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Latest News from ‘ Team B ’

Haiti – Update from Dr. Delia Nuesch-Olver

  -March 5th, 2010 @ 8:16 am

Days after the January 12 earthquake devastated , I met with the Haitian superintendents to determine the priorities for response. A steering committee of six Haitian pastors and one North American missionary was empowered to manage the response according to these priorities.

Of course, the Haitian leaders understood that by identifying these priorities there were other important things they would have to trust God to accomplish through other means. They have demonstrated great maturity by maintaining focus on the priorities despite the criticism of well-meaning people who think they should try to do everything.

Partnerships are being developed with other agencies so that Free Methodist relief funds are being leveraged to go farther. Resources are being used to help people help themselves and help others. With the relief funds you have generously contributed:

  • Thousands have been vaccinated against typhoid and tetanus.
  • Thousand of food kits have been distributed.
  • Children’s clubs been started to assist with trauma counseling.
  • Structural inspections have been conducted on schools, churches and homes.
  • Haitian people have been hired to demolish damaged buildings.
  • Grants have been made available for pastors and teachers to build temporary homes before the rainy season.
  • Medical relief for victims of the earthquake has been provided at .

All of these things have been delivered at a grass roots level – along with pastoral care. People have experienced healing and spiritual encouragement even though they are psychologically battered by the memories of the terror. Please continue to pray for the many people living in primitive conditions – including Free Methodist pastors and other leaders who are working tirelessly to minister to others.

Reflections from Haiti – Dr. Dan Snyder, Dessalines Hospital

  -February 26th, 2010 @ 7:12 am

Dr. , – Saturday, February 13

We are seeing a lot of emotional trauma and misinformation. The country as a whole is spending three days in government-mandated time off and prayer. Preachers in the country are frequently preaching non-biblical messages. One example is: the reason the earthquake happened is because we as a Haitian people knew we lived in an earthquake area and should have built our homes with wood. But instead we ignored this and built with brick and iron, and God is punishing us for this. (In other words, we ignored “common sense” recommendations and God is punishing us.)

Pastor Robenson was in when the earthquake hit. He was waiting to meet with Jeanne (Acheson-Munos) when he received a phone call from his girlfriend asking him to meet her. … The earthquake hit as he turned to leave FOHO; he saw the building going down. His girlfriend is a nursing student, and only she and one other classmate who were not in the downtown school building survived – 85 died. , our hospital administrator of 23 years, lost his oldest daughter and multiple other family members. Leon, our accountant, lost six family members. Sydney, our pharmacist, lost 16 members of his family … and on. The hospital has set up a counseling program for any patient who arrives and agrees to see our chaplains.

I have only had interactions with a few staff members so far but none of them are sleeping well or functioning very well. I have never seen them like this. A huge support for them is going to be feeding, building construction and health care; however the pastoral staff also need their emotional and spiritual issues addressed. Basic education of the Biblical message concerning pain and suffering should be part of the process to thwart the misinformation circulating in country.

Dessalines was very busy the first 2-3 weeks treating earthquake trauma victims. We are now seeing mostly follow up patients and are shifting into the more routine care. The obvious problem is that many do not have funds for payment. These are in categories: first those who were in the earthquake and have lost everything and are living in the street or in a U.N. tent in Port-au-Prince or with a local family or friend, all of whom are coming for health care. Second are the local families themselves who are having to feed and support friends and relatives and are already broke due to the economic stress of this situation. The hospital earlier made an announcement that they would treat earthquake victims for free for one month.

Haiti Relief Funds Update

  -February 26th, 2010 @ 6:14 am

As of Feb. 19, a total of $1,146,435 has been given through the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund, Help Heal, Operation Hope and for relief, recovery and development needs.

State-of-the-Response Report from Bishop David Roller

  -February 25th, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

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

Something about this earthquake in 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 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 (supt ’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.

Reflections from Haiti – Sally Volz

  -February 19th, 2010 @ 10:39 am

, part of the first medical team at written to her church family – New Covenant FMC, Clio, MI

Bonjour from ,

I would like to tell everyone what my days are like here:

We get up at about 6 a.m. We are fortunate to have water in the building and wash each day. Our team support staff, Denise, has already been up preparing a breakfast of toast and oatmeal with coffee. We discuss our goals for the day, individually and as a team. We are at the hospital for worship by 8 a.m. The service is in Creole and is organized by prayer topic; Monday the service is to pray and give thanks for missionaries in the field. Then we go to our specific clinic or job for the day. At 12:30 p.m. we again walk about three blocks distance, with children running at our feet, for our main meal of the day.

