Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reflections on Haiti by Janet Ortega

By | Blog, Haiti, LEAP Stories, Mission Program, News, Volunteers | No Comments

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-15-37-pmJust last November, I couldn’t believe that I was on a plane heading to Haiti. From a brochure in my doctor’s office, I learned about the LEAP Foundation, and three years later, I had the privilege of being part of the Haiti team. It was my first time to do anything like this, and here I was, traveling with 29 people who were all set on one goal: to enhance the lives of others.

When we arrived at the hospital in Port-au-Prince, I was ready to hit the ground running for our five-day trip with about 30+ surgical procedures expected over the next three days. We immediately began seeing patients in evaluation, talking with their families and getting them ready for their surgeries. I had the opportunity to be the photographer on the trip, so I was able to follow the patients from pre-op through surgery, post-op, then back again into the arms of their loving parents.

Watching one little boy when he first opened his big eyes in the post-op area and first realized that he had use of his hand again was one of my most favorite moments on this trip. His expression, getting to see his hand open for the first time, was so moving that I will never forget that precious moment. My daughter Jessica was also able to travel with the team, so I was able to share this experience with her. Because Jessica is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Pharmacy, this trip gave her a deeper love for people. Getting to see that spark in her while she cared for these children changed her life. I also gained a huge respect for the doctors and nurses all working together during the surgeries as one singular unit. I have never witnessed anything like this experience before. The team members were literally from different walks of life back in the States, but in those two operating rooms in Haiti, it was as if they had been colleagues for years.

As with any third world country, Hatians are a resilient people, and having the opportunity to positively affect their lives in such a profound way is extraordinary. A lot of hard work and dedicated staff make LEAP mission trips happen, and being a volunteer has opened my eyes to all that, I, one person, can do when working with such a team. How did I get picked to be a part of something so wonderful? Here I was, holding these babies, meeting their grateful parents, hearing all of their stories and taking their amazing photos. It was an unspeakable dream, a great deal of hard work, but it was the most fulfilling thing that I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of in my life. While I had known that I was supposed to be a part of something like this for eleven years, getting to see my prayers answered not only increased my faith in God, but it absolutely showed me that God, in His timing, gives me the desires of my heart.

So when the plane departs DFW on May 1 to travel to Haiti, I will be on this flight to be a part of another LEAP surgical team. More beautiful children served, many more lives healed, and more experiences that will enrich my life all of my days. I shall most definitely not return the same.

Update on Logan

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screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-17-00-pmBaby Logan stole our hearts the moment we met him on February 5, 2013. This sweet child was born in China on September 2, 2012, with a severe craniofacial cleft, cleft palate, and amniotic band deformity. LEAP learned of this tiny orphan through a partner organization in China, and within a month, Dr. Hobar was working on securing a visa to bring him to the United States for complex surgery. At only five months of age, he made the long journey from Beijing to Dallas and within a few weeks underwent the first of three corrective surgeries in 2013. The first included inserting a feeding tube as he was unable to take food by mouth. The latter two were on March 26 and August 27, 2013. Logan has recovered from these surgeries and has been doing well since.

Host mom Pam Newell took him in and set about searching for a forever family to adopt him. She describes him as a happy baby who loves her dogs and squeals with delight whenever Pam’s Chihuahua licks him. He is cuddly and curious and just took his first steps this week!

On September 2, 2013, he celebrated his first birthday with family and friends at home. Pam said that he was so excited before the party that he exhausted himself and had to nap for part of the festivities. There was a wonderful turnout with approximately 70 people celebrating along with Logan.

Several families seemed to be good prospects for adopting Logan, but for one reason or another, they all fell through. Pam, who has been the extraordinarily loving host mom to Logan since he was a tiny baby, is now in the process of adopting him. “I think God just meant for him to stay with me. I’m not sure why that is, but I am loving it, and he is thriving,” says Pam. Logan’s pediatrician is very pleased with his growth and progress. With the feeding tube removed, he eats almost everything and has a mouth full of teeth! He is thriving indeed! At 16 months, Logan already sleeps in a toddler bed and awakens most mornings with a smile on his face. Pam recently decorated his new room and was joined by ten friends who showed up to help. “I am still overwhelmed each day with all of those around me that want to do something for Logan,” says Pam.

Logan will need at least two more major surgeries in the coming year to further reconstruct his eye socket, eyelid, and face. And his LEAP family will be there.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Lenten Prayer from Dallas Bible Church

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power of the cross(1)

In our sixth week of Lent, the LEAP Foundation celebrates its longstanding partnership with Dallas Bible Church, led by Pastor Hal Habecker. This congregation has had members travel with LEAP on mission trips and continues to actively support us in their prayers and by their presence. This church is home to LEAP Board of Directors member Dr. Pat Pownell, who faithfully blesses us by his strong leadership and extraordinary dedication to LEAP.

In our final week, the LEAP Foundation prays for Dallas Bible Church; specifically, we pray on their behalf for their ministries in the following ways:

1. We pray that the first building campaign for this church family in 15 years will be infinitely blessed and that God will lead these faithful members as He directs during their planning and execution.

2. We pray for this church as they continue to minister to those in need, particularly those within a five-mile radius of this church. We pray for the activities of the church as they minister to all ages of adults, youth and children.

3. We pray for the church’s leadership in their decisions that impact the growth and direction of the body.

4. We pray for the many missionaries this church supports locally, in the state, country, and all over the world.

5. We also pray for the health and support of Pastor Habecker, his family, the associate pastors and their families, and for all of those that work and bless this church in service to others.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
– John 10:10

Landmark Outing

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screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-18-13-pmPam Newell is an extraordinary person. She has fostered sweet Logan from China since he was just an infant. Pam’s late husband was a history buff who collected a few Russian items, and she wanted these beautiful treasures to be received by those who would love and appreciate them. Pam offered them to Mason and Alëna, both of whom are Russian. All three of these beautiful children have come together through LEAP’s Landmark Program.

Mason (left), Logan (center), and Alëna (right), along with Miranda (holding Logan) and her sister, Madison (far right), all joined in for a fun reunion at Sandy Lake Park last Sunday. The weather was beautiful, and everyone enjoyed the rides. Logan was brave enough to ride his very first ride, the merry-go-round, with the help and protective watch of mom Pam. The favorite activity was playing with Logan who has been “growing like crazy.”

The LEAP Foundation could not be happier to share in these children’s lives. It is truly touching to see how these families have been brought together in Christ’s love. For more information on the Landmark Program or the stories of these children, please visit our website at

Special thanks to Katherine Berend and to these families for providing this story and keeping us up-to-date on these active, happy children who are so dear to our hearts.

Lenten Prayer from Victory Life Church

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screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-20-26-pmPastor Seth Swindall of Victory Life Church of Atoka, Oklahoma prays the following prayer on behalf of LEAP:

Father God,

You have placed talent in each one of us, and you have asked us to use what you have given us to serve humanity! I thank you for LEAP! I thank you for gathering talented women and men that have a heart to serve the less fortunate, the hurting, and the broken! I pray that you will fill them with your love that will overflow abundantly upon every person they come in contact with on each of their trips to serve!

May you give them favor and open doors for them that no man can open. May you protect them – provide for them – and guide them each step of the way!

As they serve and sacrifice – may they receive a reward and blessing that only you can give! May their trips be filled with peace and safety and may many come to know your love because of their kind deeds!

Thank you for helping them as they honor and represent your name with dignity, generosity, and integrity!

In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

As this church family prays for us, we ask that our LEAP family also pray for Victory Life Church of Atoka and this pastor and his family.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
– John 10:10