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Marilyn the Miracle
“She was taking a breath once every thirty seconds,” said missionary Mike Brewer, founder of ReachHaiti, as we bounced down the hectic roads of Port-au-Prince in his truck.
Mike and his wife Andrea moved to Haiti in August of 2010 to begin their ministry. Shortly there after, an orphanage near their home ran out of funds and 16 kids were put out on the street. Mike and Andrea took these children in, and overnight, their home became an orphanage brimming with kids. Just five months later, on January 12, an earthquake rocked Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and plunging the Port-au-Prince area into chaos. Marilyn came to them that day.
She was three years old and just 14 pounds, very sick with TB, and in the last stages of starvation. They brought her to a clinic and she stayed there for four days, but the clinic did not have the resources to help her. She was getting worse. Desperate to save Marilyn’s life, Mike took her out of the clinic and drove her into the city.
“She was breathing once every 30 seconds; she was that close to death. Everything was in chaos. You couldn’t get anywhere,” Mike recalled. “Finally, I pulled over and flagged down a UN soldier and said, ‘You have to help me; she is moments from death.’” The soldier gave him a military escort through the clogged streets to the children’s hospital. Mike rushed little Marilyn through the doors and told a man behind the counter she was about to die. The man lept over the counter, grabbed Marilyn, and rushed her in to see the doctors, screaming for them to help.
Astonishingly, Marilyn did not die. She was treated for tuberculosis and severe malnutrition. As part of Marilyn’s recovery program, she ate FMSC food which helped her recover her strength and gain 20 pounds over the next seven months.
I got to meet Marilyn on January 10, 2012 – nearly two years to the day after she was first brought to the Brewers and ReachHaiti. She lives in the ReachHaiti orphanage now. She is an adorable little munchkin who is lovingly cared for by the orphanage staff, as well as some of the older girls in the orphanage. Mike tells me that she is “the spunkiest kid in the orphanage.” The day that I met her, she seemed to be in a bit of a fowl mood. She walked about with an indignant frown pasted on her face – except when someone asked to take her picture; then she tilted her head up and summoned up a comically wide toothy grin. It still makes me laugh thinking about it.
Marilyn is alive because of the heroic efforts of a missionary, a soldier, a team of doctors, a group of food packers at FMSC, orphanage staff and our amazing God, who puts all of them together in the right place at the right time.
Thinking back on it, I realize, when I saw Marilyn, I got to see a miracle walking around.