Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Moved to Compassion

Today I was moved to compassion beyond anything I have ever felt before.  It was a usual quiet night at the restaurant when we were approached near closing time by a Dominican woman.  I was sitting outside with Joanne who works with us at the restaurant when the woman stopped near us and first apologized for interrupting our conversation.  My first thought was that she was a customer but she quickly stated that she only needed to talk to us.  Joanne asked her what was wrong in Spanish and after a fast and lengthy spiel of which I caught only pieces, it was determined that the woman had quite the story to tell.

She had just come out of the pharmacy located beside us where she tried to buy a prescription of medication for her very young daughter.  She told us her name was Santa and then she indicated she did not have enough money for the 340 peso prescription and I immediately thought to myself, "she is going to ask me of course"

I asked her why she needed the prescription and after Santa related what had happened I knew two things about her:  1.  She was genuine
                  2. She had Faith that could move a mountain.

Santa told Joanna in Spanish and broken English what had happened earlier that day.  The day began as normal she stated as she got up with her two young daughters and got them ready for the day.  Her father lived with her as he had suffered a stroke the past year and could not live on his own.  Since the stroke he had also begun to slip into the early stages of Alzheimer's.  Today she left her youngest daughter Rosete home with her father while she went to the colmado with the other daughter to buy a few things for supper that night.  Santa returned after about an hour and her little house was in a terrible state.  Turns out her father had a problem with his bowels and did not remember what to do about it, his Alzheimer's was quite advance now, so he had defecated in his chair, and on the floor and tried to clean it up with his hands.  Things went from bad to worse then as he must have figured he was cooking a meal for the family because he gathered up his feces into a large cooking pot.  Thinking what he had was food he then began to feed the 1 year old baby his feces.  From the story and the amount of tears coming from Santa's eyes I could hear the anguish in her voice as she told us.  Santa stated that she was almost beside herself when she discovered her father, her house, and her baby; everything covered in her father's mess.  At first she wanted to end his life, for what a burden he was to her and her two daughters.  She refrained, thankfully.  Within an hour after consuming her grandfather's mess the baby became violently sick; throwing up uncontrollably and then filling her pampers with an unbelievable black mess.  The baby was in intense pain as Santa called a neighbor to watch her other child while she took a motoconcho to the hospital in Sosua.  The hospital immediately transferred the baby to the big hospital in Puerto Plata where they could better care for the baby.  It was better for her anyway because CMC in Sosua is a private hospital which charges for services.  When Santa left her baby at the hospital to come back to Sosua and try and get money for a prescription she did not know what to do.  She only made about 200 pesos a day repairing shoes in her own little business attached to her house; not enough to pay for the prescriptions as she had already spent all her money on food that morning.  Her baby was hooked up to IV's to re hydrate her but she was still unconscious from the pain she endured in her tiny body.  Probably better that way I thought.
Santa told us that she thought of going to the street and maybe finding a gringo who she could sleep with once to make some quick money for the prescription.  She told us that she was ashamed and cried as she cried out to God for help.
Five minutes later she was sitting in front of  Joanna and me after the pharmacist had told her how much money she needed for the medication.
Santa finished telling her story and then turned to me asking, "Sir, are you a Christian? Do you know God?"
"I know God." I replied to her calmly, "He's here right now Santa."

Now please hear me people when I say this, I am not God, but we are His hands and feet; all of us who believe and are called to serve His people.  People who, when they are at the end of their rope, when they can only cry out to Him.  These are the people whom He brings in front of you.

Santa never asked me for the money, but she did ask me if she could fix my shoes for a small charge, or maybe she could wash our windows or clean my house for a small fee; enough for the prescription for her baby.
I have lived in this poor country now for more than a year and a half and I have seen the beggars and injured people who use their infirmity as a business.  These people don't want to be healed, they make a good living out of begging change from the pockets of the tourists each day.
Santa was no beggar, this I know.  I asked her for the names of her children and her address where she lived.  Then she asked me if I knew anyone who could help her tonight; I had already watched this complete stranger breakdown emotionally in front of two people whom she did not know.  A young mother who related an almost incredulous story of pain and suffering that no-one should have to endure.

I gave her the money. Santa jumped out of her chair and started crying again, this time Joanna went to her and gave her a compassionate hug.  After a moment she gained her composure, and I assured her the money was a gift; that I believed there are no coincidences and that I saw her Faith was powerful.
After we prayed for Santa and the baby together, she left promising to let us know how the baby is doing tomorrow.

I'll let you know.



  1. Thanks for sharing Mike. The Lord has great compassion for his people. Thanks for your willingness to be used by God and pour out his love.

  2. Love love love hearing your "Jesus" stories. Thanks for sharing this...can't wait to hear how her daughter is doing. Prayers!