b Cheri LeBlanc, MD: August 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cameron: Views from a college student

I just received this email from Kari, one of the college students from Seacoast Church in South Carolina that came to serve in Cameron. I loved hearing about how these 3 days impacted her. I think you will, too.

Hey, Sorry it took me so long to respond. It has been so busy since school started. I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to travel to LA and take part in such a uplifting mission trip. This was my first "medical" mission trip, and to tell you the truth, I was scared to death on the way up there.

Leslie and I did not know we were going until about four days before we left from SC. It was really a last minute thing. We had to find people to cover six shifts at work between both of us, and it is amazing how God took care of everything and we were able to go.

I was telling my parents when I got back, that you can just never prepare yourself for seeing such devastation. When we were driving up there and we went through New Orleans, and I saw the houses, and the spray paint still on houses, I remember seeing one that said "dead dog" and I just couldn't imagine to have to come home and see that, or to come home and not have a home at all. This trip taught me a lot.

To interact with the people of Cameron, who virtually lost everything they had, but yet many of them still hung on to a thin line of hope. Their testimonies were amazing to me, and there stories of struggles, and trying to just survive day to day, was something my mind couldn't comprehend. Because personally I have never had to go through something like this, and to be there first hand and see it with my own two eyes, and not through the news or magazine, I was completly speechless.

The town of Cameron has hope. The community has come together to help each other out, from what I could gather. There were some people who I talked to, who seemed to be losing some of that hope, but yet the simple fact that people took their time to come and give medical care, feed them, and have school supplies, and that we just wanted to sit down and talk to them, gave them hope, gave them a reason to get up out of bed and face a new day, and gave them hope to trust in Jesus Christ.

This is was a moment in my life that I will never be able to forget, I learned so many things and also grew in my relationship with God. Thank you again for the opputunity to allow Charleston, Sc to come to LA. Thank you for your hospitality and for buying me PB and J's!

God Bless your ministry, and I am praying for it everyday!

God Bless
Kari Ray

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina - Lessons learned?

It's been a year from Katrina. I can't watch the TV. Too many pictures bringing back too many memories that are still fresh like yesterday. Too many people giving advise on what we should have learned from this devastation. What does God want us to have learned from this? That is the only question that should matter.

So much pain, so much loss. And I was just one of the many who tried to help, I didn't loose anything; I can't imagine how those who lost dear ones or their homes have felt. But God doesn't waste one single tear; there is a lesson to learn from everything we go through.

Where are the people that I met in those first few days after Katrina:

That young lady who was a diabetic and had not eaten in 2 days, blood sugar was extremely high, and I fussed her for not taking care of herself. As I gave her a shot of insulin, she looked at me and with tears in her eyes told me that her 2 year old son was at her mother's house down the street when the levee broke and the waters flooded the streets. Now 2 days later, she didn't know if he or her mother was alive. I repented to her and God on the spot; I could not have eaten, either. Do we ever know the full story of why people act the way they do? God does. Was her child and mother found alive? Where is she now?

In the New Orleans airport 5 days after the storm as it was being used as a triage and evacuation center I was able to go with the second team of volunteers. We were there all Saturday night. The baggage claim area was being used to keep people who had been processed, had already received medical attention and were waiting for the next plane out. This is where the helicopters that had plucked people off of roofs were being taken. There are not enough words to describe that scene.

One lady had been in a wheelchair for 5 days. Had not been able to get out of it even for 'bodily functions'. She was 85 years old. As we removed her from the wheelchair, cleaned her with baby wipes, rubbed her legs to try to stretch them out, and lie her on a cot, she cried, not from pain, but because we were helping her. Where is she now?

Another elderly lady with one leg previously amputated was lying in her own filth for days. Her husband was nearby, handicapped himself and unable to care for her. As we cleaned her up, she thanked us. I asked if we could pray for her and she warmly agreed. She bowed her head, and then looked at me and said, "Jesus has a place for me". I thought she meant that He knew where they would be taken to and they would be cared for since they were going to be on the next plane. But as I lied her back down, she went limp in my arms and died. After having spent days in misery she died just hours before being in comfort. I know where she is, but where is her husband that was married to her for 47 years?

What is God's lesson? It is a lesson for those who experienced Katrina, those who helped with the relief, and for all who watched it on TV. Are we closer to Jesus now that we were a year ago? Our lesson is to learn to rely on God. This is the only thing that matters. This world is not our home, it is just a temporary dwelling while we wait for our eternal home.

I pray a special blessing on all those who suffered loss last year in Katrina. I pray that they are all closer to Jesus and are enjoying the comfort of His presence.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Trailer Park 8.22.06

This past Tuesday we had clinic in the trailer park, our third visit to this one. And it poured down raining, and lightning, and thunder. Not the light stuff, the 4 drops to the gallon size.
I thought we wouldn't see anyone, but we ended up seeing 19 patients. They were quite amazed that we still made it out there to have clinic.
Take a look at this picture: our prayer team. They set the tent up in the rain, and just huddled closer to the middle when the rain came harder. How do you thank such dedication in these volunteers? I can't; only God can.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Stories from Cameron

Here is another picture from Cameron. This is Ann Ziegler who leads our receptionist team for Healing Hands. She was the first one who was able to greet our patients and start the paperwork with release forms. It was very hot, but she greeted everyone with a smile.

So many stories to tell, which we will continue to post. Hopefully we will have some from the Seacoast team soon.

This story really took me by surprise. For those of you who don't live in South Louisiana, let me give you a little history on our culture. Since we are at, or below sea level, our cemeteries are above ground. I'm sure you can use your imagination to know what happens when 8 feet of water and tremendous winds come onshore.

One of the ladies I prayed with after examining her and taking care of her medical concerns, began crying. She explained that it has just been so much, with loosing her home, now living in a FEMA trailer, lost her job because the business she worked for no longer exists. Just 2 weeks ago they found her mother's casket on the west side of Lake Charles, miles away. So, after burying her mother 2 years ago, she had to bury her again. Think about that for a moment. What could I do? I just held her and cried with her, and allowed the Holy Spirit to comfort her and remind her that Jesus was with her and would not leave her.

How many others need to be reminded that Jesus has not forgotten them. That this place is only temporary. That eternity will be in a place with no tears, if we only believe in our Savior.

Pictures from Spanish Clinic

Here are pictures of Dr. Roth and Tracy Parker in action at Spanish Campus. Please see other post for details of our day.

Spanish Campus 8-19-06

Just a few days back from Cameron (we'll post more on that in days to come) and we are off to the Spanish Campus in Gonzales. This is one of our busiest clinics because we are blessed with having a pediatrician, Dr. Tara Ryan and Dr. Roth, a chiropracter, who both volunteer at this clinic once a month.

At this clinic we also had a nurse practitioner, Tracy Parker. So, we expanded beyond Ele's walls to the church where we have Dr. Roth and Tracy stationed.

Final numbers are yet to be counted, but it is over 40 patients. Because of the number of new patients, our 4 hour clinic became 5 hours. And people waited without complaining. Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning.

It is so wonderful to see people who we have been treating for a few months. One man that was diagnosed with diabetes 2 months ago, given a monitor, and place on meds last month is doing great. He also tells me that when he used to work in construction up high, bending over he would get dizzy. But now he no longer feels bad, and has more energy. It's all about relationship. And we have so many new ones as a result of this outreach.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cameron Day 3

Yes, we made it back. Since I didn't post immediately I've had some calls asking if we made it home.

