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Life Marches On

Feb. 11, 2019 - 11:49 am
**In the middle of a political and economic crisis, while the stones are being thrown, the tires burned, and the protests organized, life goes on. While emotions and deep hurts are on raw display, women continue to put their heads down and care for their children. When the U.S. Embassy warns its employees to "shelter in place" and while stores close down and schools are cancelled, women continue to have babies.

I can no more explain what is happening Haiti than I can explain what is happening in Washington D.C.  It's all a shit show. I only know this: It makes life so much more difficult for the materially poor, especially women.

We ask that you keep our staff and Midwives and the 125+ women they care for in your thoughts and prayers. Each day we ask that they come to work if at all possible. The excellent and committed caregivers that they are; they always seem to find a way to arrive to work. 

In the coming two weeks Christella, Martine, Judith, Clercina, Cedilia, and MarieFrancelene are all due to deliver their little ones.  Last week six new little people joined the chaos on the outside.  

Life marches on, birth and care giving continue. 

(To support the work of Heartline Ministries & The Heartline Maternity Center, go here, click give.)

Thursday Kenneth was born a few weeks premature and is with his mom in postpartum recovery right now.
**Photo Credit- GettyImages - No copyright infringement is intended*** * * * * * * *ANNOUNCEMENT - ALL INFORMATION AT THIS LINKWHEN AND WHERE WILL CLASSES TAKE PLACE?
  • Port au Prince, Haiti
July 16-19, 2019  (This class will be in English only)
  • Port au Prince, Haiti
November 5-8, 2019 (This class will be in English with Creole translators)
  • Online and in Port au Prince, Haiti
February 2020 (Additional details to come)WHAT IS THE STARTING PLACE?In the class and manual, we go over everything from meeting a newly pregnant woman at the door for the very first time, to offering her an effective and culturally appropriate method of family planning after her child is born. Our manual includes very specific outlines of all facets of care, setting up the structures necessary, help with budgeting, staffing, forms, charting, supply lists, sourcing ideas, and protocols. After years of trial and error, the class and manual share what we know works. This class and our manual can potentially save your organization thousands of dollars as well as energy spent re-creating the wheel.WHAT IS IT NOT?This class does not teach Midwifery. This is not a medical training class, although the manual includes dozens of medical protocols. The assumption is that a medically trained and legally licensed medical professional will be present at your clinic/birth center/prenatal program. We expect that clinic administrators will want to take this class, and that your medical staff is trained and prepared for prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care of the mother and baby. If you are seeking training to become a Nurse Midwife or Midwife, please know this class is not your first stop.WHO CAN ATTEND?Administrators, Directors, Midwives, Nurses, and Medical Professionals desiring to work in any under-resourced area in the world.  Please note that our Maternity Center model is donor-funded and is essentially a free program for clients that live below the poverty line.Please visit this link for information about applying. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

9 years ago - Nou pap janm bliye

Jan. 12, 2019 - 9:59 am
Phoebe, Hope, Isaac Livesay - photo taken 3 Days before the Palace fell - 2010

Link to First Post after EQ

Link to Google Doc of the memories we took time to write out.



Collette as she waited on a helicopter to the ship
She had a broken pelvis and was 9 months pregnantCollette gave birth to Esther on the US Comfort Ship
Esther was the first baby born for their Haiti EQ deployment

We saw news people everywhere we went 

Jean lost his foot in the EQ - he had surgery days later to finish the amputation and prevent infection.
After surgery he worked with Physical Therapists to learn to walk again.
Dokte Jen worked with dozens of kids that lost limbs and fingers.
Troy described the airport as the Wild West in those early days after the EQ
A photo we took a few days after the EQ, life must go on.

Life Does Go On.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Dad to Five Daughters: A Newly Discovered Passage

Jan. 11, 2019 - 2:47 pm
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 1 My children, these things write I unto ye, that ye be wise and endangereth not your life with cluelessness. 
And hereby I do proclaimeth until the end of days that we do not fully know what your earthy father doeseth for us. 
3She that dare sayeth, “Mom, I know that!”, and, “No, you are wrong”, keepeth not their cool, is a liar, and the truth is not in her/him.
I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye should have heard from the beginning. 
5 Geteth this and geteth it now, for ye hath heard not what I already dun said.
Again, I write unto you, be grateful for your good Dad because the darkness is past, and the light now shineth. 
7He endureth for the ages to picketh up your boyfriends and he comlaineth not and he keepeth his cool even though he be quite afraid you will geteth hurt. 
Fathers be good to your daughters ...
Daughters be good to your father too.


Troy Livesay married me many moons ago. He instantly became a dad to two daughters, they were eight and four years old at the time. 
He rocked the protector Dad role from day one. He made the oldest daughter's first boyfriend come to our house for apple pie with his parents before he would consider any other dating. We moved to Haiti when she was 15 years old. He watched as she fell in love at age 16 (with a boy on a short term mission trip to Haiti, no less!) and went off with her Prince Charming by 18.  (Totally working out - year ten anniversary trip happening right now.) 
He drove Paige to and from dates in Haiti before she graduated from High School. One time he drove her to break-up with a boy and witnessed an awkward teary scene. Once Paige was in college he invited her new boyfriend to spend six weeks with us in Haiti because it was the right thing to do and time was of the essence.  (Thank the Lord, that one worked out too! Year four anniversary was this week.) 
Troy is now on to daughter number three (of five) that is entering the "Daaaaddddddy, will you please allow my boyfriend to come visit" stage.  This (our norm) is not the regular way it happens in developed nations.  
Here in Haiti we have limited vehicles, limited time, and unlimited traffic jams. If a boy is to come see our girl, they must travel far - & for infinite amounts of time in order to reach a meeting spot where Troy has also traveled for an infinite amount of time. There has never been a boyfriend date in Haiti where a young man showed up in his own car and took our daughter for dinner and returned her in a few hours to our door. 
Dates in Haiti require Troy's participation and mercy. 
Hope was excited to see her male friend this afternoon. Troy made it happen.
Paige wrote me today and said, "The number of boys that Dad has had to awkwardly pick up for his gals, bless it. He has a special place in Heaven." 
Amen. I think so. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

People are Not Statistics - But Statistics Help

Jan. 4, 2019 - 3:58 pm
Sandra gave birth to her baby December 26, 2018
Baby Isaac was the last baby of 2018 for HMC
The tendency in doing any work is to look at the outcomes from a purely statistical approach. 

