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Offering Comfort

September 30, 2008

Written from Haiti by Melanie Thomas, RN, member of a disaster relief team:

Hard to believe that just over a week ago we were notified by Medical Teams International that a disaster team would be sent to Haiti, and I’m even more in awe that I would have the opportunity to return to this beautiful country once again to serve. Our team of six made it here after a very LONG and BUMPY trek. Once again I’ve been blessed to be on a team with such amazing and gifted people.

We could see the damage caused by the hurricanes early in our trip. Roads and bridges were completely wiped out so we had to take lots of detours and “long way arounds.” Lots of mud. All over we could see on the houses how high the water got, as they were still wet. As we got closer to Gonaives, our team got quieter…whispers of “Oh my goodness.” It is even worse than we could have imagined. Houses still completely submerged under water. I could see just the roofs sticking out of the water. Every rooftop covered in furniture, clothes and belongings. We could see by the way everything was thrown on the roofs, the desperation people had to save what little they have. As we drove into Gonaives, there was mud everywhere, and I’m not talking about a little bit of mud on the road. What I’m describing is four feet of mud in and around houses. Most houses still have water coming out of the front door. Schools, buildings, hospitals, completely destroyed by the flooding.

I am reminded that God has a plan for each of us and a way for us to spread His love. What I saw today in the clinic as the workers showed up with open arms, smiles and an eagerness to serve, this is what loving is all about. Most of these people have lost everything, their homes, their belongings and some family members. But yet they are here, serving. They may have lost everything, but ask any of them, and they will say, “I still have hope. I have a God who loves me and will provide for me and my family. I must help my people.”

How do you make sense out of a situation that, quite frankly, makes no sense. And while none of us have the “whys,” we have something even greater. We have a blessed hope. We have peace that passes understanding. We have a joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is so important that we, as believers, rise to the situation and be the light to the world….the city that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden. Because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we CAN be the strength that others need to see. We can and must be Jesus to the world.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Christ Jesus, the Father of compassion and the God of all who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those with the comfort we, ourselves, have received from God (2 Cor 1:3-4)

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