“Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!” Hebrews 13:1-2 (MSG)
It’s been an interesting week here in our household, but God has most certainly come through for us, as He already has time and time again. Between COVID-19 panic, finding creative ways to do ministry and trying to educate our community on how to prevent it, we had quite a pressing problem.
What most people don’t know about my husband Matthew is that he is a type 1 diabetic. He needs to monitor his sugars constantly and is dependent on two different types of insulin. Without his daily insulin injections, he can't survive. While we’ve had a few health scares in Haiti these past few years, he has stayed pretty healthy and doesn’t let his diabetes hold him back. Matthew had a trip to Florida planned in April to see family, friends and donors, as well as some very important doctor’s appointments. While in Florida, Matthew was going to refill his insulin prescriptions and bring them back to Haiti, as he always done for the past 3 years abroad.
When Haiti very suddenly closed their borders and incoming flights, it was a simple decision for us—we would stay here in our home, together, come what may. What we didn’t realize was this also stopped ALL flights coming into Haiti for the time being—including the cargo that was supposed to bring Matthew’s medicine. The medicine that he did have left in Haiti would only last him about 2 weeks. Thus began the frantic search scouring every little pharmacy in our town and surrounding areas trying to find insulin. After looking, we were only able to find one kind of insulin. Although that was a blessing in itself, we still needed to find the second, so I began reaching out to different friends who might be able to help us locate it. We saw online that some pharmacies in Port au Prince were supposed to carry it, but that option was still very problematic. None of the companies would answer their phones to confirm that they had the medicine and it would also involve an 8 hour roadtrip at an unstable time when everyone is being encouraged to stay home, Haiti is currently at a level 4 "Travel Warning". It wasn’t a very ideal option. I had been given the names of a few larger pharmacies to try in Jacmel so Matthew and I drove in Wednesday morning to see what we could find. I was starting to feel anxious and unsettled about the whole thing as I wasn’t sure what we would do if we couldn’t find this insulin. The first few stores sent us away with apologies of not carrying any insulin. I was feeling pretty discouraged, not to mention a little lost, as we couldn’t figure out where the last pharmacy was located.
Finally we drove up near the hospital and stopped at a local store to ask for directions. I was struggling with the unfamiliarity of the street names when the kind young gentleman said, “Why don’t I just come and show you?” He hopped in the backseat of our Rav4 and we continued on our way. His name was Jean Baptiste and he also happened to work at the hospital. Before we reached the pharmacy, he took his hospital scrubs out of his backpack and put them on so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. Unfortunately, the pharmacy didn’t carry the insulin we needed, but Jean Baptiste encouraged us to continue on, guiding the way for the next hour and a half, accompanying me into every store and kindly talking to the pharmacists. After checking too many pharmacies to count, we finally found it! Immediate relief filled my heart, knowing only God could have gotten us here at the right place and the right time. As we drove Jean Baptiste back to the hospital, I couldn’t help but shake my head. God works in funny ways.
Jean Baptiste was our angel in disguise in light blue scrubs who would go out of his way to help complete strangers, expecting nothing in return.
Lately, it feels like our world is full of angels. Nurses and doctors working on the frontlines. Encouraging neighbors, family members and even strangers helping each other. In the midst of all this darkness, something very beautiful is happening with humanity. Just like the verse above in Hebrews, we’re being held together by love. With our world in such a vulnerable place, we’re making our way back to a compassion and empathy for each other that was once forgotten.
Sometimes we pray to God for an answer, sometimes He sends us each other.
I don’t know if we’ll ever cross paths with Jean Baptiste again. I thanked him profusely, but He will never realize how deeply we were impacted through his selfless act of kindness. While the insulin he found will keep Matthew alive and healthy, I also felt my soul shift towards the compassion he showed us.
Today is a brand new day.
How could you be an answer to someone else’s prayer this week?