Haiti Amputees Find Strength Through Sports

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More than a year ago the Haiti earthquake took more than 100,000 lives. Thousands of others were injured by the quake, shattering their ability to lead a normal life.

But, some of the victims have turned tragedy into inspiration.

Emmanuel Ladoceur is the goalie for the Amputee Soccer Team in Port au Prince, Haiti. Each player lost a limb during the disaster and are among an estimated 60,000 earthquake amputees.

"I was in the house with my family -- seven of us. The earthquake hit. Five people died. I and my sister survived," he recalled.

For four days, everyone thought Emmanuel was dead. No one saw him buried under the fallen concrete of his own house. In desperation, he tried committing suicide, but failed.

"Emmanuel's testimony is while he was trapped underneath his house for four days after the earthquake he called upon God. And he said, 'God, if you let me live, I'll come out of here and I'll go to church and I'll serve you,'" explained Joel Trimble, founder of Haiti for Christ.

Rescuers amputated Emmanuel's arm to free him from his concrete tomb. Now,he lives alone in a small tent while he finishes high school. Joining the local amputee soccer team has made a big difference in his recovery.

"Even though I lost my entire family I feel different, better now," he said. "And I am comfortable with the team. There were 69 people trying out for the team and I am one of the 15 that made it. I am grateful for the team."

The players meet for practice every Saturday morning. And although each member lost at least one limb to the quake, they all gained a personal faith in Christ.

"And after they came to Christ they decided they wanted to continue to play soccer because some of them are professional soccer players, or were professional soccer players before the earthquake," Trimple said. "But they didn't give up. They didn't stay in their tents and feel sorry for themselves."

The amputees encourage others, often sharing the platform with Trimble at his public evangelistic meetings. Trimble says the way Haitians are responding points to a big change in the country's spiritual climate.

"The revival in Haiti is a direct result of the disaster, since the earthquake. It brought a spirit of repentance on the land immediately," he said. "Even the first night the Haitians were going up and down the street calling on the name of Jesus and asking God to forgive their sins."

Now, thanks to Trimble's weekly television program, La Bonne Nouvelle, or "The Good News," the story of the Amputee Soccer Team is bringing hope to the many people of Haiti who are still trying to rebuild their lives.

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Stan Jeter

Stan Jeter

CBN News Senior Producer

CBN News Senior Producer Stan Jeter specializes in Christian news and Latin American coverage.  He has lived and worked for many years in South and Central America, most recently developing the Spanish Christian news program, Mundo Cristiano.  Follow Stan on Twitter @StanJeterNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/StanJeterCBN.