|Dear loved Ones,
As we find ourselves returning to the mission field in a new location, we continue our involvement in the Eye Clinic with regular communication. While there are many roles and leads we play in people’s lives, one thing we have always believed in is the importance of building an individual’s capacity over the time of the relationship. This is not a quick or easy role to play, as it requires the ambitions and choices of the person along with an undetermined amount of time between milestones while not knowing what the end goal will be. Simply put, it is observation, listening, and trust through relationship in order to empower an individual to increase their abilities and skills in their everyday lives and often careers.Dieudonne Almeant (pictured in center) came to the Eye Clinic as a cleaner for the facility. After a period of time we promoted him to watchman when we observed his reliability. As he served in this new role, we encouraged him to finish secondary education and receive his high school diploma. We then sent him to study electricity and he took on a maintenance role. Our need for a trusted and capable driver was met when he also completed driving school. Currently, he provides facility maintenance, is the driver of the mobile clinic, and is one of the three people which oversees and manages the daily finances for the Eye Clinic.
During Dieudonne’s time as watchman, his family moved to joined him in his living quarters at the Eye Clinic. His wife, Gachenette (pictured left) started volunteering, by her own initiative, cleaning the facility bathrooms and laundering the operating room linens. We made the decision to hire her as a greeter where she interacted and gave direction to patients around the Clinic. Discovering that she also had not received her secondary education diploma, we advised her to finish. Today, she has begun to study as a laboratory technician and will become the second lab tech for the Eye Clinic. While she studies, she is helping to do entry eye evaluations and assisting in the operating room.
Louisanne Montieu (pictured right) began at the Clinic as a laboratory technician. Her interest in God’s word lead her to study theology. Presently, she is in her third year of a theology degree and has taken on the responsibility of delivering daily devotions. She provides the Eye Clinic staff with one each day via WhatsApp and she also leads the staff and patients in a daily morning devotion and prayer time before the first patient of the day is seen. As we witness her ministry, we envision her to become the Eye Clinic chaplain.
We have known Adelphie (pictured below) since she was a small child. We first met and knew her mother because she worked next door as a maid when we arrived in Haiti all those years ago. We discovered after some time that she struggled to make ends meet and could not provide school for her children, as is the reality of many families in Haiti. It was easy to see how bright and ready Adelphie was for school. We provided a way for her to attend elementary and high schooling. After graduation, she was considering a three year program for a teaching certification, but we encouraged her to attend UCNH on scholarship for a degree. The first semester she studied agronomy, with further consideration she determined on her own that though it was a good career, she would always need someone else to work with her to be successful. However, as nurse she could work for an establishment or practice on her own from home if her situation changed. She graduated with her bachelor’s of nursing and has been working as a nurse and eye care technician for the Eye Clinic for the past 5 years. Currently, we have arranged for Adelphie to be with IM colleagues, Brian & Lynette Smith in the DR where they have arranged continued education. Her current program focuses specifically on eye care and after several months she will be equipped to diagnosis and treat common eye conditions. She will continue to act as the doctor’s assistant in the operating room, now as a surgical nurse. Newly, she will act as a care provider (similar to a nurse practitioner in the States) at the Eye Clinic day to day, reserving the severe cases, rare conditions, and surgeries for the doctor who has limited time to see patients each day. This will allow the Eye Clinic to see and treat many more patients daily; while, extending better quality care in mobile clinics.
It has taken years to bring the Eye Clinic staff to this point where they function as a team, where they work together, trust one another, hold each other accountable, and discuss problem solving on their own. With our inability to be in Haiti for such a long period of time, we couldn’t be more pleased with the way this group of individuals have come together to continue to serve the poorest of the poor through eye care and to shine the light of the Gospel with their neighbors by the commitment to their work.
Thank you for your prayers, love and support to our ministries,
Yours in the Dominican Republic,
Nzunga & Kihomi
This Journal is a small glimpse of Nzunga’s and Kihomi’s work over the years. The lives they have touched is huge despite being in a country where it is hard to be optimistic.
Ii apologize I can not get the last picture upright.
|On earth as it is in heaven
International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation.