Pastor was out working his motorcycle taxi, while the church he is co-pastor of was having a prayer meeting. The other two pastors were there. Two of his brothers and one of his sisters were there, along with so many of his friends, his brothers and sisters in faith.

The building collapsed in an instant when the earth shook. They all died. The death toll rose to 230,000.

I saw Pastor six days after; he said he felt numb, just moving. Three weeks later he was working still to get bodies out. He'd recovered his three siblings by then, if I remember correctly. Six weeks later, the sadness set in more deeply.

Each time I see him, I ask how he's doing. He, somehow, asks lovingly after my wife and children. He, somehow, keeps working, like this whole city that keeps working.

"We're making it, by God's grace," he says. That "by God's grace" is tradition in Haiti, and Pastor means it sincerely. It's quite a statement in this landscape.

This isn't a miracle story. It's a story of carrying on. Because there's no other choice. But Pastor does it, with grace and responsibility whenever I see him. He's taking care of his children and wife. He's helping those in his church who survived.

I admire him and put my life into his hands when I'm traveling through Port-au-Prince. Nothing is guaranteed—if any city, any people, in the world know that right now, it's that city. But being with Pastor still feels like a safe bet.

Kent Annan is Co-Director of Haiti Partners and author of the newly-released After Shock: Searching For Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken.

 


For more resources on After Shock, including an excerpt and author interview, visit the Patheos Book Club.