They're All Dead!
by Jack Williams
The last day of a mission trip to Haiti found a Free Will Baptist Bible College senior suddenly thrust into an emergency life-and-death encounter. Kacy Stone, a pastor’s daughter from Morehead, Kentucky, had traveled to the island nation on September 2, 2011, with a group of volunteers to assist with Vacation Bible School at a mission station two hours from Port-au-Prince.
After a week of VBS activities with more than 700 people in classes, most of the volunteers immediately returned to the United States. But Rick Stone (Kacy’s father) drove an SUV to another mission station to observe a new water filtration system and visit with colleagues. Kacy, her friend Caitlin Hall, and Pastor John, and John Baptist (both Haitian) accompanied him. Everything went as planned until the group started back. That’s when they plowed headlong into rough weather with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning.
Moments before the SUV passed a roadside stand, lightning hit the small tin structure, striking seven of the eight people under it. Pastor Stone stopped the vehicle, and the group began pulling bodies from the tangled pile to administer CPR.
“We thought they were all dead,” Kacy said. “It was a horrific moment. We had a hard time getting the bodies separated, because they were facedown and tangled together, lying on top of each other. Pastor John and John Baptist separated the bodies while the rest of us began CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Three of us could perform CPR, and seven people needed attention. Only one person had a pulse. I worked on three or four people. During the storm, Pastor John stood beneath the rain and lightning and raised his hands to Heaven, praying for mercy from God.”
All three CPR personnel worked on a 13-year-old girl, reviving her once, but she died at the scene. After 20 minutes of non-stop emergency procedures, the group placed four survivors (three men, one woman) in the SUV and drove to a hospital. Kacy, Caitlin Hall, and John Baptist rode in the SUV to assist. Three survivors were conscious and thrashing about, unaware of where they were. The fourth (a man) was unconscious with shallow breathing, and a slow heartbeat. The group continued to work on him, but he died during the 15-minute drive to the hospital.
“We left three dead at the scene,” Kacy said, “and one lonely little girl about seven years old, the only one not hit by lightning. She watched her sister and grandmother die, and her father taken to the hospital where he also died. When we went back for the little girl, she had gone with another family member. We later found out the grandmother was a voodoo priestess.”
This marked Kacy’s third VBS trip to Haiti. The FWBBC senior and her friend Caitlin Hall learned CPR procedures at Camp Caleb in Kentucky. Kacy’s father, Reverend Rick Stone, pastors First Free Will Baptist Church (Lexington), serves as moderator of the Central Kentucky Conference, and chairs the national Master’s Men Board.
When asked about advice for others who plan mission trips to Haiti or similar fields, Kacy said, “Although nothing can prepare you for an encounter like that, prepare for the unexpected. Know what you can do in emergencies and stick with what you know. Do what you can, and leave the rest to God.”
She continued, “Five people died that day, five who may have never heard the Good News of Christ. I won’t live long enough to forget what happened or fully understand why it happened. I must remember that God is sovereign, rules with a sovereign hand, and always does what is right.”
The frantic day ended, and Kacy boarded a plane to Florida. She then traveled by car to Tennessee and showed up for classes Monday morning at FWBBC. But she never forgot the storm, the thunder, the lightning—and the prayers of Pastor John as she did what she could in a crisis moment a long way from home. As Kacy left my office, she stopped and spoke five words: “I’m going back to Haiti.”
About the Writer: Jack Williams is director of communications at Free Will Baptist Bible College.