How many? What categories? What cost per person?

At the Heartline Maternity Center we transparently report statistics and share our outcomes with donors.

We believe that some of the best things that happen, cannot and do not show up in a statistics report. 

These numbers will never tell you how many hours were spent massaging backs, how many tears were shed over abuse, loss, or betrayal, or how many words of encouragement or prayers happened.

The day to day work is incredibly relational. Because of the environment created by decades of material poverty, the relational needs are intense and vital to the work of midwifery.  It is not possible to work with a woman in child-bearing years (in Haiti) that has not had trauma.  That person does not exist here.


To know that the mother in labor has lost one baby to what she believes was a curse, and another to entrapment of the head during a breech delivery because of inadequate care, is to approach prenatal care and the birth with a unique empathy that cannot be quantified with statistics.

The statistics do tell a story, they just don't tell the whole story.  Hopefully we have done a decent job of sharing stories this last year.  It is with the weight of responsibility that we share anything. Our hope and prayer is that we honor the women we work with, telling their stories is something we do with caution and intentional forethought and discussion.

The stats below will possibly mean more to people that work in the area of Maternal Health, and especially to those that work within a developing world setting.  We are proud of some of these findings and excited to continue to gather data in the years to come.

One note on our culture of care. Because we value Haitian medical professionals and want to employ as many as possible, we don't take students or medical volunteers from North America to get/have an experience here. We need and want to be sure we are investing in the local workforce, doing career development and further training with them. They will always be in Haiti and their skills being fine-tuned to serve and help their neighbors is our first priority. We welcome tours 6 days a week when an appointment is made and are happy to show you the Maternity Center. 

The only rare exception is for coverage when we have two or more staff members gone on vacation or emergency situation. In that case we ask for CNM or CPM with Haiti experience and some language skills. If you are that person, and are interested, please contact us to be added to our list.

We love what we do at the HMC and we hope to share our model with anyone that wants to copy it.

THE STATS - IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

118 Babies were born to Moms that were in the Heartline Prenatal Program in 2018

(We made a mistake and counted wrong, we apologize for putting out a number that was not correct in late December.)


116 Babies lived
1 baby died due to prematurity at a hospital,
1 baby died due to a cord prolapse at the hospital
(we are working on meeting with that hospital)

53boys (2 passed away)
65 girls

Two years ago we started something new. We began giving any G1 or higher risk for Pre-E woman  Calcium and Aspirin every day for the duration of the pregnancy.  We needed to give it time in order to report that findings, but we have three-year stats to compare and see how well it is working.

(SIDE NOTE - in 2015 we did NO Calcium and Asprin and we had a 26% Pre-E rate)

The Pre-E rate for 2016-2017-2018 is 10.3%


2016 Pre-E  11%
2017 Pre-E  6.3%
2018 Pre-E 13.5%

For the last 3 years - The transfer (to another hospital due to complication) rate is 25.7%

Last 3 years rate for C/Section is 13.2%

In 2018 only we had a  - 2.5% PPH rate

First time Moms made up  52.5.% of our clients

1,725 - Prenatal Visits
4,050 - Vitals Signs on Thursdays
Oldest Mom to Deliver  42 years old
Youngest  15 years old

The last three years: 3.3% Preterm labor (prior to 37 weeks)

10 people kicked out due to poor attendance. For us attendance is key. We don't allow the women to miss a Thursday without contacting us first and having their consult rescheduled.

2 babies born at home (because Mom could not get out fast enough)
1 baby born in the street in front of the MC

830 Women received Family Planning (Depo Provera mostly)

2018 - 2.5% miscarriage

3 year total 16-17-18 - 3.4 miscarriage (loss of baby up to 20 weeks gestation)

0 - IUFD in last three years (20 weeks to term)

Biggest success story of the year, Baby Ruth born at 32 weeks and is thriving. 

Biggest challenge of the year, Baby Wisler born at term in November - still hospitalized and undiagnosed

Two shoulder dystocia -- with resuscitation  - Scary one was 5 minutes long with a 4.5 min resuscitation

85% of the babies born at HMC were delivered by Haitian Midwives

Increased the number of women we serve by 31% over the last two years


LASTLY ...

2019 Births were kicked off last night:

Midwife Mica with Guetly in early labor
Guetly and her daughter right after she was born,
pictured with her sister
Categories: Haitian blogs

Your Mourning Will Turn Into Dancing

Dec. 31, 2018 - 1:39 pm
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There are three needs of the griever: To find the words for the loss, to say the words aloud and to know that the words have been heard.
 -Victoria Alexander 



I don't know how many hundred photos we take in a year. 
Too many hundred.  

This is the one photo that defines this year we are about to usher outI remember what we were crying about and I know what we feared. The months ahead proved to be disorienting and painful.We are all grateful to bring a year of confusion and disappointment to an end.


(I recognize that this reference to the troubling events is vague and it is intentionally so. I apologize for that.) 

I have previously shared here that during this challenging year I became a daily evening cocktail person. 

In October when Troy and I went to Alberta for our 20th wedding anniversary I had the space and time to examine the way my habits had grown more and more unhealthy. 

I was pushing away anger, sadness, and grief by having a drink or two every night. Occasionally I waited until the kitchen was empty to go have a third drink. It happened so gradually without me really steping back or seeing myself and how often I was choosing to numb out. I believed and told myself, "You deserve this. Your life is stressful."  

On our trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth (HI CANDADA!) I had a lot of time to sit in the beauty of creation and talk with God. I had time to listen. I chose to allow myself to not be ALWAYS busy so that I could hear. I think staying busy and never sitting in silence is another way I numb out. I decided while we were in Canada to work on feeling all the terrible feelings and to attempt to not numb anything. I stopped drinking 61 days ago. I am still uncomfortable with the clarity it provides and the extra time it gives me to feel and think, but I am trying to be less numb and less busy in order to intentionally meet with God. 

I am so shocked by the number of people (women especially) that shared that they feel they are also in an unhealthy relationship with food or alcohol or internet or or or any number of things. To each of you that wrote and said, "me too", thank you for choosing to be vulnerable with me. You made me feel less alone in my struggle. 

