A medical emergency with a name
Saintela Toussaint was a woman from a small village near Malasi who came to a Mission: Haiti 2012 medical clinic to be examined by Dr. Steve Quakenbush of Cańon City, CO, USA. She had a small tumor in her mouth. We had seen growths like this before. In 2011, we were introduced to Carmen, who had a tumor the size of a grapefruit growing out of her mouth, making eating impossible. We evacuated Carmen to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where the obstructive oral tumor was removed and her life saved.
Not wanting to see a repeat of Carmen’s story we made note of Saintela’s condition. Then, sadly, other medical emergencies and natural and manmade disasters occurred, as often is the case in Haiti. Saintela was not forgotten, but was unfortunately made to wait.
In early February, during customary updates between missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and me, I asked for any news about Saintela. A message was sent by Pastor Vilcuis of Malasi to Saintela’s village and she came to meet Miguel. He photographed the tumor, which was now larger, and emailed it to me. I shared this with Dr. Steve, who suggested an immediate evaluation of Saintela in Santo Domingo.
Using funds we had received from donors for Saintela in 2012 and additional resources provided by Dr. Steve we began this process on Monday, March 10. Miguel had gone again to Malasi – this time for the fourth anniversary celebration of the church’s construction – and returned to the Dominican Republic with Saintela.
Saintela, above with her husband, when missionary Miguel picked her up to take her to the Dominican Republic for treatment, below.
A battery of tests has ensued with surgery pending. “Her case is different than Carmen’s,” Miguel said on Tuesday, “because Carmen’s tumor was in the center of her mouth. Saintela’s is in the top (the roof of her mouth). That means more days in the hospital and more studies.
“Please present Saintela again to (the One) Who give her life and Who guides the doctors,” Miguel said, asking for prayer support.
There also is a need for more financial support. The costs are exceeding the nearly $1,500 we were blessed to provide to start this process. There are more tests (one for $100 and another for $140), eventually surgery (estimated at $595), the need for blood ($250), plus the expenses of keeping someone in the hospital, paying for their food and also for someone to be with them. Hospitals in the Majority World are not like those in First World nations, where care includes food, bedding, medicine, and the attention of physicians and nurses. The things taken for granted in wealthier countries are uncommon or unknown in the poorer nations.
Climbing For Christ has been blessed to help many individuals who otherwise would have met untimely and painful deaths – from Gilbert, the young man with a broken leg left untreated for 27 days in Gentilhomme in 2007, to Donya, a wife and mother struck by lightning and left untreated for several months in a village near Malasi in 2008, to Carmen and Saintela. This is part of our service to physical needs that goes hand-in-hand with providing for spiritual needs.
James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” We have been called to minister to those in need, to give food and drink, clothe and visit the least of these – because they are Christ with us.
We do this in many ways, including the delivery of $800 worth of bean seeds and fertilizer to farmers at the start of the sowing season this month. We have assisted agriculturally for many years – from seasonal planting to long-term projects such as coffee beans and banana plants.
Seed and fertilizer for farmers.
There also are the ongoing church-building projects and support for schools. Three churches structures have been constructed in Gentilhomme, Malasi and Thoman; a temporary structure is in use in Mare Pitre, and construction soon will resume on the Haitian church in Jimani, DR, where Miguel lives. Additionally, Miguel teaches three monthly seminaries to equip pastors and church leaders. All of this is funded and supported through Climbing For Christ.
The church at Malasi celebrating its fourth anniversary.
The workload and need can seem overwhelming. But ultimately it comes down to helping just one – and then another – all to the glory of the One Who sent us.
Today, that one is a woman named Saintela Toussaint. Please join us in praying for Saintela’s treatment and consider helping us with her medical costs.
To help Saintela, send donations to Climbing For Christ, c/o Mission: Haiti, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE and give online via PayPal.