Saturday, August 7, 2010

30 Days of Hope: Day 24 - Haiti Earthquake, Part 1

This journey of hope has been so crazy, and as this is the last week of this topic, I want to share in my next few posts a bit more personally of why I needed this journey.

This year began with hope and excitement -- 2010!! I even did research on the number 10 -- the number of perfection of Divine order - perfect completion. I was excited and hopeful for what the Lord had placed in my heart for this year. I KNEW I was going to see the fulfillment of some of my dreams and His promises THIS year, and then.....January 12th happened.

It started as an ordinary day...I don't really remember everything that happened that day -- that is how ordinary it was. It was just normal and insignificant. I got up. I went to work. I taught a Bible study. I came home. I made supper. I watched T.V. with my hubby. I went to bed.

At about 1 am (South African time), Arno's phone rang. I was very out of it and I like my sleep so at first felt annoyed with the phone call and then realized, "No one calls in the middle of the night unless something is wrong." In fact, living as a missionary kid in Haiti, I remember my parents trying to hide alarm if the phone ever rang after 11 p.m. During my college years and since, if I called my parents "late" or at a time they were not expecting, I heard the tension in their voices until I would say, "It's okay. I'm okay. I just wanted to say, 'Hi!'" Although for years, the fear was always unfounded, when the phone rang that night, I understood the panic that had filled my mom's voice and eyes for years in those moments.

The phone call was my sister's husband, Ben. An earthquake had rocked my little island of Haiti, the country of my birth, the home of my "first" people about an hour before, and they couldn't reach my parents.....

I couldn't tell you one word that I said in that moment, but I will never forget how I felt for as long as I live. You can ask anyone who knows me very well -- I am Miss Calm, Cool, & Collected under pressure, so I immediately went into action and solving it mode. Being that it was 1 am and I didn't have satellite TV, there was no news about the earthquake on TV, so I immediately got on my computer because I was determined to "get to the bottom of this." I was sure that Kasi (my sister) and Ben were just dramatizing things. I was SO sure that when I called my parents phones, I would get right through and see that they had panicked over nothing.

I called and called and called and called every number my parents have -- home number, ministry number, cell numbers -- and then I started calling other missionaries in Haiti whose numbers I had -- over and over and over again. one one.

My sister and I got on Skype and both sat on our computers prepared to begin our "tracking-our-parents-down" operation. We didn't realize it at the time but this would be where we stay for almost 18 hours. There was a comfort we found in being connected to each other. I have thanked God hundreds of times since that day for modern technology and internet at home to be able to have that comfort of "being together." We couldn't hold and hug each other so we brainstormed and we planned and we searched and we called and we e-mailed and we prayed.

I have waited so long to write about this because I haven't known just how to express the many feelings and emotions and thoughts that plagued my mind and heart and body in those hours.

How could I express to you the level of pain, fear, & uncertainty that racked my being?

How could I share it in a way that made sense, that connected you to my journey, that expressed my heart in those moments, that gave you a window into the depths of emptiness that I felt and that showed you how REAL God was in that time?

I still don't know if I have all the words and as I write this post, tears stream down my face. You see, my parents are my heroes.

Tom and Bev Brumbley went to Haiti when they were 19 and 20. They had a daughter when they were 21 & 22. 10 months later, she was killed when the plane they were in crashed on their way back to Haiti. A year and a half later, they went through a miscarriage. They eventually had me and my sister and raised us in Haiti. While we were growing up there were coup d'etats, bomb threats to the ministry building, dictator overthrown, political upheavals, xenophobic fears, and much more. Yet, they raised us to be women of character to face every trial and joy with grace and faith.

They taught us laughter in the storms by re-writing old praise songs with us..."Praise Him. Praise Him. Praise Him when their shooting. Praise Him when their looting," or "Praise Him with the generator's broke. Praise Him when the truck's broke down."

They taught us faith in trials by telling us that after their first daughter Jodi died, they, as my Mom says, "hung onto Jesus for all they were worth."

They taught us victory in heartache by opening up the ministry building to let people come and vote in the first democratic election in over 100 years.

They taught us strength of character in showing us how to stand up for ourselves by not being afraid of being ourselves -- "Be true to yourself and to the Lord."

They taught us SO MUCH more that I could probably start a 2nd blog just with their life lessons over the years.

In those moments and hours, the torment of these questions went through my mind.

Would I hear my mom laugh again? Would I get to banter about the "apple not falling far from the tree" with my dad? Would I ever hug them again? Would they get to see their grandchildren? Would my children have the benefit of the wisdom of these two beautiful people?

I cannot explain to you what it felt like to be contacting people in Haiti (once we finally got through) to place my parents on the "search-and-rescue" list. That was one of the most agonizing moments of my life.

For 14 hours, my sister and I NEVER spoke one fear or negative word. I say this as a tribute to my parents and how they raised us. But at hour 15, I told my sister, "I have to get off of here and go pray. I'm not thinking right any more."

I went then and poured my heart out to my Father. I said, "God, you promised me. You promised me. YOU promised me that my parents would see their children's children. YOU PROMISED ME!!!!" I cried and cried and soon I felt this overwhelming peace like a blanket holding, comforting, and caressing me. He showed me a picture, a vision, an image -- whatever you want to call it -- of my parents playing with their (yet unborn) grandchildren, laughing and tickling and energetic and active. And the verse that the Father reminded me of was this - "....this sickness will not lead unto death." I know this might not sound exactly applicable to you, but it comforted my totured soul, and 30 minutes later I got back on the phone with my sister with a renewed sense of peace

About an hour and a half later, my sister and were still talking, searching, calling, hoping and almost simultaneously, my mom's Facebook chat popped up on our computers. Immediately, we both wrote back, "Mom? THANK GOD!"

(Click HERE for Part 2 of my Haiti Earthquake story)


Beverly Brumbley said... Best Blogger Tips

Love you so much, Lyns! You and Kasi mean everything to us....always have, always will!!!

Kasi said... Best Blogger Tips

You are right, words are difficult to find to describe to people just how difficult those agonizing hours were, but you captured so much of it in this post. Mom and dad are such amazing people and the potential loss we felt was so overwhelming! I truly believe the way they raised us is what held us together and kept us from going into the negative. We also learned how special the missionary community and our Haitian family are during those initial hours and days! love you so much!

Beverly Brumbley said... Best Blogger Tips

Love you so much, Lyns! You and Kasi mean everything to us....always have, always will!!!

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