Quake survivors rise up for Haiti, page 3

Morning, March 1, Port-au-Prince

Gulley stands amid the rubble of the Hotel Montana with the driver who dropped him off just before the earthquake.

Barely a month after his ordeal, the 64-year-old is back in Haiti, living out his commitment to stand with the people in this impoverished nation.

He says he cannot answer the question of Job, why some people such as Dixon and Rabb suffer and die, and others such as himself in a similar situation do not.

What he felt called to do was to attend the annual meeting of the Methodist Church of Haiti, to make a statement that he and The United Methodist Church are determined to walk together with the people of Haiti.

He is not alone.

Sarla Chand still cannot believe Dixon and Rabb died.

"Somehow, I don't feel they're gone from me. I feel they're around me," she says. "It's a total mystery, what was God's plan" in their deaths.

What is not a mystery is that she has a calling to make sure the work IMA World Health began with The United Methodist Church continues and is expanded.

"I am determined," she says, to "not let this drop."

In Dallas, Fish is among those committed to get the rural eye clinic in Petit-Goâve back up and running, perhaps with a new name such as The Jean Arnwine Memorial Eye Clinic.

"You bet," Fish says from his office at Texas Retina Associates. "We have to rebuild that building."

The Rev. James Gulley stands in front of the wreckage of the Hotel Montana. A UMNS photo by Jen Judge.

The Rev. James Gulley stands in front of the wreckage of the Hotel Montana.
A UMNS photo by Jen Judge.

The enormity of the need is striking to Gulley during his time in Haiti. While at the late February church meeting, he and other leaders were trapped in a church when 28 inches of rain fell. He came face to face with the reality of Haitians displaced from their homes, now facing the rainy season in open fields where people sleep beneath pieces of plastic and cloth.

"It's just mind-boggling to me," Gulley says. "There's no way that I can walk away from them and not do whatever I can do."

The remains of the Hotel Montana are one of his last stops in Haiti. It is a bright, sunny morning March 1, the day before he goes back to the United States. For Gulley, it is "a solemn occasion, a solemn place."

He learns how the hotel collapsed forward, burying him and his colleagues so far down that they could not hear the cries of his driver, Eric, or other Haitians roaming through the debris calling out names of loved ones.

Not for the first time, Gulley makes a connection with the biblical Lazarus. Like Lazarus, he says, he was entombed with no hope and brought back to life.

The memory of his late colleagues, Sam Dixon and Clinton Rabb, fills him with sadness.

What has not changed, Gulley says, is their calling from God through Christ.

"It's not my mission. It's not Clint's mission. It's not Sam's mission. It's God's mission," he says. "It's going to take us as instruments of God's power and presence to transform Haiti."

Late spring 2010, Hawthorne, N.Y.

From her home in suburban Hawthorne, a 19th-century Dutch farmhouse she shares with two dogs, a cat and a parakeet, Suzanne Rabb writes letters to her late husband, just like she would when he was away on a mission.

She also talks to Clinton Rabb throughout the day, telling him what is going on or that she misses him. She can experience her husband comforting her, understanding her sorrow.

Sometimes, this connection is "so painful, I can barely breathe. Sometimes, it gives me the great breath to get through the day &ellipsis; as another holy day."

What also gives her and her children strength this Lenten season is their commitment to honor Clinton Rabb. The room seemed almost to "catch on fire," Suzanne Rabb recalls, the day they decided to set up a charity in his name, where through passionate mission and service her husband's ministry would live on.

Not only will they collect money, but she and her children have made vows to go on missions themselves.

What Suzanne Rabb tells her husband is the message of resurrection that she and others who endured the flames are taking to the people of Haiti.

"We are not finished yet, us together."

The fire still burns.

*Briggs is news editor of United Methodist News Service.

News media contact: David Briggs, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5472 or [email protected].

LINKARROW_LEFT.GIFBack to page two

Related Articles

Missions of mercy become tests of faith

Trapped Haiti workers search for way out

Resources

Volunteer in Haiti

Haiti Emergency

Health Kits

UMCOR


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Mission and Ministry
The Rev. Henry Jean Robert Kasongo Numbize prays over relief supplies in Goma, Congo, that will be provided to help survivors of the May 22 eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, about 10 miles from Goma. Numbize is superintendent of The United Methodist Church’s Goma District. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.

Cooperative church efforts aid Congo volcano recovery

Serving in partnership, the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Connexio Switzerland respond to urgent needs after May 22 disaster.
Disaster Relief
Flood survivors receive kits prepared by The United Methodist Church. Traces of mud left by the fury of the Cambambe-Dondo waters are visible. Photo by Orlando da Cruz, UM News.

United Methodists in Angola support flood survivors

Angola West Conference mobilizes to provide food and other relief as heavy rains destroy homes and other infrastructure.
Evangelism
The Rev. Tom Berlin (left) presents a copy of his book, “Courage,” to Massachusetts National Guard Chaplain Chad McCabe in the chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. McCabe, whose unit was assigned to help provide security at the U.S. Capitol after the January riot, contacted Wesley Seminary asking for Bibles, novels and board games for troops stationed there. Photo by Lisa Helfert for Wesley Theological Seminary. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Church responds to chaplain's call to help soldiers

A National Guard chaplain got Bibles, games and 150 copies of a new book about courage when he turned to Wesley Theological Seminary for help keeping soldiers occupied in Washington in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection.