Reiser Relief lost one of our longtime friends in Haiti, Sandra Koch, to breast cancer in March 2019. We had the opportunity a few days ago to meet with Pastor Jean, Sandra’s ministry partner, while here in Haiti. Sandra and Pastor Jean were the people who introduced us to Sister Evelyne and her work in Marfranc. Sandra was a feisty Jersey girl with an unmatched drive to make her dreams a reality. She also had unending energy and enthusiasm, an incredibly strong faith, and a deep passion for the poor and underprivileged. Pastor told us that her last words as she was dying were, “I didn’t think this would be so fast…”
These words struck me. For a woman so centered on prayer and so trusting of God’s plan, how could she have not seen death coming? Especially in her final weeks and months? How did she not remind herself it would be in God’s time, not hers? Why didn’t she come to embrace death after all her pain and suffering?
These thoughts led me to reflect on the suffering of the Haitian people as we trudged through Cite Soleil, the poorest slum in Port au Prince, later in the day. I wondered about the half-million people living in these dirty shacks with no running water, no bathroom facilities, minimal food, and little hope for themselves and their children’s futures. When they finally near death after their cruel and seemingly hopeless existence here on Earth, do they also lament that their lives ended too quickly? Or do they hope for eternity when they have reached the end of their difficult and challenging mortal lives?
Sandra probably always assumed she would be ready for death when her day finally arrived. The people of Cite Soleil may likely believe the same thing. This awareness can serve as a daily reminder for all of us to be prepared mentally, emotionally, and spirituality because we never know the day or hour in which we will be called from this life.
Godspeed to Sandra…
God bless the people of Haiti…