There are so many great resources out there for "gray area" drinking habits. I found these two articles especially helpful:


1. https://medium.com/@caylavidmar/the-dangerous-gray-area-of-casual-drinker-9-ways-i-stopped-drinking-7c8db1137aa7
An excerpt that explains my motivation for sharing from the link above: 

It’s one thing to want to stop drinking in private, it’s another thing entirely to tell the people in your life that you’re actively cutting back. This makes a massive difference in your success.
When you privately want to stop drinking, you’re still living within the same relationships and environments that are leading you to drinking in the first place.It’s easy to justify drinking when no one is holding you accountable, when you haven’t changed the dynamics of stating you’re no longer drinking.This was a hurdle for me, because if I told people about wanting to be sober, I actually had to do it.
If you don’t tell people, you’re basically planning to fail. So tell someone, tell your friends you’re cutting back, you’re only drinking 1 night a week, or whatever goal you have set. Make sure it’s a concrete goal (ie. I’m not drinking during the work week) instead of vague (ie. I’m cutting back on my drinking). That way it’s discernable and measurable for you and everyone else around you."2. https://www.thetemper.com/5-signs-you-might-be-a-gray-area-drinker-and-what-to-do-about-it/ ** ** ** **
I don't have a lot of advice to offer at day 61, but I do know that a lot of folks are dealing with wounds and you are not alone.




In spite of the challenges we faced, God faithfully and generously provided. He worked with our wound. Heartline Ministries had a really good year.  



If you are interested in reading a brief year-end summary, please visit HERE .

If you are interested in giving a year-end gift before midnight brings us to 2019, go here.

If you are interested in seeing the 12 Days of Christmas featuring all things Haiti, see this:




Happy New Opportunities for wholeness in 2019.

T & T & Crew 
Categories: Haitian blogs

The Dog Angel

Dec. 30, 2018 - 6:51 pm

On a hot June afternoon in 1989, the summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school, my little sister somehow convinced my parents that I needed a dog for my seventeenth birthday. I am not sure why she was working this idea so hard when my birthday was still five weeks away. I had not ever been given a dog for a gift, I was not some sort of dog fanatic, I wasn't asking for a puppy. 

I cannot say I understand what motivated her to begin this crusade on my behalf, but she is nothing if not persistent. You don't know the number of dogs that have joined my family as a result of my sister's fierce passion and perseverance.  

You don't know, because I can't tell you.  It is that many.

The guy I had been dating for almost two years had a Samoyed. Even though we didn't herd reindeer, or even regular deer, my sister begged my parents for the same breed.

My sister is the youngest and we know now that youngest children have magical super powers. The youngest can make parents do things those same parents would otherwise label as utter nonsense.

Lydia suggests things and confetti falls from the sky in celebration of her wonderful ideas.  Ask our oldest, Britt, this was not her childhood experience.

My little sister Tina, at age 14, knew that she had a window of opportunity.  She broke their will and got my parents to see a Samoyed puppy right away, even though it was not time to give me a gift.

When Tina is involved, seeing a Samoyed puppy is buying a Samoyed puppy; and that is exactly what happened.

On that particular Saturday in June, I was with my boyfriend. I was 16 and he was 18.  We both had July birthdays, so we were nearing the wiser older ages of 17 and 19.
Saturday 24 June 1989
The US president was George H. W. Bush (Republican). Famous people born on this day include Teklemariam Medhin . In that special week of June people in US were listening to Satisfied by Richard Marx.{Go ahead and google Teklemariam Medhin.  I don't know him. He's not that famous.}
It turns out that teenagers without fully developed frontal lobes make choices and decisions that are totally and completely hormone driven.   

This is how, on the same day my boyfriend and I lost our virginity (and ALSO MANAGED TO make a baby),  I also received a Samoyed puppy. 

Now you may be wondering what the point of this story is, and why I chose to share it.  

Me too.

That puppy was named Angel. She was not that.  

My family has laughing fits remembering the winters of 1989 to 1995. 

The most vivid Angel memories involve my Dad running through deep snow in his rose colored bathrobe trying to catch that defiant dog and get her to come back in the house.

The baby came 40 weeks later. 
She was named Brittany.
She is a dog lover.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Merry Christmas

Dec. 24, 2018 - 11:00 am

Categories: Haitian blogs

Our 12th Annual Christmas Extravaganza

Dec. 21, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Categories: Haitian blogs

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none

Dec. 15, 2018 - 11:30 am
Antoinette and her son Aiden with Doctor Jen Halverson
Aiden was born at the same time his Mom lost her leg, January 25, 2010
Once upon a time there was a little island in the Caribbean that was picked up, shaken around, and dropped down. 

When the little island stopped shaking the warriors began to fight their way out from under the rubble. 

Today, you meet one such warrior. 
 Here you see Antoinette and her son Aiden. 

On January 12, 2010 Antoinette suffered an injury during the shaking that caused her to lose her leg. It had to be amputated. She was 8 and half months pregnant at the time the earth shook. Imagine you are in excruciating pain for 12 days, wondering if you'll die from infection, wondering if anyone can get to you in time, wondering if the baby you are carrying will die with you. 

Heartline had a "Field Hospital" (this means we did our best to create a hospital to help injured folks."

The U.S. Navy sent a ship. On that ship people that had been hurt were offered medical care and miracles.

