By Carl Stagner
Five years ago, life forever changed for more than a million Haitians. In January 2010, a catastrophic magnitude-7.0 earthquake claimed lives, property and, in many cases, hope itself. The Church of God was one of many faith groups and organizations to step in and offer hope and healing. The hospital in Saintard, completed in 2005, offered countless earthquake victims not only physical treatment, but also the Balm of Gilead. Under the leadership of Church of God missionaries Mark and Kathy Fulton, the hospital continues to serve the people of Haiti, many of whom are still displaced, five years post-quake.
Phyllis Newby and a group of ecumenical missionaries from North Carolina cameup with the idea of a medical clinic for Haiti in the early 1990s. In the early years of Mark and Kathy Fulton’s work in Haiti, which began long before they became Living Link missionaries, Phyllis asked them to take over project development for the hospital. Mark and Kathy’s medical training made them prime candidates for the position. “One brick at a time, from 1995 until 2005, through many setbacks, crises, shipments, and prayer, the clinic opened in July 2005,” Mark explains. From the Fultons’ humble beginnings at North Anderson Church of God (now Madison Park) in Anderson, Indiana, to their commissioning as Church of God missionaries, the impact of Mark and Kathy Fulton on ministry in Haiti is nothing short of amazing. This year, Mark welcomed a medical team representing secular universities from the United States as they utilized the best medical facility in the area—the hospital at Saintard.
“During the second week of January,” Mark recalls, “a surgery team in Haiti was looking for a place to complete some needed surgical procedures. The team represented secular universities and private practice physicians from coast to coast—from UCLA to the University of Tennessee; from Wisconsin to Colorado; from Seattle to Iowa. As they searched for a place to serve, the humanitarian group connected to the only facility in the area that had the capability to enable them to complete the task at hand.” Because of your generous giving over the years, the Church of God was able to offer a hospital where more than seventy-five surgeries and outpatient procedures took place. Because of your giving, missionaries like Mark and Kathy Fulton continue to offer salve for the soul through the work of that same hospital.
Four years ago, a doctor from the University of Iowa brought together a group of surgeons who wanted to offer medical services to Haitians affected by the earthquake. “By word of mouth and, I believe by God’s guidance, the doctor called me one morning with an emergency,” Mark explains. “He asked if the group could use our facility. I made some calls, they were able to save the patient, and a relationship was born. This is actually the third year they have used our facility to help many Haitian patients.”
The groups that came this year to work in the Church of God hospital included interns, surgeons, specialists of anesthesiology, and more. Making the hospital available to these groups didn’t just bring healing to the hurting in Haiti. Because Jesus is the subject of the hospital, it also provided the Church of God a platform to share the hope of Christ through Mark and Kathy Fulton. “These individuals were decidedly secular/humanitarian in their approach to aid,” Mark explains. “But we make it clear why we are here—to use medicine as a tool to serve Christ. We make it clear that each patient will be prayed for, and it has been amazing to see the aid workers get more comfortable with prayer—even to ask us to pray. The hospital is here to present hope beyond surgery, and beyond the day’s needs. The post-surgical follow-up, as well as the recurrent care and relationships with the patients may be established during the surgery time, but now the patients know that the Church of God hospital is a place of hope and healing—beyond just a week of surgery.”
Perhaps you’d like to support Mark and Kathy Fulton’s ministry of hope and healing. Through Living Link, you can do just that. Contribute online to the by visiting www.chogmissions.org. Or mail a check to Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018-2420; write Project 42.10023 in the memo line to assign your gift accordingly. For more information, contact Debbie Taylor at 800-848-2464, ext. 2129.