- News & Events
In November 2010, 60 people from Rolling Hills Christian Church went to St. Louis du Nord in Northwest region of Haiti to serve the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Team members performed numerous minor surgeries, assisted in delivering babies, performed dental check –ups on local Haitians, installed the only basketball hoops in the region and cared for orphans, special needs children and residents of an elderly care facility. God placed the team in Haiti as the Cholera outbreak was hitting the northwest region giving the doctors, paramedics and nurses around the clock work. It is estimated that 500 patients were seen and treated for Cholera in the 5 days the Rolling Hills team manned the clinic. Lives were saved and changed forever in the name of Jesus Christ
Tues 11/2 2:20pm
Our team is settling in on our flight from Sacramento to Dallas! We had an extra hour delay at SMF. The delay helped with the lengthy check in process for our 61 team members and our 122 checked bags. We started check-in at 9:30am and didn't finish until 12:45pm! We estimate over 4 tons in baggage from our team alone! We are due to arrive in Dallas at 6:47pm local time. Our connecting flight to Miami is set to depart at 7:10pm. 50 members of our team will have to rush over to the gate to catch our plane on time! The other 11 team members don't depart Dallas until 7:50pm. - NS
Wed 11/3 1:05am
Most of our team is settled into their rooms at the Red Roof Inn in Miami. We have about 3hours here before we have to be in the lobby for our shuttle back to Miami International at 4:00am. So far it's already been the typical mission trip experience of hurry up and then wait. Our team has had great attitudes and has been very flexible when changes were thrown at them. We're excited to start working and finally get to our destination of Haiti! - NS
Wed 11/3 8:05pm
Our entire team is settled in at North West's compound in St. Lous du Nord. The past 36 or so hours have been a complete whirlwind for most of us. Last night at the hotel the majority or our team got under an hour of sleep, and then we were back at the airport by 4:30am.
We had some trouble with baggage on our flight from Dallas and Miami. Luckily everything showed up like it was supposed to when we landed in Haiti.
On our flight from Miami to Port-Au-Prince we flew over the entire island and as we landed we got an aerial view of the tent cities that were created after the earthquake. It really made all the images we've seen on TV real. After landing we all went through immigration, picked up all our baggage, then jumped on a truck to meet up with our chartered plane to Port Du Paix. As we waited for our 19-passenger planes to be ready at a very small air terminal we saw Sean Penn, who to our surprise lives in Haiti several months out of the year. Several team members attempted to get their photo taken with him.
The flight in our charted planes was a huge test of faith for many members of our team. We had heard rumors of the gravel runway before we arrived in Haiti, and to no disappointment we landed, or gently crashed, after about 45 minutes of flight. We were greated by a local band, that entertained us and made many of us laugh.
Half of our team was able to head to the compound by bus, and the other half was still stuck in the airport in Port-Au-Price waiting for the planes to return and pick them up. The bus ride to NWHCM's compound was a very eye opening experience for many of our team. Few had seen the poverty that is commonplace here in Haiti. The bus had the right-of-way, and to the shock of many of it's passengers narrowly missed clipping several mopeds, trucks, cars and pedestrians.
The first half of the team arrived at the compound around 1pm. We were given a tour, had lunch and were able to rest before dinner. The second half of our team arrived a few hours later. We had dinner together, worshipped together, and then were led in a devotional by the director of the mission.
We're currently waiting for our baggage to show up, which was trucked up from Port-Au-Prince. After 30+ hours of travel, our team is exhausted, yet super excited to start doing God's work. - NS
Our team is spread out around the common areas here at the mission. We've been fed, got a good nights sleep, worked a full day, and are ready for the challenges the next day will bring.This morning we woke up to blue skies and at 6:30am we were all already sweating. After breakfast the team broke up and we got to work.
Since the cholera outbreak started here in Haiti, the mission has been taking in cases and patients that are presenting with symptoms that could possibly be cholera. There is a separate clinic temporarily set up for all these patients. A part of our medical team has spent hours with these patients, starting IV's and trying their best to get them better. None of the patients have been confirmed to have cholera, this requires a test that is only available at the Port Du Paix Hospital. The staff & our medical team is doing a great job keeping their eyes on the patients and rotating through 24hr shifts.
The majority of our team headed out this morning to the local professional soccer stadium to assist in rebuilding the walls that surround the complex. The goal with the project was to tear down the older, unstable concrete walls, and then replace them with concrete blocks. The team also worked on digging the hole, pouring concrete to build the posts for new basketball hoops. While we were working we were constantly surround by the local kids, who quickly befriended Gianni Gambetta, our sole Jr. High team member. The trip so far has been "a life-changing experience," according to him.
The medical clinic here at the mission opened early and there was already a line of patients waiting to be seen by the Haitian staff and our doctors. Our dentist got to work right away, filling cavities and pulling out teeth. She was assisted by Rene Scurich who has no dental experience and by the end of the day almost got the chance to pull a tooth herself. The surgeons on our team worked on several patients doing minor surgeries removing cysts and various other things. We also worked helping to organize the pharmacy and putting away the medications we brought in.
