From Bishop David Roller’s Blog 2/24/2010

Something about this earthquake in Haiti touched us at a primal level… It felt like the brokenness of the creation had heaped its shards on this resilient people. How could a people so accustomed to sorrow survive one more devastating blow? As if lawlessness and corruption weren’t enough, and deforestation and poverty weren’t enough, and the hurricanes and hopelessness weren’t enough…now an earthquake to grind home the lesson; the creation is broken and groans for healing and well-being. And there stands Jesus, the healer, the restorer, the first-fruit of God’s plan of full redemption. And there stand Jesus’ people, we who proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven has indeed drawn near; we who live out the values and behaviors of that kingdom even as we live in this broken kingdom.

from nearly 20 countries have responded to the earthquake, living out those values and behaviors. I’ve been privileged to observe and participate as God’s people have sacrificially sent money to assist their Haitian brothers and sisters. At last count we had received over $840,000 dollars toward the relief and recovery effort. That’s an amazing effort in the middle of a world-wide economic recession!

I have personally been back to Haiti twice since the earthquake and will return this coming weekend, along with a team to continue the oversight and plan for the future.

Let me keep you up-to-date on the process and progress of the response. This may be too much information for some, but others will be interested:

Regarding the Decision-making Process:

  1. The Haitian superintendents team, with input from me, crafts the major contours of the response; we decide what the major components of the relief and recovery should look like.

  2. A Response Steering Committee was set up on February 5th. Composed of 6 Haitian leaders and 1 American missionary this committee makes the decisions regarding priorities. They “steer” the response so it can accomplish the major goals set by the superintendents.

  3. Then the implementers in Haiti, led by and Rick Ireland, put the plans into action. They are both on the steering committee and they are the link to those “on-the-ground.” They are charged with executing the response plan.

  4. Accountability and control links are built into all 3 levels.

Regarding the Funds:

  1. Early on we decided to make this a coordinated response. Even though funds are coming from various sources and through various channels (Int’l Childcare, Help Haiti Heal, Operation Hope, Bishops’ Famine and relief, Canadian and Dominican FMC, and others) we are spending through a coordinated disbursement budget that comes from Haiti. This helps us avoid the possibility of over-responding to some needs and under responding to others.

  2. A disbursement budget was built on Feb 5th, anticipating eventual donations of 1.4 million dollars, broken into three components:

    • $150,000 – Phase 1 Immediate Relief (food, water, tents, etc)

    • $450,000 – Phase 2 Mid-term Recovery (food, tents, hygiene kits, medical, school kits, etc)

    • $850,000 – Phase 3 Long-term Reconstruction (rebuilding of schools, houses, churches)

  3. These “Phases” have more to do with timing than with content. That is, relief activities continue well into phase 2, and will probably need to extend into phase 3.

  4. Even as I write this we’re reacting to the ever-changing context in Haiti and are modifying the above budget. We have built the budget so it is scalable and flexible. We’re hoping that people continue to remember Haiti in the next months and years, even though the news media forgets.

Regarding the Progress:

  1. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, February 23rd on the mission property in Port-au-Prince for the 4 who died in the guest house. We continue to grieve, but not as those who have no hope. These four died in the “line of sacrifice.” Many more Free Methodists died but we do not have an accounting yet. Due to major relocation of people, it’s impossible to know who may have died and who may have traveled to the countryside.

    Jack Munoz is in Texas and healing well. is in Washington and healing well. Madame Desvariste (supt Desvariste’s wife) had a successful 7-hour surgery on Tuesday in Miami and is expected to need months of rehabilitation.

  2. Much has been done to evaluate and prioritize the buildings; determining which must be demolished and which can be rebuilt. Some structures have already been rehabilitated.

  3. Free Methodist work teams have begun to re-enter Haiti. Please contact the VISA office for orientation if you have a team interested in going and register for the training at Haiti Visa Training. Keep in mind that the situation in Haiti continues to involve high risk and teams will want to approach the possibility with a frank acknowledgment of the risks.

  4. Funds have been distributed from day 2 (Jan 13) to enable people to buy food, water, medicine. We continue to distribute money as well as the items themselves. The Dominican church has been an important lifeline, taking numerous caravans of vehicles and supplies into Haiti. But in spite of our best efforts, we haven’t been able to do everything we need to do in a timely way. This is part of the reality of relief efforts.

  5. A program to address children’s psychosocial needs is on the way. Training has been given to West District and South District staff so we can normalize at least one component of children’s lives.

  6. The hospital in Dessalines initially saw an increase in patients and has treated many for free. The hospital has been very generous in their response to effected individuals, and medical teams from North America are also engaging through the hospital.

  7. Tents are in short supply but we’re working every available option to provide temporary shelter (Brazil has a load going in, another shipment through Atlanta, etc). We know that long-term shelter will be needed.

  8. Price quotes are being gathered to put together 2,000 hygiene kits (soap, bleach, toothpaste, etc) for distribution. They are expected to cost about $15 US per kit.

  9. A grant program is being set up to assist pastor to buy the materials for temporary structures. Several groups have developed plans for inexpensive wooden structures with tin roofs that would provide a couple of 10 by 10 rooms at a cost of under $5,000. Other plans are being developed for more substantial homes.

  10. Once the engineering team gives us a better idea of what needs to be done with the repairable pastors homes, a grant program to assist them is in the works

Thank you for standing by the Haitians in this hour of need. How I wish it were only an hour. Unfortunately it’s a long drawn-out crisis. Please continue to pray for stamina for all those involved. Relief workers are stressed, too. Our Haitian leaders are being worn out by the conditions and constant needs. And there is no end in sight. In fact, there is no end. We are still in the beginning stages of a epic struggle. Please continue to pray for God’s mercy.