As of Feb. 19, a total of $1,146,435 has been given through the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund, Help Haiti Heal, Operation Hope and International Child Care Ministries for Haiti relief, recovery and development needs.
Latest News from ‘ Team A ’
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.
Free Methodist 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:
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.
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.
Then the implementers in Haiti, led by Jean Marc Zamor 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.
Accountability and control links are built into all 3 levels.
Regarding the Funds:
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.
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)
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.
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:
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. Katie Zook 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As of Feb. 5, a total of $732,813 has been given through the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund, Help Haiti Heal, Operation Hope and International Child Care Ministries for Haiti relief, recovery and development needs. We praise the Lord for the generosity of His people.
Your contribution makes a difference.
From Bishop David Roller
The FMC has responded spectacularly to the Haiti earthquake. Team A has exited Haiti with a clear plan toward recovery; Team B is now in Haiti doing medical work; and the first Team C is scheduled to enter Haiti within a week. Team D’s initial flights were canceled, but new plans have been made to leave for Haiti on February 3.
Because the church is responding in such an strong way – with finances and teams, we have added two short-term employees in Indianapolis, one to help speed the funds to Haiti and another to help speed teams and volunteers to Haiti. The note on the FMWM Web site that stated 100% of donated funds will go directly to Haiti has been removed, so we can use some of the newer donations to fund these short-term employees. This seems right and reasonable, but we wanted to alert you to this development.
Haiti Relief, Recovery and Development Funds
Funds received for Haiti through the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund, Help Haiti Heal fund and Operation Hope will be used for relief, recovery and development purposes in Haiti. Costs to administer these funds will be held to a minimum. All expenditures will be approved through the FMWM Executive Director, Latin America Area Director and Haitian leadership, according to a budget developed in consultation with the Haitian church. These expenditures will be reported through the FMCNA Chief Financial Officer. Give Now!
Tuesday evening, January 26, 2010
Port-au-Prince Report #5
Reported by John Hay, Jr., ICCM Director of Advancement
Free Methodist Haitian Earthquake Response Team #2 concluded its mission on Monday and returned to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday to brief Team #3. Team #3 makes the seven-hour drive to Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, January 27, with more relief supplies, a well-drilling team, logistics experts and International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) leaders.
The Tuesday evening briefing between the two teams yielded a sobering assessment of conditions in Port-au-Prince. “What you see on TV is not true; it is much worse,” one team member said. Another reflected: “It is so overwhelming, you cannot put words to it.” The team described people living in tent villages on every available open space, calling out for water and food, and afraid to go inside buildings and homes that are still standing.
They also described heroic efforts of rescue and people sharing with each other the food and water they are able to access. An informal economy is beginning to supply essential needs even as the formal economy of the city struggles to come back online. “The people of Port-au-Prince are still in shock,” one team member declared.
Structural engineer Ken LaBelle inspected ten ICCM schools, along with churches and homes, with the assistance of Haitian ICCM and church leaders. Many schools and FM church facilities will need to be rebuilt in the months and years ahead. The task ahead is immense, but the faith of many in the Haitian Free Methodist Church is strong.
Response Team #2 was also able to restore electricity to the ICCM office so it can serve as a center for helping schools across the country resume classes as soon as feasible.
Team #3 will begin its service on Wednesday, January 27. The team includes well-drillers Curt King and Kevin Kate. They will attempt to find water that will be a life-giving resource for many. Two team members will focus on logistics for relief and recovery teams going to Haiti over the next several months. ICCM Director Linda Adams and ICCM I will work with the Haitian ICCM staff, visiting schools, finding ICCM-sponsored children, and distributing supplies.
Starting at 6 a.m. today, we divided into two teams. Ken LaBelle did many inspections of church buildings, schools and pastors’ homes, checking for structural soundness. It was his sad job to tell Superintendent Clovis and Pastor Jean Marc Zamor their homes are structurally unsafe and have to be torn down immediately to avoid further loss. When Pastor Clovis was informed he simply said: “God knows. God cares. God will provide.” – and continued ministering to other people.
Ken LaBelle has been coaching Pastor George, a Haitian leader, how to do building inspections. My favorite moment of the day was when Ken turned to Pastor George and said: “You do the next inspection.” From then on, Pastor George, a civil engineer, did them with the backing of Ken. He can now continue until more engineers come.
Many people were prayed for after we listened to their stories. Some children are starting to smile.
As we leave Haiti tomorrow, the International Child Care office is almost ready to be used, generators are re-set and working, and tools have been recovered from the FOHO (Friends Of Haiti Organization) building ready to be used by work teams. We also worked on preparing for the Fourth Response Team, arriving from Spring Arbor next Monday.
We are very impressed with the caliber of Jean Marc Zamor, the new Field Coordinator for FMWM Haiti response. Under his leadership, pastors have formed teams to locate church members in the refugee camps and are delivering water and food to many with the resources you send through us.
Participate in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Haiti, January 27, 2010.
