TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
March 28, 2005
It seemed to me a cruel irony that a man who has helped hundreds and hundreds of people with his tireless energy was now at 4:00AM being brought out of his room by six or seven grown men. His limp and comatose body was a far cry from the vivacious man who some chidingly called the “Energizer Bunny.” There was no stretcher to bring him around several corners, down a flight of stairs, around several more corners and out to a vehicle that was only there because we had overnight guests. Quick thinking turned a door frame and a long sofa cushion into a makeshift stretcher. The men would have carried Pastor Israel Izidor the two blocks to the hospital if God had not provided a vehicle from our unexpected guests. Bad turned to worse as what we thought was typhoid fever or malaria was actually bacterial meningitis. On Saturday morning, Pastor Israel was going about his business as usual. By early afternoon, he was flat in bed with a high fever that, later, led to the inability to walk, to speak and then to seizures.
I felt totally helpless. But then God put me to work. I was able to call a friend of a friend to get a call out to the United States. An incredible series of events occurred from the many people who put their heads together to get help to us in any way that they could. I was able to serve as the liaison to accomplish the many avenues of appropriate action for the grave situation.
We were told by the doctor that anyone who had been in contact with Pastor Israel in the last three days would need to be treated with an antibiotic. If you know anything about how many people Pastor Israel is in contact with each day, you can only imagine the amounts of medication that would be needed to treat all of these people and how difficult it would be to locate some of those same people. The quantity of drugs or the drugs themselves would be impossible to be found in Haiti and many of the people who needed to take the drugs would be too poor to pay for them. That, too, is where friends of the United States came to our aide!
I never cease to be amazed how God works it all out – using simple folk to accomplish His work! None of the day’s events could have been orchestrated by mere man. It could only be by the work of our Lord and Savior!
The paragraphs above were written shortly before the unthinkable happened. My dear friend and spiritual mentor went to his home in Heaven at 10PM on Saturday, March 20. His work on earth is done! I receive comfort in knowing that this Easter, Pastor Israel Izidor is in the presence of our Lord! On March 30th, Pastor Israel will be in Heaven celebrating with my mom on her first Heaven-coming anniversary! This brings me joy!
I am not sure that I can begin to put into words all that I have seen and heard following Pastor’s unexpected death. Mourning in another country is quite different from the mourning that I am familiar with. For the most part, I watch quietly as the entire event unfolds. When it seems appropriate, I ask questions. What I DO see is the magnitude of the number of people whose lives were touched by the work of Pastor Israel. One knows from this that we were indeed privileged to have been in the presence of a great man – not a man with great wealth or fame, but a man who was rich with compassion for the souls of the lost, the souls of the poor and orphaned!
In the days that have unfolded since the death of Pastor Israel, I have seen more than I can describe in this one communiqué. I imagine that in future communiqués some of the incredible stories will be recalled and at that time I will share them with you. For now, I will share with you just one.
Jean Junio arrived at the home of the Izidor family before we had the boys’ orphanage completed. Thus, he was taken in as a member of the Izidor household until such time as we were able to move him into the orphanage. It had become our custom to joke about whose turn it was to pray at the dinner table. The adults faithfully took their turn. One day, however, we turned to Jean Junio and told him that it was his turn to pray. He said, “But I don’t know how to pray!” Taken aback, I told him that we would teach him to pray. Following the death of Pastor Israel, I made a visit to the boys’ orphanage. It was meal time and one of the little boys was asked to pray. He was reluctant. It was then that I heard a little voice speak up. That voice lead the prayer with appropriate responses coming from the remainder of the children. That little leader’s voice was Jean Danio. I was instantly reminded that the work of Pastor Israel of taking in these little ones was an incredible act for our Lord and Savior. That act was leading little ones to Jesus. Thank you Pastor Israel for your vision for these little ones!
To privately reflect and cry, I went up on the roof of the school to have some time alone. I looked down at the dump truck and the two school buses now sitting so quietly in the church yard. It was eerie as these machines never rested when Pastor Israel was around. A pause in the ministry…but not for long! Pastor Israel’s work will continue and will continue with even more urgency! The children still need us! This too I was reminded of as I looked beyond the buses and the dump truck. There I saw a little girl sneaking into the church garden in search of a ripe tomato. Finding none, she proceeded to the trash pile in search of something to eat. Her eye caught mine and we exchanged quick smiles. Today she would not be reprimanded by church staff that would remind her that she was not to enter the garden. Today, in the silence of Pastor Israel’s departure from this earth, this simple act of a search for something to eat reminded me once again as to why God placed me in Haiti. The work WILL continue! It must! It must, until the coming of our Lord!
I will close this communiqué with a couple of the Easter Traditions of Haiti. Leon, my fiancé, has told me of a few. On the island where Leon is from (Il-a-Vache), the little girls rise very early on Easter morning, while others are still sleeping. They go from home to home, knocking at the doors. There they proclaim. “Good News! He is risen!”
Another tradition is the flying of kites. During the several days prior to Easter, MANY kites could be seen soaring the skies of LesCayes. Leon tells me it is to symbolize that Jesus has risen from the dead. As the kites soar higher and higher it is a reminder that Satan can no longer touch Jesus! Today, Satan can no longer touch Pastor Israel! Someday, Satan will no longer be able to touch you and me! Praise be to Him!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time ………….