Mission accomplished

Team of 23 returns from mission trip to Haiti

By Michelle Watson
    Lives were changed, lives were saved and a difference was made.
    A team of 23 returned Wednesday, Nov. 9, after a week long mission trip to Carrefour, Haiti.  The group, sponsored by Zion Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, spent the week working in medical and dental clinics, helping to rebuild a sister church, conducting children’s ministry, working in an orphanage and leading a worship service.

    Mark Holck was hit right away by the immense poverty of the Haitian people.  “On the bus ride from the airport to our house the sights and sounds were more than I expected.  There is no garbage system so there are pigs, goats and chickens everywhere eating what they can.  I remember someone in our group saying ‘where is God here?’  But by the end of the trip I realized that God is more evident there than He is here.”
    Haiti is truly a country in need.  After being devastated by an earthquake in January 2010, the already impoverished country faced many more obstacles.  The Zion group found many ways to help the country and make a difference in people’s lives.
    “I was incredibly impressed with the attitudes of this team,” said Tom Thul, director of global missions at Zion.  “The entire team did a remarkable job of going where they were needed and doing what needed to be done.  They all had servant’s hearts in living conditions and circumstances that can make that very hard.”
    “I was most impressed by the compassion of our whole group,” said Ben Schmitt.  “We all worked together as a team and even though we had no set plans, everything came together.”
    A dental and medical clinic organized by the group was very popular with the Haitian people.  Thul estimated that the group saw 300-350 people.  The medical team consisted of Tom Bieber, a dentist; Rachel Byrnes, a dental hygienist; Nicolle Amos, a nurse practitioner and three registered nurses, Judy Neuberger, Linda Thompson and Megan Watson.  Bieber and Byrnes, along with other team members who were taught simple dental practices, pulled teeth and provided cleanings and fluoride treatments.  The medical clinic saw all sorts of ailments, from general pain, to rashes, to infections and heartburn.
    “We saw a lot of patients,” said Byrnes.  “One morning Tom pulled 60 teeth.  Dental care was very needed there.  After visiting the orphanage one day and providing fluoride treatments, I noticed that five children had infections and needed dental care.  Tom was able to go to the orphanage and take care of those children.”
    Treating that many people required a team effort with many members stepping out of their comfort zones to lend a hand with everything from crowd control, to - Read More Via e-Edition

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