Daniel Thelusmond is the young man we wrote about on January 16 who lost his fiance in the earthquake. Daniel spent two years in the United States, pursuing his college decree, from September 2005 to June 2007. He and Glenn Bridges from California have a very close relationship. Currently Daniel teaches school in an English speaking school in Port-au-Prince. Below is Daniel’s January 12th experience in his own words.
January12th: My “Fiery Furnace Experience”
Listening to an old sermon would be the last thing in a young man’s mind—especially one who’s driving home from work in a nice Mazda 626 on a Tuesday afternoon. He’d rather listen to some good, rock Christian music to prevent him from falling asleep on the wheel. Well, I did the opposite.
God ordained that I listened to a sermon recorded on a CD that I bought from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville back in 2005 when I went to the States for the first time.
The sermon is about the fiery furnace experience of the three Hebrew young men who refused to bow to the king’s image.
I listened carefully as I stopped at a gas station for a refill. The preacher was loud and clear when he said, “Some of you may be going through a fiery furnace experience this week. However, if you’re Christians, you don’t have to be afraid of the fire. No matter what happens, you can count on God. He’ll be there to protect you.” “The king saw four people in the fire,” he continued. “Only three came out because Jesus is still in the fire waiting to preserve the lives of His children every time they go through a fiery furnace experience.”
When I got home, I decided to finish the report cards which were due that week. Then I stopped because I was very tired. When I felt the earthquake, I was sitting at my working table, drinking coffee, and watching TV. I watched as my chair rocked in all directions, but I kept right on drinking my coffee. I had such peace in my heart from the sermon I heard earlier. I had no idea that the earthquake hit Haiti at such a big magnitude. I remained in the first floor of the 3-story building until the earthquake has receded.
When I came out, my car was still parked behind the house. I heard people screaming. Others were running without knowing their destination. I had compassion for a particular little boy who broke his neck. I automatically transformed my car into an ambulance to rush him and other victims to the hospital.
After what seemed to be a whole day through traffic, I stopped in front of the collapsed hospital. Everybody was crying to God for help. I wasn’t ready to give up. I went to a different used-to-be hospital only to find out that even the sick people felt they had to evacuate the area. As I drove more, I noticed collapsed buildings, smashed cars, injured people, and dead bodies everywhere. What I saw in the streets that night made me think I was watching the Haitian version of the movie “Left Behind.” The only reason why I didn’t believe my thoughts came from my Christian faith, for I knew that I couldn’t be left behind.
Since I could do nothing for the victims, I finally decided to go check on my fiancé. I’d dialed her phone number countless times earlier, but I got no answer.
When I got there, her family was standing outside the gate. At my request, her mom broke the news to me that she was still at the school of nursing when the earthquake occurred. Her mom and I got in the car to go search for our beloved Alexandra.
Unable to get anywhere in the car due to the heavy traffic, we walked about ten miles to her school. The first floor and the second floor of the building were still standing when we arrived. Students in those floors were dismissed before the earthquake. Ironically enough, only the second floor collapsed, and that’s where the students were having their last class.
From that Tuesday till Thursday, we worked hard to save a few lives. I even crawled under the rubbles trying to rescue my fiancé. About 20 of the class of 208 students came out alive, but my fiancé lost her life.
When I spoke to her that Tuesday morning, she told me she was late for school. I said, “Don’t worry, Andra! I prayed for you this morning. You may go in peace. God is with you.” Later, I learned that I should have said, “Go home in peace. Jesus will carry you in His arms of love.
On January 2nd, we went to her mom’s room and told her about our wedding plans. Then on the 12th, she went to be with the Lord. She was such a nice young lady. I couldn’t believe God took her away from me so soon.
I have been supporting her mom ever since the earthquake. In fact, I live with her now. As for her, I am a double-person. I represent both myself and her daughter Alexandra.
God has given us the strength to accept His will. He’s wiped all our tears, and we are doing His work with gladness. Now, we are living proof that His mercies and His faithfulness never fail. May His name be glorified in our lives!