People are going home. Every time I arrive at the hospital I see either someone has left or someone is leaving or someone will be leaving soon. Just when I re-adjust to the “new” scene, people up and leave.
Last Thursday, when I arrived, Regine was leaving. She had just received word earlier that morning. She didn’t have much to say. Just that she was leaving. I told her to keep in touch and she said OK. And that was it. It was especially hard to say good bye to her mom. She was going around to all the beds saying good bye to her friends and when she came back around to me all we could do was hug. We couldn’t even say good bye. I recently found out they are Catholic. That can mean a lot of things in this culture. I have a few other friends who are Catholic and I have had conversations with them and found that they believe in Jesus for their salvation, and have a deep faith and a sincere love for God. While the Catholic and Protestant church in general has some profound differences, one of the largest differences in this culture is the practice of Voodoo. While it is not a part of the Catholic church, there are a vast number of Catholics who take some part in the practices of Voodoo. That doesn’t mean that they paint their faces and dance around a fire. It could ‘simply’ mean that they might pay a witch doctor to put a curse on someone. And it might mean that they give lip service to God saying they believe he is supreme and yet in reality they fear the dark because of the presence of demons and spirits that will eat you. I saw a statistic which stated that 80% of all Haitians profess to be Catholic, 17% Protestant, 3% other and 50% Voodoo. Figure that one out. The friends I mentioned speaking to are in the percentage of those who don’t practice and don’t support it; and they don’t believe you’ll get eaten after dark. I asked. I am not sure where Regine and her family falls into that though. Although I spent much time with them, the setting was never appropriate to get into that discussion and because I really know nothing of that part of the Haitian culture (other than a few statistics) truthfully I never could figure out how engage in that discussion. The voice in my head keeps telling me ‘But you’re a missionary’….and I’m not so sure what to do with that. My prayer is that I can continue a relationship with Regine and her family and have that conversation in a setting that isn’t filled with the distractions of a hospital ward full of people.
I talked to her briefly on the phone Sunday. She sounded good and she said all was well.
Dr. William, one of the Haitian Doctors who took a lot of time with Regine to help her work through the depression told me Saturday that he hoped to pay a visit to Regine Wednesday. I told him I want to go and so I’m supposed to call him tomorrow and if he can break away and it fits into my afternoon we’re going to pay her a visit. I love Dr. William. He’s a great Doctor and you can tell he has great compassion for his patients. He’s unassuming sometimes in how he dresses sometimes coming to the hospital very casually dressed. A few days ago, he was wearing a soccer jersey, khaki pants, and was walking around with one of these on his head. That’s when I knew he was awesome. Since Dr. Bill’s in town, its surgery time so tonight he was walking around in his scrubs, a while lab coat, a scrub cap, and the headlamp. I told him he looked very important tonight.
I’d love to get a chance to chat with him in the car tomorrow more about Regine, and about talking to her about her faith. He’s a solid Christian man and he, being Haitian, would most definitely understand the cultural perspective. If I can’t do it tomorrow, I’ll try and visit soon. I really want to try and talk with him soon, too. Until then, keep praying for Regine and her family.
My boys left today. When I arrived, I was greeted by Jonathan who informed me they had both gone today. He said he’s supposed to leaving tomorrow. My friend Amil (I haven’t mentioned him on here) is supposed to leaving tomorrow. Vann, my friend Roudy’s mother told me she’s supposed to leave tomorrow too. And my sweet friend Rose Marie is supposed to be exited tomorrow too. Gary’s going to help me get her and her family to their house in one of our trucks.
But do you see what I mean? They’re all leaving. I should be happier for them; Really I am, because I know they need to move on with their lives. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss them, terribly. With all my heart. What it does mean though, is that during the midst of a very difficult time in the history of this part of the world, God gave me a very precious gift; their friendships. That, I will always treasure.