Dr. Renaud Gerve grew up in the impoverished mountain area of Mombin Crochu, Haiti. The oldest of 7 children, he remembers the day his grandmother fell ill and was taken the 11 miles ( A 2 hour trip in the mountains) to the hospital in Pignon. Once there, his family found out that the hospital, which was the only medical facility serving that area at that time, didn’t have a doctor or a nurse. His grandmother soon died due to lack of medical attention. It was then that Renaud set his heart on becoming a doctor and returning to Mombin Crochu one day to provide medical care for his own people.
PARTNERS IN MISSION- OPPC & Dr. RENAUD GERVE
The obstacles to that dream were immense. First, Mombin Crochu had only an elementary school. Second, Renaud’s family didn’t have the money for further education. But God had a plan for Renaud. As God worked in Renaud’s heart and life to prepare him for the challenges that lay ahead, God was also working in the hearts and lives of members of Orchard Park Presbyterian Church. OPPC was already in Mombin Crochu helping renovate the hospital and building lodging for volunteers, and eventually helping to Found the Christian School of New Vision.
(The first OPPC team traveled to Haiti in 1996). Becky and Al Atz remembered Renaud, then a teenager, asking for help so he could go to school to become a doctor. He asked for the same help from all of the missionaries who came to Mombin Crochu. Renaud knew God intended for him to become a doctor. He just needed help going to school, so he asked. And he received!
Orchard Park Presbyterian Church
Along with several other churches from the United States, Orchard Park supported Renaud as he left the only home he’d ever known and moved to the city of Cap-Haitien for secondary school and then to the even bigger city of Port-Au-Prince for University and Medical School. Renaud was an excellent student whose success was a blessing to OPPC and to the other churches who supported him. Although no one knew exactly how Renaud’s story would turn out, supporting his education was about having faith that if they helped sow the seeds, God would provide the necessary nourishment and growth. So they kept giving, and Renaud kept studying.
After completing his second year of medical school, Renaud’s dream of becoming a doctor was almost derailed. In the midst of the political violence following President Aristide’s removal from Haiti in February of 2004, the medical school Renaud attended, Universite’ Lumie’re, was burned and the headmaster was killed. Due to the fire, there were no records to prove which classes the students had taken, or what grades they’d received. Renaud and many other students found themselves in Limbo. It would have been understandable for Renaud to give up on medical school and for OPPC’s Mission Committee to decide that this project, this “sowing of seeds” was not going to bear any fruit. But God had a different plan.
Becky Atz remembers receiving a phone call from Renaud. He told her he needed help moving to the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic so he could enroll in medical school there. He would need to learn Spanish and would have to start medical school all over again, but he wondered if she and Orchard Park would help.
When Renaud first arrived in the Dominican Republic, he was kidnapped by local thieves who stole his tuition money and kept him locked away in a room for several days. Once they realized there wasn’t a way to get any more money from Renaud, they let him go. Renaud told the police who
his kidnappers were (they lived in the neighborhood), but the police never did anything about it. There is a lot of prejudice and discrimination in the Dominican Republic towards Haitians, and Renaud’s experience is an example of that.
Becky Atz had been trying to get ahold of Renaud, but hadn’t heard anything. Finally he called to say he’d been kidnapped and robbed and that all of his tuition money was gone. The OPPC Mission Committee felt they had no choice, they had to send Renaud more money. IF Renaud was willing to keep going and not give up, even after being kidnapped and robbed, they weren’t going to give up either!
This picture is of Renaud, his parents, wife and son at graduation from Universidad Tecnolo’gica de Santiago (Dominican Republic) on July 9th, 2011 reveals that OPPC’s Mission committee said, “YES!” Surely they had doubts and concerns about continuing to invest in a dream that might fail, yet they put their trust in God, prayed harder and committed for the long haul.
When Renaud graduated, many professors and friends urged him to stay in the Domincan Republic. They said he would find a good job there because he was an excellent student and doctor. Renaud however made a promise to return to Mombin Crochu to serve the people, like his grandmother, who had no access to medical care. Renaud is very grateful to Orchard Park for supporting him over all these years. God has used OPPC’s consistent support for Renaud’s education, and now the mobile clinic and nutrition program for malnourished children to help make his dream a reality. When asked how he had the strength and courage to contend with so many obstacles on his journey to becoming a doctor, Renaud replied, “It isn’t inside of me. It is God working through me, using me for his purpose. It is a blessing. Thank you Orchard Park!”
Success is not final;
Failure is not fatal;
it is the
COURAGE to CONTINUE
- Winston Churchill
Mombin Crochu is the site of a government hospital which was born of a partnership between the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and is surrounded by a substantial number of small remote villages, which, altogether, have a estimated population of 35,000-40,000 people. Renaud and his family live in a 2 room house in Chervin, a mile away. Mombin Crochu had the only schools- through 6thgrade. When teams came to work at the hospital, he would, when possible, work with them, and came to know some, who supported him through high school.
Today, Renaud is one of two doctors who travel throughout Mombin Crochu providing medical care through a mobile clinic. The clinic team used to travel by motorcycle – one motorcycle- until folks at Orchard Park pulled together enough money for a dependable vehicle.
As Haiti continues to suffer through a severe Cholera epidemic – made worse by hurricane Matthew in 2016, and severe malnutrition, our partnership with Dr. Renaud and the mobile clinic is a significant way for Orchard Park to love God’s children and show compassion for those in need.
Med school was substantially more expensive, so the bulk was funded by Orchard Park, with some individuals helping with extra expenses.
When the earthquake struck Port au Prince on Jan 12, 2010 he traveled there to be as much help as possible. He came away with 2 babies, sole survivors of families who were part of the 235,000 that perished.
After graduation in 2011 he returned to Haiti and served his mandatory one year of social service at the hospital in Mombin Crochu and then commenced serving the remote communities around Mombin.
Twice a year, Orchard Park would put on medical clinics at the Christian School of New Vision in Lajeune from 2012 through 2015, at which he was a volunteer.
The circuit riding began with motorcycles, as many as needed or could be obtained (I don’t think there were ever less than 2). The SUV, still in use today, was obtained from a grant through Orchard Park. There are still villages where the last part of the trip is by foot (Ganga). The building that serves as residence and guesthouse for teams, was built through a similar grant, on land where his family home once stood.
His mother was a midwife in the community and responsible for encouraging Orchard Park to produce birthing kits. Unfortunately, she passed away too soon.