Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Village Saved by Dr. Cheryl Cermin

By | Blog, India, LEAP Stories, Mission Program, Volunteers | No Comments

2003 India cermin et alIt was a privilege to care for a sixteen-year-old mother who was desperately trying to keep her six month-old son alive on our very first LEAP trip to Damoh, India in partnership with Central India Christian Mission (CICM). He was born with a very large cleft of the lip and palate and was not able to nurse. For six months, the mother endured the sharp cries of hunger as she desperately tried to provide for the needs of her child. She had traveled to the mission hospital in a desperate attempt to save her child’s life.

We fabricated a device that would create a temporary palate to aid in the feeding process. Special bottles designed for children with cleft palate were introduced as well as infant formula. These procedures are very routine in my practice in the US but normally occur on newborns. Never had I successfully placed this device on a child that was six months old. My expectation was that the child would not tolerate it, and the crying would become more incessant.

This young mother and her baby slept on the floor in a dark hallway of the hospital that evening. The next morning, despite the expectations that this procedure would not be tolerated, I came upon a well-rested mother and a content child. She had a look of joy on her face! Maybe her baby could survive! This look was very brief, however, because as a member of a very low caste, she was not allowed to look us in the eyes or thank us in ways in which we are accustomed. Her way of showing gratitude was to kneel and kiss my feet over and over again. At the end of our week in Damoh, I had the opportunity to travel to the family’s village, wanting to check on the boy’s progress. The entire village was present as they danced and sang, presenting various fruits, nuts, and spices. Each child placed a lei made of packing peanuts and colored foil around my neck. At that point, a purple powder was placed on my forehead by an elder in the village. Its significance was unknown to me.

Several years later, I learned that in this ceremony I had been made a goddess. This was shocking on many levels. I had been a goddess for some time now, and I didn’t even know it! I would need to inform my husband and children immediately! This was very short-lived, however, as the realization set in of the desperate spiritual void that would have to exist in order to make a very ordinary, sinful human-being into someone to be worshipped.

One of the grandest blessings associated with the partnership LEAP has with CICM is the follow up provided by the mission after the completion of our work. Each LEAP patient’s family is visited, and in most cases there is an opportunity to share the Truth of Salvation. It was in a follow-up visit that this family became followers of Christ; eventually, the entire village converted to a Christ-filled life and have since planted three other churches in neighboring villages.

Cheryl Cermin portrait

Dr. Cheryl Cermin

LEAP Medical Volunteer

Jobnaelle: Home for Christmas

By | Blog, Haiti, Landmark Program, News | No Comments
jobnaelle candid 10 1

©Max Sturdivant Studios

Our most recent update, Marie and Jobnaelle made it safely home yesterday and were greeted by their entire neighborhood! After warm hugs and joy over how beautiful Jobnaelle looked, Marie shared with her friends and family that she simply could not find the right words to express how deeply moved she has been by the generosity and compassion of so many complete strangers.  She truly felt loved, cared for, and humbled by the many who were there for her and Jobnaelle. Afterward, there was a huge celebration with the entire community that included music, dance, and giving thanks and praise to God for the abundant blessings they had received over the last 3-4 weeks. How amazing!

The LEAP family has been infinitely blessed by sweet Jobnaelle entering our lives. It was she who allowed us to experience being the body of Christ in our world. It was Jobnaelle who brought to us the true meaning of Christmas. This small child, whom we have all bowed our heads in prayer for over the last few weeks, has given to us the greatest gift, a witness to Christ’s love. She has guided us to thy perfect light.

Update on Jobnaelle

By | Blog, Haiti, Landmark Program, News | No Comments

photo 3 copyWe have wonderful news: our sweet Jobnaelle and her mother Marie Yvane will be going home to Haiti this Saturday, December 21! Jobnaelle’s surgery on December 3 went very well, and thanks to your prayers, she is on the path to a speedy recovery.

As they will be arriving home so close to Christmas, we would love to be able to send them with a few gifts for them as well as their family, which is completed by Jobnaelle’s father, her four older brothers, one older sister, and her twin sister, Jobnica. Please take part and contribute to their Christmas gifts by making a donation designated “Jobnaelle Christmas” at

Also, if you would like to send them off, we will be meeting at DFW at 7:30 am this Saturday, December 21. They will be flying from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale on Flight AA 1450.