These few days were some of the spiritually hardest days I've ever had. We saw a total of 157 patients in 2 clinic days. We gave out probably close to 500 different medications for free. For most chronic medications we were able to give them 3 months of pills. We gave out 15 glucometers (diabetes machines) to diabetics who had not had a machine since Rita hit 11 months ago. The needs and the stories were overwhelming. It was all so much need in such a short amount of time. We loved on these people, prayed with them and poured out our heart. We left empty.

PRC Compassion came on Tuesday (Day 3) and what a blessing they were. They helped Joe and David cook another meal for 300 people. They walked around and talked and prayed with people as they waited to be seen in the clinic. It was awesome to see so many needs being met. The body of Christ truly coming together to be a "healing place for a hurting world".

As I have reflected back on why these days were so hard for me. I've been blessed to be on 2 mission trips in the past to Honduras and Uganda, Africa. I've seen mass amounts of people in a short time with the same type of need. Why should it be easier to accept that level of need in 3rd world countries than in our own back yard? Jesus doesn't see these people any different. They are still God's children.

We take so much for granted in America. So many people say they can't go on a mission's trip because they don't have the time or the money to go to another country. THE SAME NEED IS RIGHT HERE. This precious team from Seacoast Church saw this as a mission trip. Look at the tremendous impact they made. I'm putting out the challenge, step out and help someone close to where you are. Need is everywhere. I know it's been said so many times that your mind just skips right over it, but really listen to this. If every Christian helped someone once a week or even once a month, what a wonderful world this would be!

I'll be posting more stories about our trip in the days to come! Stay tuned.

(It's not letting me upload pictures, I'll try again later.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cameron Day 2

It’s hard to know where to begin to describe the day. Our great cook, David, began with cooking us breakfast, but the people began arriving before we could eat it!

Most of the people we saw were commercial fisherman. They are trying to make a living shrimping, keeping their families fed and find the time and money to try to rebuild their homes. Many came from Lake Charles because they heard that there would be a doctor in Cameron. Many have been unable to see a doctor, or if they did see a doctor they can’t afford their medications.

Lunch was started right after breakfast. Three meat jambalaya and white beans for 310 people. Then after a short break, the cooks began the team’s supper: shrimp etoufee. (I guess I can’t say that we suffered.)

We ended the clinic at 5pm having seen all that had come. 94 patients were seen! So many people with problems sleeping, depression, anxiety, just being overwhelmed by what their life has been for the last eleven months. As I prayed with each patient, many would begin openly weeping.

No one hears about the devastation of Hurricane Rita. Who ever heard of Cameron? These people feel forgotten. We were able to love on 94 of them, and feed over 300 of them. What we offer in the natural is so little, but what God has for them is incredible! We get the opportunity to be that light to them. What an honor! Our prayer is that we made a difference, for the name of Jesus. It’s not about the medicine; it’s about The Great Physcian.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Day 1 - Setup & Dinner

We continued to set up our site. We will have a "free" pharmacy with over-the-counter medications for people to choose from under the ministry tent of Minveille Outreach Ministries. Rev. Cheryl Minveille gave us a warm welcome.

We had asked her to arrange for some fresh shrimp to cook for our friends from South Carolina. And she took care of us! Our Dr. Bo really enjoyed his shrimp. (He is the one with the potatoe in his mouth, and corn and shrimp in each hand. We had a wonderful dinner. Now off to bed to start seeing patients in the morning. We had many people stop by to ask when we would start.

Cameron Day 1

Well, we made it! Once we made it down the bridge, we entered another world. It’s hard to comprehend the devastation still in place 11 months later.

The first picture is entering the marsh land. The second picture is not that great, but if you look closely to the right of the picture you will see a house just sitting in the middle of the swamp. Tossed there by Rita. We saw about 3 of these. There were a few cars and trucks as well.

As we entered Cameron, you could see cement steps on a foundation. No sign of a house. It broke my heart to see all these steps leading to nowhere. Where are those people now? What is their story? Some were rebuilding, but most were not.

We arrived and arranged our vehicles: Ele (mobile clinic), the RV, and a borrowed trailer which carried the cooking items and also has some sleeping quarters.

