Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 3 - Voodoo at the Presidential Palace

Day 3 started early as I awoke to drums and chanting in the middle of the night around 3 a.m. I listened to the chanting get louder and louder, closer and closer, and then I saw a Haitian Policeman run by toward the front gate (to lock it, i hoped - nope - he just ran outside). I woke Matt up and told him we were heading up to the roof to check out what was going on. (I figured if the mob came into our camp knowing we had food or whatever, they probably would not go to the roof as they were still scared of buildings collapsing). The crowd was chanting with the drums as they circled the Presidential Palace. We had about 8 Haitian cops outside of our compound and thankfully the chanting, clapping crowd stayed a safe distance away, directly in front of the Presidential Palace dancing and waving their arms. There was one UN vehicle, kind of like a truck with a machine gun turret in the top but they were backed up on the opposite street and Andy (the leader) and I joked that it looked as if the UN vehicle was prepared to take off in the other direction if the crowd came our way. We all felt somewhat safe with the Haitian police because the people are scared of them because they will shoot them. The US military is technically there to help the people and do not want to shoot anyone but the Haitian police have a reputation of restoring order the hard way so we felt we had good protection. Right in front of us was an old man wearing a purple "dress/flowing robe" with stars on it, waiving his arms praying/cursing at us; so we prayed (to the One True God) and he backed off to the other side of the street; he was definitely not a good guy, spooky. Everyone did not get up at this hour to watch this but some nurses from England said they have worked in Haiti in the past and rituallly at 3am followers of voodoo come out and play drums almost every single night. They finally leave and Matt and I go back down and get in the tent and go back to sleep.

About 4:30 am, I hear music again. At first, I think, uh - oh they may be coming back with a bigger mob. But there is no drums. Just singing, and then I recognize the song. It is "The Old Rugged Cross." As I lay there I start thinking about the Haitians who are up at that moment in their lives and are singing. Most have lost their homes, jobs, their money, clothes, and food. Would I still love God after that? Then I think, at least they have their wife and kids; but some have lost their entire family. Some individuals lost everything and yet they still are singing to God.

I am going to write exactly what I scribbled down in the middle of the night - some of it may not be coherent but here it is;

"Our God is so real - I know the same God these Haitians are singing to. I know Him, how good He is and these people are still praising Him. One of the poorest countries on the earth and all they have right now is Him and He is still and always will be worthy to be praised. I told Matt to lift up a song in his heart and join these Haitian Christians in honoring God above all - what an honor to be laying in a tent and hear this worship with my 16 year old and hear him drift off to sleep - what an incredible night."

After the voodoo people came out, it was like we had the Christian response. It was so beautiful to hear the Christians singing. They had to be people sleeping in the tent cities close by. A Haitian pastor told me that in the past when the voodoo people came out and chanted while playing the drums, that the Christians did not normally get out of bed and sing. But they are now. Just like they spray painted on the Presidential Palace, "Satan is finished." It was beautiful and I just laid there in peace. It was a totally different vibe from earlier when I was prompted to get Matt up to safety. The Prince of Peace was here and He is good.

Matt and I went out with a medical mobile unit team in the school bus. Some of the team is staying at the Police station working in the clinic or emergency room. Other Doctors, nurses, and paramedics (including Brad) are now going daily to the Miami Clinic which is located at the Port-au-Prince airport and putting in a full days work there where they are busy and are incredibly effective helping people all day long. Our mobile clinic team has found out that the Haitian people are getting pretty good treatment from the medical communities around the world. The places we went today, the people had seen a doctor within the last three days which is almost unbelievable. Their top priority needs are clean water, food, and a place to use the bathroom (possibly litrines could be built) as the people in these tent cities are using the restroom in the same river that they use for drinking water. They are living in horrific conditions. It is tough to see. It has not rained yet since the earthquake which has been a blessing because diseases have not spread due to the lack of rain.

After the bus returned, I was able to explore a little. I was needed to drive my Trooper all over the capital city with Andy and our Haitian translator. We had to get some specific medicines from a pharmacy. We also needed to check out the tent city that we potentially could help the next day to make sure they were needing medical help. Andy was fearless in the middle of Port-au-Prince. He would jump out of my vehicle, buy some medicine, cross a busy street, talk to some street vendors by himself with his limited Creole language (he knows Spanish excelente) looking for the other supplies our team needed.

When our family first arrived in Santo Domingo in June 2005, we stayed with our "bosses" Danny and Denise Stone for four days and then "house-sat" for Andy and Pam Patterson for 6 weeks while they went home to the States to visit. So our first weeks on the mission field were in Andy's old home here in Santo Domingo. I told him (now 5 years later) while we were working together that he was doing a great job leading this mission team as it was not an easy task. He is back in SC working but one day I would not be surprised to see him back on the mission field because it is obvious that he was born to be a missionary. When I house sat for him years ago, I never would have thought we would be working together, driving through Haiti after a horrible disaster together but God knows the future and works all things out for good.

We had dinner and Matt and I went straight to bed. Matt had worked hard all day again and was passed out when the worship service began. Our tent was right beside the service and I decided to get up from my sleeping bag and join in because the Haitian worship leader was singing in English and it was powerful. It was mostly Haitians and Dominicans, as most of our team was in bed except Dave and Maria Fleming (Maria won the prayer award for this team as she was always praying for people while holding their hands, great job) and I believe Dentist Ben was also up praising the Lord. I was impressed by this Haitian worship leaders' English as we sang, "Hallelujah, Grace like rain fall downs on me" - it was incredible. The Dominican team finished the night by publicly apologizing to the Haitian people for looking down on them as a people all these years. They promised to be better neighbors and asked the Haitians for forgiveness. This disaster is bringing restoration between these two countries and the Dominicans really are being a great friend to their neighbor in need.

1 comment:

Brittany. said...

Loved all of the Haiti blogs! I'll probably go back and comment on each day. Can't wait to see the rest!

Love you, Daddy. :)