Kaytlyn Keeler (second from the right) is a junior at Northwestern College majoring in Biology. She spent three weeks in Haiti earlier this summer. This was Kaytlyn’s first time in Haiti.
To read the previous blog from this group click here
As a pre-medicine student I was incredibly excited when God gave me several opportunities to practice basic medicine while I was in Haiti. My team and I met a man, disabled from the waist down named Silfran while doing some food distributions. I noticed he had wounds between his knees and was complaining about sores developing on his back as well. As a CNA, I recognized these as pressure sores which had likely arisen due to a lack of changing positions when he was lying down. After telling us his story, Silfran told us of all the things he wanted to do, “when God heals me”. There were many, but his greatest desire was to work for MH4H. We gave him the food, prayed with him and his family, and then we left.
I was discouraged and distracted, my mind kicking into medical gear; there were some simple things which could be done to ease his pain. Consistent changes of position, a rolled towel between his knees, and even a simple cleaning and bandaging of the wounds would help him be more comfortable. A few days later, my team and I ran these ideas by Christie who approved.
Every other day for the remainder of my time in Haiti, Christie and I hopped on her moto to visit Silfran. I cleaned and bandaged the existing sores, as well as applied preventative cream to the unopened ones. We gave instructions for how to change positions frequently as well as how to position a towel to keep his knees from touching. After several visits I began to see the individual wounds improving, but Silfran’s overall condition was declining rapidly. Yet, at each visit, he explained that God would heal him. I was amazed at the strength of his faith. Even as he was fading, his trust in God was not.
I remember leaving one night, and as I turned to say goodbye, he grabbed my hand and said, “Please don’t forget about me, you are the only one who cares.” I was shocked by the truth of his statement. For Silfran, going to a hospital was an absolute last resort and would never have been possible without MH4H’s help. His family could not afford neither the money nor the time it would take to give him the proper care he needed. Matthew 25:40 states, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brother, you did it to me.’” So there I was, a pre-med student with minimal medical training, trying to care for a man who needs were beyond my knowledge. My heart broke not only for Silfran, but for all the others in the world like him.
“For Silfran, going to a hospital was an absolute last resort and would never
have been possible without MH4H’s help.”
The World Health Organization estimates that at least half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to essential health care services. For people like Silfran, “when God heals me” is all he has. We might be tempted to look at his situation and see all he doesn’t have, but then we would miss the fact that Silfran had more than most Americans. Americans put their trust in doctors, science, and hospitals, we leave little room for God where our health is concerned. God created science, He created medicine: how much more valuable would it be for us if we could have Silfran’s faith then all the medicine in the world. Ultimately it is God who sustains us and when he calls us home, there is nothing which can prevent it.
“ For a man who thought no one cared about him, he impacted not only my life, but the lives of my team members in ways which are indescribable.”
Even after going to the hospital with MH4H, Silfran passed away at the beginning of August. For a man who thought no one cared about him, he impacted not only my life, but the lives of my team members in ways which are indescribable. We will always remember him. His story is the eye-opening, and heart-breaking reality of so many people in the world today. Yet, we can rest on Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”