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A Day of Remembering

  -January 12th, 2011 @ 7:29 am

Rick Ireland
4 a.m., January 12, 2011

I can’t sleep. I have gotten up, dressed, fired up the coffee pot and am sitting here at my computer, well … reflecting. Last night, even Haitians that have repaired and/or rebuilt their homes (there are many) slept outside. A rumor has been going around that a second earthquake will hit on this anniversary of the first one. For Haitians it has been a year of loss. They have lost family members, homes and jobs. It has been a year of putting their lives back together. Today, a holiday has been declared, and churches all over the country will have special services.

In a few hours, I will attend a special service at the site of the collapsed guest house. The spouses of all those who died a year ago will be there. from World Missions will lead a special service. We will remember, and there is a lot to remember.

One year ago, I was the pastor of the just north of Buffalo, NY. I had begun to prepare for being a missionary to Haiti but didn’t expect to get there for another year. Shortly after the earthquake hit the news, my daughter Kate called. She was engaged to be married to Been Valcin, a Haitian who lived in . Somehow he had managed to get a brief phone call out so we knew he and his family had survived. We didn’t hear anything more for ten days. Two weeks later, I was on a plane to the Dominican Republic. From there I drove into Haiti with a small advance team. The stench of death was everywhere. I had been given the task of working alongside the Haitian national leaders in relief and recovery, and in putting the mission operation back together. And over the last year, that is what we have done.

In almost 30 locations, schools and churches were damaged or destroyed. Most people of Port-au-Prince (2.5 million people) were living in tents, at best. The most recent estimates are that a million people are still in tents. We have made substantial progress, but there is still a long way to go. A full recovery is years away. But as I look back, I see a lot has been done. In the early days, we had food distributions in all our earthquake-impacted churches. We had special programming for the children. We organized free medical clinics conducted by Haitian doctors and nurses. We provided for temporary housing for our pastors. One year later, our focus is rebuilding. In those locations where buildings could be repaired, they have been repaired. We have managed to get decent temporary structures in those locations that lost everything. We have provided training for pastors and builders to know how to build earthquake-resistant structures, and they have repaired and rebuilt using what they learned.

As I look at the state of the church here in Haiti, I am filled with hope. The last three Sundays I have been in three different churches. One was a permanent building that survived the quake, and two were temporary structures designed for 1,000 or more to attend. None of them were big enough to contain the people who showed up. God is moving across the face of Haiti, and it is a privilege to be here and watch.

Dale Woods
January 12, 2011

I sit at the FOHO complex as I write. Just down the street, the largest Free Methodist church in Haiti began services at 6 a.m. The services will last all day. I can hear the people worship. They are not sad. They are not defeated. They do not mourn. Instead, I hear joyous singing. Shouts of “Hallelujah!” Church overflowing. The church being the church in times of great struggle and great opportunity.

Yes, as I have been in Haiti, I have seen the U.S. headlines on the internet. “Haiti Still in Crisis.” “Haiti Struggles to Rebuild.” Many sound bites, many authors. I can only report what I see in Haiti. I think my headline would be: “Progress and Accomplishment.” The nation has changed and progressed. It is amazing what has happened in the last year. Much, much progress. Personally, I cannot believe how much has been accomplished from one year ago. Yes, much still needs to be done – the task is huge.

Yes, people still live in tents. But, fewer people than a year ago. Rubble is being cleared; houses are being built; people are working; and students are going to school. The nation faces many challenges, but there is great hope.

I am proud of the church. I am proud of the Free Methodist Church and our partner organizations in Haiti. Sunday we worshiped at Puit Blain, a church that was overflowing, as many churches are today in Haiti. I was able to participate in an infant dedication. The pastor told me the stories of the mothers and fathers coming to Christ after the earthquake, and now, a year later bringing their children to be dedicated. Yes, many of our churches are in temporary structures like the one you see here. On Sunday we worshiped under tarps – all 1,500 of us! We worshiped in tarps; however, all of us could look out and see the new church being constructed – again, great hope for the future.

