Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Monley's Homecoming

Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to share a few photos of Monley's reunion with his parents in Port-au-Prince. Don't be fooled by their serious expressions (many Haitians are happy about having photos taken), they have missed him terribly and are just thrilled to have him home and looking so great!

Thank you to everyone who helped Angel Missions Haiti make Monley's surgery a success! We couldn't do it without the generous support of so many wonderful people. Monley's family send their thanks to you all as well!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Suffering and Pain

On top of the recent news that we lost one of our little ones before even being able to get her medical help, last week turned out to be a very long week for Chedner and me. He has not been feeling very well. He is not only teething and having big time digestive problems but now the curve in his spine has gotten worse. You know, sometimes when I look at him, I cannot help but wonder how it is that one small baby can have this many problems and yet be so incredibly sweet natured. It's that "fairness" question that always pops into the mind when faced with these types of circumstances. Anyway, the events of the last week have gotten me thinking alot about pain and suffering in our lives and the lives of others. Even in the most blessed and easy life, there is some amount of pain and sadness. Then, if you look at a country like Haiti, at times it seems that all you see is suffering.

When I was in Haiti awhile back, I met with Chedner's father and told him how his son was doing here in the US. Fabius had a wonderful smile as he watched the video and looked at pictures of how big his only son has grown. He shared with me that Chedner had been shunned at birth by his mother's family due to the obvious physical abnormalities. He was scared for his son to return there as he was concerned that someone might try and harm him because of those differences. Despite the work of the surgeons, Chedner will never look "normal" in some regards. I have heard in Haiti it is common to view these congenital anomolies as a curse or a punishment for something wrong that his parents or family had done. They are not alone in this belief. While this may seem to be a foriegn thought, I think it hits close to home as well. I believe many of us worry that bad things that the pain and suffering in our lives is a result of our past sins. We do worry about "payback" for our sins and I myself have wondered occasionally when the other shoe might drop on some of the doozies I pulled off in my youth. Funny thing is though...I wouldn't ever think for a moment that Chedner's congenital anomolies have anything to do with his parents past behavior. Apparently, I must put my sins in a catagory all by themselves!

Now before you say anything, I know that is not how God works and thankfully a wise pastor helped me see that more clearly this weekend. I had spent too much time last week wondering...Why is there pain and suffering in God's world? Surely, our God of love would not want His children to suffer? Why do so many babies and young children in countries like Haiti and the Sudan die painful deaths while their mothers watch helpless to save them? Why did this small baby in my care have to be born with so many medical problems? Why did he have to be shunned? Why did his mother have to suffer the loss of her firstborn son so that he could travel to the US and undergo so many long & painful procedures over the next few years? Why doesn't our God just go ahead and put an end to the suffering of so many of these little ones?

After studying some passages in Romans 8, it became a bit clearer in my mind. Here's what what I concluded and you can tell me what you think:

I came to understand that in the beginning sin entered the world. It wasn't God's choice, just as it isn't God choosing to bring the suffering. Man introduced sin into paradise and by our natures we continue the trend. God simply acted as any loving father would and reminded us that there are consequences to our actions. He wanted better for us all. He isn't punishing us for the bad things we have done by having bad things happen to us in our lives. Our lives are lived in a fallen world and in that world all manner of misery exists. Pain and suffering are now part of that life. God is hoping that we learn from the mistakes we have made and in the end, hopes that we choose Jesus as our way out.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)

God cries as we cry to watch the pain of life as we know it now. He loves us and would never have chosen this course for his children, but as we did start down this path by ourselves, He will stay by our sides the entire trek. I was reminded that despite all the suffering and pain we have and see in those around us, God loves us and is with us always. He will help us carry on and is ready to take the strain from our shoulders if we give the load to him freely. I was also reminded that our hope is in Christ. And in the end, for those of us holding onto that hope, all will be made new and all the suffering & pain will come to an end.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I'm hoping this week is more peaceful and that I am able to make a plan with Chedner's surgeons that will help improve his quality of life. And I will remember as I work to help the sickest of children in Haiti that God grieves as we grieve for the state of this world. He has an answer in place here to help those who are in pain....the answer is us. God has placed all of us here to help others and to lessen the suffering of the less fortunate. We make can make the positive difference until, in the end, all is made well. When we work for that purpose, we cannot go wrong.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sad News

Dear Angel Missions Family,

Today has been a very hard day. We mentioned last week a little Haitian girl named Kristy who needed care for cancer that was growing in her eye. This little four year old gave a brave fight, but in the end the cancer proved too powerful and help too late. Last Saturday, Kristy died. I am happy she is with our Lord and will not go through any more of the pain she had on this earth. But, I am terribly sad that we were unable to help her and her parents. It is so hard to describe the conditions of living in Haiti. Parents come to us begging for our help. We do all we can but always tell them that it is in God's hands. God brings us the doctors, hospitals and funding to help these children. Angel Missions Haiti is only the vessel through which He does His work.

