When Dan Woolley went to Haiti he never thought he would experience a life changing event that would strengthen his faith, his marriage, and his desire to serve others. Dan went to Haiti to get video footage of the work Compassion International was doing there. After a day’s work, Dan and his videographer, David, went back to their hotel to rest but minutes later the hotel collapsed in Haiti’s tragic 7.0 earthquake. That was the beginning of a 65 hour ordeal for Dan who was trapped in complete darkness with no food or water, a serious injury, and little hope for survival.
Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti’s Hotel Montana, is the story of Dan’s experience in Haiti but it is also a story about mental illness and depression. One of Dan’s chief concerns while he was buried under the Hotel Montana was the effect his death would have on his wife Christy who had fought severe depression for many years and seemed to have overcome it. Dan feared that his death would undo all of that and would result in a relapse for Christy and an uncertain future for his two young sons.
I was absolutely riveted by Dan’s story. The actions he took shortly after the earthquake likely saved his life. He used his iPhone in some very creative ways, remembered tips he had learned from Man vs. Wild’s Bear Grylls, and wrote love notes to his wife and sons in the pitch dark. But somehow he still felt God’s presence and was able to worship Him in that dark place. This book inspired me and moved me to tears. Even though I knew Dan would survive the ordeal and live to write this book, I was still at the edge of my seat filled with worry over what would happen next.
Whether you are a Christian or not, I highly recommend that you read this book. I also ask that you remember the people of Haiti in your prayers and charitable contributions as they are still trying to recover from the enormous tragedy of this earthquake. Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Compassion International.
Disclosure: Zondervan gave me a complimentary copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are mine.