b Cheri LeBlanc, MD: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

Our partners

We need to give much thanks to the people and organizations who have helped us to aquire and run the mobile clinic. Of course, it would not be possible without God and His provision. I thank these people for allowing God to work through them to provide for us, so that we can do what God has called us to do.

Healing Place Church owns and maintains the mobile unit. Healing Hands is a ministry under the authority of Pastor Johnny Green and Pastor Dino Rizzo. Their guidance is incredible for Joe and myself.

PRC Compassion, which is an organization of related churches who responded to the Katrina and Rita disasters. I am blessed to have been working with them since the day after Katrina hit. What began as a mobile clinic in the back of my car, progressed to a rented RV, and eventually to the Mobile Clinic we now have. PRC is still very active in the recovery process.

Northwest Medical Teams were such a great help to us even in the first week of the disaster. They provided us with rented vans to send medical teams to the church shelters and then to the relief centers. They also provided us with many medications. When I approached them with the vision of a mobile clinic, they were very generous in making a financial donation.

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California (near San Francisco). This awesome church has an incredible missions team who partnered with other churches in their area to send 4 medical missions teams to the Katrina disaster area. We were blessed to be able to act as their hosts while here. These 40 people worked tirelessly to help our people. As God-relationships form, and continue to blossom, they also saw the vision of a mobile clinic. Many of these churches made financial contributions to see this work of God continue. Another awesome church involved is the Saratogo Federated Church in Saratogo, California.

Seacoast Church in South Carolina has also made a financial donation. They are wanting to send a medical mission team to help us in our outreaches. We hope to have them here in August.

Joyce Meyer Ministries is a supporter as well. (Maybe one day I'll get to meet her!)

We have also had many personal contributors; some from as far away as Kentucky. Only God can make those connections. We received a check from a lady in our church who wants to support what we are doing. I've had patients in my private practice hand me a $20 bill to put toward what God is doing through us. There is no amount that is too small. Remember the lady who gave 2 pennies in the offering who caught the eye of Jesus (Mark 12:41-44) Every person who helps either with their time, talent or funds is a part of the blessing when we touch souls in the name of Jesus.

I try not to focus on what the cost of providing services are. We are very frugal with the use of our funds. Many doctors offices are helping to provide us with sample medications. We have had mechanics donate their time to provide maintance on Ele. We have a member of our church who's business involves emptying water waste, so he empties the mobile clinic waste water at no charge. This is the Lord's outreach, we are blessed to be allowed to help with it. Where God guides, He provides.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hope restored on 6/27/06

I'm a couple days late posting this. Forgive me. Tuesday June 27th we had the most incredible outreach we have ever had with the mobile clinic. I will post some of my thoughts about the afternoon, and I will hopefully be able to share experiences from some of the other members of our team soon.

We went to a Katrina trailer community in Baton Rouge which we had not been to before. Remember from my last post that the generator on the mobile clinic broke at our clinic last week. It was still in the shop because the correct parts had not yet arrived. After much prayer from our team, our driver was able to pick it up just in time to bring it straight to the park. When we arrived there were already people waiting for us under the trees. It took us a little while to get organized; we only had 10 volunteers (which includes myself).

Many more children at this park. The trailers are on a shell lot, we haven't had much rain lately, so there was thick dust everywhere. At least there is a grass lot next to it that the kids can play on. We were blessed to have great big oak trees to set up under. It was still very hot.

Then the people started to come through, and each had an incredible story. But what was awesome to watch was how they responded to us. Our main objective is not medical care; it is just to reflect the love of Jesus. And this team does this so well. But most of these people have not seen this kind of love. Many are very reserved, especially the men. But that day we were able to soften each of them at least a little, and several of them by alot.