We have a number of very ill children waiting in Haiti for care. Some of them are in danger of dying before help arrives. Please keep all of these little ones in prayer. If you are interested in helping our Mission, please contact us. We are simply a group of loving Moms and Dads trying to help other families who do not have any where else to turn.

Please join me in praying for the 17 children we have waiting in Haiti and for little Kristy's family.

May God watch over you and your family.

In Christ Love and service,

Friday, March 9, 2007


We wanted to let you all know that we had another little one return home to Haiti this week. Monley was here for cleft lip repair and did wonderfully with his surgery. His father and mother came to see Vanessa and I at St. Joseph's Home while we were there last month for an update. We were able to give them a photo of their little guy just after he his repair was completed. The smiles on their faces were pure joy. We know they were anxious to get their son home this week and we will hopefully have more details and some pictures on the blog of their reunion very soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Birthday for Chedner

Hey All,

Sorry for the lack of posts here this week. I had to have a tooth pulled on Monday and it is causing me some put it mildly. Basically, it has been kicking my behind. I haven't been able to spend much time on the computer, but I will get back on here soon.
We did have a celebration here at the Johnson house this weekend...Chedner turned 1 yr old on Monday. We celebrated with a cake, ice cream and presents. However, you could say that the little guy was less than impressed with all the hoopla! He was okay with the idea of opening presents...but he wasn't terribly enthusiastic about blowing out a candle or eating any of that sticky looking stuff we put in front of him. He did eventually want to taste his cake as long as it came off my plate! Guess he didn't believe it was gonna be any good until he saw Mom eating it??In the end, he did enjoy playing and climbing on his new Learning House. It is very cool and will hopefully help him learn to balance on his feet. Walking is going to be a challenge for Ched. At least this will be fun to learn to cruise around on in the meantime.

We are thinking of his parents back in Haiti on this special day. Sending good thoughts and prayers. We are sure they are missing him.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Desperate Need for Doctors

You know the saying, "when it rains, it pours"? Well, it feels like it is pouring buckets right now. In the past month, Angel Missions has had a huge increase in the number of children referred to our program. We are sad to know that there are so many children in need of care, but we are happy that the word is getting out that Angel Missions will try to help. At this point, the challenge we are facing isn't just the numbers, it is also the severity of the medical problems. Currently, we have 7 children with a variety of medical issues and no medical professionals to help. A few are extremely ill and need care as quickly as we can arrange it. We can feel a clock ticking over our shoulders...

Here's a quick run down on the kids waiting for care and the types of physicans we need:

1. Pediatric Cardiologists/surgeons

Yole Christy - age 2 yrs; VSD and enlarged heart; she is extremely sick right now and needs surgery quickly; we have echo and test results

Fontal Joe Lewis - 1 yr; VSD; we are awaiting test results from Haiti

2. Pediatric Oncologists

Kristy Sauralee Joseph - under age 5; she has cancer in her eyes and is very ill

Boy - under age 5; he has been diagnosed with leukemia; this little guy was abandoned outside the gate of the Children's Medical Missions Haiti; the nun there is anxious for us to find him care quickly

3. Plastic surgeon and neurologist

Darline - age 18 yr; has a quick growing facial tumor in the area of her left cheekbone.

Widelaine - age 14 yr; has neurofibromatoses; it is encroaching on her right eye

Girl - age 7 yr; has large facial tumor and ulcerative tongue; tumor is on the left size of her face and encroaching on oral cavity

4. Pediatric Urologists (see earlier post for specific info on each boy)




If anyone can give us names and contact information for potential surgeons, we will be happy to follow up on them. Often our best means of identifying new medical professionals is with referrals from families who have had experience with these types of problems. We do our best not to ask any of our doctors to accept more than two children per year. We understand how expensive these procedures are and we are thankful when programs are willing to accept any of our children for care.