Wikipedia says:
Operation Unified Response (2010)[edit]Main article: 2010 Haiti earthquakeOn 13 January 2010, Comfort was ordered to assist in the humanitarian relief efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake as part of Operation Unified Response.[7] Three days later on 16 January Comfort left the Port of Baltimore bound for Haiti. She arrived Wednesday, 20 January 2010 and began medical treatment early that day.[8][9] The deployment marks the first time the ship has reached full operational capacity, utilizing all 12 operating rooms and 1,000 beds, since she was delivered to the Navy in 1987.[10] The mission also saw the ship's first on-board delivery, of a 4-pound, 5-ounce premature baby named Esther.[11]Although the ship is less capable than a traditional hospital on land, she offered the most advanced medical care available in Haiti following the earthquake.[3]Between 19 January and 28 February 2010 the ship's staff treated 1,000 Haitian patients and performed 850 surgeries.[12] As of 8 March, Comfort had discharged its last patient.[13] On 10 March, the ship ended her mission in the Joint Task Force Haitiarea as part of Operation Unified Response, and returned to her home port.[14]
(FUN SIDE NOTE - We also know Baby Esther and her Mom and remain in contact with them as well! That is another crazy-good miracle story of a broken pelvis and a baby and Mom that lived.)
Antoinette did not die.  Her son did not die.  
Life has been incredibly challenging and there is more than a novel in what has happened in their lives since 2010, but here they are alive and hopeful and coming to see Doctor Jen Halverson. 
Jen is the Doc that helped coordinate and serve them in the many many months of recovery after they left the USNS Comfort ship.  
EARLIER THIS YEAR Antoinette was able to get a NEW LEG at Healing Hands for Haiti. Heartline MInistries paid the $800 fee to have her new leg crafted. 
WHEN YOU DONATE -- YOU ARE "Heartline". When you donate YOU ARE healing, you are new legs, you are hope, you are investing in babies and mommas. Your gifts are what keeps these relationships alive.
IF YOU WISH TO HELP keep us going, please consider a YEAR END gift.  ANY questions you have about year end giving or our organization are valid and good and we want to answer them.
PLEASE contact:  Ashley Leonard or Danielle May or myself with questions. Our emails are on this page: https://heartlineministries.org/staff/
TO CONSIDER A DONATION - HERE IS OUR WEBSITE:
www.heartlineministries.org 
CHECK US OUT --  Please give THIS DECEMBER.
PostScript -We remain grateful for the work of the United States Naval Comfort ship and EVERY SINGLE volunteer and donor that helped us offer a field hospital for the year of 2010.  What an insanely difficult and gorgeous time that was. May we continue to love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none.
Categories: Haitian blogs

FAMOUS PERSON Birth at the Heartline M.C.

Dec. 13, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Categories: Haitian blogs

All the Christmas

Dec. 11, 2018 - 8:49 am


"But this child was a new kind of king. Though he was the Prince of Heaven, he had become poor. Though he was the Mighty God, he had become a helpless baby. This King hadn't come to be the boss. He had come to be a servant."
-the jesus storybook bible







Perhaps it’s just the Ebenezer Scrooge in me, but I’m not much of a caroler. When pressed into participation I sing, but rarely with the gusto of those around me. And too often I sing in a rote way, not giving full attention to the words. There is however, one line of one verse of one carol that always captures my attention.
A story is told of a man seasonally employed to bring the presence of Santa to Christmas gatherings for businesses and schools. He was on his way to a gig, an office party, but had been asked to stop by the nursing home to make a quick visit to the residents. This was pro bono work, but if Santa won’t do it who will?
He quickly made his rounds with a “ho, ho, ho” to each room. Just before departing, he peeked into a darkened cubicle where an elderly man lay apparently asleep, curled on his bony side. Santa prepared to leave in a flash. But the man made a feeble beckoning gesture visible in the dim light of a tiny Christmas tree. The volunteer Santa approached. The man whispered something so faintly as to be inaudible. Santa moved his jolly old ear very close to the man’s dry mouth. “Forms are bending low,” the man said. Santa did not connect the phrase, assumed confusion, gave a patronizing pat, and hurried off to his paying job.
As he arrived at the office party, holiday music was filling the room. The words of an old carol floated from the ceiling speakers:
O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

The song was “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” written as a poem in 1849 and put to music 10 years later. The essence of the song is that angels did not just appear and sing at the birth of Christ. They show up and serenade regularly and often. 
Just when we are so burdened as to not hear, at the most difficult of times, when life’s loads crush and our forms bend, they minister most. Immanuel, meaning “God-with-us,” attends us as His invisible person, the Holy Spirit, and He is attended by angels. The heart of God is to meet us at life’s darkest intersections with comfort, encouragement, a touch of heaven, and a breath of hope. The old man in the nursing home wasn’t just complaining to Santa about his lot in life. He was acknowledging that in Santa’s visit, no matter how hurried, there was an angelic grace.
Whether or not you sing the carols this year, be encouraged to live the carols. For you, this season may not be one of happiness, good memories, or togetherness. You may be grieving, regretful, or lonely. Life’s road seems crushing and your form is bending low. That does not disqualify you from the true Christmas message. While others scurry in apparent happiness, the invitation to the crushed and the bent still stands:
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

Written by Rick Porter, Spirit Lake, Iowa 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 



A tradition that causes some snapping (Troy) 
and joy and laughter every December ...




Heartline Maternity Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti 
 SARAH STYLES BESSEY originally posted on DECEMBER 14, 2011




