Report from Haiti
Jan 26, 2010
Their American Airlines plane touched down on Jan. 12 at 4 p.m.—15 minutes ahead of schedule. A Haitian pastor met them at the airport, loaded their bags in his vehicle and prepared to drive them to Carrefour when everything began to shake. At first Linda thought people were pushing the car until she noticed the trees were shaking too.
A 7.0 earthquake had just hit the city, but Linda and her friends, Kellee, Lisa and Julie, had no access to news broadcasts. All they could see were buildings collapsing and people running into the streets. Many people were covered with blood and white dust. One naked woman stood in the street with a stunned expression. Linda and her friends gave her some clothes.
The devastation was horrifying, yet the sound of praise soon filled the streets. Haitians were on their knees with their hands raised. "So many people were praying and praising God," Linda told me. "They were saying, 'Jesus is Lord' and ‘Thank you Jesus,' in Creole."
Unable to drive to the orphanage, the pastor took the women to a church where about 2,000 people were singing and praying in a crude shelter that had survived the quake. Later that evening the women relocated to a soccer field where people were sleeping on sheets under the stars. Injured people were everywhere, but still the sound of praises filled the air.
"I've never felt the presence of God in such a tangible way as I did that night," said Linda, whose husband, Wayne, and their two young children were back home in North Carolina—wondering
if Linda had survived the disaster. "They were singing songs like, ‘Our God is an Awesome God.' People were praying in small groups, and then a wave of God's glory hit us around 2 a.m. Everyone was shouting praises."
The next morning wounded people lined up in front of the four white women, assuming they were nurses. Linda felt completely inadequate to help them, but she remembered they had Band-aids, antibacterial medicine, alcohol preps and $500 worth of underwear in their luggage.
Amazingly, they also had packed 25 pounds of rubber gloves. The women sprang into action. They began praying for people and applying bandages and Neosporin
"I am convinced there was a loaves-and-fishes kind of miracle going on," Linda told me after she was airlifted to Florida on a private plane over the weekend. "All our supplies were multiplied. We even used Band-aids on an amputated leg."
[Note our Prayer for Haiti posted about 10 days ago.]
Linda Graham with one of the two babies she helped deliver after the Haitian earthquake.
The biggest test of the women's faith came later that morning when two Haitian women went into labor. Linda was asked to deliver the babies—in an abandoned hospital. There were at least 300
dead bodies piled near the building's entrance, but Linda was determined to see life triumph over the misery she saw all around her.
"It was an awful place," she says of the Ministry of Health Hospital. "The three rusted tables in the maternity room were covered in bodily fluids. There was no electricity or running water in there. All I had was a pair of scissors and some fabric."
Linda swallowed hard, prayed in the Holy Spirit and called on the Lord for help. She prayed harder when she realized that the first baby was in a breach position.
"I just made a declaration," she said. "I prayed, ‘You will move into the right position and you will be born in Jesus name!'" A healthy girl was born in a few minutes.
A second pregnant woman then demanded attention, and her Christian husband translated Linda's English instructions to his wife. To help the mother breathe properly, Linda told her to say