Heartbreak and a Call to Prayer

Friday, November 15, 2013


The hospital where this sweet woman is being treated.
 
What did you do the last two days?

For me, Wednesday and Thursday were like none other.  I started Wednesday off like any normal day.  I was up around 7am, fixed breakfast, Jeremiah came to look at installing the inverter, Esther came by to clean the house for Emily, and things were just normal; running smoothly and enjoyable.  However, as I was fixing dinner that night, my world was rocked.  I got a call from my good friend Erin Fairbanks, who is now working at Dorothy's.  She had been at the hospital all day with Emmanuella, one of the kids at Dorothy's, who was getting her pre-op done for a feeding tube surgery next week.  While at the hospital, Erin was talking with a friend there who mentioned they had an abused woman in their care and they weren't sure where to send her, or who does that kind of ministry here in Port.  Naturally, Erin thought of us and gave me a call wondering if we could take this lady in.

Here is where it got hard.

Come to find out, an American man who brings teams down regularly always checks on this Haitian lady, takes her food, etc.  While in town this past week, he could not find her.  He began to ask around wondering if she had moved, past away, was sick, etc.  They eventually found her in a cemetery.  Bound with wire, gagged, and with severe injuries.  He immediately took her to the hospital for treatment. When I heard this my heart sank.

Who would do such a thing and why?  Why her?  Who did it?  Was it voodoo, her husband, family? How do we help her?  How do we turn her away?  Can we take her in?  Are we equipped for that yet? What is her state of mind even like?  What type of treatment would she need? How do we help her?!??

I spent all of Wednesday night in tears and on the computer emailing back and forth between Erin, Patricia, Emily, and me.  It broke all of our hearts.  We had to do something but what could we do?  We aren't equipped, trained, or prepared to take women like this in, but how do we turn her away??  There are so few places, if any, here in Haiti to send this woman.  My mind raced all night as I tried to figure out how we could help.

Then Thursday came around.  Erin texted and asked if I'd like to go with them to the hospital and meet this lady.  I said yes, and off we went.  I thought from the conversation we had the night before that I was prepared to see this woman, but boy was I wrong.  We sat and talked with the nurse first to get a better understanding of what happened and the severity of her injuries.

We were informed that they believe she was used in some sort of Voodoo ceremony.  They are unclear of how long she had been there, but from her injuries they concluded it had to have been for some time.  The nurse said her whole body was bound with wire.  Her fingers bound so tight that at the base they were cut to the bone, barely hanging on.  She had a huge open wound on her knee where you could see all the tendons and ligaments.  She said this wound was badly infected with screw worms, like nothing they'd seen before.  To the point that they had to call a vet to figure out how to get rid of them. She also has a hole in her ankle where they believe she has some other type of worm living because you can watch its air bubbles come to the surface (she will need surgery for this soon).  She was infested with maggots, everywhere.  In places you would never want maggots.  She was missing a few fingers, which could have been a previous injury or caused from the wire.  They believe she will lose her leg and need a prosthetic in the near future.  Her injuries are so severe that she will be spending a while in the hospital. The nurse also told us that when she was brought to the hospital and finally cleaned up, they took her to her room.  They said she bent down, smelled the sheets (noticing they were clean), smiled the biggest smile they've ever seen, and then laid down and fell right asleep.  The nurse said you could tell it was the first time she had felt safe in a long time.

I was not prepared. Not even close.

It took all I had to not burst into tears when I met this woman face to face.  I couldn't think of anything to say.  I asked how she was doing and told the nurse that we would figure out some way to help.  I wasn't sure what that would look like, but we WOULD help!

As we left, my heart broke in two. Who could do such a thing to this woman?  Why is this world so cruel? How on Earth are we going to help?

Needless to say, she needs your prayers and we need your prayers!!  This is not the first time we've been asked to take someone in.  There simply aren't enough ministries here serving these types of cases.  While our original plan was to not house women, as this question keeps arising we are becoming increasingly aware that this may just be the path God wants our ministry to go. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to take this sweet woman in, but we are beginning the process of looking into this as an option in the future.

Unfortunately, saying yes is not as easy as it sounds.  While our hearts scream ABSOLUTELY we'll take her, our minds are reminded of how big of a committment that is.  As soon as we take the first woman in, we will open our gates to a revolving door of these cases.  We will get knocks and calls all the time.  That then forces us to face and prepare for these questions:

-Who do we take in?
-Who do we turn away?
-How many women can we house?
-What services can we provide?
-What if they need medical care?  We don't have a nurse here, transportation to take them to the hospital, or the supplies to even do basic medical care here.
-How long do they stay?
-How do we keep track of their progress when they decide to leave?
-How will we afford to feed and provide medical care to these women?
-What training does our staff need to provide proper counseling and care?
-How do we turn someone away?
-What are the guidelines for the women we'll accept?
-How do we even decide what cases are "acceptable" here?
-How do we protect them in the long run?
-How do we keep ourselves and this ministry safe once we start this program?
-How do we say no?

And the list can go on, and on, and on!

These questions have been racing through our minds the last two days as we explore this new path for the ministry.

Please keep us in your prayers.  Pray that God would provide the wisdom, knowledge, resources, and provision if this is His will.  If it's not His will, please pray that he would close the door.  Pray that we would have the courage to take this step and explore this area of ministry.  Pray for our hearts and our minds, as nothing can put into words the things we've seen the last two days.  Please pray for us as we try to discern God's will.  If this is the path we are to take, please pray that we will figure out how to put it into action.

I was not prepared.  I'm not prepared.  But God doesn't call the equipped.  

Please pray for this sweet woman.  We don't even know her name because she speaks so softly that no one can understand.  She goes by about four different names at the hospital, but we hope as she continues to gain her voice and confidence that we will come to know her name soon.  In the mean time,  please pray for her.  Pray for her health, quick and complete healing, for her emotional state, that this would not crush her spirit, and that some how some good will come from this. She needs our prayers.

Please pray. For her. For us.  For the women we will soon be serving.

Ps.  Sorry there is no picture of this sweet lady.  I couldn't bring myself to ask for a picture when I saw her yesterday.

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