as many of you know, today is the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. this morning i went down to the church service at Mission of Hope, expecting to see people dressed in black, mourning.  instead, it was jam packed with people singing and worshipping the God that spared their lives last year on this day.  It is so hard to believe a year has passed.  my heart has been challenged, broken, and encouraged this year, as i get to work with a people that persevere and savor life unlike any other.

in memory of jan 12, 2010, i want to share a story with you that one of our amputee patients shared with me yesterday.  he was coming in to have his leg remade, as his first one is now too big.  his name is henri alfred, and he is one incredible human being.

henri was coming home from work when it all happened.  as he stood in front of the four story apartment building, he saw it begin shaking, and the slow rumble turned into violent shaking within seconds.  he started running the opposite way, only to run towards another wall that was collapsing towards him as well.  the only other direction was a deep, rocky ravine.  he dove into it, and smashed his right ankle on a large rock.  it was bleeding pretty bad and he could not walk on it.  after the shaking stopped, he hopped on one leg about 100 feet and layed beside a wall on the ground.  He thought it was all over, and he was waiting for help to come.  Then the aftershocks started.  The wall he was under began shaking.  He raised his arm, and started praying to God that He would save him.  Miraculously, the wall fell to his right and to his left, but the part that should have fallen on him fell the other way!  henri KNEW God saved his life.  after that, henri could not find medical care for many days, but finally he got taken to the Dominican Republic for care.  by that time, his leg had already become infected.  first, they amputated his foot, but they found that the infection had already spread higher and they needed to cut again.  then the same thing again- the infection had already spread.  after FOUR amputations below the knee, the doctors told henri that he would most likely lose his knee if the infection had spread higher after the forth amputation.  henri said he prayed and prayed and prayed, because he had a friend that was an amputee pre-earthquake, and knew how much easier it is to walk if you have your knee.  again, God showed up and SAVED HIS KNEE.  it was not in fact infected anymore, and his leg began to heal.  henri had to wait about 6 months to get a prosthesis, because there were so many patients and so few labs at the time.  but seeing him walk for the first time was the best thing i have ever seen.  of all the patients we’ve ever fitted, he was the most excited to walk again.  after about 3 steps, he left the parallel bars and just pranced around like he never missed a beat.  he said he missed walking so much he couldn’t stop!  he kept praising God that he could walk again, and told us how excited he was to be able to work again.  it was the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen.

yesterday, i asked henri how he felt because it was exactly one year after the earthquake.  he said, “i feel like life before the earthquake was like the first half of a soccer game when he wasn’t able to score a goal.  but life since then is like the second half, and he’s already scored four goals and still has time left!”

in other words, to henri, life is better now, after the earthquake.  he told me about how his relationship with Christ is so much deeper now, and now he has found joy.  and life.  he has gratitude for each day. and he knows, with every step he takes, that God saved his life, that God loves him, and that God has a purpose for him. 

i pray today that i could live more like henri alfred.



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