If more women were pastors or preachers, we’d have a lot more sermons and books about the metaphors of birth and pregnancy connecting us to the story of God. (I am rather tired of sports and war metaphors.)The divinity of God is on display at Christmas in beautiful creche scenes. We sing songs of babies who don’t cry. We mistake quiet for peace. A properly antiseptic and church-y view of birth, arranged as high art to convey the seriousness and sacredness of the incarnation.  It is as though the truth of birth is too secular for Emmanuel, it doesn’t look too holy in its real state. So the first days of the God-with-us requires the dignity afforded by our editing.But this? This creating out of passion and love, the carrying, the seemingly-never-ending-waiting, the knitting-together-of-wonder-in-secret-places,  the pain, the labour, the blurred line between joy and “someone please make it stop,” the “I can’t do it” even while you’re in the doing of it, the delivery of new life in blood and hope and humanity?This is the stuff of God.There is something Godly in the waiting, in the mystery, in the fact that we are a part of it, a partner with it but we are not the author of it. How you know that there is life coming and the anticipation is sometimes exciting and other times exhausting, never-ending. How there is a price that you pay for the love love love.I was fortunate to give birth to three of my tinies without complications. I find myself thinking of those experiences often during Advent; they are still very fresh for me. My eldest daughter was born in the hospital in a fairly usual way. My littlest girl was born at home, in water, with midwives, a beautiful and redemptive experience for me. But it’s the birth of my son, my Joe, that stays with me in these winter months.  His was an unintended free birth in our building’s parking garage while we were on our way to the hospital. We were alone – no midwife, no doctor, not even in our own home with a clean floor but instead a garage filled with gasoline and tire smells. My husband was scared; a lot of things could go wrong in this scenario (he had the good sense to act like he was in control though). And we were surrounded by strangers – helpful, concerned strangers but strangers nonetheless – and they were witnessing me give birth.And yet my body had taken over and all we could do, all I could do, was surrender to that moment fully. Every muscle in my body was focused, my entire world had narrowed to that very moment.  And then there he was, born while I was leaning against our old truck, standing up, into my own hands, nearly 9 pounds of shrieking boy-child humanity, welcomed by my uncontrollable laughter and his father’s uncontrollable relief-tears. A few people applauded.There wasn’t anything very dignified about giving birth.And yet it was the moment when I felt the line between the sacred and the secular of my life shatter once and for all. The sacred and holy moments of life are somehow the most raw, the most human moments, aren’t they?But we keep it quiet, the mess of the Incarnation, because it’s just not church-y enough and men don’t quite understand and it’s personal, private, there aren’t words for this and it’s a bit too much.  It’s too much pain, too much waiting, too much humanity, too much God, too much work, too much joy, too much love and far too messy. With far too little control. And sometimes it does not go the way we thought it was supposed to go and then we are also left with questions, with deep sadness, with longing.My entire concept of God shifted in that moment, leaving my brain and my life and my theology to catch up with what my soul now knew deep. I could never see God as anything other than through the lens of the Incarnation, of his Father-Mother heart and his birth now. No theologian or counter-circumstance-experience can take away from what I know, what many mothers the world over know in their heart of hearts about loss and birth and raising babies and real transformation: it’s Love and it is sacred and it is human and it all redeems.  The very truth that God put on flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood through birth, even – especially –  that experience of birth, now showing us what it means to be truly human.Women can tell this part of the story this Christmas, the glimpse behind the veil, the life lived in the in-between of the stuff of God. There is a story on your lips, isn’t there, mama? of how you saw the face of God in the midst of fear or pain or joy and understood, really understood, Mary, not kneeling chastely beside a clean manger refraining from touching her babe, just moments after birth but instead, sore and exhilarated, weary and pressing a sleepy, wrinkled newborn to her breasts, treasuring every moment in her heart, marvelling not only at his very presence but at her own strength, how surrender and letting go is true work, tucking every sight and smell and smack of his lips into her own marrow.God, Incarnate, Word made flesh, born of a woman. We can tell the true, messy stories of the Incarnation. Emmanuel, God with us. May we recognise the miracle of the Incarnation, not in spite of the mess, but because of the very humanness of it.


~~~~~~~~
Categories: Haitian blogs

O Holy Night

Dec. 10, 2018 - 6:00 am
Every direction you turn, images of Christmas..You need not look far to find beautiful and thoughtful displays, tastefully decorated homes with glowing trees, and rows and rows of symmetrical twinkling lights. Step into one of these homes and the warm fire will greet you as you breathe in fresh scents of pine and cinnamon. It is beautiful and clean and so.very.pristine. Looking upon these exquisite arrangements one senses order and peace.O Holy Night
I’m reflecting on the untidy disorder and chaos in the lives of so many celebrating Christmas around the world this year. They experience vastly different surroundings and a much more simplified version of the annual celebration of the Christ child. 

It looks nothing like the photos in the magazines and has not even the tiniest hint of Martha Stewart. There are no smells of fresh-baked cookies or hot apple cider to entice them. They don’t string lights around a tree, pile colorfully wrapped gifts high, or build gingerbread houses; yet meek and mild – they celebrate.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,’Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth
How did our celebration of this day become so clean and crisp and utterly tidy? Where are the smells and  sweat and tears that were most certainly a part of Mary and Joseph’s journey?It begs the question:  Do ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ scenes with sparkling lights and gorgeous perfectly placed decorations reflect the Christmas story best? Are the experiences of a frightened and ashamed teenage mother-to-be anything like that?

Do the marginalized and suffering in our world experience Christmas more like Mary and Joseph did – or do we?A thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices

I’m reflecting on these two extremes.  I LOVE the exquisitely ordered and the beautifully arranged. While yonder breaks a new and glorious mornI long for a day when disparity and injustice ends. I dream of a Christmas were no child is enslaved, abused, and sold. Where no refugee is left to sleep another night without clothing and food or a place to lie down. I pray for the glorious morn, where the oppressed are free. I long to wake up to learn that no child is suffering or slowly starving to death. I dream of a day when people from every continent and every nation can freely celebrate Jesus and His birth surrounded by love, joy, dancing, singing and immeasurable peace and beauty and justice.
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace
Truthfully I also find great inspiration in the simple, dingy, gritty, humble celebrations of those who struggle and toil without access to our unstained images of Christmas. I long for their stripped down total dependence on God. I pray for spiritual wealth like that of the materially poor. I want their depth. I want their undying hope. I want a Christmas less like Oprah’s or the magazines and more like theirs.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease
Our youngest daughter Lydia has been struggling with choices. When offered a choice of two things she’ll often reply, “I want two ones.”  When she says that, she means I want them both.

As I soak in Christmas this year I find myself wanting two ones.  I want the perfect looking, delicious smelling, pain-free and unpolluted Christmas and I want the dirty, stinky, humble, difficult, but miraculous Christmas that Mary and Joseph and the rich in faith experience.Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name
