"Serving in the medical clinics was a truly eye-opening experience, as the cases that we saw were often times very saddening, giving myself peeks at not only how blessed I am, but in what dire situations many Haitians are. Patients often visited the clinic simply because they were experiencing symptoms of poor hygiene, dehydration and malnutrition. Other times we saw seriously medically ill patients needing surgeries that we unfortunately could not provide nor procure anywhere on the entire island. Other hopeless situations emerged as we saw – and treated to the best of our abilities – two victims of serious burns likely caused by participation in prominent Haitian voodoo rituals. I often desired to be able to stay longer than the one week I was there in order to continue providing the great hope that our very presence gave to these hurting and neglected people.
The memory of one patient’s tears and fears remains with me even now. A woman came into the clinic with her daughter. After the daughter checked out to be completely healthy, the mother asked us for a pregnancy test for herself. As we were waiting for the results, the translator retold the story that she narrated between sobs. The woman was newly pregnant again, but had become unsure of her unborn child’s viability after being repeatedly kicked in the stomach by her husband who was upset at the news of their unborn child. Her husband, who had since left her for another woman, was now threatening to kill her for reasons we did not know. Following the lead of the extremely wise and experienced doctor I was shadowing, we prayed over this woman and her daughter. At the conclusion of the prayer, the woman confessed that she did not believe that she would still be alive had she not been praying to Jesus as she was being beaten. That statement sparked both hope and reservation in my heart. My hope in her faith in our Christ was shrouded with reservation that comes from the history of the Catholicism brought into the island hundreds of years ago being integrated into the indigenous voodoo practices that now claim a demon named Jesus.
Haiti is a dark and despairing place full of a lost and wandering people. Though they are enveloped in some terrible darkness and evil, our true and living Christ will shine brighter than the darkest night."
James 1:27 - “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”