Let me start with the most memorable one for me. This was a man in his 50's who was very "rough" looking and you could hear him wheezing from across the mobile unit. After the nurse had finished vital signs on him, I went in to see him. He said in a very loud voice, "Lady, all I need are some steroid pills so I can breath again and an inhaler if you got it, and I'll be out of your way." Obviously, his prior encounters with medical people had made him feel like he was a bother. So I told him I'd like to get to know him a little before I gave him medications. I started asking him about his medical problems and one of the questions I asked was if he had a nebulizer (breathing machine). This seemed to get him fired up. He said he lost his in the storm and had been given a prescription for one but had no money to buy it. Several others had promised to get him one, but he said, "I've been lost in the red tape and given up hope of getting one." I told him that we had one to give him before he left, and I went on with my next question. He became almost violent and said, "Don't talk like that. I know you can't give me one and I won't have my hopes raised again." I assured him that I was not lying, he would have it before he walked out.

I once again tried to move on. Three more times he interrupted me to ask if I was serious. Each time that he asked his voice became softer and more broken. Each time I reassured him. After the third time he started crying. I've never seen such a quick transformation in someone in the time of less than 5 minutes.

After his exam I walked him to the center of Ele and gave him the solution (medication) for the machine. He sat there and held it like fine china. I went to the storage area to get him a nebulizer and brought it to him. He just held it for a minute and then looked up at me and asked if he could open it. He very carefully broke the seal and dug through the papers to look at it. After a full minute of him rubbing it, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said that this was better than the best thing he could think of in his life. He walked out like he was numb, then started thanking everyone he ran across from our team, showing them the machine.

One of the prayer partners asked to pray with him, and he said he definately wanted to but he didn't want to put the machine down, so he went to his trailer and picked it up. Then he came back to pray with Kevin and David. You could see hope restored in this man. All over a simple machine that cost about $70.

I often have asked myself how many patients do we need to see in a clinic to make this sacrifice of time, money, effort, sweat and tears worthwhile? How many patients to "justify" the cost of the gas, diesel, time to call and arrange for volunteers and all the many things that go into holding a mobile clinic? Today I am asking a different question. How do you put a price on giving hope back to someone who has been let down by the world more times than we can imagine? Jesus gave up His life to give us hope. And He only asks us one thing - to show the world what He has already done. Our sacrifice of a few hours and a few dollars is nothing in comparison.

I will post more to tell of other stories. Because this day we touched more than one in His name.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Going to Plan B

One thing a can say about our outreach clinics, no two are ever the same. We were headed to the Donaldsonville HPC Dream Center which is located in one of the poorest zip codes in the country. We had a very light schedule because we are transitioning this clinic from every 2 weeks to once a month, so we can add on more sites.

Everything started well, arrived on time, set everything up on the inside and outside. Then as we were going inside to pray before starting, the whole unit went dark. The generator died and we had no power (which means no AC!!). This is when you see what your team is made of. We had 5 new patients already waiting to be seen. Thankfully, this is the location we started at, so we had our old electrical closet as a backup. But it was stacked to the ceiling with bags of supplies that were to be given out that weekend. Four of our new patients were men, so we asked them to help us move the stuff (first time we ever needed our patients to work before being seen). While they were doing this, we had our nurses set up in one of the children's rooms.

We quickly had reset everything and all was well. I have the most awesome team in the world. This was a day that we prayed twice before we started. We prayed again in the closet (oops, exam room) before we let a patient in. It was intense. There was not a dry eye as we walked out. We only saw 8 people that day, but I know we made a difference. The most memorable part of the day was the prayer. Our male prayer partners talked and prayed with a man for 45 minutes! That would not have been possible during one of our usual, busier clinics.

It is so comforting to know that God is in control. Today challenged my peace and increased my faith. In the end that is what God wants. It's not our acts of service, it's our relationship and faith in Him. It's easy to say that we are allowing God to direct our life, that we have given Him complete control when things are going well. But when a day like today comes, how will we respond? Will we remember that nothing takes God by surpise? All good things come from God, but He will allow challenges to come to strengthen us and change us if we allow it. So, how do I rate myself with handling today's challenge? I'm much better than I used to be, but very far from where I need to be. I have to believe that that is what God is looking for. Not perfection, but growth.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

St. Francisville Here We Come!

Wow, what an awesome day! My husband, Joe, and I were given the honor of going to HPC St. Francisville Church (SF) today. They were having their Life Group Fair. This is when all the different groups get a chance to meet and talk to people who might be interested in joining their small group. They already have things like Cooking For Christ, Singles, Young People, just to name a few.

