Dwindling Hope in Haiti

The devastating earthquake left more than 100,000 people dead and thousands more trapped in collapsed buildings.

Two men from an orphan care organization were among them. One was found alive amidst the rubble; the other is still missing.

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On the following Tuesday, one week after the quake, there was a muted reception for one of the men when he returned to the Denver airport. Family, friends and fellow Compassion employees greeted Woolley warmly when he was wheeled out to the waiting area in his wheel chair. They stood around him and sang the Doxology: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

But among the people gathered in the airport were those waited to hear from Hames. Some of them held signs that said, "We're halfway home."

Renee Hames, the missing man's wife, issued this statement:

"For all the people who know and love David with me, we need to remember that God says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' He is our God who will provide beauty and joy even in the midst of devastation."

"I have been blessed with friends who have tucked me under their wings and have prayed with me, encouraged me, supported me, and cried with me. Because of the support structure they have built around me, I have felt a great peace. Please continue to pray for David's rescue and well-being."

Earlier this week, national news shows featured shots of a Haitian boy being pulled from the rubble. People called it a miracle. The boy stretched out his arms in a seeming gesture of love and thanks to his helpers, to God, and to the heavens above.

But stories about such late-stage recoveries are growing ever more rare. I am writing this on Thursday, and Hames has not been reached. His wife has stopped giving interviews.

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This story has held special resonance for me because I once worked for Compassion International as an editor for their magazine. Like Hames, I used the Hotel Montana as a respite from the difficult work of serving in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti's heat, smell, squalor, poverty, desperation and sorrow could be overwhelming. But then, in the midst of the horrors, you would suddenly discover a mini-Mother Teresa working to extend God's love and mercies to the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick.

I remember spending an hour with a saintly nurse from Switzerland who ran a health clinic for mothers and children in the heart of Port-au-Prince. I learned from others that this woman had been rejected by her parents—and written out of their sizable will—when she informed them that God had called her to Haiti, and she would follow that call.

I rested for a moment in one of hallways of her clinic. The tile on the floor was cool and immaculate. When I went back out in the bustling streets, the chaos and confusion was oppressive, disorienting.

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Kenyans playing with video camera

David Hames with Kenyan Children.

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