It is hard to see the hunger, even starvation, people are suffering in the hospital and on our walks. We are blessed. We walk back to the hospital and work until the clinics and follow-up care are completed, sometimes after dark. The streets are lit by small fires, candles and oil lamps. Only about four buildings in the whole town have electricity after dark. The nurses work with flash lights most of the night as the generator is only used for emergencies and surgeries. We appreciate the beauty of the stars and the moon. Many nights we have visitors to share our sandwiches and fruit. We have a group meeting. We pray, look to God’s Word and seek guidance and wisdom – solutions for meeting the complex needs of the hospital and community. The team is working on recommendations and a strategic plan to maintain the valuable health resource.

Most nights there is singing and music in the streets until the wee hours, even into the morning. Our fellow Christians in Haiti are the best examples of Christ’s love I have witnessed. An example is a couple at the hospital that have taken in an orphan from with severe shoulder injuries. They are both working but have no income. They have their own children at home. They are living on faith. This is a common story here now.

Please continue your support. Have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Humbly,
Sally

International Child Care Ministries in Haiti

  -February 16th, 2010 @ 8:50 am

A earthquake response team, including ICCM Director Linda Adams and Director of Advancement John Hay, Jr., were in Jan. 25 to Feb. 1. They delivered supplies, including Sawyer water filters, for earthquake victims. They met with Haitian ICCM staff and assessed damage to ICCM schools and other facilities so plans and priorities for repair and rebuilding can be made. Accounting for 1,687 ICCM-sponsored children in the area is a high priority for the Haitian ICCM team. As hundreds of thousands of people are scattered in refugee camps and across the Haitian countryside and beyond, this is tedious task.

Please pray for Haitian ICCM Field Coordinator and all who are both bearing the trauma of the earthquake and its aftermath, as well as the responsibility to find children and prepare for schools to reopen on March 12.

Haiti Relief Funds

  -February 12th, 2010 @ 9:29 am

As of Feb. 5, a total of $732,813 has been given through the Bishops Famine and Relief Fund, Help Heal, Operation Hope and for relief, recovery and development needs. We praise the Lord for the generosity of His people.

Your contribution makes a difference.

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Reflections from Haiti – Rick Ireland

  -February 12th, 2010 @ 9:25 am

Rick Ireland, Sun., Feb. 7

It is Sunday evening, and I am reflecting back over my day. I was up about 5 a.m. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to sleep past 5 a.m. here in . Some personal quiet time with God and then some breakfast and then I was heading out the door when my phone rang. I was planning to attend the 7 a.m. service at the Delmas 53 Church, spend the day with friends, and preach at the monthly 4 p.m. Communion service. But I am in , and there has been a change in plans. I was now scheduled to preach the morning service. The drive to church was quick as there is little traffic on Sunday morning.

I got to the church about a half hour before the service, and they were setting things up for church. How different than Nash Road FMC (North Tonawanda, NY). There I would get to church about 45 minutes before the service started, fire up the sound and video system, make sure the heat is working and hey presto, I’m ready. At Delmas 53 the church building is not usable at present due to the earthquake. The church is meeting in their Christian school courtyard. During the week it is filled with tents but early Sunday morning they take them down, clear the courtyard, hang some tarps to shield the congregation from the sun, set up the sound system from scratch and hey presto, worship happens.

The service itself lasted three hours; that is an hour longer than usual. You can’t blame the preacher; I didn’t stand up to preach until 2½ hours into the service. The amazing thing is, it seemed like 15 minutes. I didn’t understand most of the words, but I heard the heart, and the faith, and the strength.

Here comes Wizner. He was with the choir that came to Western NY a year and half ago. He is a tall, thin man with a smile as big as the outdoors. “Pastor Rick,” he said and shook my hand and made me feel so welcome. It was only later that I found out that both his businesses were completely lost in the earthquake. He had just taken out a loan to start the second one, purchased a building and stocked the store and was getting ready for the grand opening when the earthquake changed everything. There was no insurance. He lost everything but the debt. And he raised his hands, and he worshiped God with clear joy in his heart. Tonight he will sleep in the courtyard with his family. They don’t even have a tent.

And I saw that all around me, as close to 400 people, poured into that courtyard. These were people who lost their homes, their jobs and loved ones. They opened worship with these words from Psalm 95, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord: let us should aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” And then they did just that.

I came to help them. I am beginning to learn that they have more to give to me than I them.

Haiti Oversight

  -February 12th, 2010 @ 9:22 am

oversees all our FMWM missionaries and work in Latin American including . She and co-chair the Response Team which is led by Pastor John Marc Zamor of with missionary Rick Ireland as administrator. Larry and , members of FOHO (Friends of Haiti) provide logistical support and Dr. oversees FM work at .

The team of seven in Haiti who are overseeing relief, recovery and development efforts include: John Marc Zamor; Rick Ireland; Haitian superintendents , and ; Haiti ICCM Field Coordinator and .

Update 9 Feb 2010

  -February 9th, 2010 @ 8:23 am

was able to be moved to a Seattle area hospital on Friday, February 5, where she will continue her recovery.

Pray for individuals currently ministering in :