Mission Trip with Seacoast

Seacoast Church in South Carolina was one of the many awesome churches that helped us to start this ministry. A few months ago they contacted us that they would like to do a mission trip on our mobile unit, Ele.

It was just about that time that we learned of the small town of Cameron, along the coast south of Lake Charles. This area was flattened by Hurricane Rita. The hospital was gone, all medical clinics, post office, etc. We are told that many of these people have not had much if any health care, because living day to day has been more important than driving 30 miles to the nearest rural clinic that sometimes has a provider there.

After making many calls and lots of prayer, we have been able to make arrangements to go for 3 days into this community. We will have 2 full days of clinics and Cooking for Christ from Healing Place Church will cook lunch for the people on those 2 days.

Pictured are the five team members from Seacoast Church: Dr. Bo Machado, Steven, Kelly, Carrie, and Leslie. They left South Carolina at 3:30am Saturday and drove to Baton Rouge arriving Sat. night. The team from Healing Place Church is myself, my husband, Joe, and David and Ann Ziegler. We will do what we can to show these people that they are not forgotten. Jesus loves them.

Please pray for us as we begin this outreach. This is our first “road trip” with Ele. I’ll try to keep you updated as much as possible while we are there. Please leave us a note to let us know that you are praying.

Katrina Crisis again

Donaldsonville Dream Center Clinic was Thursday August 10th. We saw 23 patients, 6 of them were new to us. The needs can be so overwhelming. So many people think that the Katrina crisis is over. Well, let me tell you about this man.

He is a very pleasant 57 year old man that used to live in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. Of course, it isn’t there any more. He has a mild mental slowness, but extremely pleasant and agreeable. His health care for his diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease prior to Katrina had been at the Charity Clinic in downtown New Orleans (which also no longer exists). He was evacuated to the Dream Center Church shelter and he and his sister have stayed in the community, with no where else to go.

Sometime after the storm, he was assessed by someone and because of his high blood sugar and blood pressure he was given a Medicaid card so he could have access to doctors and medications in his new location. Sounds good, right?

His sister has found work, but he has been unable to. In May he was told that his medical card would not be effective after the end of the month. He had medication until the end of June and that was it. No one helped him to point him in a direction where he could go. Just that your on your own. His family sought help from the church to help pay for his medications. All 12 of them! The church called us to get him an appointment for our free mobile clinic.

For him and his sister, the crisis has started all over again. She knows that if he can’t keep his multiple chronic medical conditions under control, he could have a stroke, another heart attack or die.

Our Pastor preached a series months ago about reaching the world by serving one. What if every Christian reached out to just one? Can you think of the possibilities?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


We returned to a trailer park, at the request of the people who are living there. There are a few precious souls who are seeking more of God. What we offer is not just medical care, but also an ear to listen to incredible stories. We get to share the gospel with them. And they are very attentive. Jesus would have arranged this all for one, and we were able to touch 9 lives. If one looks at it from a purely natural perspective, it was a waste of time. But we need to look at it through our spiritual eyes, with the understanding that we may never know the full impact of 15 volunteers who sacrificed their Saturday morning to be obedient to God's call to spread His love.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Health Day St. Francisville Style

Saturday July 29th we had a wonderful time at the HPC St. Francisville office. We had over 70 people come for many screenings such as cholesterol, anemia, diabetes, blood pressure, etc.

It is wonderful to see the body of Christ unite to bring multiple blessings. We had Healing Place Church Cooking for Christ that served Healthy Chicken Pasta, green beans, and cole slaw. They even handed food to people just driving by!

Joey Full Souls Clown Mininstry was there entertaining children and adults!

The mobile clinic was able to care for 13 people without insurance, mostly diabetics without resources for their medications or glucometers. This is now our newest clinic on our schedule.

Please enjoy a few of the pictures of our day.