russia. We have a group of 21 heading there today.

We were all ON TIME. I was the last to arrive because I had to stop and get my Russian Dictionary and practice my Russian on the airplane.

We didn’t have any major kinks. When we arrived the United ticket agent didn’t know what she was doing and couldn’t find our tickets. But, after a telephone call to MTS Travel (our travel agency), they were able to get our tickets with little trouble. A few of us, however, weren’t able to get boarding passes all the way to Saint Petersburg, me included. So, we hope to be able to get them in Chicago, when we land. We have a three hour lay-over, so hopefully we’ll be able to get them.

We’ll keep you posted on what’s going on right here. This is suppose to post to my Facebook page, so we’ll see.

Knee Surgery – Post Op

Posted: March 20, 2010 in Health, Job, life, spiritual

Day two brought me home. It’s what I wanted. However, I wanted that to be a pain free experience. It wasn’t. The pain block gave me incredible relief. However, I had now idea how much pain it was blocking. The nurses told me the pain block typically lasted 12 hours. By 2:00pm Thursday, March 18 I was WELL past the 12 hours and my knee didn’t hurt that much. My mind was telling me, “This isn’t so bad.”  While at the same time it was saying, “If it hurt so bad just out of surgery, why doesn’t it hurt that bad now?”

In just a few hours my mind lost the battle with pain. I started home at about 6pm. By the time I got home the block was just about done doing its work because when I arrived home I couldn’t find a comfortable sitting position and the pain was POUNDING. I couldn’t situate my knee into any position that would give me relief. The enemy — the thing I had been fearing — was now alive and well.

I kept remembering, “Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you allowing God to work in your pain?” Then, I knew Satan had won and I had lost. So, at 1:45 in the morning, March 19 I wrote the following email to everybody I could think of to write to:

“Dear Friends:

A few of you may know that I injured myself playing basketball on February 26th. I love the game, actually. I’ve been playing three times a week for years. Yes, even at my age. It’s something that’s help me keep the weight under control and help keeps me healthy. On Wednesday, I went in for surgery to have my knee repaired. The last 36 hours have been interesting.

My knee surgery went well. My doctor did a patellofemoral ligament repair. Basically, he repaired the ligament that kept making my knee cap go out of place, and performed a technique called a lateral release. Immediately after surgery I had incredible pain. It was off the chart painful. So, the doctor gave me a ‘block’ which basically numbed my whole knee. It was amazing how comfortable it made me.

The doctor kept me in the hospital to help manage my pain that was supposed to hit as the block wore off. For 26 hours I couldn’t feel my knee, which was a blessing. On the way home from the hospital, however, the pain block gradually stopped working. Now, I’m home. Flat on my back and the pain is really intense. I am on pain medication. But, it’s not doing much to help give me relief.

However, as I write this I know there are many of you who are going through something so much worse. You’d gladly trade places with me. Perhaps you’re struggling with cancer, or you’re facing another health issue where time is your enemy. When I think about that, my request for prayer seems so selfish. So, while I’d love for you to pray that the pain would go away, could you do something else? Please pray that God would use this time of pain in my life to teach me something and that He would position me in such a way that I can’t help but understand Him a little better so I can serve Him even more. Yes, my knee hurts — but as we all know good things come from our hurts.

I Love you all and thanks for your prayers and support.”

The response I received from that email was almost immediate. First, as I turned off my computer hoping to sleep, my knee pain almost immediately eased to where my body could sleep. Then as I checked my email that morning it was amazing. Here are some excerpts.:

“I’m Yvon, a 41 yrs old french pastor based in the North-Eastern France.  I 10 yrs ago I broke my hip. (I fell down from a 4 meters high ceiling). They screwed my hips, but my dislocated right leg needed an extension and to be stretched during 45 days. I was flat on my back for 2 months… asking God : Why ? It eventually shew me the Love in each christian coming to visit me. How I consider now the grâce of God, showing me how it was important to stop my activity and find the essential : GOD INSIDE PEOPLE, and GOD INSIDE ME. It was really an opportunity for me to find the relief of God and hear his voice thru his word. After 2 months, my surgeon told me, he was not sure about my ability to walk and to carry things. My pastor often praid for me, as my wife and my kids. 1 Months later I had physiotherapy, difficult thing but God was with me. In 1 month I could walk, run, carry my 3 kids. The Lord is our uphold. Let me share these verses that empowered me during the period of my recovery : 2 Cor. 4 : 17-18”

“The Lord has already heard your humble prayer and I’m sure the prayers of many who have received this email.  Perhaps this special teaching from the Lord is already complete; you now have just a touch of the extreme pain the people of this world are experiencing.  May the pain be completely lifted so your mind remains clear to continue sharing His truth through your writing.  May your passion be even greater and may the Lord be given glory through all of our trials.  May His mercy be upon you even this morning.”