Jobnaelle’s Story

By | Blog, Haiti, Landmark Program, LEAP Stories | No Comments

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-2-56-00-pmWe first met Jobnaelle in Haiti when she was but an infant, a tiny nine-month-old with a life-threatening brain encephalocele. She was born with a cyst of the brain protruding through her eye sockets and the middle of her face. Without surgery, it would have continued to expand and distort her face even more and could have become infected, sending the infection directly to her brain. Without specialized medical facilities and surgeons in Haiti, her condition could have proven lethal.

Born to hard-working and faithful parents, this sweet two-year-old’s father is a teacher, and her mother is a merchant in an open market. Her parents raised four teenage boys and a three-year-old sister before Jobnaelle and her twin sister, Jobnica, were born.  Before the boys, they had lost a daughter at five-months old. Their fear of losing Jobnaelle must have been overwhelming.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-2-56-10-pmAn act of providence led Jobnaelle to LEAP. Jobnaelle’s twin sister, Jobnica, was taken to a mobile medical unit an hour outside of Port-au-Prince to be treated for an illness. Medical personnel also saw Jobnaelle and recognized the seriousness of her condition. Knowing her only hope of a normal life was through LEAP, they advised Marie to contact Hôpital Espoir in Port-Au-Prince. Performing surgeries in Port-au-Prince twice a year, LEAP has a long-term commitment to the people of Haiti.

Although we first evaluated Jobnaelle in the spring of 2012, her family had an agonizing wait until she was a little older to endure the surgery that would heal her. Her case required surgery that was too complex to be performed in Haiti, so LEAP worked to bring her to Dallas.  As with all of the children whose lives are saved through our Landmark program, it took a village to help this little girl. Chris Nungester, an American woman who is the Founder of the orphanage His Home for Children in Port-au-Prince, was invaluable in helping Jobnaelle. She helped LEAP secure temporary visas to bring Jobnaelle and Marie to the United States and escorted the two to the airport on November 27 for their first trip outside of Haiti. As the plane lifted off the ground, Marie joyfully uttered aloud, “Only God can do this!”

Prior to their arrival, LEAP had been working to find a family to host Jobnaelle and her mother when God provided again. Looking for a loving and generous family to host and care for them while in Dallas, we had no idea what blessings were about to be heaped upon them. Our partner in Haiti, Gladys Thomas, who runs the hospital where we first encountered Jobnaelle, has a brother. Of all places, he lives right here in Dallas! Jobnaelle and Marie were not only blessed with a wonderful, generous family offering to host them but a loving Haitian family with whom they shared culture, language, food, and customs. Reynolds Thomas and his wife, Urielle, opened their hearts and home, driving Jobnaelle and her mother to the hospital and appointments, cooking familiar food, and helping them with needed post-operative care. This host family is indeed a blessing and has forever joined our LEAP family!  Jobnaelle is currently doing so well. We expect her family to be united before Christmas. She should be able to lead a normal life, including school and sports!

While we were able to help Jobnaelle to have a long, healthy life, it has truly been a remarkable experience for us all as we have been infinitely blessed by the compassion of those caregivers at Medical City Dallas Hospital and our expanding LEAP family over the last several weeks. Our hearts are full of love and gratitude.

“Where there is great love, there are always great miracles.” Mother Teresa

CultureMap Charity Challenge

By | Events, News | No Comments

We’ve been selected to compete in the first ever CultureMap Charity Challenge! This is more than a great opportunity for us to spread awareness of the LEAP mission; the competition’s winner will become CultureMap’s community service project for 2014. But wait, there is more! CultureMap is throwing in a $2,500 cash donation and an advertising package. We are up against some big organizations, but we have a shot with you on our team!


To vote for LEAP:

  1. Click here.
  2. Select Vote for This
  3. Enter your e-mail (You may opt in or out of receiving any e-mails by checking or unchecking the box.)
  4. Click VOTE, and you’re done! Thank you for your vote for LEAP, and please vote daily until December 20.



Landmark Program: Welcome Jobnaelle

By | Blog, Haiti, Landmark Program, News | No Comments

jobnaelle_marie_dfwRead Jobnaelle’s Story

We would love to have your help on a beautiful experience that is in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season. We have a new addition to our LEAP family, made possible through our Landmark Program. On November 26th, a beautiful two-year-old child, Jobnaelle, and her mother, Marie, arrived from Haiti to Dallas to stay for approximately two weeks. Jobnaelle’s  surgery was at Medical City Dallas Hospital on December 3rd.

Jobnaelle, Marie Yvane, and their host family could use your assistance through Tom Thumb, Walmart, or Visa gift cards,  visiting or checking on them at home, or making donations on our website.