While I attempt to reconcile two very different Christmases, the celebrations only make sense to me in the context of good overcoming evil. God coming to earth in the form of a baby, to live a sinless life, to clear our debts for us, to teach us how to love one another … In His resurrection the promise that one day there will be beauty and justice for all.

The end of death. 
The end of suffering.
O Holy Night
(originally written December 2010 - republished at A Life Overseas)
Categories: Haitian blogs

Truth Without Consequence

Nov. 28, 2018 - 4:26 pm
The month of November is going to be over soon, thanks be to God. 

I am not okay with November 2018. 


Narline and Adrian's home 

We went to visit Narline and her husband Adrian today. 

Narline is the (formerly) pregnant woman in the Prenatal program that we transported last week Tuesday night. On that night the roads were blocked in several places.  Each road block we were able to move rocks and other debris and trees and market stands and continue on to hospital. On the way home we had to negotiate with some men a bit but we were let through again. 

This was Narline's first pregnancy. She came into care in her 8th week of pregnancy. On the 20th of this month Narline arrived to the Maternity Center in early labor. She started labor at 40weeks and 5days, a very normal time to have a baby for a G1. 

She labored for several hours, everything progressed as normal.  At first Narline was dilating at an average G1 pace. Nothing concerned us except that baby's head wasn't coming down into the pelvis as well as we hoped.  Midwives and OBs hope and want babies to be actively descending into the pelvis. The ichical spines are the marker for a baby that is at "0 Station". Narline's baby's head was -2 station. 

(For birth nerds, here is an explanation.)

At 9pm we decided that Narline's baby wasn't coming down and we made a decision to transport her. The secondary reason we made that decision when we did is that her baby's fetal heart tones had gone up a bit and we were concerned that he was showing signs of stress. We are midwives, not doctors, and we do not play games with lives. If we feel there is a risk, we get in the ambulance go. 

The ride to the hospital took longer due to road blocks. We brought her into the labor triage area at 11:25pm. 

The next morning when we woke up we called Narline's sister to ask if baby had safely arrived. Narline's sister informed us she had still not delivered.

Around 1pm the 21st Narline's sister finally called to tell us they had gone to do a C/S and the baby had died.  She said they showed her the baby boy and allowed her to take a photo. Around 2pm she called again to say that nobody had come to tell Narline. She wondered if she was responsible to tell her own sister what happened by herself. 

On Friday Narline was released from the hospital.  Rather than have her come to the Maternity Center where the two other babies born that same day were still in house, we decided to take Narline home. Narline said we could come do a postpartum visit with her today.

Today Narline** told us the following story:

She got to the hospital and was given a bed after a while. She was put on Pitocin.  She remained 7cm and the baby's head stayed high with each check that was done. Around 7am (after being there with contractions for 8 hour) she asked, "Why aren't we going for a C-Section?"  

The Doctor she asked that question did not at all appreciate being asked that and responded unkindly. She told me exactly what he said but I won't pass it along here because I hope to get to talk to the hospital administrator about this. They kept trying for a vaginal delivery with Pitocin. She said her baby's heart was still beating and she was able to hear it on the monitor.  She said all of a sudden things changed and they said, "We have to go for a C/S".  She said she was put under general anesthesia and that it took a while to get her into the OR.  When she woke up she was not sure where her baby was. After a bit her sister came to see her and she asked her sister where the baby was.

Narline has one photo of her baby, whom she named Evan. Narline never held her son. She was given a photo by her sister. In the photo he is perfectly developed, beautiful, and lying in a cardboard box. 

I am not sharing this to blame any one person or even the hospital.  
Evan has died and that cannot be changed.  

Haiti lacks a few major things and until it is addressed, nothing will change. 
More Narlines will lose more Evans.

First, there are not enough doctors, hospitals, clinics, or caregivers to meet the needs of the 10 million person population. 

I'm most familiar with the options for women's health. I don't have vast or specific knowledge of how other sections of health care work. I do know that it is frustrating that it never seems to improve. That is a issue to be addressed at high levels; sadly those at the high levels suffer from the illness of corruption. I would love for there to be zero need for non-profits and humanitarian aid groups.  This is an actual crisis.

Second, there is classism and racism and education-based inter-group bias - which apparently is actually called educationism.  

It is not uncommon at all for patients to be treated poorly.  The rarest thing to find in Haiti is a person that knows what their medical history is and has been given an explanation for why things are happening.  9 out of 10 women we interview cannot tell us why they needed a C/S in a past pregnancy.  Nobody bothered to tell them if it was due to pre-e or a poorly positioned head, or something else entirely. 

The poor are not allowed to advocate for themselves without making an educated person feel threatened. Medical professionals do not share information with patients. It is wrong. The lack of compassion is painful to observe.  The power differential is unfair.  

Now, you might say that number one causes number two.  I agree.  

Not enough doctors and medical care providers means the ones working are pissed-off and overworked and therefore they behave in inhumane ways. 

Narline knew what she needed, so she asked. That ticked off an educated person and I have little doubt that it played into the final outcome. (Of course I can never prove that.) 

Narline's husband attempted to get answers from the hospital, but the poor don't get to be angry. The poor take what they are offered and are supposed to be grateful for it. 

Adrian was told, "It's not our fault. There are too many people here that need care. If there were hospitals in Port au Prince near you, then you wouldn't have come here." 

Narline wants her baby boy, little perfect Evan, to be remembered.  
She loves him very much. 
She carried him 40 weeks and he is forever a part of her. 




**This story is shared with the permission of Evan's Mother, Narline. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Grease the Wheels and Keep Hoping

Nov. 17, 2018 - 11:48 am
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice. 

Also, it is often said, mainly by women we work with at the Maternity Center, "Haiti has no justice". As you read that you might think, well - that's hyperbole - certainly there is SOME justice.  
There cannot be zero justice, right?!?
We first came to Haiti in early 2002. I came one week per month for seven months while I waited for Isaac and Hope to legally be free to come to the USA. After all of these years of meeting and working with average Haitians and hearing their experiences and stories, I am here to tell you that it is no exaggeration.
Justice is a commodity - as in you can buy it if you have the means to do so
Because the average Haitian citizen does not always have the means to eat three square meals a day and purchase a sufficient amount of potable water and keep their kids in school. For them there is definitely no expendable income to grease the seized-up wheels of justice.
