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Progress Report From the Field

  -January 29th, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

, Area Director of Latin America, and , Director of Mobilization, report what is happening to the Haitian Church just 10 days after being devastated by the earthquake.  Check out what they are doing to help and find out the ways you can help your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Sunday Morning Service in Haiti

  -January 25th, 2010 @ 11:31 am


Reported by on behalf of the second response team
Sunday, January 24, 2010

Standing in rubble Sunday morning, I had the honor of preaching at one of our 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. will continue doing building inspections. and I will meet for a third strategy meeting with the Haitian leaders, after which I will visit schools and pastors with . Meanwhile Dale will fix generators to make it possible for the ICCM central office to start functioning again.

Be wise in your giving toward . 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.

Update Team A – 24 Jan 2010

  -January 23rd, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

Update
Reported from by on behalf of the second response team.
Saturday, January 23, 2010

“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 and Larry Judy checked buildings for structural safety, , and I visited schools and met and prayed with pastors and 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 . 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 . 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 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 as his administrator. 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