17 March 2010

The Good stuff

Although we’re out in the bouk now (that’s “village” in Creole--just wanted to prove I’m learning something), we were in Port-au-Prince at Quisqueya Chapel on Sunday for church. Picture ten spinning ceiling fans, the fill-in pianist, a projector, and two hundred sweating people all dressed up and you’ve got a good idea of what it was like. It was nice to sing some familiar songs… “How Great is Our God” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” and “Come Thou Fount.’’ Songs that felt a bit like home, on a day when I needed that.

The pastor was sick, so they ended up having some of the church members come and share stories of what happened to them during the earthquake. We were exhorted to continue to remember God’s faithfulness. Here’s a few of the stories they shared—I know it’s long, but bear with me:

Vanessa, a young teenager, shared how she had been in school that day and suddenly had a huge headache. It was like nothing she’d ever felt before—like someone was beating her head with a hammer. She asked if she could go home, and the teacher relented after a few minutes, cancelling class for everyone. As they were all walking out of the building, it collapsed behind them in the quake. Vanessa firmly believes that God saved their lives; “He can use anything to save you—even pain,” she said.

One man in the congregation still has a receipt from his grocery shopping that day—he went through the checkout line at Caribbean Market six minutes before the quake, which collapsed it completely.

Frank Williams shared about how he’d been at work that day, having cancelled a trip to LaGonave the day before due to rough seas. He lived in a five-story apartment building with his wife and two girls. His son was visiting with some friends and wasn’t home that day. When the quake happened, his work offices stood and all his employees were fine—but he said it took him some time to realize how large-scale the destruction was. Like many people, he tried to call his family, but couldn’t get through. Going out to the street, he drove as far as he could until the rubble blocked the road—it took him 45 minutes of walking to get to his apartment.

By the time he got there, it was dark. You can imagine what he was feeling…he describes himself as an optimist, but peering into the completely collapsed building, smoke and dripping water obstructing his view, he understandably assumed the worst. The tremors prevented him from climbing in to look for them. He was able to contact his son and met him at a friend’s house. He spent the evening making some hard phone calls to family. He spent the night remembering God’s faithfulness, feeling like Job, sitting in a ruined life, yet willing himself to bless God’s name. His son is a firefighter in training and spent the night making lists and gathering supplies to help look for the family in the morning. Just as they were about to leave, his wife and two girls walked in—the girls looked like they’d been in bike accidents and his wife had badly injured her leg, but they were alive. Miraculously, they had still been together, talking about the day, when the quake hit. His wife was able to shield the girls somewhat, and the building formed a pocket around them which they were able to climb out through. Disoriented and afraid, they started to run and quickly lost their way in the dark. Not sure what else to do, they climbed a tree for safety and began to pray. The couple who owned the tree brought them inside and took care of them—EMT’s said later that the care she received was exactly what they would have done for her.

These are a few stories, but there are many. Please praise God with us for His goodness, and pray that His glory would be made known to many here, as these stories are shared.


  1. Wow, amazing stories! I assume they shared them in Creole, right? Did you have an on-the-fly interpreter, or did the stories get repeated to you later?

  2. Fascinating stories - God is good!

  3. Amazing! God is so faithful. I will continue to pray for His glory to be revealed.

  4. Actually, Dad, it was in English if you can believe it! Quisqueya was started for missionaries who wanted to worship in English, but many Haitians now attend as well (in some cases, partly for the free English lessons). :)

  5. Wonderful and amazing stories! Thanks for sharing so faithfully! We're praying for you and for the people you are there to serve.