Watching Haitians Stand Up For Those In Need

17 01 2010

When I packed my bag on Tuesday night, I really didn’t have a clue what I was getting in to.  I grabbed some clean socks, underwear, a couple of pairs of pants, some shorts, and shirts.  I remember thinking, deodorant is nice too…oh yeah, don’t forget the toothbrush and toothpaste!

I packed my fairly new REI backpack (thank God for a great purchase!) and headed for work Wednesday morning, determined to find Katie and Tia alive and even more determined to get to them.  Long story short, I wasn’t prepared for sleeping on the airport tarmac Wednesday night; I never thought I would wear the same clothes for 2 full days and never think about changing; I never thought a backpack could serve so well as a pillow; I never thought I would actually sleep through an earthquake-sized aftershock…but man did I ever; and finally, I never expected to get so focused on the task at hand–helping others!

After getting Katie and Tia to safety, the next concern was getting a plan to bring Tia home safely and then getting food to the orphans now safe at the guest house.  I never knew that I would be in the middle of a media frenzy.  I have been on Fox News, CNN, CBS, and NBC.  I have heard from many of you and words can’t express how much I thank you for holding me up and staying at my back, sides, and front during this.  I’m truly grateful that God continues to move things when I have all but given up at times.

I woke up on the conveyor belt at luggage claim (outside) Saturday morning.  I though, man, my throat really hurts, it must be from sweating and then being cool during the night.  Normally, I would take meds, get some liquids, and rest.  No chance here though.  Meds??? I’m in Haiti where people die from a fever.  Liquids??? I have probably drank about 30 bags of water (If you’ve ever had Bon Dlo you know what I’m talking about!!).  Rest??? Not until my body shut down last night.  Then I got some rest and a new look at Haiti.

This morning we were supposed to have a shipment of food, water, baby food, and supplies flown to an airport in Jacmel.  It’s about a 2 hour drive (at least) away from the guest house, if a road exists.  Yep, that’s right…the road no longer exists. As we made the drive, I noticed we didn’t meet a lot of traffic coming DOWN the mountain on our side as we went up.  The reality was, there WAS NO TRAFFIC.  The road was completely gone.  Moved.  It doesn’t exist as it once did.

Instead of giving up, my AMAZING team and Ministry at BGM went into overdrive to try to get a helicopter (yes, a helicopter) to drop the supplies at the New Missions complex.  We have had such a great relationship with New Missions, it was the only safe place we could think of, AND it gave me a chance to check on so many dear friends we have there.  We knew the missionaries and the team there got out safely a couple of days ago (check out Jeremie Detellis’ Blog for pix of their Blackhawk helicopter rides), so it only made sense to try to get the supplies helicoptered there.

Here is where the story changes, and quite honestly, where my own heart changes.  When I pulled into the village of Neply, I stopped to talk to a few of my friends.  One friend in particular has become extremely close to my family.  She has taught us some creole, has prayed for us, has saved us seats on the truck, and has become family.  When I saw her, I was more than excited.

I explained to her why we were going to the mission.  What I didn’t know, was what was going on back at the guest house.  Dr. and Mrs. Bernard had decided to go to the store to try to get some food for the kids.  The beans and rice we have here now aren’t going to last forever, unless God gives us some of that magnificent Widow’s oil (1 Kings 17).  What they discovered when they got to the store was sad…and a little frightening.  No food was at the store.  You could buy soap or shampoo, but no food.  It reminds me of Nashville when they call for snow and the bread and milk disappear.  The reality is…we are going to run out of food and water here in the near future.  We know however that God WILL provide.  It might be in a way we have never thought of before, but one thing is true, we KNOW He is going to take care of things.

I explained to my friend I was trying to get a food and supply shipment for the orphans at the guest house.  In Haiti, mentioning food always brings the people out of the woodwork and this was no exception.  Even in good times, Leogane struggles with survival.  Food is always at a premium there, so when I saw people gathering I knew I was going to have a difficult time explaining how I was going to drive right past their house with a truck full of food and not give them any.  I was at a real quandary.  Then my friend said something in Creole and I watched the men surrounding me all stop and stare and hang on her every word.  They looked at me then back at her.  One even looked at me and said, “Are you really going to help babies?”  I confirmed and he said, “wait here I will be back.”

I didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe he was going to bring some kind of toy back to help with the effort.  Maybe he had a child at home and was going to show me what a hungry child looked like to him, or maybe he was just going to get more guys and cause a riot.  I have seen it all here and know and love the Haitian people.  I know they don’t mean anything by their in your face shouting or wild exaggerations while they talk.  I know they are emotional people.  What I wasn’t prepared for though was what this man DID bring back.

He brought himself and friends back.  My thoughts naturally went to, “oh well, this isn’t going to be pretty,” but God had other plans.  This man introduced himself as Michael and then said he and his friends wanted to make sure no one gave me or the guys with me any problems.  He said if a helicopter was landing so close, many people would want to watch and see and many would see the supplies and begin screaming and begging.  He told me he knows Haitians have a reputation as being beggars, but in this situation he knew where the REAL need was.  He was going to make sure the food and supplies got where they were going.  He said he knew we wouldn’t forget about them…we never had.

