Limp bodies on improvised stretchers appeared at twilight as people carried them across the open field to the mission team’s medical site. Top-heavy with fresh vegetables and more than forty workers, the giant truck’s brakes failed, sending everyone tumbling off the top of the truck and down the side of the mountain. The local Haitians knew the medical missionaries would help.
Blood flowed freely; the ground soon became slick and the oppressive smell hung thicker in the humid tropical air with every minute that passed. Flies buzzed as broken bones, open wounds, and mangled bodies littered the dirt, overlapping one another in a mass of flesh. It looked like a battlefield.
Shouting rapid-fire directions for shell-shocked non-medical staff to care for the walking wounded, the lead doctor helped get them out of the immediate carnage. Walking through to assess each patient, hands grabbed at her; people were screaming—begging—in Creole for her to save them.
One woman with a fatal head wound grabbed the doctor and would not let her go. Terror filled the woman’s wide eyes as she ranted in streaming words of desperation—the cries of one who knows she is dying.
“We need to start praying. We need divine help!” The lead doctor, a woman strong in her faith, understood this mission was about more than just healthcare. She looked past the imminent physical distress and saw a greater, more eternal spiritual need. Her small field team knew it, too.
Ten people died in that steaming field in Haiti that night. Eight had died at the scene of the accident. Twenty were stabilized and eventually made it to a hospital, but only God knows how many souls accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that night through the prayers of short-term missionary doctors, nurses, and volunteers.
What if we could see the emotional and spiritual state of people around us? It might look like a battle had taken place in them, too—a barren and parched wasteland of dried bones. How broken are the people we see each day at our work, in our school, or around our neighborhood? If we look past carefully crafted exteriors into their hearts, we might hear their anguished cries, see their deepest wounds, and pray as the Spirit shows us.
Suggested Bible Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-10
“Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
I will put my Spirit in you and you will live…”
Prayer: “Lord, open our spiritual eyes so we can see what You see – the hurting, the hopeless, the helpless, and the lost. Show us what part we can play to bring glory to Your Son, Jesus Christ.”
This post is based on the true story of a medical missionary team led by Dr. Debbie Woodard to Haiti.
As we sat down for coffee, she described her story to me. I wondered what I would have done to “save” people if I had been in her position.
What about you?