Saturday, January 16, 2010


Meet Ernst. He is 26 years old. He came to the clinic Lori and I went to desperately hoping for help. When I saw him first, he was sitting on the ground with most of his arm gone. His wound was open, flesh dangling off and bones sticking out. He had hemostats dangling off the stub clamping veins to help the bleeding. His arm was over a big plastic tub, dripping blood into a pile of medical garbage. He sat up, alert waiting to be helped. He was strong, young. Seemed very hopeful and determined. He was friendly with everyone, smiled and winked at me. That was at about 11am Thurs when we arrived at the clinic. He sat there all day, eventually got moved onto a table where he was able to lie down. There were Quite a few Haitian doctors who had come by the time we got there. They were prioritizing those who needed attention right away and those who's limbs they could save. Ernst at this point waited. Along side him was a man, probably a brother and his sister. They slept and sat with him all night. They prayed. They cried. They waited. I watched them on and off as I worked. Often someone would pass by and offer to pray with him- every time that happened the 3 of them would huddle into each other, heads touching and pray. They did not speak English, so I imagine they were praying in their heads their own prayer as the person with them prayed for Ernst. The sun came up, Lori and I hadn't slept and he begin looking worse. His sister kept telling us that his breathing was bad and that he needed medicine. Lori checked him and he seemed to be breathing ok.
Ernst hadn't slept very much and when morning came he was sitting on his table. He didn't want to lay down because he noticed it bled less when he sat. He began to bleed a lot more and you could see in his demeanor that he wasn't feeling well. As I watched him, I noticed he began to look at his arm often. It's like he hadn't seen it yet. He was in shock- he realized how bad it actually was. He was scared. There was a doctor who was supposed to amputate his arm, and Lori and I sterilized the equipment and got it all ready. At one point there were so many people there they had to clear it out. Only one person could be in there for every two patients. His sister got kicked out. I went outside to get supplies and saw her sitting in the grass crying. She called to me but I kept walking to go get the supplies. After I go the supplies I went back outside and saw Ernst's sister crouched down on the ground, and went and sat next to her.
I asked her if she was alright. She told me that she couldn't stand. Her stomach was sick-
she was so sad. I told her that the doctors were going as fast as they could and were going to
help him soon. She started to pray:
God, this is not right. He is so strong. He has so much hope. He works, he is in school. He takes
care of his family. He is so determined and works hard. There is so much pain in our country.
There are so many hurting. There are too many dead. We know you hear us now. Tell us what
to do now. I am listening- we are listening. Don't forget our country.
The whole time she was praying I sat next to her. I wasn't praying. I was listening, and
watching. And learning... learning how a Christian should pray. How to be faithful to our God
through the worst of the worst and through whatever comes at us. To be humble, and honest,
and real. I tried to comfort her as much as I can. Tried to fill her in on what the doctors had
talked about doing for Ernst (amputation) because she had notices them picking out a saw.
Told her that the doctors only wanted the best for the people here and they were going to do the
best for Enoch.
I went in and he was still sitting there. His wound open, he was obviously tired and hurting and
scared. Lori and I were both worried about the amount of blood he was loosing and Lori
dressed the stub to try to decrease the bleeding. Zach came and it was time for us to leave.
He let us take his picture. Ernst asked to come with us. We had to go. We hadn't slept, and
couldn't do anything for him but pray. It was not fun leaving. It felt horrible. I said goodbye to
his sister and told her I'd be praying for them.
We don't know if the doctor showed up. He was there earlier that morning and left. We
could tell he was not comfortable doing the amputation alone, but there was no one else
willing/able. We don't know what happened to Ernst. I do know that I will never forget him and
his sister and the way they prayed faithfully to our creator.


  1. sorry for the formatting problem, I'm too tired to figure it out.

  2. Anna, Thank you again for sharing. There are many of us that are doing what we can to educate others, encourage giving and putting fundraisers in place. These real life stories are certainly very motivating. I am amazed at the outreach I have seen for Haiti.

  3. This post really touched my heart. I had a nice little cry for Ernst and hope he is going to survive. I pray for you too Anna. Stay strong and true to God. The Earth is so blessed to have you.

  4. cried all the way through...praying...

  5. Oh Anna, I lift Ernst up with you. Lord, hear our prayers. Ernst and his sister so obviously love you. If it's your will, please make him a strong, hard-working man again. Just like his sister said, this isn't right. Please remember your children in Haiti. Lord, we love you, we lift up all of the hurt in Haiti to you because you are the almighty comforter. Please Lord, hear our prayers. In Jesus' name, Amen

    Anna, the Minnesota crew loves you more than you can know... Nancy

  6. Anna,
    We met over the summer at AWC when you were back home. I have been following you and your blog and I just wanted you to know that you are in our prayers. I am so impressed by the Grace that is flowing through you to those around you. I pray for strength and peace for you and that those lives that you touch, even if just for a minute, will see Christ and His amazing love for them.
    Love, Rachael Wyley (Arcade Wesleyan Church)

  7. Anna. I don't know what to say. Except that I am sitting at my computer, where I have been glued for days, crying, praying, doing all I can to be present with those of you there.
    God is with you. Always.

  8. Anna, we are all thinking of you and all the people in Haiti. Thank you for sharing.
    We will continue follow your blog, lots of hugs from us in Kåge/Sweden

  9. Anna,

    I don't know you. I found your blog through a pastor here in Seattle who posted a link through her facebook.
    Thank you so much for sharing these stories. I have really struggled to connect with what's going on in Haiti. After reading this entry (and the others) I began to weep and ache for these people. They aren't just a story in the news to me anymore, they are real. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to connect with what's going on in that way. I will continue to follow your blog and pray for you and the people of Haiti.


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