Hospital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti

Hospital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti

Before I begin this story, you need to know that it does not end well.  But only a persistent pessimist would not try to find some meaning in a tragedy.

In 1991 I accepted a 2-year assignment to develop drinking water sources in Haiti, sponsored by a hospital.  Living there with my young family was a cultural delight for me.

I traveled the countryside in a raggedy, diesel-burning Land Rover truck.  Most days I was with my crew, working on pipelines and wells.  Some days I ventured out solo, interacting with various communities and meeting people.

One Saturday, I had been to the market in Verrettes.  With many more people traveling than vehicles to convey them, it was not unusual to turn down many friendly appeals for a free ride.  But what I saw in the road in front of me was not that.

Two women were frantically waving their hands.  They looked terrified and desperate.  I stopped and then realized that they had laid a child, about 10-yrs old and unconscious, in the roadside grass and were trying to get him to hospital.

We quickly loaded the child and sped toward the hospital. Arriving there, the usual front-door crowd parted as they saw me running with this limp form.  Inside, I laid him on a gurney as my co-workers responded.

In a nearby office I waited out the adrenaline.  It was but a few minutes and a friend stepped in to tell me that I had carried in a dead child.  Cause of the tragic death was AIDS or malnutrition.
I felt helplessness and pity for that child.  In time I realized that I may not be able to change a culture, eradicate a disease, or implement effective public policy.  But I could do something for one village, one family, one person, a neighbor.

Christians are particularly motivated to serve our fellow man.  Our Lord Jesus set the example in the way he lived, and in his sacrificial death on our behalf.  We follow his example and teaching.  He said the greatest commandments are to “love the Lord your God,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

As our country declines into immorality, defines religious freedom as bigotry, and devalues the natural family, it is tempting to retreat.  Yet even if you can’t change these by yourself, you can respond within your ability to the needs of people around you.  We know God is at work to bring about His purpose in each person’s life.  As we demonstrate the love of God, we participate in His work.  And He can change people, families, and nations as they come to know and obey Him.

I would that you never carry a dead child in your arms.  But what will you carry in serving God and your neighbor?