Hi from Yap, Micronesia,
Yap has been experiencing a bad outbreak of dengue fever and leptospiroris for the past few months. Hundreds of people have been in and out of hospital, which is overflowing and staff are putting up makeshift wards made of tarps to accommodate all the new patients. School was cancelled for a month to try and stop the diseases from spreading. Staff are also visiting households door to door to hand out mosquito repellant, and the government has declared several days of “island-wide cleanup” for the entire island community to go through their yards and lands thoroughly, and dispose of any garbage and jungle waste that might be breeding grounds from mosquitos. We have another mass cleanup next week. School is back in session, but we just heard that the number of sick is rising again and the outbreak is still considered serious. Several deaths have been reported, but according to the CDC, Yap State is taking this outbreak very seriously and responding appropriately, so we are thankful for this.Two weeks ago, our PMA teammate Simon’s wife was shot and killed outside their home while returning from a run. Rachelle was the Acting AG for Yap, and a very exceptional woman who protected the defenseless and worked tirelessly for justice to be done in Yap. Two men she had open cases against conspired for a month in planning her murder, and carried it out on the night of October 14th, while Simon and a little Yapese girl they were caring for were inside the house baking brownies. Simon ran outside, called 911 and then Amos (we live just down the road), and when Amos arrived on the scene, she was already unconscious. A nurse friend who lived next door instructed Amos and Simon to put her in our flatbed truck and get her to the hospital, doing CPR all the way. At the hospital, staff tried to revive her for 20 mins, but were unable to do so. It was a shocking and heart-breaking event that we still can’t fully fathom. Yap is a peaceful place, guns are outlawed here, and gun violence is unheard of. The FBI flew in the next night to assist local police with the investigation, and just two days ago we learned that two men have been arrested and charged with planning and carrying out her murder. They are currently in the Yap State Prison and awaiting trial. Rachelle’s family flew in to Yap and were able to attend a beautiful memorial service in honor of their daughter. The men and women of Yap have been so kind and supportive in so many ways-visiting Simon, placing beautiful flowers at their house, setting up for the memorial service, donating materials and giving generously, etc. We are grateful for the island family that we have here. At her memorial, hundreds of people came to pay their respects to Rachelle, Simon, and her family, as Rachelle had touched so many lives during the four years she lived her. She loved the Lord and her life was one characterized by service to others-service and justice. Simon and Rachelle’s family then flew to the U.S. for Rachelle’s funeral and burial there. Please continue to pray for them. We miss Rachelle very much.
Thanks for reading and praying for us!
Amos, Heidi, and family