I could do nothing more than realize my Haitian family had stepped up.  They saw me there not as a savior for their problems, but rather as a person trying to help children in need.  They could do that too.  They didn’t need to do it, they won’t get recognition for doing it, nor will they get a gold star from God for it, but they did it because it was the right thing to do.

I was (and truly still am) overwhelmed by their actions.  I saw God’s hand motivating them.  I saw their genuine concern for someone other than themselves and I was humbled to be among such greatness.

The hard part of the story was walking to that group of giants and telling them we needed to leave.  No helicopter would come on this day.  No food was arriving.  I know I was hungry since I hadn’t eaten today, but somehow that hunger served as a small way to bring us together, because I know most of them hadn’t eaten yet either.  I felt more Haitian today than I ever have and I was proud.  I have stood up for those in need before, but this time I saw my Haitian family doing it.  They GOT it today.

Now, maybe I need to think about standing up for others right where I live. Now THAT hurts.  :o)

Blessings and Bon Huit (Good Night)

–mike ><>




9 responses

18 01 2010

Mike this is incredible!
We are praying do hard that you all will come home soon, that you are safe while you are there, and that God will use you in amazing ways for the Haitian people. Cant wait to see you all again, keep the updates coming our whole church is behind you!

18 01 2010
Valerie Burns

Praying fervently for you and your family. Praying that you and Tia make it out today! I have a niece there serving with Heartline Ministries in the Tabarre area. Our hearts are heavy for the Haitians.

18 01 2010

hi mike , can you help french parents ?
i’m with Nathalie Marquise’s mother (her daughter was on NBC video , we saw her face,sleeping quitly)

Just can you tell to Dr Bernard to transfert adoption folder of french parent to french ambassy ?

because French government need those document in order to move those kids out of haiti.

best regards

Jean-Eric , Nathalie

18 01 2010
Celia Peace

God bless you dear one~ We too were in Haiti back in October on a very short mission trip out of New Braunfels, TX. Our son, Aaron Peace, introduced us to your blog and situation. Please know we are praying for you, Tia, and your whole family. And of course our hearts are heavy for Haiti~

19 01 2010
Dave Fry

Mike, I read this twice… and I cried twice! It’s incredibly moving to see God at work in people’s lives. CB filled me in on why the helicopter didn’t come (too long a story for you to fill in here, I realize). If more and more Haitian’s step up and begin to show the character of those men, this could be the turn around that is so long overdue for Haiti.
I’m thrilled for your family that you are finally able to bring Tia home!! May God bless you all richly for your faithful service and obedience to His call on your lives! (Y’all are just gonna be one big walking, talking bundle of miracles;-) )

19 01 2010
Jennifer Vaughan

I had spent a week with your lovely and powerhouse of a wife in November. Along with that I got to watch her and Tia navigate this new family relationship. It was beautiful! I found myself getting choked up often, knowing that Tia was the perfect fit. I had looked forward to serving alongside you in March for the soccer camp. I feel like I already know you through Missy, Kelly, Amy and of course the latest happenings.
I want you to know that YOU were God’s choice. I know that you had to feel very abandoned and alone as you continued to fight the battle for your daughters and the other voice-less children, however at no time were you alone. God had equipped you for this time. Yesterday as I knelt at the altar praying for you and Tia, I had such a sense of peace come over me. That peace that is only explained by God. I KNEW you would both return home to the ones who love you, however I also KNEW that GOD still needed to use you and wasn’t finished yet.
So thank you for never giving up. For STANDING up for those who could not stand for themselves. For putting your needs aside for others. And for allowing us to travel this God journey with you and your family.
I love this land that you have just returned from. I NEVER imagined that my heart could be so wrecked for a country other than my own. Oh, how wrong I was! I KNEW in August that I would never be the same again. And then again in November, I found myself trying to figure out just what that means. NOW I know….
Thank you Mike. Thank you for sharing, for standing, and for being the person of integrity that I so knew you had to be! May God guide you as you navigate the memories and the lessons that God has taken you on. Know that my prayers continue to be with the Wilson family and I look forward to the day when I can meet the whole family.

20 01 2010

I got to your blog through a series of google searches on an orphanage in Carrefour with a Pastor Michelle…not sure of the name of the orphanage just that a friend of ours is starting a fund for them and somehow ran across your blog. SO THRILLED to see that both daughters are safe and that you were able to bring Tia HOME!!!

Jeannie Pace
Camilla, GA

20 01 2010
Ray and Wanda Poythress

Mike, We are so happy that Tia is safely home. We know is has been a long hard battle for you and your family. You are such a special family to do what you do.

Yours in Christ,

Ray and Wanda Poythress

PS: Mike I really enjoyed your message when you spoke at SonRise Refuge Church a few months ago.

25 01 2010
Beverly Dronebarger


I met you at a retreat you did in the fall for FBC in Sparta. We talked about your adoption and I immediately thought of your family when I heard about the earthquake.
I am so thrilled that you now have your sweet one home with you.

To God be the Glory! My family continues to pray for Haiti.
Beverly Dronebarger

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