Some of our women on the trip were in the birthing center and were able to help coach several mother's through labor and were able to be there as they delivered. It was a very cool moment for them, as Taylor Ingram put it, one of our High School students on the trip, "It was a spiritual experience." Our OBGYN performed many sonograms telling the mothers the sex of their child as he checked on the health of the mothers and their unborn babies.
We also spent time at the orphanage on campus, holding babies and giving them much needed attention. Several team members went down to the Gran Moun home, which houses the elderly residents here at the mission. They spent time with them laughing and communicating through hand motions.
As the day came to a close a group went out to help deliver food to the older people in the town who are unable to make it up to the mission for the feeding program. It was a lot of fun walking through town and really being able to experience the culture here in Haiti.
As we get ready to all sleep for the night, we've been told that Tropical Storm Tomas will be upgraded to a Hurricane as it reaches Haiti. We are expecting the rain to start around 2am, and the worst part of the weather should arrive around 2pm local time.
The staff here at the mission isn't concerned, and we are adjusting our plans to fit the new forecast. We look forward to what tomorrow brings, and being able to be the hands and feet of Jesus. - NS
We uploaded some photos to our web gallery. Check them out!
We've been hearing reports from back home that the news is saying the hurricane is awful. As of right now we have no rain, and the wind hasn't picked up. We're all working inside today and are prepared for what ever comes our way. Everyone is ok and doing great! The storm is expected to be the worst around 2pm today.
Be sure to watch CBS13 news at 4pm for a live Skype video chat with our team. It will be 6pm our time and we will have had the worst of the hurricane already past us. Thanks for your continued prayers and support. - NS
Today was a true mission trip experience...hurry up and wait! Our plans for the day were quickly changed due to the rain and the coming hurricane. Due to the weather and the road conditions people were hesitant to be outside so the clinic was slow which gave our doctors and nurses an opportunity to help organize medications and supplies. Although we went off course from our planned activities for the day we were able to accomplish many tasks that will help the mission in the long run. We were able to get the pharmacy and the operating rooms more organized which will make treating people a lot easier after we are gone.
Our surgeons were able to perform a couple surgeries with the assistance of Jan Coffrini and Carie Simms. After one of the surgeries, the patient asked for a Bible which we were able to provide and she praised God, offering up a powerful prayer in Creole. Several team members were able to comfort mothers in the birthing center and witness the births of two healthy baby girls.
We had several team members working on construction projects around the mission, repairing and making improvements to things for the full time missionaries here. Our dentist, Shellie Edwards, was also able to do some dental check-ups and fill cavities for our Haitian translators and the NWHCM staff.
The elderly residents now have painted finger nails and toe nails and loved blowing bubbles! The babies were held and loved all day and we can tell already some of our team will have a difficult time leaving the babies behind.
Our doctors and nurses are still working tirelessly in the portion of the clinic set up for more severe suspected cholera cases. Praise be to God, one of the little kids from yesterday was able to go home today and another is making great improvements.
Please join us in praying for one of the little boys who is still really sick and needing a miracle to make improvements.
Depending on the rain and the conditions of the terrain, we are hoping to continue construction on the soccer complex and possibly hold a VBS day at the church across the street.
We are grateful for all the prayers. Hurricane Tomas passed us with little disturbance. We've had quite a bit of rain and some wind tonight but we are doing great at the mission. Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti who are in tents or have no home at all. Most of the homes around here are dirt floors so when the rain comes their floors are literally washed away. There are several homes on a hill behind the mission and when it rains the moms stay up all night holding their children because the floor washes away under them.
God is faithful and we are so glad to be here serving these people. - HS
When you think of Haiti it is easy to get caught up in the suffering and pain we see. Whether that is through NBC, CNN, or for the team, our own eyes. Our doctors and nurses, paramedics and non-medical assistants saw their fare share of that suffering today.
NWHCM is currently housing the only Cholera clinic in the North Western region of Haiti. The local radio station has directed everyone in the area with symptoms similar to Cholera to seek treatment at the clinic. Needless to say, they were busy working all day. The day started out hectic and frustrating for some team members. As the day progressed the organization of the clinic improved and we were seeing improvement in our patients. The medical team was greatly assisted by non-medical team members in patient care, cleaning and running supplies.
Since the number of Cholera patients is expected to increase rapidly, our team assisted in setting up a portable Army Tent across the street in the church yard. This will be used when needed to house more patients. Our team did a great job in assisting the assembly of the tent.
After completing the construction of the tent, a portion of our team headed back to the soccer field to continue work on the wall. They were able to get a lot of work done, while being rained on heavily, and entertaining the local kids.
Back at the compound we had a medical team working in surgery, performing several procedures, with the assistance of Danielle Mooshagian, Anne Sacco, and Lori Cunningham.