There are many others I may share later, but what a blessing it was to see the dozens of people who prayed and even responded to this request. I can only imagine how many people respond to the needs of our broadcast.

Day three at home was a bit easier. I woke up after a few hours of sleep and felt refreshed. I had to go to the doctor for blood work. Then, I came home and managed pain the rest of the day. However, it wasn’t too bad.

There was another bright spot, too. Our little neighbor girl, Ema, came by the house. She’s six and just learning to read. She decided to come over and  read to me, to keep me company. What a joy it was to see her little heart just giving and giving. What six year old would be courageous enough to knock on an old dude’s door and ask if she could read to me to keep me company. I sense God’s going to use this girl for something really cool.

Greg

Knee Surgery – Day One

Posted: March 18, 2010 in Health, Job, life, my day

It’s amazing how God uses people in your life to reveal the reality of your spiritual walk with Him and the need to tackled the ‘issues’ head-on. That’s exactly what happen Sunday. Went to morning worship and then to Bible study hour and that’s where it hit me.

Our Bible study hour teacher in Steve Raemisch. We were talking about the troubles we go through in living for Christ. We went through many verses, including verses in Job. However, this is what hit me between the eyes. Steve was telling us a story about a well known Bible teacher going to visit a young girl who had cancer. He asked how he could pray for her and she said, “Pray that I won’t waste my suffering.”

That scored a direct hit on my walk. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want the surgery. Why did I have to play basketball that night?  Why couldn’t the knee just heal on its own? Why do I have to give up all my Spring and Summer in rehab? What’s the plan?  Will I have ‘issues’?  Will I make it through the pain?

All those questions went away when I heard those words repeated by that young lady. Now, it’s my prayer. Did it take the fear away? Did it ease the stress?  NO!  But, it’s made it better.

I got to the hospital at about 11:30am. I was greeted by our associate pastor and dear friend, Steve Raemisch. I hooped into registration. Steve followed my wife Ann and me. He came into the surgical prep room. He read Psalm 16 to us and it really hit home.  Psalm 16:11 is great. “you make know to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

That where we need to be!

My Dad came all the way over to the hospital from the east side of the state (three hour drive) to be with me. My mom wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t be here.

While I was praying for healing BEFORE the surgery, God has made the provision of a good surgeon. Dr. Dean did a couple of procedures. He ‘tighten up’ the muscle that attaches to the patella and performed a lateral release, which will free up the tension on the right side of my right knee and keep the patella (knee cap) in place.

Greg in Hospital

Greg in Hospital

The 45 minute surgery went well. There were no surprises. But, the surprise was the pain when I woke up.  I have never had so much pain. They gave me my first does of pain killer. That didn’t do anything. Then, they had to put in a block. From that point to the time of this writing, I haven’t felt pain even close to that.

I had several visitors. Dear friends Brian and Sharon Felten and Joel Hill. We spent some great time together. My wife, Ann, has been by my side and I love her for that.

I got caught up on my email and facebook page.

My nurses have been great. Joyce and Lisa were the first to serve me. They have been wonderful. They’re both believers and it’s been fun to have that kindred spirits.

I tried going to bed around midnight, but I couldn’t sleep. I think I only got a total of three hours of sleep. So, it’s going to be a tough day to stay focused and happy.

I’ll be getting out of bed for the first time today when Physical Therapy gets here. And, I’m hoping to hear the words, “You may go home” when the doctor arrives. Not sure when that will be. I’m guessing it’ll be around noon or shortly after.

Help Haiti with Compassion

Posted: February 2, 2010 in Job, my day, travel

It has been a whirlwind trip. As you know, I landed in the Dominican Republic Friday, January 29. I spent the night in Santo Domingo. I woke up at 6:00 am to a phone call asking me to be ready to leave at 8:00 am. Wondering to myself — “does he mean 8:00 am — or somewhere AROUND 8:00 am.”

I decided to get up and get a meal at the hotel restaurant — last meal before heading to the unknown.

I took a shower, packed up and headed to breakfast. It was great — a buffet. I LOVE breakfast, especially in buffet style. I had

Bus ride to Haiti

Bus ride to Haiti

eggs, potatoes, a wonderful banana, bacon, and fresh orange juice. It was great. However, I was thinking to myself, “Self, you have an 8 hour bus ride to Haiti. What goes in must come out.” I’ll spare you the details. But, it was a concern.