Life after January 12, 2010
Our sponsored children in the capital of Haiti have suffered many trials in their young lives, but troubles and hardships before January 12, 2010 pale in comparison with their reality now. Many have lost parents and siblings, friends, neighbors, and teachers. Almost all have lost their homes. No doubt many are injured and some have even died, their young lives cut short.
Our field coordinator’s report to me yesterday said that of four schools he visited Saturday, three will have to be tom down and rebuilt. He is visiting more today. Now I am on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic, from where I will drive with a team into Haiti. We will be eyewitnesses to the devastation, deliver relief money, water filters and play equipment, and attempt to be bearers of mercy and hope.
My own personal loss is compounded because my dear friend Pastor Jeanne Acheson-Munos was killed in the earthquake. She has been a great champion of Haiti for Christ!, serving with her husband Jack as Free Methodist missionaries in Haiti. Jeanne was compelled with the conviction that “the Pearl of the Antilles will shine again!” She loved the Haitian people passionately and genuinely. They and we will miss Jeanne terribly. Our comfort is that she is at home with Jesus, the Lover of her soul, and that is comfort indeed.
Where do we go from here? Up.
This is a critical moment in our relationship with the church in Haiti. How we respond now will set the tone for years, decades, even generations.
ICCM supports children in 53 Free Methodist schools. We will work with the leadership of the church to discern the best way forward. Already many teams from North America and other parts of the world are offering their services to come and rebuild-which is wonderful! Haitian Free Methodist leaders will take the lead in determining our priorities for the rebuilding effort. We are also committed to using as much Haitian labor as possible, for the sake of pride and ownership of the new buildings, as well as choosing not to deprive Haitian workers of much-needed jobs.
The immediate needs are enormous: Food, Water, Shelter, Medicine, Funds to survive. During the Relief phase, we are already working with people who are drilling wells (Clear Blue); we are distributing donated water filters (Sawyer), and preparing to purchase temporary structures (HousAll). I am thankful to be able to report that within 24 hours of the disaster, we sent relief funds with Andy Yardy, who went with Bishop Roller to offer help and bring home videotape, to tell their story. When I am in Haiti this week, will discuss means to relieve the suffering of particular families who have experienced crushing blows.
We also are shipping a container of 175,000 donated fortified rice meals through Feed My Starving Children, which will leave the US on January 28 and be distributed through our schools. ICCM Special Projects Fund and Haiti Food Funds are supporting this effort.
Within weeks, we will enter the Rehabilitation phase. Work teams will construct homes, schools and churches, partnering with Haitian Free Methodists. We will need books, uniforms, desks, teachers’ supplies, sewing machines, and other materials. Sponsored children’s families may be able to receive significant resources from their sponsors during this time, to help them get reestablished.
Gradually, we will move into a shared Development phase. ICCM advocates for children and invests in their education so that their future can take a better course than it would have without us. We believe that God wants to raise up Christian citizens and leaders in commerce, education, human services, the arts, government and the Church-for the glory of God and the good of this troubled country. Working with our brothers and sisters, we will watch them not only rebuild their lives, but change their world.
This will be an ambitious undertaking. Our current sponsorship of 8900+ children will need to be matched by significant donations to our Special Projects Fund, creating the infrastructure and leadership development to enhance the churches’ ministry and the children’s lives. Please prayerfully consider a major donation to this fund.
Thank you for your prayers. We have a long road ahead with our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We will take this journey together.
Additional information about International Child Care Ministries can be found at www.childcareministries.org
Standing in rubble Sunday morning, I had the honor of preaching at one of our Free Methodist churches. The church and school buildings were unsafe so we met under a tarp in the school’s patio. Surrounded by unbelievable pain and destruction and odor and bugs and thirst and hunger, it was very moving to join with our Haitian sisters and brothers in singing, “For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able …”
We attempted to bring words of comfort and hope and arranged to have water delivered. A team from the Dominican Republic will continue to deliver water and food to people from the church and neighborhood we visited for the foreseeable future.
Some reflections from members of the team after visiting downtown Port-au-Prince this afternoon:
Flattened … It looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off … Total, breathtaking destruction beyond any kind of description. Overwhelming … People burned, still alive. Sorrow …Visible decaying bodies. Smell … Hard to process the suffering. And finally: “The pictures you’ve seen in TV are not true; it is much worse.”
There was an aftershock this afternoon. We fear unstable buildings may no longer be standing.
Alice Judy had asked her husband, Larry, (one of our team members) to find out whether their friend Bill was alive. Larry asked around to anyone he thought might know. No one had heard from Bill since the earthquake, and Larry was increasingly concerned. Today as we returned from church Larry was sitting in the back of an open pick-up truck. Suddenly, Larry heard his name called out and saw his friend Bill waving at him animatedly. Bill and Larry hope to connect again tomorrow. In the midst of so much sadness, devastation and masses of people in this capital city, this felt like a wonderful moment to all of us.
