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Mission in Haiti: Ashley

I’m very excited to tell anyone who will listen about what I believe is turning into a small miracle! We first met Ashley and her mom in March 2012. She came to us as a severely malnourished 18 month-old with Down Syndrome. It was obvious that she was well cared for and a sweet happy little girl. Her mom told us that she had a hole in her heart and that was why she couldn’t maintain her weight.

Ashley did very well on Medika Mamba (read more about Medika Mamba here) and gained a significant amount of weight. We felt that her mom was very caring but simply didn’t have the resources to get her the surgery she needed. Back in March, Liz and I had just returned from spending February in Minnesota because my 96 year old father was extremely ill. We had three weeks before another quick trip back to MN. By the time we returned in early April, Ashley had graduated from the Mamba program.

We didn’t see Ashley again until last weekend at the medical clinic. Her mom returned with a very malnourished child who is now months away from 2 years old. She is a very tiny 29 inches and 16 pounds. Of course we started her back on Mamba. It is obvious that her little body is putting all its energy into keeping her blood flowing despite the probable lack of oxygen due to the heart defect.

We talked more with her mom, who told us that she had been told the surgery could not be done in Haiti. Here’s what (little) I know: heart defects are not uncommon in Down Syndrome children, heart surgery is very expensive, I don’t know anyone in Haiti or how to get her to the US. This looked like an overwhelming challenge!

Often, a ‘hole in the heart’ means there is a hole between the left and right ventricle (the pumping chambers in the heart) so the non-oxygenated blood returning from the body mixes with the oxygenated blood returning from the lungs and the body just never gets enough oxygen. The heart and lungs can only support a small child, and the child’s growth is severely limited by the heart’s capacity to get oxygenated blood to the cells. Ashley appears to be a classic case of that!

After seeing Ashley this time, I just knew that she will die if she doesn’t get the surgery. Soon. Ok, God, what will we do?

God: “Why don’t you post a question on the ‘Haiti Missionaries, Expats and NGOs’ Facebook page I just got you connected to and see what you can find out?”

Me: “Great idea! Thanks! I was sure you’d make a way!”

Me on FB: “Looking for help getting open heart surgery for a 2 year old high functioning Down Syndrome child. Cardiology teams coming? Take her to US? Thanks!”

Response: “Try Chadasha Foundation at

So I go look up Chadasha Foundation: a Christian organization in Haiti that gets kids the needed heart surgery right here on the same small island in Santo Domingo, DR! AND they emailed me back right away AND this tiny one is tentatively on their schedule for surgery in September AND there will be no cost to the mom or to BttN!

So does God work miracles? If we hadn’t had the medical clinic last week, if we hadn’t connected with our friends at Real Hope for Haiti who told me about the FB page, if, if, if. It took a miracle to bring this all together and He did it! To God be the glory.

Now we need your prayers for all the paperwork details for passports to go smoothly, for Ashley to get strong enough for surgery, for the surgery to be uncomplicated and successful and much more! Please add this little one to your prayers! And praise God that He is still a God of miracles!

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