Healing Hands has had a heart to go to St. Francisville to begin an outreach clinic there. We have just been waiting for the proper time. We have been coordinating schedules with Pastor Timmy Straight (Pastor of SF). We always launch a church clinic site with a Community Health Day. So, we already have scheduled this for Saturday, July 29th. We are inviting others from the community to participate, such as the Health Unit.

Pastor Timmy invited me to address the whole church to explain to them about the Community Health Day, as well as the Healing Hands Mobile Clinic. What an honor! My biggest problem is that it's hard to talk about all that God has done through this ministry in just a couple of minutes. Well, I kept it to just 5 minutes (sorry Pastor Timmy if I went too long).

I love this church! There were so many people who were so excited and supportive of our outreach. This was confirmation to me that we are going in the right direction. Many spoke to me of people that they knew who were working, but could not afford healthcare. Not only were we informed of the need, but people also stepped up and said they would be there to help us.

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Airport 1

My husband is one of the drivers of our mobile medical unit which we call Ele. (See my first post if you are curious about the name). He recorded some thoughts about our outreach earlier today. I wanted to share this with you.

9:00am to 1:00pm

FEMA Trailer Park – Airport 1 (Hollier Court)

Mobile Medical Outreach with Cooking for Christ and ICU

We departed from HPC in Ele at 8:00am for Airport 1. This was our second time to the FEMA trailer park and we had greater expectations of what our Lord Jesus Christ was going to do. We arrived to meet a team of volunteers already on the ground as well as Cooking for Christ (CFC) who always have it goin’ on. Upon arriving we gathered for prayer inviting the Lord to bless our labor.

Alliece volunteered to go door to door with her team inviting the trailer park community to come out for free medical attention and to let the residents know we would be serving free food for lunch. The community there pretty much stays locked in their trailers and appears to be lifeless. The people there need to have a reason to come out and CFC and the Medical team gave them that reason, believing by faith that they would have an encounter with Jesus.

There was one particular man named "H" that Alliece was able to convince that he needed to come out and experience the love that was being served. When he came over to the tent area where we were set up, Alliece introduced him to the CFC men. The CFC men immediately surrounded him with love and prayer. I was in the administration trailer along with Kevin, an occupational therapist, at the time this was going on ministering to one of the residents on site. Alliece’s team came over to the trailer and asked if I would go talk to "H". As I approached the scene I remember thinking, ‘why do they need me’? CFC had already surrounded "H" and the Holy Spirit was all over this. I humbly joined in the prayer and remember sensing a brokenness in "H". I knew I was not to leave his side until I had a chance to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him.

As "H" spoke, I could sense anger and disappointment in his voice and his situation. You see "H" had been told and had experienced first hand that nobody cared for him. His dad had died recently and he said that his dad was all he had. He had had four heart attacks and recently in the FEMA trailer park a stroke. As he told me all the things that he had experienced I knew in my spirit that the Lord himself was keeping him alive and "H" was ready to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.

I asked "H" if he had seen the doctor yet and he said no. He was blown away by the compassion of CFC and the volunteers in Healing Hands. I turned "H" over to the Healing Hands team but not before giving him a bible and encouraging him in the word. The rest of the story is the truly amazing part. The volunteers loved on "H", as well as everyone else, at each station. He was never alone and everyone expressed love and joy to him. I remember peering out of the administration trailer where Kevin and I were praying with people and seeing "H" talking to one of the volunteers and seeing a glowing smile on his face. He was still clinging to the bible I had given him and my spirit soared to see his spirit lifted.

I wondered did we really make a difference. Well, as we were picking up for the day, "H" came over to me with bible still in hand and he shook my hand with a big smile on his face and said, “Thank You”. If all we did was go to the FEMA trailer park that day for "H" it was worth it. We planted seed and I know the Holy Spirit will make it grow. My prayer is that "H" will get plugged in to a life giving church. He believes he will return to New Orleans and I believe it will be with a different mission…one for Christ.

In His service,