Bearing Good Fruit: The Miracle of Medical Missions in Haiti
In 2011, Keeley Murphy, then in 9th grade, approached her father Sean with a simple request. She really wanted to go on a mission trip.
Sean wanted to honor his daughter’s request but was reluctant to take much time off from work during his busy summer season. He chose Haiti mainly due to its closeness to the United States – Haiti is 700 miles off the coast of Florida. Sean assumed that the trip would be just one more checkmark on the ‘ways to serve’ list. Neither Keeley or Sean realized how wrong he would be.
“God really broke my heart for the Haitian people on that trip,” Sean says. “The Haitians are a sweet people. They don’t smile much in photos so it can be hard to get that sense if you haven’t been there, but they are. For me, the biggest thing is how they provide daily bread. Christian Haitians completely believe God will provide for their needs. Basic necessities that we take for granted like food and clean water are viewed as blessings by them.”
Haiti is the poorest country in the Caribbean region, with over 75% of its people living in poverty on less than $2 per day. In Haiti, medical care is a privilege, not a right. Most are too poor to be well. According to the Human Capital Index, a child born today in Haiti will grow up to be only 45% as productive as they could be if he or she had enjoyed full health (Charles 2021).
Keeley was inspired to pursue a career in nursing during that 2011 trip, after seeing the desperate need for medical care. In 2018 she graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. By this time, her father Sean had become LifePoint’s country coordinator for Haiti’s global outreach team, working with other leaders from LifePoint Church, John Koller, Amy DiDio, and Jim Rodriguez. Many more Haitian trips had taken place during those seven years, establishing relationships with Haitians including Joidinio Juene, or Joi, and a partnership with Faith and Action Ministries (FAM), a Haitian organization based in the village of Minoterie. Joi serves as the president and founder of FAM, whose primary work is to promote spiritually and physically healthy families and marriages. LifePoint Global Outreach often partners with local organizations in outreach countries as these organizations know best what will serve the needs of the people.
Joi let Sean and John Koller know that a mobile medical clinic for his village was something to pray for. Medical mission trips are a challenge unto themselves, with much to navigate besides typical fundraising. Medical personnel, medications, and equipment is all needed, as well as the means to run a functioning clinic. Not even knowing where to start, the Haiti team began praying for Joi’s request.
Not even 8 weeks later, John’s son happened to have a friend over. As the two spent the warm summer day swimming in the family’s pool, his son’s friend mentioned a connection he had to a group based out of New Jersey called Hands Up for Haiti, a medical humanitarian organization delivering lifesaving health care to people of Northern Haiti. John knew that such a connection had to be God thing, and his assumption was confirmed when he contacted Hands Up for Haiti himself. The group was more than eagar to help LifePoint’s team with their quest, including providing their full list of contacts to help the team get the information that they needed. What could have taken years to plan was accomplished in months, including the acquiring of the pharmaceutical inventory that would be needed for the trip.
In April of 2019, a LifePoint team set out for an seven-day trip to Haiti, with plans to hold a pop-up urgent care clinic for four of the seven days. Now a nurse, Keeley Murphy was one of the medical professionals who accompanied the team, providing a full circle moment for Sean and his daughter. The clinic was a huge success, treating over 500 Haitians for ailments that Americans don’t think twice about getting treatment for. Urinary tract infections, fungal rashes, and blood sugar issues were among things Keeley and the team treated, and they were also able to provide pregnancy testing and prenatal care.
Remembers Keeley: “Mothers would come to clinic bringing five or six children and wait for every last one to be examined, even if they didn’t have pressing issues. The Haitian people were so grateful to have access to good medical care, and we were able to share how grateful we were to God to be there.”
Devising a ticket appointment system, Haitians waited in large open rooms to be seen where volunteers were also able to share the gospel. Nine Haitians accepted Christ on the spot after hearing of God’s love over those four days. But as with most of God’s plans, the miracles did not stop there.
As the pandemic and Haiti’s unstable political climate made traveling to Haiti impossible, there was still a need in Haiti for urgent medical care. In March of this year, LifePoint’s Haitian team received word from Joi that there had been an outbreak of ringworm, a common fungal skin infection, in one of the schools run by FAM. John Koller took this news to his LifePoint small group, and to his amazement, everyone wanted to help. With funding from the group and a few other places, he was able to procure the medication necessary to treat 40 Haitian children in the span of week. The medical mission trip in 2019 planted seeds, and what bloomed is continuing to produce fruit thanks to a God who gives the growth (1 Cor 3:7).
There is a Haitian proverb: Si se Bondye ki voye. Li peya fre ou. Translated this means “If it is God who sends you, He’ll pay your expenses.” The truth of this proverb is a blessing to both the global outreach team here at LifePoint as well as our partners in Haiti.
Charles, Peleg. The World Bank In Haiti. The World Bank. (2021). https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/haiti/overview
The Global Outreach team is excited to be providing GO Bags from each of the countries that LifePoint partners with, containing items that bring a piece of the partnership here to LifePoint. The Haiti/Guatamala GO Bags are currently available for pick up in the church lobby, including a delicious Haitian blend of Furnace Hills coffee. Furnace Hills is donating $5 for every pound of coffee sold. You can shop here.
For more information on the GO Bags click here OR text LPGO to 97000 to have one sent to you!
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