Monday, March 30, 2009

Article In The Zanesville Times Recorder

They call me 'Mama V'
Former area resident making an impact with nonprofit organization
By LORI LAW • Correspondent • February 15, 2009

In Haiti, where Vanessa Scurlock Carpenter, formerly of Somerset, flies nearly every month to bring children to the United States for lifesaving surgeries, she is called "Mama V."
At her full house in Virginia, which she shares with her husband Tom Carpenter, formerly of Zanesville, and the 11 children still at home, she is usually answering to "Mom." Director of the nonprofit organization, Angel Missions Haiti, Carpenter said that she is only doing what she has been called to do. "I'm just a mom and this is what I do. This is what God has called me to do," she said. For the hundreds of children whose lives have been changed and in many cases, saved, Mama V and the work she does will not be forgotten, just as she will not forget them or leave them to be forgotten. "I was blessed to grow up in Ohio, where there is medical care for those who need it. Haiti has opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how many times we see it on TV or hear these stories, until we have visited and seen with our own eyes, smelled the poverty, held a baby while it passed away due to no medical care, we cannot understand what it is like to live in a third world country," Carpenter said. Angels Mission Haiti coordinates medical care and provides education to children, families and for Haitian physicians, with the hope that someday their efforts are so successful, Carpenter said, as to put the mission out of business. It has been a journey for Carpenter, measured in more than the miles between the U.S. and the island nation of Haiti, but in the faces of the children she has nurtured. "I've always known that I would work with abused, neglected and unwanted children, from a very young age. When I met my husband, I told him that this is what I plan to do with my life," Carpenter said. "If you are OK with that, then stick around. And he stuck around from our first date on. We have fostered well over 160 children in our 28 years of marriage. We have adopted some and been guardians of some and made sure that all of them could always feel like they had a home. "A few years ago, when we felt that we were done adopting out of the foster care system, God had other plans and I went on a mission trip to Haiti and saw the devastation and need down there and couldn't turn my back on it, so I have been going back for the last nine years now doing anything and everything, serving orphanages, starting schools, running medical programs and now we are in the process of opening a surgery center in Port-au-Prince. "The surgery center, Carpenter said, is being built under American standards so that American doctors can go down and teach the Haitian doctors on the equipment that is being made available in Haiti. "We work with doctors around the country. Over the past nine years, I have brought hundreds of children to the United States for life saving surgeries and the doctors have always said to me that if only they had a place there to operate, they could save more than the one or two that their hospital here allows them to help," she said. "God has opened the doors and we will have a surgery center with two operating rooms and a 30-bed recovery center. "Once open they will bring fewer patients to the U.S. for the surgeries. Drawing no salary for her work as director and working in conditions with no electricity, no running water, no sewer systems, and hurricanes, floods and often political unrest, Carpenter said that she has never been afraid in Haiti, calling the people there beautiful, kind, welcoming and grateful . Her mother, Imelda Scurlock of Somerset said that she was worried at first. "But I learned early on when I prayed about it and let go and let God. That was when my worries just went away. I have seen what it means to her and the good that she is doing. She is doing what she has been called to do," Scurlock said. That family partnership in the mission's work is vital to the work Carpenter does, she said of her husband, Tom. "He's a saint. He puts up with me. We both wholeheartedly believe in this. He has been to Haiti and seen the need and his way of helping is to be here, taking care of the family and earning money so that we can go to Haiti and help some more," she said. "Haiti will follow us wherever we go," Tom Carpenter said. "I am incredibly fortunate. Life has just continued to be blessings all along. It is not about what we are doing. It is about us doing God's work. It is about the kids. This is just what we were supposed to be doing."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baby Grace

