Dr. Eric A. Cederstrom Memorial
‘EMT’: A medical shelter from the storm
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
The sound built from the valley floor, a ferocious wind rising up the slope and slamming into the village of Gentilhomme, Haiti with the fury of a runaway freight train.
Standing in that mountain village was a backyard tent. Steve Quakenbush — the dedicated doctor for the Mission: Haiti team — had brought it with him from Cañon City, Colo., USA, to use as a base for medical clinics.
“I had never experienced winds like that before,” recalled Jordan Rowley of Rochester, N.Y., USA, who was on his first mission trip that December 2009. “Dr. Steve and I decided to sleep in the tent to look after all the medical supplies as well as stretch out.”
Steve said: “Jordan and I thought we were going to have a peaceful night’s rest before starting clinics the next day. About 1:30 a.m., the winds began to blow violently. The demonic winds began shredding our tent as the winds increased.”
Jordan: “The wind became fiercer as the night went on. Just the sustained winds were enough to move our things around inside the tent. The gusts felt as if they were going to pick up the tent like a sail and throw it down the mountain. I don't know about Dr. Steve, but I didn't sleep one bit. Every few minutes a huge gust of wind would shake the tent violently jolting me to my senses. It truly felt as though this wind storm was demonic. I didn't think of it at the time, but I'm reminded now of the storms that Jesus' disciples faced. Many believe that any storm with wind and waves big enough to put such fear into a handful of seasoned fishermen must have been demonic. Either way, it seems that they were in a similar ‘boat’ as we were. Our wind storm came as we were doing the Lord's work in Haiti. The disciples’ storm came as they were doing the Lord’s work and crossing the Sea of Galilee. And as did ours, the disciples’ storm came in the dark of night. It seems as if that’s where most of the enemy's work is done – in the dark. Finally, after hours of increasingly fierce winds, one final gust blew the tent over. Medical supplies were in danger of being blown away – as were the tent, and Steve and I.”
Steve: “Jordan and I jumped up out of our sleeping bags, without a word, trying to hold the tent together. When Jordan and I realized that the tent would most likely blow down the mountain, we started disassembling the tent.”
Jordan: “Steve and I struggled just to keep the tent and most of the supplies from being tossed down the mountain.”
Other members of the Mission: Haiti team, awakened by what sounded like far-off voices, realized something was amiss on the mountain. They could hear expedition teammates shouting over the din of the wind storm. Those who heard emerged from their respective tents and aided Steve and Jordan.
“We hauled everything back to the mission house,” Steve said, “and then … the wind stopped.”
Jordan said: “It seemed like just about the minute we finished gathering all of the supplies and packing up what was left of the tent, the winds ceased. Just like that. Perhaps as if the Lord Himself said: ‘Peace. Be still.’ ”
Steve: “I remember my soul crying out that Satan could have no part of the mission. We were not going to be scared off or leave. We had come to serve Jesus and we would not be deterred. The next day we set up our clinic in the mission house.”
A valuable lesson was learned from this experience: Climbing For Christ needs a bomb-proof medical base. We have identified Mountain Hardwear’s Stronghold. “The Stronghold is our most impervious, double-walled, expedition base camp shelter for day-to-day use in the Antarctic or Himalayas,” Mountain Hardwear writes.
The Stronghold is a 10-person, 171-square-foot, four-season tent that stands 89 inches. It will be roomy enough for medical personnel and supplies and the many people God is sending us to serve physically in Haiti, Nepal, the Philippines, and beyond.
This tent retails for US$3,000. We will be using support received for the Dr. Eric A. Cederstrom Memorial Fund. We are doing so with the blessing of the late Dr. Eric’s wife, Lin Cederstrom. We have already renamed The Stronghold: Eric’s Memorial Tent. Or, the “EMT” for short.
This tent will withstand the enemy’s gales and be used to serve the lost and the found to the glory of God.
Posted Jan. 28, 2011