A few of our team members unfortunately fell ill last night and into today. We have one of our nurses with them, and are treating them with antibiotics and liquids. 3 people have gotten over the bug and it took about 24hrs. We are seeing improvement and are praying for their speeding recovery. As a confirmation, NONE OF OUR TEAM IS SUSPECTED OF HAVING CHOLERA.
As we met as a team tonight, John Richards told a story that was very heart warming to hear. When the team from the soccer field was heading back to the compound after a long day of work, they walked past a home that was in danger of being completely flooded with water. They assisted the lady who owned the home by digging a trench around her house, directing the water away from her front door. After they finished a neighbor flagged them down and asked for similar help. It was great to talk about the impact this small task will have for the families we were able to help.
Looking back on the trip so far there have been many memorable moments. These moments have at times been full of witnessing great pain and suffering. As I reflect on all of these I have to remind myself of all the good things we have seen. This evening standing outside the Cholera clinic, getting a break from the sickness, smell, and hardship, I witnessed something that served as just that type of moment. As I stood there, I saw a wedding party, complete with tuxedos, bridesmaids, flower girls, groom, and a bride in her white dress, walk up a dirty muddy path right in front of the clinic. They looked happy and excited for their new life together. The bride was assisted into the front seat of a beat up SUV, complete with a Florida license plate. As she dodged mud puddles, that had the potential to ruin her beautiful dress, the team member realized that even after a hurricane, a devastating earthquake, all of this pain and suffering - life goes on. Good things are happening in Haiti.
To sum up the day, God is good. God is visible, even in the worst of times, here in St. Louis Du Nord, Haiti. - NS
We were able to sleep in a little bit this morning which was much needed especially for some of our medical team that has spent many hours in the cholera clinic. After breakfast we headed across the street from the mission for a two and a half hour church service in Creole. Our team was surrounded by Haitians praising God in Creole. Our team was taken aback by the joy the people here have in the midst of such extreme poverty, sickness and sadness.
Our team has been taking care of a 12 year old boy, Jude, who has been in the "ICU" portion of the clinic. He struggled through the night but with the care of our team he pulled through. This morning he was still struggling so our team pulled together their minds and resources and minutes after a staff member posted on facebook that we needed help the UN contacted us. They sent a helicopter to fly Jude to a hospital in Port-Au-Prince and we just received word that he arrived safely. The UN has also decided to send a team of doctors and supplies to take over the cholera clinic after we leave. Doctors without Borders is also sending thirty doctors as NWHCM is the only Cholera treatment center in this region. Praise God for the resources and attention this area will receive after we leave. We were starting to worry about what the clinic would look like after we leave because they have been manning the clinic day and night. We are grateful that God is so faithful and knows the plans ahead of time. Prayers are truly being answered.
We enjoyed skyping with our church services this morning and we were encouraged by the excitement and support we heard.
A portion of our team will be heading to Port-Au-Prince tomorrow afternoon because our team is too large to get everyone to Port-Au-Prince on Tuesday morning in time for our flight. Please continue to pray for safe travels and for the health of the team.
We are savoring our final moments here and look forward to getting home to tell you all the stories! - HS
One of the things I love about missions are the stories that the people come home with. This trip has been full of countless amazing stories. What has been great about this trip has been the different skills and gifts God has blessed the team members with. Because of this diversity, the stories they tell will all be different and equally important. My job this trip has been to photograph and document these experiences and stories that the team will come home with. I cannot wait to hear theses stories told throughout the Church, and the community.
As we wrapped up the trip today we were able to finish putting together the only basketball court in the North West region of Haiti. We had team members playing 3 on 3 with some of the Haitians, our team lost, and suffered a sprained ankle, they played hard.
19 team members left camp at 1pm and headed for the airport to make the trip back to Port-Au-Prince. We have a 10am flight tomorrow and in order to get all our team there on time, we had to split up. They made it there safely and are settled into a hotel.
The rest of the team has to get on the bus to the small airport at 4am tomorrow morning. By this point we're good at operating on little sleep.
All throughout today teams arrived here at the Mission to take over and replace us at the Cholera Clinic. As of right now, Open Arms, Medical Teams International, Medical Material Management Resources Corp. all have teams here. Dr.'s Without Borders is en route, and more supplies and materials are on there way. This is a huge answered prayer.
Jude, the little Haitian boy we had medivaced is alive and stable at a hospital run by the University of Miami in Port-Au-Prince. He is currently on a ventilator. The hospital there has the only ICU in all of Haiti.
As our team walked throughout the community we noticed no damage from Hurricane Tomas. That is another serious answer to prayer. There are reports of damage in other areas, but none where we are.
Our team is excited to get home and see their families, but most of all, to share all that they have experienced. As we head home we would like to ask for prayer for safe travel, for the people we have met and are leaving behind here at the mission, and for the people of Haiti. - NS