For all of you who remember Baby Grace.... Here is her update. Baby Grace is now doing great, and she has chubby cheeks that you just want to kiss. I was so excited to get to see her in March. She is doing so well, and has a new forever family who will be keeping her name I am told. Baby Grace was on the blog in August. A woman found her in the trash pile and brough her to us. She was covered with bites from fire aunts and had to be hospitalized for over a month to get well. After her release from the hospital she went to live with some missionary friends of ours, and now she has a forever family. Her parents, Judy & Geoff, and her older siblings look forward to helping her grow up and have a wonderful life. Please continue to pray for all the children in Haiti

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Fresh Start

Hi to all and thank you for your love and support of Angel Missions. I am Vanessa or ""Moma V". I prefer to stay behind the sceens and just work. But it has been brought to my attention over and over that people want to hear from me since I am the one in Haiti each month. So I am going to give it a try. God continues to open many doors for us in Haiti. At the present time we are doing the medical visas for children. And working with many different NGO's and other missionaries to get both children and adults life saving surgery. For years I have had the doctors here in the US tell me, "Vanessa if we only had a place to operate in Haiti we could save so many more childrens lives". Well in September God brought Pastor Roro and I together. We discussed our work in Haiti and he offered me use of a building he had just completed. We are now working on the finial touches of a Pedatric Surgery Center in Port au Prince. The building is Good Samaratin Clinic home to Little Angels Surgery Center. When finished our goals are to rotate teams of doctors to do surgeries in Haiti so that the children will not have to leave their parents. While doing this we have partnered with two Haitian surgeons who will be learning new life saving techinques. These operations are either not avaliable in Haiti or the cost is so high the average person cannot afford the medical care. Our Goal is to set up a facility that is run and mantained by Haitian Doctors and staff, with us only visiting and offering assistance when needed.
Our new goals with the blog are the following:

  1. Give you updates on the children who have received care, and those in the U.S. at the present time.
  2. We also hope to focus on one or two children a week who are in need of medical care in hopes that a hospital and doctor will come forward and volunteer their services.
  3. Keep you informed on the progress of the surgery center.
This is our new start. If you have questions or comments please email me directly at I look forward to hearing from you.

Vanessa A. Carpenter
Angel Missions Haiti - Director

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to give you an update on baby Samuel. He arrived late Thursday night in Roanoke after an amazing week. Vanessa met him at the airport and took him directly to the hospital where they have taken great care of him. We have been so humbled by the outpouring of support for this baby. Folks have donated money and time and together we were able to not only get his visa within two days, but had him out of the country and on his way by Friday...three days ahead of the schedule we had set. American Airlines stepped forward to arrange for an emergency transportion escort for Samuel that was much less expensive for Angel Missions than us paying for a last minute ticket!! A couple of remarkable airline employees (from two different airlines) volunteered to sheperd the baby from Port au Prince to Roanoke, a feat which we have not ever been able to arrange before now. Little Sam has many friends! The baby made the trip well, but the fragile sac on his spine sprung another leak during travel and the doctor was unable to do the surgery on Friday. Dr. Apfel did not want to take a chance that the baby had any infection as operating with this type of complication would be a death sentence for him. So, he has spent the weekend under the watchful eyes of the nurses and his host mom. He is quite small (only 4 1/2 pounds) but he's showing himself to be very resilent. He rarely cries and seems comfortable. We are hoping that he will be able to have the surgery on Monday or Tuesday of this week.
Samuel and his family still need our prayers. The baby will be here for some time and will need at least two surgeries. His family in Haiti did a remarkable job with him and his mom continued to nurse him as he remained in a hospital in PAP waiting to leave. Please pray for them that they have some peace that all that we are doing all we can for their little boy. Also, please say some prayers for the baby, his dedicated host mom and the wonderful doctos and nurses who are volunteering their time and skills to give this little guy a chance at a healthy life. We want to say thank you to everyone who has been giving us support as we worked to get the baby to the US and to those who generously donated their time and funding to meet with the costs of the trip. Without you all, our mission would not be a success!
Fran & Vanessa
Angel Missions Haiti