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A Fateful Friday

Published Sep 12, 2010

It was 3 o’clock Saturday morning and I was praying, “Please help me fall asleep”. Friday’s events hung over me like a dark cloud. I couldn’t get the images or smells out of my mind. Fear, adrenaline, and bewilderment had been stirred up in my heart and were now keeping my eyelids and soul from resting. The scene played before me once again. I was sitting down to breakfast Friday morning thinking about the Religious Instruction lesson I was to give at the school in 45 minutes. I heard the Kawasaki Mule start and saw it drive by with two passengers. The guys did plan to leave that morning to do a survey of a village for a church plant, but it was earlier than the original time planned for. “Maybe they decided to leave early”, Sarah said. I accepted that explanation, not even giving another thought that something could be terribly wrong. 7:40-time to leave for RI. Got my bag of goodies, locked the house, and started down the walkway with Sarah. At that moment a man ran up yelling, “I’m looking for Rachel!”

“I’m Rachel. Are you sick? What do you need?”

“I need a hand glove!” came his anxious reply.

I was confused. ”Is someone hurt or bleeding?”

“Yes, someone has a cut and I need a hand glove”. By his motions I got the impression that someone cut their leg and needed some gauze and medical gloves. They are particular about blood.

“Ok, I’ll grab some band-aids and gloves” I walked back inside, grabbed a pair of medical gloves, gauze, and band-aids and handed them to the man.

“Do you have more gloves?”

“Why? Who needs them? Can they come here to the house so I can look at them?”

“Matt sent me!” completely flustered he shouted. “The lady…. her arm is cut off……Matt is bringing her here!”

Forget the band-aids!! I ran inside and grabbed several more pairs of gloves. What else do I need? No time…. the Mule had pulled up into the yard and I ran out to assess the patient. Benita, one of our clinic workers, was in the back holding an older lady, Maria. Benita was holding a blanket over her body.  Matt’s calm yet urgent voice broke through the shock, “Rachel, can you triage her?  I need to make a phone call to get her a flight out of the bush.” I snapped into gear again and pulled the blanket back to get a look. The arm was cut off just below the elbow. Her clothes were blood-soaked and she had a tourniquet around the arm. Sarah and I ran inside again and grabbed some supplies. I made sure the tourniquet was tight and wrapped a towel around the stump. The bleeding had slowed. I reminded Benita over and over again, “You need to hold the arm tight to stop the bleeding. I know it’s going to hurt but it will save her life!” The Mule pulled away leaving a hushed crowd to solemn prayers.

The cruel effects of a culture preoccupied with their traditional beliefs of evil spirits and no Biblical background

Maria got a flight out and she is still alive, making a slow but steady recovery. Her son, Peter, believed that his mother had done witchcraft on his child making the child very ill. That Friday morning the child had died and Peter took revenge. The cruel effects of a culture preoccupied with their traditional beliefs of evil spirits and no Biblical background.

Saturday morning I fell asleep to this thought, “I am suffering with these people”. Those involved with the event were people I knew, treated, and prayed for. I am beginning to understand their need… a need only Christ can fill.

Tags: flight evacuations, , , , medical emergency,

Rachel and a friend