Earlier this year we helped a young woman file a police report for sexual assault. She described what had taken place in detail over and over many times to interview rooms full of men. The manager of that department of the police was very enamored with my friend, KJ.  He was less interested in helping the young woman filing the report than he was in finding a way to get KJ to flirt with him.  He claimed we could pick up a copy of the report if we returned a few days later. We returned no less than four times, but were  given another (always new and creative) excuse why we could not have a copy of the report we had filed. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last week in postpartum class we talked about abuse in Haiti, specifically sexual abuse and children. I shared a few personal stories and posed a question to the women seated in the room. "If we never talk about it or acknowledge it is happening at an alarming rate, how will it ever change? Can we change what we don't address?"  The next 45 minutes were spent with different new mothers sharing horrific stories of abuse. It was hard to hear what had happened in their neighborhoods. Not one had ever been able to report it to authorities. Not one had seen the abuser face consequences. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.  
On Monday, November 5th a little girl named Love was born with probable (not yet diagnosed) VACTERL association at the Heartline Maternity Center. Due to a connection with a long-time volunteer at a local hospital we were able to go directly to a hospital that would see the baby. Typically, Haitian mothers will visit several if not dozens of clinics and hospitals before there is one that takes on the responsibility of diagnosis and care. 
Our experience of being seen the day we walked into that hospital is atypical. Justice in that way came due to connections, which we are INCREDIBLY grateful for and also no more deserving of than any other person. The hospital sent baby Love for several tests, most of which took 8 days to complete. On Monday the 19th we hope to return to the hospital with all of the results of the tests and lab work they ordered to learn what happens next. Returning to the hospital will depend upon the ability to arrive there.  There are rumors of blockades and protests in the coming days which can easily lock up the entire city and render us helpless to arrive at the hospital. 
Mercifully, baby Love has been peeing, pooping, and eating without trouble or these 8 days would have been entirely different.  Love's mother keeps long socks on her to keep her neighbors from seeing her malformed legs and feet.
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last night a baby boy named Wisler was born at 6:01pm. His one minute APGAR was 1 and his 5 minute APGAR was 2 and his 10 minute APGAR was 3.  At minute eleven he and his mom were in an ambulance heading toward the closest hospital.  At the closest hospital two female medical professionals began asking good questions, at that point Wisler was 30 minutes old. A male doctor walked up and barked, "Can't you see how many malformations and abnormalities this baby has? You need to go to _____ right now!" (He named another hospital.)
Wisler born 11/16 at 6:01pm

I assured him I did see but that we had always been told they were an excellent pediatric hospital. He dismissed us with a flippant wave and told us to get going. Trying to lighten the mood I asked, "What if the next hospital doesn't like my face, we won't get this baby accepted."  As we turned to walk out of the triage room he said, "There are foreigners there, they will like your face." 
We arrived at the second hospital before baby Wisler was an hour old.  The first medical employee to greet us was annoyed we did not have a NICU at our Maternity Center or a referral letter and she did not especially enjoy the fact that the first hospital had sent us on to her. I explained that breathing for the baby and driving to the hospital seemed like a better use of time and resources than sitting down to write a referral letter.  
Wisler was admitted, for which we are grateful.  The reason he was admitted was because we assured the hospital staff that we can pay for his care.  The average Haitian could not afford the small amount (only $57 USD) we spent last night to get things started. The average Haitian would not have arrived at the hospital in an hour. Public transport takes about two and a half times as long as private. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last night, we returned to the Maternity Center at 9pm with Wisler's mom. In just three hours her entire world turned upside down - technically, she is one of the "lucky" ones, she had the connections needed to help grease the wheels.

** ** **
It occurs to me regularly that those of you that read these social media updates and pray specifically for situations we share and financially support the work of Heartline Ministries are the reason we keep hoping.  Your sacrificial love and concern is hopeful and it trickles down. 
You might imagine we don't read messages or see your donations in the busyness of day to day work in Haiti.  
I want you to know today that we do see you. 
We feel the power of your prayers. 
We are lifted from discouragement by your generous words of love sent via several social media outlets. 
We know we can support the costs of the rare sick baby that needs hospitalization because of your generous giving.
You are the grease to the wheels, you are stubborn in hopefulness  - and we thank you this Thanksgiving. 




To learn more about the work of Heartline Ministries, please visit:www.HeartlineMinistries.org 


Lastly, meet two beautiful little ladies born in the last 24 hours ...
Nadia and MarieLiah - born 11/16 at 5:24pm
MarieAnoute and yet to be named baby girl - born 11/17 at 12:05 am


Categories: Haitian blogs

Waiting on Love to Arrive

Nov. 5, 2018 - 11:31 am
New life has always been a symbol of hope. Birth is a new start. On the wall of our prenatal consultation room a sign reads, "Where there is life, there is hope."  
Midwives have the high and holy honor of being with women as they usher in new life and new hope. 
Last night at 10pm Lovely arrived in active labor. She seemed shocked by the pain. I lost track of the count, but she said, 'Miss Tara, this hurts' approximately 73 times in the five hours she labored before her little girl arrived.  
The only thing to respond, 70 times over, is, "Yes, it hurts. It really does."
Motherhood hurts. 
Whether you have an easy life and all the material blessings or a very difficult life with a focus of just surviving day-to-day, giving birth is only the first painful thing in a sequence of events that has literally just begun. 
It is often said, watching your child grow-up and struggle and develop and become their own person is a bit like living with a piece of your heart outside of the protective wall of your own chest. 
Lovely talked a lot during second stage. In between pushes she told us she wasn't sure she could do it.  Once after a particularly long contraction with focused pushing she said, "Am I done?"  
We said, "The baby is still not out, you're not done but you are getting so close."  Lovely told us that KJ had said that it was a little girl during the ultrasound and that she chose the name Chrislove for her daughter but that she would simply call her, Love.
Lovely pushed Love out at 3:13 and ten sconds on Monday the fifth of November. 


Her labor had started at home on Saturday night and  included the extra hour of "falling back", which hardly seems fair.  
In total she worked 34 hours straight. Her labor took her from evening Saturday, through Sunday and into the early hours of Monday before it was finished with a screaming baby girl called Love.
Lovely watched her heart leave her chest last night. 
As we dried off little baby Love I noticed her left foot was formed abnormally. I quickly covered her with a warm blanket to wait and get a better look later.  Love was placed on her Mother's chest and began to nurse.
When it came time to take Love for her newborn exam and allow Lovely to take a bath and clean up, I lifted Love off her Mom's warm chest and saw that both of her feet had not developed normally. Upon further examination we realized her rectum is abnormal as well.
In those moments the very first irrational thought is, "How can we keep this from upsetting her Mother."  As if that is a thing. Midwife Guerline and I whispered about how to tell her.  My brain was busy trying to tell me maybe I could wait and tell her until after she had a few hours to sleep. 
Moms examine their children, and we knew Lovely would come out of the bathroom to really see her daughter for the first time.We showed Lovely her daughter's gorgeous face and perfect hands, we ooohed and aaahhhed over her. We opened up the blanket and talked about her feet and legs.  Lovely shut down fairly quickly.  The words of reassurance and hope fell on deaf ears, she needed time to integrate what she had just seen.
