Doug's Report From Haiti

  • June 30, 2011
  • #7609

The President of Joni and Friends, Doug Mazza, shares how Joni and Friends is reaching people affected by disability in Haiti.

It’s been 18 months since the Haiti earthquake, and it’s still hard.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and not long ago our Wheels for the World team was in Port au Prince serving among children and adults with disabilities in desperate need. Our president of Joni and Friends, Doug Mazza, was helping to lead the team. We kept waiting back here in the states to hear word of how things were going in Haiti, and finally they got a good internet connection and Doug was able to send off an email. Listen to what he wrote me; he said, “Joni, since we arrived, a couple of days ago, nearly 400 children have died of malnutrition. And that doesn't count cholera, infection and other disease.” (Man, I just had to stop right there and let that horrible fact sink in. Four hundred children perishing in just a matter of days, all for lack of food… an incredible fact when you consider that billions of dollars have been donated and pledged through relief organizations, right?!). 

Anyway, Doug was especially disturbed by the desperate situation of disabled children in Haiti, especially because he’s the father of a son with multiple disabilities. He wrote, “Joni, it makes me think how blessed my disabled son, Ryan, is back in the States. But here in Haiti, there are no residential facilities like Ryan lives in; no regional centers run by the county. Just an incredible will to survive.” Doug went on to describe our first day of wheelchair distribution. He said, “Yesterday a little boy came with his parents, a handsome Creole couple. Their son had been hit by a truck and had broken both legs. One leg was broken in three places. The hospital didn't have enough plaster to make two casts. So the right leg was cast up to the hip; the other... was just bandaged with gauze. The family was told to come back to the hospital after the leg healed – if by then there was still no material to cast the bandaged leg, the doctor would carefully remove the existing cast and re-use the plaster for the other leg. If that happens, it will be too late. That little boy will end up on the bottom rung of the ladder, living his life among the country's lame and crippled. Our Wheels for the World team was able to give him a beautiful, great-fitting wheelchair and a Bible in Creole. The whole family then had a chance to hear about the hope of Christ. It made me think… are we doing enough? And the answer? We’re doing the best we can with the resources God has given us. And so, (Doug ended his email) Joni, that’s the way it went all day long. Jesus said in Luke 14:21, 24 "Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor the lame and the blind." Then he said, "Go into the roads and country lanes and make them come in so that my house will be full." We can't fix Haiti in two weeks, but please tell our friends to keep praying; because as they do, we can fill God’s house... one wheelchair, one little disabled child at a time.”

That’s how Doug closed out his email – and it’s why I share it with you today. Would you please pray as we help the disabled in Haiti? We have a team of physical therapists heading to Haiti soon to do training in hospitals, and then we have another Wheels for the World team getting ready to head back to Haiti next month loaded down with wheelchairs and Bibles in Creole. Later in the summer, we will be doing training in a Bible college in Haiti, helping pastors to learn how to go out into the streets and alleys and find the disabled and bring them in. Prayer is needed, friend; please pray that we can get our supplies in and pray that hearts will be open to the Gospel! And if you’d like to join us, then be sure to visit and get involved. It’s the Luke 14 thing to do!

Until next time, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and you are listening to Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends

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