I Will Never Forget…

I spent the morning looking through my posts from January 12, 2010 – reflecting – praying – crying….

Jose and I were supposed to go to PAP together that morning to meet with the Director of Tortuga Air. We had some shopping to do as well and he needed to help clear a container. So we had decided we would go and spend 2 nights.

But there I was – laying in my bed hooked up to an IV. I had dengue fever. Melissa Curtice was coming in and out of my bedroom checking on me. I got sick 2 days before – the sickest I had been in a long time. I was unable to go. Jose was going to stay back with me but my mom said she would come and take care of me. So he continued on to PAP – January 12th, 2010.

I was lying on my bed and the girls were playing cards with my mom right beside me. “GO FISH” – – the rocks began to rumble. Our bed was jumping off the floor. We were looking at each other confused? What is this? What do we do? We ran out of our room so fast that I pulled my IV out. By the time we got to the living room – it was over.

Hmm. I guess we had an earthquake. How odd!

My mom was cleaning up the trail of blood I left from my IV as I began to lay back down. Then the phone rang from the states. Then Melonnie and Grant were in my room. Then the word came – “Port-au-Prince is bad. It’s bad Jody”. I couldn’t absorb their words. They looked at me and said –  “JODY – JOSE IS IN PAP”!

It would be 5 hours before I heard Jose’s voice. All Haiti cell phone communications were cut off. He found an official with an AT&T phone. Jose was weeping on the phone – afraid that our house had fallen into the school. ” Are you okay? Please tell me everyone got out!?” I assured him that we were.

Over and over again –  “Don’t go back in the house. Make everyone sleep outside. Get out of the house. Stay out of the house. Everything has fallen around me. People are in the streets. People are dead everywhere. The ground is still shaking. STAY OUT OF THE HOUSE“! Then the phone died. It would be 5 more days before I would hear from him again.

The Weather Channel called and Grant gave the first interview. A few hours later – I gave an interview with what Jose said. The next thing I knew I was on the BBC, Fox, NBC, Weather Channel, Focus on the Family, Local Miami & NY channels, WLEX 18 News – in Kentucky, etc. The phones were ringing off the hook. There weren’t any camera crews in Haiti yet. Anderson Cooper was nowhere near. I had been one of the only ones still IN HAITI – who had heard from someone in PAP that first day. Jose’s story was even in People Magazine.

I got a phone call from someone who heard me on the Weather Channel. This was the night of January 12th. She said, “My friend is trapped under the rubble in PAP. Can you please help her? Can you contact someone to help her? She has an AT&T phone. Here is her number. Please save my friend.”

We called the girl and indeed she answered. She had just a few bars left on her cell phone. Her battery would die by the end of the night. I talked to people here who knew exactly her location. But we couldn’t contact any Haitians to go and find her. No Haitian cell phones worked. Jacques was in St. Louis and talked to her several times. Her phone died that night. Later we found out she did too.

Throughout the next few days on campus –  you would hear LOUD weeping off and on as the  news would trickle in of loved ones who had passed. Mme Nene was told her husband and three children were killed. There was no consoling her. There was no holding her. She shook and wept – and she fell to the ground.

That is how it was. One after another. One after another. One after another. One after another. Too many to count. Too many to help. Too many to process. Too many to console. Too many. Too many. Just way too many.

My house was constantly full of people. We gathered in special prayer times. We cried when there were no words. We searched for answers that weren’t there. We fell to the ground in sorrow.

Our orphan boys would come back with stories that left us speechless. Stories were trickling in that were unheard of – unimaginable.

What I couldn’t figure out was if they made it to St. Louis – where was Jose? He would walk if he had to – just to be with his family. Why wasn’t he here? My mind kept thinking – he must have died during the aftershocks. That’s the only thing that could have happened. Otherwise he would be here just like the others.

A few days later Andy (our media director) & my father went to PAP. I told my daddy to go find Jose…….

A few days later we were sitting in Haitian staff devotions. It’s 7am and the gates open wide. Mme Nene’s family walks through. There they were – her husband and three children.

I will never forget.

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