Story : Haiti Update

Posted by Dave Clayton on

Back in June I spent a two week period in Cap-Haitien, a  city on the northern coast of Haiti. After the earthquake  many of the victims were sent to hospitals in Cap-  Haitien to receive wound treatment as the Port-Au-  Prince area was basically reduced to rubble. While in  Cap, I worked in a Catholic Hospital and another small  clinic in the area. Dave asked me to do a small write up  on what I saw God doing in Haiti. The truth is it was  very difficult for me to decide what to write about. I saw  desperate people everywhere I looked, but finding God in  that place was not easy. The people of Haiti are  outwardly desperate for food, jobs, and clean water, but  most of them don’t even realize what they are truly  desperate for. They are desperate for Jesus Christ. While  there are many Haitians they do know Jesus, the  majority are engaged in the Voodoo culture, and this group includes the 80 % of Haitians that are professing Catholics. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around, but while they attend mass almost every morning and proclaim Jesus, their ultimate authority is almost always a Voodoo priest or priestess.

I quickly realized that Satan’s stronghold over Haiti is greed and a lust for money. The few Haitians that truly know Jesus are free of this greed, but most Haitians are consumed by it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet but a few Haitians that aren’t driven by greed, and for this reason I had a lot of difficulty trying to see God’s work. But the more I think about it, the more God reveals to me that He is at work in that place just as He is anywhere else in this world, though it may be a little more tainted in Haiti. I felt God pushing me to write about Shada, the other clinic that I worked at while in Cap-Haitien, so here it is.

On the first Wednesday that I was in Haiti, we gathered some supplies from the Hospital and made our way to Shada. Right in the heart of the city, Shada is more or less a picture perfect description of the meaning of the word “slum.” We stopped on the side of the road, grabbed our bags, and a young boy met us and walked us through a maze of cramped alleys back to the clinic. Many of the alleys were smaller than shoulder width, and we had to turn sideways in order to get through. We also had to be mindful not to step in the water that was flowing through every alley. This water, in which children with swollen bellies and reddened hair due to malnutrition walk barefoot through every day, is actually the sewage system for the community. The backside of the community runs into an inlet from the sea, and the shore is darkened muck literally covered in trash. The water directly off of the shore is black, and it’s not uncommon to see people bathing in it.

Madam Bwa, the overseer of the community, runs the clinic. Madam Bwa is a midwife who has delivered probably every baby in that community. She’s pretty much in charge of that area, and I heard from many people that we would not have been welcome in Shada without her permission. Currently, this clinic is funded by a group in Florida. They provide enough money to the clinic for one Doctor to come to the clinic one day each week. If someone is sick on a day other than when the doctor is in, they’ll have to wait another week for her to come back. It’s really a terrible situation, especially considering some of the patients that we saw. Tuberculosis is rampant in this area, and due to the close living quarters, more and more people are getting it all the time. Though we could write prescriptions for TB medication, we couldn’t actually give it to them and knew that they would never be able to afford it. That was a tough situation to get past considering we saw at least 3 children under the age of 2 that probably had TB. Since being back, I’ve gotten word that a few children that we saw have died because they couldn’t afford to go anywhere else and because it wasn’t the day that the doctor was in. Again, it’s a truly awful situation. I know this all seems very much like a downer, but like I said before I am now seeing how God is working in this area.

I went to Haiti with Randy Moore, an RN from Atlanta. He’s been back and forth ever since the earthquake, working mostly out of the Catholic Hospital. Randy felt God’s call to go to Haiti, quit his job, and went with it, and I can see now that God is using people like him to bring the message of Hope to the Haitians. The greatest thing that God has revealed to Randy about why he should be in Haiti is not to just help people, but rather to teach them how to help each other. Most importantly, Randy is loving these people. He is kind and generous to them and actually tries to invest himself in their lives. That is something that shocks most Haitians, and it really only causes them to ask questions about why Randy is the way he is. The only answer Randy can give, the only answer any of us can give when good comes from us, is that it is from Jesus and not ourselves. And that is what God is doing in Haiti.

I do not believe that God caused an earthquake in Haiti. I do not believe that God was punishing the Haitians for their enslavement to Voodoo. I do believe that God allowed the earthquake to happen and is now using it to awaken His people to a part of the world that we have seemingly forgotten. He is using people like Randy. He is using people from all over the world to lift up these broken people. However, we can send food, clothes, water, and anything, but like I said before, the Haitians are desperate for Jesus Christ. They are desperate for His Spirit to flow through them and give them the peace, hope, and love that is Jesus. I have read articles talking about the “Hope of Haiti” being their resilient nature and drive to get back on the feet. In reality the Hope of Haiti is the Hope of all people and all nations. Their Hope is Jesus Christ. God is using His people in that place, and He is moving in ways that I couldn’t see until He opened my eyes to it. He is using ordinary people like you and me, just like He always has, to bring the Glory of Jesus to the Haitians and all peoples of the world. It’s really a beautiful thing. I am thankful to be a part of it.

God bless you all,

Burton Wood

Randy is heading back to Haiti in September, and he’s going to be working more closely with the clinic in Shada. He’s raising money so that they can expand their clinic and have doctors for several days each week rather than just on Wednesday. If you have any interest in helping out financially or even going down to be a loving presence to these people you can contact Randy at . And if you have any questions about anything else feel free to contact me at or come find me at the 5:00 pm service!

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