Abijean’s MiracleRich Stigall
This blog was written by the Haiti Orphan Project (HOPE). HOPE exists to provide loving care for orphans in Haiti, in a Christian gospel context. HOPE partners with The Global Orphan Project and local church partners to help care for orphaned and abandoned children.
“Clinic closed. Pack it up.” I breathed a sigh of relief and happiness. I was tired but happy. We’d made it. Made it through checkups, infected wounds, chickenpox, tummy aches, fevers and worms. We’d made pharmacy runs, crushed pills with rocks, washed and bandaged sores and mixed and dosed medication in a field. “Pack it up” meant untying the ropes that held the tarp to the bus and putting medicine, bandages and ointment back in the duffle bags we brought them in.
Tired but happy. We created a clinic in a field. On the fly. Somehow we had a triage station, a wound care station, a pharmacy, people helping with crowd control and everyone that came was seen by the doctor and nurse!
Then he came walking across the field carrying a little girl and my heart dropped.
“We cannot do this here!” I must have said it four or five times.
The little girl was badly burned from elbow to fingertips. She’d been burned in some sort of cooking accident. She hadn’t slept in two days. Her family heard there were doctors at Village de Vie so her brother carried her to us.
I held her in my arms and cried as I watched Jonathan (doctor) and Lindsay (nurse) debride her arm. She needed to be in a hospital! She needed antibiotics! Dehydration! Infection! So many things could go wrong! She needed so much that we could not give!
Members of our team gathered around to pray. She sat quietly. Not a tear in her eyes. She didn’t pull away or try to squirm out of my arms. Curiously watching as dead skin was removed, her arm washed and bandaged.
Then we left.
I didn’t sleep much that night. I so wanted to believe that she was going to be ok. I wanted to believe that God placed Lindsay- a nurse who had worked on a burn unit- on this trip for this little girl. I wanted to believe that He sent Jonathan- a physician who treated patients with supplies available while boldly and continually pointing to the One who truly gives healing- for the burned little girl. I would have said I believed those things and added to it the organizational gifts of this group and leadership skills and servants’ hearts. But I was frustrated too. Annoyed that this would happen on the first trip that we had a clinic. We weren’t prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for this.
Had she not shown up, I would have said that God put all these people together to form a great team with the gifts and skills we needed AND THAT I DID A GOOD JOB. I work for HOPE and part of my job is trip organization. It’s never perfect but it gets better every time and I was feeling pretty good about the clinic since it was just the first time. I breathed a sigh of relief.
And then she showed up.
I froze. I could do nothing but say “we can’t do this here” over and over again. I’m the queen of crisis. I act. I do. I direct. I figure it out. I froze. I realized that night that I so often depend on my own strength.
We sent her home with a red backpack full of gauze, antibiotic ointment, and clean water.
Then we left. Again.
I thought every day about the little girl whose name I didn’t know. I prayed- begging God for healing. I told Him it would be a great way to show His power and love. And I prayed that I would know and truly believe His power and love are the same in earthquakes and sickness and burns. There were days I was certain she would be fine and days I was sure she would be dead.
In October, three months after she showed up at that first clinic, I was back in Haiti. I wish I could say that my heart was prepared for what I would find.
We went to Village de Vie to attend the celebration of the school opening. I immediately asked Volcy (our guide/interpreter) to take me to find the little girl with the burn. I asked my husband Luke to come with us- whatever we saw I wanted him there. We followed Volcy through the town surrounding Village de Vie and knocked on the gate.
We were looking and touching a perfect arm. No scar tissue. Her pigment was normal. There was no evidence of a burn! Volcy translated to Abijean’s mother that we couldn’t believe it was her. She laughed as she went inside and came back with the red backpack as proof. With tears in her eyes she thanked us. [photo]
Again I held Abijean on my lap. And again she watched with curious eyes and once more I cried over my doubting heart, a mother who diligently cared for her injured child, a powerful loving heavenly Father and her arm. Her Beautiful. Perfect. Arm.
Abijean’s Miracle took place after our first Haiti medical clinic in July, 2012. To learn more about the Haiti Orphan Project’s medical work in Haiti, visit HOPE Medical.