Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bring Me Your Sick and Suffering

I have been in Haiti for a little over a week now, and today I experienced a Gospel story in real life. You know how Jesus would walk the streets and visit different towns and neighborhoods? He would kneel down and ask what was ailing an individual, and then people who saw and heard about His miraculous touch would desperately seek His help.

Today was my first time walking with a team of student nurses through the small neighborhoods of Jacmel, Haiti. We were lead by Sister Marilyn who had visited a few people the day before and promised a return visit. They were all waiting outside on their porches and steps when we arrived, eager to receive help from this group of healers. You could see the hope in their eyes and the excitement as they called on their children and grandchildren to search for chairs, offering a place for the nurses to sit. Sister Marilyn translated as people shared their aches and pains, burdened by illnesses they couldn’t understand or afford. People would stand around and listen, curious and watchful, but then more people would start to show up, just like they would with Jesus. We would finish with one person, and then someone would lift up their child onto the porch - “She doesn’t have an appetite,” they would say, concerned for their little one. The team of nurses would then discuss the possibilities as Sister Marilyn translated their questions. After granting small doses of medication, another neighbor would bring their elderly mother. “She has terrible headaches,” they’d tell us, and then all would watch, amazed, as the nurses checked blood pressure, took temperature, and pulled bottles of medication out of their bags.

We were almost finished with one home visit in particular when the small crowd parted to let a young man come through. We all winced as he walked up the steps, slowly and carefully, suffering from what looked like road burn. It turned out he had been near a propane tank when it exploded, leaving burns and blisters on his arm and face. The student nurses quickly began surveying the damage. After gathering all the necessary information, they cleaned the open skin with peroxide, then gently applied antibiotic ointment to the affected areas. When it was particularly painful, the young man would close his eyes, but his face was still covered with signs of relief, knowing that he was getting the help he needed.

As I observed the nurses and their patients, it was like watching people flock to Jesus; people with a hope big enough for miracles.