Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: Living by Faith

Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Back at my sloping desk in the parking lot with my chair tottering over the pothole.

In some ways today (Jan. 28) was the most exhausting. Mainly the heat in our “clinic.” Once again, under tarps despite a respectable-looking church right next to us.

Our team used the church for sorting meds and eating lunch, and I hope that our occupying it might encourage the people to overcome the fear that the earth may shake it down at any moment.

people preparing relief supplies

Treated over 100 people again today, but the conditions generally seem less severe in the city, where people are getting access to health services.

The story that will most trouble me as I try to sleep in the parking lot again tonight is the two very young children (approximately 2 and 3 years old) whose parents both died in the quake.

These young children are registered in our Child Survival Program. Their aunt came to take them and is caring for them.

I just learned an hour ago that their aunt is 15 years old and they are sleeping in the street under a makeshift tarp tent. It’s night now and I wonder how that 15-year-old girl is going to find any food for herself or for those little ones.

I’ve only shared about the kids and people we’ve been seeing, but I want to say something about our staff in Haiti.

It just isn’t possible to describe the emotional burden they carry. I spoke with Jozue (Joshua), who works for Compassion and is pastor of the church where we set up the mobile clinic today.

Jozue told me that on the day of the quake his wife was getting ready to wash their two little girls. Their water is outside, like a backyard spigot, and when mom went out to get the water one of the girls saw her go out and began to follow. Then the second one followed.

Mom saw the girls coming out of the house and said “Get back inside.”

But the girl said “No!”

“I said go back inside!”

But the girl stomped her foot and insisted, “No!”

That happened a third time and then mom gathered her girls and began to bring them back into the house. And that’s when everything started moving side to side and the house collapsed along with both of their neighbors’ houses.

At that time, Jozue had just left the Compassion office, and the drive, which normally takes 30 minutes, took more than six hours.

He described driving past the collapsed buildings and houses and seeing dead people and hearing crying and frantically trying to make his way home to his family.

He had a friend with him who told him, “God is in control. If He wants them alive, they are alive. If He wants them dead, they are dead.”

Jozue maintained his strength and arrived at the scene of his collapsed house after 11 p.m. He searched with a flashlight and could not find them.

Then a man asked, “Who are you looking for?”

He answered, “My family.” And the man said, “They are there at the church.”

He told me he was strong until he saw them and then he was overwhelmed and “became sick.” Tears welled up as he told me several times how he loves his family.

He said he worked for 15 years to build that house but now he will need to live by faith. He said to live by faith always sounded good in a sermon but it was theory, and now he would need to really do it.

His wife was too troubled to stay in Haiti, and she left with the girls to be with relatives in Florida. I could see uncertainty in his eyes about his own decision to stay. But he said, “I’m a pastor. What words can I bring to my community?”

The bold, selfless blood of Jesus is alive in Jozue. Despite his opportunity to flee and be with his family, he believes that a pastor must serve in these very difficult times.

He and his church are the hope for Haiti’s future. So, today this man gave himself to the work of hosting our mobile clinic in an open lot next to his church where we treated more than 100 people.

Today I prayed with Dunia, a nurse who works for Compassion supporting the Child Survival Program. Dunia has been part of our team and doing an amazing job treating so many people. But her own father died and her aunt is critically injured.

This morning she had quietly separated herself from the group to cry because she had just been told her aunt would not live. She continued to treat others until we were able to secure her transport to the hospital treating her aunt.

Her aunt may make it after all – keep praying.

There are countless stories. Everyone of them matters. Lifting the burden of a physical injury or infections is pretty easy compared to lifting the burdens of sorrow so heavy in the soul. We need to pray for and generously support our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

They not only need to continue the ministry to Haiti’s children, but they need to piece together their own lives and homes as well. I would ask you to give until it hurts, and count it a privilege. There will never be a day when we regret an act of generosity or kindness.