I went back to my room picked up my luggage and headed to the lobby. I checked out at 7:55 am and prepared for the hour long wait. However, to my surprise, Ivan was waiting for me outside. It was great. He told me that I would be riding alone to Haiti. “Do you speak Spanish?” he asked. I said, “Nope — not a lick.” He said, “It should be a great trip to catch up with your reading because you’re not going to talk to anyone.” LOL

He was right. I sat near the front in assigned seat 12, next to a girl who told me right away, “No, English — none — no English. No talk.” That sounded like English to me. She was young, about 20 something. She was traveling to Haiti with several others — not sure if they were family or not. She did not enjoy sitting by me. Not sure why. She did have this thing for bees. She had a bee that kept crawling toward her on the window. She’s was afraid of it. But, she wouldn’t kill it. I tried to help her, but she wouldn’t let me. A tree hugger in Dominican Republic.

The bus was nice. Air conditioning, quiet, good springs. It was comfortable.

Men work on a load of food at the border.

Men work on a load of food at the border.

It took about 4 hours to get to the Haitian border. Woe, what a stark difference between the DR and Haiti. It’s like night and day. On the DR side, trees, grass, water, pretty flowers and everything you would expect in a tropical island nation. However, when we got to the border it was just the opposite. Like a wasteland. No trees. The lake was full of silt. Pollution everywhere. It was just awful.

We made it to customs and it was chaos, at best. We were there two hours. Since I don’t speak the language, it was anybody’s guess what was going on.

We finally made it in to Haiti. The roads — bad. As we got closer and closer to Port au Prince we started seeing damage to buildings. As we finally made it to the bus terminal, I thought I had seen it all. But, I hadn’t been downtown yet. That’s when my eyes were open to the incredible amount of devastation.

The pictures speak for themselves.

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Haiti Supreme Court Building 2010

Haiti Supreme Court Building 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake 2010

Everything the Haitians knew as their power structure has been destroyed. The Presidential Palace, Supreme Court and the Military.

What’s great is Compassion International is there to help. No, they’re not doing it alone. They come along side the local church to empower THEM to do. Since they understand the community needs better than anyone, they uniquely qualified to identify the most needy. They’re the ones who become the heroes in the community, which gives them a platform to share their faith.

Compassion International had 74 staff. Now they have 73. Of the 73 staff members, 15 of their family members lost their lives. 16 program staff (church members) lost their lives. 61 sponsored children and young adults lost their lives. 233 were injured.

One staff member Eusua and his wife, lost his daughter. He told me, “I wasn’t even there. I was here working at Compassion when the earthquake hit.” His eye welling up with tears. He told me his wife was caring for his son and daughter when the quake hit. They survived the quake, “But when they ran away my daughter got away from my wife and a wall fell on her.” He asked me to pray for his wife who is taking it hard.

Can you imagine having your son in your arms, your other child running for her life, only to be killed by a falling wall?

Joshlyn Molone' with Dashna and Dashne, her nieces.

Joshlyn Molone' with Dashna and Dashne, her nieces.

On the ground stories like Joshlyn Molone ring throughout Haiti. Her sister, mother of twin girls nearly two years old died in the earthquake. Now, Molone’, 21, will share the responsibility of taking care of her nieces with her 15-year-old sister.  They’re now reduced to living in a tent outside the ruins of the girls’ home — a tent purchased by the twins mother before the quake.

Rain is the enemy. With tent cities the only means of protection for those homeless will be ineffective. Typhoid, Cholera, and Malaria will take its toll on this population — 10-percent of which died in the earthquake.

In Laogone, Compassion International sent a medical team in to help the city of about 10,000. Few medical teams had made it into the region. They were able to find many walking wounded, including a young girl who was injured in the quake. She was cooking at the time. A wall came down on her hand, pinning it in the fire. When she was rescued, her index finger was lost. From January 12 to January 30, this little girls has been among the walking wounded. The team was able to get her to a hospital, and later evacuated to a hospital in Martinique.

Today, was Help Haiti with Compassion. I talked with several radio stations around the country — from New York to Chicago to California. All

Greg speaking to WMBI Moody Radio Chicago.

Greg speaking to WMBI Moody Radio Chicago.

with one purpose, raising money to help Compassion International’s work in Haiti. The goal was to raise as much money as possible for the work of Compassion International in Haiti. More than 1,000 radio stations said they would participate. Some did more than others. But, all in all we were able to raise more than $1-million for the needs of the people of Haiti.

Well, it’s been an incredible couple of days. Keep praying for the people of Haiti. Equally as important — GIVE. http://www.HelpHaitiWithCompassion.org.

Also, if you’d like to see pictures of my trip, click here.