In 1978 I made my first visit to Haiti as part of a youth ministry effort by our indigenous congregations in that Caribbean nation. Almost 20 years later I made a second visit to encourage the leaders of those churches and to help connect our pastors back in the States with what God was doing in Haiti. The last two congregations I have served have sent work teams there. The most recent team (from my church in Landisville) helped with the completion of the Pierre Payen Hospital, which has provided quality medical care up-country from Port-au-Prince. And a few weeks ago a young lady from my congregation now working at Allegheny General in Pittsburgh joined a medical emergency team from the University of Miami to work in the hospitals in Port.
I have been regularly reading the blog of Steve Mossburg, who directs Project HELP, the ministry arm of my denomination (Churches of God, General Conference) in Haiti. A few days ago he shared a story about Dr. Tim Pratt, who was working with us in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Steve writes:
“This week is our last disaster medical relief team, they will be leaving on April 1st. There after we will start bringing in medical teams one week out of every month. We will be adding extra teams some months to do mobile medical outreaches in the mountain villages. During these last eleven weeks we have had three transition people Dr. Joe Miller , Dr. Terry Letsinger and Dr. Tim Pratt. These guys have stayed multiple weeks to give our visiting teams continuity and the ability to start work as soon as they arrive. This morning I took Dr. Tim who has been here a month to catch a plane back home to be reunited with his wife. He will be concluding his medical studies in several weeks before establishing his family practice in Sheffield , Ill.
I have often heard it said by those short term missionaries that come here that they come to serve and give but go home with more in their hearts than they gave. Dr. Tim signed on to come down here nine months ago thinking he would serve a half a day Monday through Friday each week at a clinic for the month of March and complete some of his residency requirements.
Jan. 12th the earthquake changed those plans. Dr. Tim like those before him spent countless hours keeping charts, making phone calls, doing rounds, doing emergency life saving procedures, calling other hospitals and organizations finding patients and even delivering babies. I think Tim goes home with a wealth and possibly a lifetime of experiences that will serve him well over the years ahead. I know for a fact that we were blessed and those he served and befriended here at the hospital hated to see him leave. Dr.Tim of course will be a great doctor wherever he goes and sets up a practice but I will always think of him as first and foremost a missionary doctor. In God’s love, steve (sic)”