Reed’s call fulfilled in Haiti
    May 3 2010 by Julianne Goldthwaite, Special to the Recorder

    On Jan. 12, W.D. Reed watched television news of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.

    He sensed God shaking his heart with just as powerful of a personal “earthquake.” 

    “Everything in my life came into focus and I knew God wanted me in Haiti,” said Reed, a new member of Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden.

    During six years in the Navy, Reed traveled the world and saw starving children in countries like Ethiopia and Uganda. Although he was not a Christian at the time, he felt God’s tug telling him to “Feed My children.” He completed nursing school at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College but fell into a life filled with drugs and alcohol. One night after a long party he told his wife, ‘We would be better off dead than raising our daughter in this life of drugs and alcohol.’” 

    That very night, Reed told his wife the only time in his life he was truly happy was in his church youth group, so they decided to leave their drugs and alcohol-ridden lifestyle behind and walk back into a church.

    Contributed photo

    W.D. Reed, with nursing and construction experience, said a trip to Haiti with North Carolina Baptist Men was a God-given appointment. He is applying to go back full time to set up rural medical clinics.

    At Alexander Missionary Baptist Church that Sunday he fell under such conviction he walked to the altar during the sermon, fell to his knees “and wept as I prayed for God to save me.” Over the next 14 years Reed continued to work in agency and travel nursing and earned his bachelor’s degree in construction management. In November 2009 he joined mission-minded Biltmore Baptist and felt more intensely that God was preparing him for foreign missions.

    Then, the earthquake struck.

    “My whole life came into focus just like a camera lens comes into focus and it was like God was speaking directly to me that day when He said, ‘Your mission never changed - I still want you to feed my children,’” said Reed. “Suddenly, I knew why God had led me to go into the service to learn different cultures, go to nursing school and to get my construction education - it was all to prepare me for Haiti because they need medical and construction help over there more than anything right now.”

    When he stepped onto Haitian soil with a team from the N.C. Baptist Men, he was shocked at the animalistic behavior he witnessed. Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake, he saw hungry women standing in lines miles long for food at distribution points. Men were not allowed in the lines because the youngest, strongest men had gotten to all the food first at the initial post-earthquake food distribution points. It was very common to see women fight on the streets over bags of beans and rice.

    Mothers were leaving their babies at Petionville Community Hospital in Port-au-Prince because they couldn’t feed them. Reed did third-world, hands-on nursing when he used glass thermometers to check temperatures under tarps, carried patients in the hospital from trucks driven by frantic family members and, sadly, watched patients die in front of him in the emergency room. 

    According to Reed, the most life-changing day in his 10-day trip happened Feb. 20 – his 50th birthday. That day, the hospital got a desperate call from an 88-year-old nun who managed a local orphanage.

    “The nun asked if we could come down to the orphanage to get the 40 children because none of them had eaten in three days,” said Reed. Dr. Steve Daub, a Greensboro family practice physician on the mission’s team, assessed all 40 children, ages newborn to three years old, and brought 19 of them in most critical need to the hospital while the Haitian government took the other 21 children away to an unknown destination.

    “Dr. Daub said the nun kissed each child as they left her orphanage and when he asked her if she would come to the hospital to get food, she refused and said, ‘No, I’ll just stay here,’” said Reed. “She put the children first and had apparently resigned herself to die there and I don’t know her name or what happened to her because there wouldn’t have been a funeral or an obituary.”

    “She may have been lost physically in this world, but, spiritually, she was right on target,” Reed added, with a look in his eyes that said he had left part of his heart in Haiti.

    In the hospital the mission team fed the children milk and watered-down Pedialite to acclimate their bodies to food again. Reed cared for the sickest orphan — a one-year-old baby girl whose parents likely died in the earthquake. She was catatonic and unresponsive to any feeling or pain. Reed picked up a red-tip marker and wrote “Francheska” on the bottom of her foot because no one knew her name.

    As far as Reed knows, “Francheska” is still living today.

    Reed said the events of that one day confirmed that what the team was doing in Haiti was right because, on his 50th birthday, God delivered 19 orphans for him to help care for. “That day God said to me, ‘Remember when I told you to feed My children — now you are doing it,’” said Reed, who says that this 10-day mission trip affected his life so strongly that he is currently applying through the North Carolina Baptist Men to be a full-time volunteer and plans to go back to Haiti to set up rural medical clinics.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Goldthwaite is a writer in Canton.)
    5/3/2010 9:12:00 AM by Julianne Goldthwaite, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments

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