On Monday the team will divide in three. We will start work again at 6 a.m. Ken LaBelle will continue doing building inspections. Dr. Dale Woods and I will meet for a third strategy meeting with the Haitian leaders, after which I will visit schools and pastors with Andy Yardy. Meanwhile Dale will fix generators to make it possible for the ICCM central office to start functioning again.
Be wise in your giving toward Haiti. We have seen people from international organizations jumping out of cars for a quick photo shoot, and then speeding away with their media material. I recommend the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund and the Help Haiti Heal fund.
Thank you for your prayers for Haiti and the Haitian people.
Today we went to Church in a courtyard under a tarp in the middle of a slum. The people packed in to hear the message sing and pray. One small boy no more than 5 came forward to ask for prayer he was on the edge of tears as he approached the pastor when the pastor picked him up he broke into tears he sobbed not like a boy who can’t find his favorite toy but like a man who lost the love of his life. We then drove back through downtown it was only worse that I remember it from a few days ago. The shock of it all had worn off and scope of the devastation was much more apparent to me. Later we went back to the building where I had seen a failed rescue attempt last week and noticed that the bodies exposed in the rubble were still there. I have started to wonder what is next I know this is already fading in the hearts and minds of people around the world. How can we think longer term of how to help rebuild. This is often the case after disasters like Katrina, the Tsunami, the earthquake in China we have our moment then move on to the next thing. Sporting events, Political maneuverings, relationship issues, school worries, and job deadlines push people concerns further from the center of our lives and these flash fires of concern fade away. I see here that life is fragile it can be taken away in a moment we need to seize the moment to the greatest good we can and hold close those who we care about the most pushing aside petty things and change take the first steps to change the world now.
“Will we ever get over this trauma?” Gaity said. “I had an appointment with Pastor Jeanne but she was praying; so I went downstairs to wait for her to finish. Then the earthquake happened.”
“It was terrible, terrible; and now it is terribly sad, terribly sad. But this I know: God is in charge.” – Robenson Herman, Pastor Jeanne Acheson-Munos’ translator at the Bible Institute.
While Ken LaBelle and Larry Judy checked buildings for structural safety, Andy Yardy, Dr. Dale Woods and I visited schools and met and prayed with pastors and Free Methodist brothers and sisters. Some of those we prayed with are among the thousands and thousands living in “tents” made of sheets draped from poles.
There are deep cracks on the roads and hillsides that have slid into roads, making driving a nightmare. It takes hours and hours to get anywhere.
We have been in buildings where the destruction took our breath away, such as L’Eglise and School Rensberry Metodist Libre. We saw mile after mile of collapsed buildings; some looking like powder. And that was on the main roads. When we went into the communities we realized that many people – many of our people – are living in the midst of total destruction.
At the Fontamara FMC people told us what happened: a crowd was waiting for prayer meeting to start when the earthquake happened. Four died. The local pastor reports that many children have died in that neighborhood of Port-au-Prince – some of whom are “our” sponsored children through International Child Care Ministries. If schools had been in session, many more would have died. I walked into the site of a FM school and saw the blackboard: “January 12, 2010. Homework for tomorrow.” That school is no more.
Food and water are huge issues. We prayed for many people; we sang together and brought them words of encouragement. As we left, they often said: “But we still need food and water.” Heart wrenching.
We had the joy of finding some people whose friends in the States had asked us to check whether they had survived.
This is a dangerous place. Even if there are no more aftershocks there is still much physical danger. Precarious buildings that are still standing might not survive a thunderstorm. If the building is on a hillside, a mudslide will take other buildings with them.
Dr. Dale Woods and I did a training video for all VISA teams so they know what to expect if God calls them to come here. We strongly recommend that all FM VISA teams watch this video and discuss it with their spiritual leaders before coming to Haiti.
We understand a FM medical team arrived at the Dessalines Hospital (3 hours north of Port-au-Prince) today at 4 PM, but cell phone towers were knocked out, making communication a huge problem for everyone in Port-au-Prince throughout the day.
As we look to the future, there is a great need of small teams of structural engineers to determine the safety of all buildings – churches, schools and pastors’ homes. Many of our pastors are homeless, living in the streets with their families. Their homes need to be assessed for safety so they can be free to minister to others.
We saw people walking – just walking – with a completely vacant look in their eyes.
With the blessings of Bishop Roller and Dr. Art Brown we have asked Jean Marc to become Field Coordinator for FMWM response. He is a Haitian leader, qualified for this role. He will be assisted by Pastor Rick Ireland as his administrator. Pastor Jean Marc is assembling his team for this role.
Please continue to pray for us. Dr. Woods and I are both preaching tomorrow (Sunday) in different churches.
The Free Methodist Church in Haiti
- 73 full churches
- 28 church plants
- More than 8,900 children sponsored through International Child Care Ministries
- 117 primary schools / 22,122 students
- 20 secondary schools / 2,859 students