Thursday, January 28, 2010

Magalie at Home and Plans for the Future

Princess Magalie taking care of business.

At Jerebek's Bakery this morning.

Getting ready to go out. It was 1 degree this morning.

Helping Grandpa finish off the banana pudding (made with Haitian vanilla)

Checking the photo wall, looking for Roberta.
I have applied for an extension of Magalie's visa because of a follow-up surgery, now scheduled for February 17. It is a 20 minute outpatient surgery, but they want to see how it worked as much as eight weeks later. The surgery is to correct the muscle in her right eye to line up the eyes to point in the same direction. There is a small chance that she will have to have another small surgery after that. Right now her flight to Haiti with Charlene is scheduled for April 16. So we get to enjoy her company a little longer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Pictures From Magalie's Birthday Parties

I lost count of all the celebrations of Magalie's 3rd birthday. Here are some more pictures:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please Pray for Those Transporting Supplies

As you pray for the people of Haiti, please include the safety of Roberta and her kids, and of the MGM crew, as they transport relief supplies across the Dominican border. A truckload of supplies is a high visibility target for looters. And the looters are desperately hungry and thirsty people.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prostitutes, Tax Collectors, and you

What?! You haven't bought a copy of my new book yet? It's less than $10 and only 100 pages, INCLUDING 14 pages of appendices. It has some fun stories and a discussion guide with some fascinating questions. And it is based on a premise that will change the way you look at church leadership. Click here to get it from Amazon.

Magalie's Birthday!

Happy third birthday to Princess Magalie Toussaint! She's had two parties already and another is planned for today. The first was a party for six birthdays in our family in January (including hers). The second was Sunday morning between the worship service and class. This morning she and Charlene started opening the ton of BD cards she got from people in Texas and now they are off to ladies class at Woodbury. We are planning a Chinese buffett dinner this evening followed by the singing at the vets' home.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Update on Roberta

Roberta has made a successful run to the Dominican Republic for supplies. Manna Global Ministries (MGM) has provided the supplies and transported them to the border. MGM has a crew of looooong time Haiti missionaries, including some of the people we met the first time we went there almost 20 years ago.

This relief effort will be a "long haul." Some folks will stick it out and others will fade away as soon as there is another crisis somewhere in the world. Haiti needs some big picture problem solvers who will challenge Haiti's assumptions about itself and the world's assumptions about Haiti.

I like David Brooks' take on it from this morning's NY Times:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Forget Haiti

Several have commented that what Haiti needs now is food, water, medical and building supplies. But ironically, that is what Haiti needed all along. It was just that people were not noticing. This Tom Toles political cartoon comes to us from the Washington Post and is right on target.
What Haiti also needs are hope, education, good health care, farm to market roads, a stable government, and a place in the world market. The challenge for all of us will be to keep Haiti on the radar when the next disaster strikes somewhere else and the world's relief organizations rush off to help out there. Haiti needs people to love her. She needs people who will respect her citizens, and who will work to assure that they have a voice
in their own government and in the affairs of the world market. Let's don't forget Haiti when the excitement is over.

Update on Roberta

We have heard that the US Marines have taken over the airport in Port au Prince and some planes are flying. US embassy says US citizens can get out now. Ironically our citizen is trying to get in. As of this morning Roberta is in Tampa, still planning to fly in on Missionary Flights International. Lynn and Cynthia Parker have bought her some meat to take in with her.

No direct word on Marie Rose, Magalie's mom, but we figure she's okay. She was supposed to be at Roberta's house and everyone there except for Nicky is okay. If she were not there, she lives far enough away to not be affected by the quake. Still no phone service.

Magalie's neurosurgeon himself called here last night to check on her and her mom. Those people at Mayo are amazing!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More on getting into Port au Prince

American Airlines is not flying into Port au Prince. The tarmac is said to be loaded with aircraft and there is no fuel at the airport to refuel them to get them out. Roberta is in Miami. So far her flight on a smaller airline has not been cancelled. Plan B is to catch a train to West Palm and a ride from there to Ft. Pierce to get the Missionary Flights International flight into Port au Prince.

Brian Wallace's crew grew to nine people. They have safely arrived and are setting up operations at Mission of Hope. Brad Gautney, a nurse, is already at work in the clinic.


Roberta is headed back home to Haiti. The airport is open again. She will arrive in Miami tonight and back in Port au Prince tomorrow. We have not heard anything from Thomas at the children's home since that first message.

The Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee, will be coordinating some relief efforts through churches in the area. Since they are a volunteer organization, any money contributed will go entirely for relief. They will wait for Roberta's assessment of the needs before making purchases, but anticipate medical supplies, food and water, and building materials. They have a man on the way there now.

Contributions can be made to:
Estes Church of Christ
Attn: Richard Taylor
464 Crook Avenue
Henderson TN 38340

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Update

Heard from Thomas this morning. One boy, Nicky, died in the quake. He was new to the house within the last month. The barrier wall fell on him. They are burying him this morning behind the house. Everyone else is okay.

Everything fell from the walls of the house with the initial quake. The kids moved outside (per the drill Roberta had with them earlier). Thomas said the earth shook every 40 minutes.

Don't know about the structure of the house yet.

Meanwhile, Magalie is doing great! No meds last night. We were planning a celebratory trip to the coffee shop this morning, but that will have to wait now.


We don't know much about the effects of the earthquake on Roberta's place or her kids. She is not there right now, left the kids in Thomas' charge. Can't get through to Thomas.

We are hopeful because the center of the quake was in a different direction from downtown than Roberta's house. The US Embassy was unharmed and it is in the same general direction as Roberta's place.

We have three friends on the way there from Florida by way of the Dominican Republic. Will try to keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Minnesota based organization that ships food packets all over the world to hungry people. They purchase the basic ingredients for the packets, then invite volunteers in to make the packets. The organization is amazing. They take a group of strangers of all ages, give them a quick briefing and quickly have them making packets like mad. Each session is an hour and a half from the greeting to the prayer over the finished product.

Last night the Eagan church went for our quarterly session there. Here are a few pix:


Another Good Night for Magalie!

Magalie had an even better night last night. Awoke only for her medication. She is bright and alert this morning, sharing Charlene's cappaccino. We will start trying to wean her from the pain meds today.

She was the only person at Feed My Starving Children last night who had been on the receiving end of the supply chain.
She was an instant celebrity.
For more on FMSC, see the next entry.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Magalie is doing great!

Magalie had a good night last night and a great day today. We all went to make food packets at Feed My Starving Children tonight. Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Magalie Friday January 8

We went to Rochester this morning to see the docs. They said she is doing okay and changed her meds. She has been alert and playful all afternoon. The outside temp was -1, a full 20 degrees warmer that the -20 it was Sunday when we went down. We are hopeful the worst is over. Please keep us in your prayers. Here is a picture of the road to Rochester this time of year, and one of Magalie back at the house this afternoon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Please Accept My Apologies

Mia Culpa! It has been almost a week since I updated the site. Magalie is recovering steadily but very slowly. We've actually been back in the hospital since my last report and I just got overwhelmed. I was in church last night for the first time in almost a month. Charlene hasn't been yet.

We came home Friday. Saturday was okay; we had a big gathering at the house - family game day, about 15 people altogether. Diane did the cooking for two meals. Charlene mostly cared for Magalie. Saturday night was rough. Magalie didn't sleep well. Sunday morning she could not be consoled. We called the neurologists and together decided to take her back to Mayo on the theory that her spinal fluid might be building up. We checked into the ER and they admitted her.

Monday she was released again on the theory that the spinal pressure issue will resolve itself. They said it was not uncommon for a patient to take this long and longer to recover from the kind of surgery she has had. She has periods of feeling good - playing and singing and dancing. And times of feeling really bad - needing to be held. Sometimes she eats very well and other times she won't eat or drink anything. Each day is a little better than the one before, but very the progress is very slow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Magalie Is Back At Our House

We got out this morning, just before lunch, and stopped to eat at a pizza joint in Rochester. The other picture is of our friend, Dr. Henry, the infectous disease doc. Our next appointment is a week from today - follow-ups.

Medically what we think is going on is that her system learned to produce enough CSF (cerebral-spinal fluid) for the protrusion between her eyes in addition to the normal amounts needed. When they removed the protrusion, the system kept producing the extra fluid. The docs were most afraid that the excess would come out of her nose and create a permanent path, so they put a temporary drain in her lower back. When they took it out, the pressure built up again and in a couple of days she went into crisis. They let off the pressure and waited. She got better right away. Right now they are hoping the system has adjusted the volume of the fluid. If the pressure builds up again, we will have to go back in to reinstall a drain. For an American child they might put in a "stent", a permanent drain that drains into the abdomen. But too many things can go wrong with a stent to think about sending a child with one back the mountains of Haiti. We think we are in a good place now, because it has been three days and she is doing great. We will keep you posted.