14 Comments |Add a comment

  1. ngozi okonkwo February 18, 2010

    you are all in my prayers.please do not give up your faith in God.He has not forgotten you and neither will we,
    In christ,
    ngozi okonkwo

  2. Riley February 9, 2010

    I have 3 questions about the earthquake in Haiti:

    1. How many kids became orphans because their parents died in the quake?

    2. How many people have adopted orphan kids after the quake?

    3. What do people think about the earthquake?

    A- Devestated
    B- Scard
    C- Woried
    D- Sad
    E- All of the above

  3. Nancy White February 5, 2010

    Thank you for describing your experiences and some of the people there you have met. It makes my prayers for Haiti more personal now. You are also in my prayers for all you have done for your patients and for takning the time to go and be the hands and feet of our Lord. He promises to be with you always even until the end of time. It is hard to see and feel and then to keep going on. The Haitians may have no money and terrible poverty of other kinds, but their resiliance, courage, strenght, and help to one another are inspiring!

  4. Christian February 3, 2010

    Dear Jozue, Casimis, Claud, Dunia, and Madeline!
    My dear friends, we have been praying for you and you people everyday and every night
    God is you because He loves you and you are His! It’s has been for us terrible not to have news from you, or to try to find answers …. but we continue trusting in the Lord, you are his children and He’s with you…He only has a perfect plan for each one of us! He’s in control, even though we dont see it clear at the moment.

    Three Sundays ago I was singing with my Choir Isaiah 43… and at that moment I sang it as a prayer asking the Lord for you all and there is when I understood that there is fire, natural dissaters, man provequed dissasters etc etc…. But He will be always with us, The father, the son, and the Holy Ghost are always with us…. and you guys are of great testimony becuase despite everything you continue serving others!

    I love you Guys and you are in the prayers and heart of Nicaragua.

    Isaiah 43
    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
    3 For I am the LORD, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,your Savior 4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you

  5. Melissa January 31, 2010

    I am so in awe of the pastor who stayed in Haiti to help his congregation and country get back on his feet apart from his two children and wife who are in Florida. May God mightily bless him, and all of you sacrificing your lives for the service of the Lord! It inspires me to serve God selflessly in my daily mundane life. I wish I could be there to help. I am finally at a place to contribute financially and it is wonderful to be a part of this ministry! God Bless all of you brothers and sisters! I am praying for you! With Jesus’ abundant Love,

  6. Jeanne January 31, 2010

    Thank you for the update. It is good for you to write and release your thoughts and pain. We must hold on to God’s promises…
    Psalm 145:13-16
    “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You and You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

  7. kathryn January 31, 2010

    its so amazing how nuch strength , faith n compassion GOD instills in some people even when they are hurting, may he truly reward them and thanx 4 de updates, we are praying for the people of haiti

  8. Sheri January 30, 2010

    Thanks… you help it come closer so that we can pray more specifically and with more passion. These stories make ita little more real and personal to those of us who can’t be there with you physically.

  9. Carl Snyder January 30, 2010

    I’m so glad we sent our gift’s through Compassion because they appear to have been handled properly and lovingly. We do pray for the workers as well as the Haitians. Thanks for your care and hard work. God bless you all.

  10. Amy Wallace January 30, 2010

    Thank you for sharing these stories with us. It’s people like Jozue that show us there is hope in any situation.

  11. Lindy January 30, 2010

    Scott, thanks so much for continuing to give us glimpses into what is happening there. Your stories of the two little orphans with their young aunt, and of Jozue and his family are gripping our hearts! We are so very thankful for all of you. We plan to continue to give, and we are praying constantly!

  12. Stephanie Green January 30, 2010

    Thank you for sharing your story. It helps us continue to put names and faces to the hurt and suffering so that the need stays fresh in our minds.

    …”give until it hurts and count it a privilege” is a good reminder and call to action to all of us who have been so blessed!!

  13. Vicki Small January 29, 2010

    And there is the Compassion staff member who lost all five of her children…and continues to serve. I cannot fathom the depth of such grief! My heart breaks for these wonderful servants.

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.