After we had Lovely and Love moved out of the birth room and settled in her postpartum bed, Lovely's Mother in Law came to me. She motioned that we go outside. Then she asked me how we could hide the baby's legs from visitors. I didn't understand. I began to tell the Mother in Law that the main focus for now was to encourage Lovely to bond with her baby and to begin breastfeeding, with our without her eager willingness we need Lovely to hope for Love. I said, we don't have to hide her legs, she's beautiful.
Midwife Guerline saw that I was not understanding what was being communicated. Guerline explained that Lovely's Mother in Law was concerned people that came to visit the baby would say inconsiderate things and believe the baby had a demon or a curse upon her, but if we hid her legs, they would not see it and therefore would not hurt Lovely's chance of bonding. 
We asked Lovely to let us hope for her until she can hope again. 
Will you please pray that supernatural connection is formed today and that by some miracle we can head directly to the correct people that can help address Love's medical needs in a timely manner. 
I read this last night while we waited on Love to arrive .... 
The deepest darkness is the place where God comes to us.
In the womb, in the night, in the dreaming; when we are lost, when our world has come undone, when we cannot see the next step on the path; in all the darkness that attends our life, whether hopeful darkness or horrendous, God meets us. God’s first priority is not to do away with the dark but to be present to us in it. -Jan RichardsonI pray God comes to Love and Lovely and is present to them now.
Categories: Haitian blogs

I Find It Hard Enough To Just Be Faithful

Nov. 1, 2018 - 8:35 pm
Everything in the grey smaller font print below is what I wrote in 2011 about measuring success. I am reposting it for a specific reason.

This year I have begun to struggle more than ever with the stress of this work we do. Instead of easily remaining mainly hopeful and joyful I have had to fight hard to try to be that way.

I just got back from 16 days away from Haiti. It was a perfect trip and Troy and I truly rested and forgot about work. During our time away I never ever felt a physical desire to drink alcohol.  We had an occasional glass of wine and beers many nights but it was not the slightest bit driven by stress or compulsion.

Today around 4pm I started thinking about having a drink. My desire was not simply because I wanted some down time with Troy. 

For the last year due to stress and some specific situations we are facing I have been medicating my pain, anger, and stress with vodka and wine.  I rarely ever drink one drink only and I went from drinking a couple times a week to almost every single day in 2018. 

I decided about a week ago that I have to do better. I decided not to drink anything for at least two months and re-train my habits of using two Vodka sodas or Moscow Mules to make myself feel less angry and anxious.  I decided to begin November 1, 2018.

Tonight I am staying in my bedroom because the temptation to pour my nightly stress-reliever is too great. 



* ** * ** *In this work we often find ourselves wanting and needing to provide progress reports to the kind and generous souls praying for or financially supporting it.

While we understand and desire that accountability and honesty with anyone investing in us or in Haiti, it can sometimes feel quite discouraging and uncomfortable trying to quantify progress or label success.

We (Troy and I) spend many nights sitting together asking ourselves what is being accomplished. Is it good? Do we believe in it? Do we feel good about it? We never want to get in a rut or get so comfortable with ourselves or our routines that we don't examine both our motivation and our trajectory.  We need to be asking ourselves difficult questions.

We have no desire to take donations from our church, family, and friends to live here if we cannot say at the end of the day that we are walking this path with God, being faithful to Him and doing things we feel honor Him and exhibit His love. Some days are really confusing because the things that happen in the course of a day aren't necessarily quantifiable. Some days we fall into bed asking each other "Is it right? Does this matter? Should we stay? Is God in this?" 

American culture likes numbers, efficiency, and strict time-tables.  You've got to be able to prove yourself with stats and spreadsheets. In the sports world a new coach has just a few years to produce a championship team or he's out of a job. Even the American church wants to count how many butts are in the seats and how many people signed on a dotted line marked "follow Jesus" or how many will commit to come to the quarterly membership class.  In theory those are good things to value. Who doesn't want tangible outcomes? I'm not up for debating the rightness or wrongness of any of that today, I'm only saying that those sorts of western pushes for big numbers drive ministries working in other cultures abroad to produce reports that don't necessarily represent total truth.

Whenever I read reports out of Haiti spewing numbers, I read between the lines and wonder if the numbers are less about actual provable outcomes and more to please a culture that demands numbers. Accountability is good. We want it. More than that, we need it.  The question becomes, how do the expectations of one culture fit into the reality of working in another? 

If we actually believed like Jesus did that touching one hurting person truly matters, that going the extra mile for one lost sheep is worth it, we wouldn't need to spend so much time counting and proving and counting and proving. 

I'm thankful to be able to honestly share the struggles and not fold to that pressure of reporting big fancy numbers. The frustration lies mainly in the self-imposed pressures to chart it and prove it matters. 

Troy can spend entire day(s) with one timid and afraid 20 year old recently diagnosed and already ill with HIV helping to advocate for her medical care.  He can be at ease as one day turns into three while waiting to get her the tests she needs and fighting a broken, inadequate, and unfair medical system - knowing that he is not expected to quantify the outcome of those hours  ....  time with one person isn't usually looked at as success nor is it at all impressive when plotted on a spreadsheet  - but it matters and it's Kingdom work.  

Last night I read this in Gregory Boyle's memoir titled "Tattoos on the Heart" - it jumped off the pages and deeply resonated with me:


  
"People want me to tell them success stories. I understand this. They are the stories you want to tell, after all. So why does my scalp tighten whenever I am asked this?
Twenty years of this work has taught me that God has greater comfort with inverting categories than I do. What is success and what is failure? What is good and what is bad? Setback or progress? Great stock these days, especially in nonprofits (and who can blame them), is placed in evidence-based outcomes. People, funders in particular, want to know if what you do "works".
Are you in the end, successful? Naturally, I find myself heartened by Mother Teresa's take: 'We are not called to be successful, but faithful.' This distinction is helpful for me as I barricade myself against the daily dread of setback. You need protection from the ebb and flow of three steps forward, five steps backward. You trip over disappointment and recalcitrance every day, and it all becomes a muddle. God intends it to be, I think. For once you choose to hang out with folks who carry more burden than they can bear, all bets seem to be off. Salivating for success keeps you from being faithful, keeps you from truly seeing whoever is sitting in front of you. Embracing a strategy and an approach you can believe in is sometimes the best you can do on any given day. If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God's business. I find it hard enough to just be faithful."



Success, I find it hard enough to just be faithful.


* ** * ** *


I feel the same way I did when I wrote this in 2011.  Success cannot be easily measured and some setbacks are actually necessary to correct a ship that is heading off course.  

The only thing that is different is that now I feel more afraid of my anger and grief than I did then.  

I also feel pretty afraid of choosing unhealthy things to help me with stress.  

I hope if you are a praying person or someone with similar struggles that you could toss up a prayer for me to be healthy and take care of this concern now, before I have an even bigger problem.

I would like to be faithful, but I know numbing myself is not the answer to the pressure of it all. 

Categories: Haitian blogs