Perhaps you have heard stories of aid organizations not spending relief money. This is not true of the Free Methodist Church. According to missionary Rick Ireland, 95% of the relief money has been distributed. Medicine. Tents. Water. Wells. Schools. Churches. Houses. Thank you for making a difference in Haiti!

In a few minutes, all the families of those who died in the will gather at the grave site. Haitians and Americans, united in hope and anticipation of what God will do tomorrow in Haiti. This will not be a service of grief, but of anticipation for what God will do in the future.

Thanks for praying. Thanks for giving. And, thank you for your willingness to continue support of an amazing movement of God in Haiti!

Katie Zook and Kelly Perkins Reunite

  -March 11th, 2010 @ 11:06 am

Zook was in Haiti on a two-year mission with the Church where she was staying in the four story Friends of Haiti building that collapsed during the 12 Feb earthquake that devastated Haiti. was also in Haiti drilling water wells on a short term mission when the earthquake struck. He and others helped pull Katie from the rubble.

KTBV, Idaho News Channel 7 tells the story of ’s rescue.

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.

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 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 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.

Bodies Recovered

  -February 17th, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

We received word last night that the bodies of , and have been recovered from the FOHO (Friends of Haiti Organization) building in , Haiti. Jeanne’s body was recovered early in the day, and the bodies of VISA missionaries Merle and Gene were recovered in the late afternoon. Please especially pray for , Dorothy West and Dolly Dufour.

The families have asked that all three be buried on the FOHO site in Port-au-Prince, and the Haitian FM Church will have a memorial service next week.

These very difficult events remind us again of the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ. May every person in the world know that hope.

-

Memorial Service for Jeanne Acheson-Munos

A memorial service for Jeanne Acheson-Munos will be held at Indianapolis, IN, Westside Church of the Nazarene, Sunday, February 28, at 6 p.m.

Memorial Service for Jeanne Acheson-Munos

  -February 12th, 2010 @ 9:14 am

A memorial service for will be held at Indianapolis, IN, Westside Church of the Nazarene, Sunday, February 28, at 6 p.m.

(Photo) Across the street from the in :
“Goodbye, Pastor Jeanne”
“May your soul rest in peace”

Katie Zook & Jack Munos

  -February 12th, 2010 @ 9:10 am

is now home with her parents in Arlington, WA. She underwent successful surgery on Mon., Feb. 8, to stabilize her back because of ligament damage in that area. She will have out-patient therapy to restore mobility to her left arm which suffered nerve damage. Notes of encouragement may be sent to: 10027 Moran Rd., Arlington, WA 98223.

was scheduled to fly to Waco, TX, today (Fri.) to relocate at his brother’s home. The flight, which was canceled due to weather conditions, will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Notes of encouragement may be sent c/o Jim Munos, 2716 Cedar Point Dr., Waco, TX 76710.

Update from Dr. Art Brown

  -February 8th, 2010 @ 8:17 am

We arrived in around two p.m. Thursday after the 8½ hour drive from Santo Domingo. We visited the FOHO (Friends of Haiti Organization) building ruins and prayed near the “cave of life” site in which the Lord protected and until they could be rescued. We prayed with thanksgiving for their rescue and in grief for the families of Jeanne, Merle, Gene and Erlin. Next we visited the family next door whose home was destroyed by the FOHO collapse and from which two bodies are also yet to be retrieved. We shared our sorrow for them and prayed together.

On Friday we traveled through Port-au-Prince and were amazed at how commerce has returned to the streets. These are a very resilient people. As we drove to the city center, we grieved anew. The main government buildings are in shambles. The historic palace has collapsed; the judicial building is rubble.

We had two important meetings. One was with the Haiti superintendent’s team, missionary Rick Ireland and Haitian pastor . We confirmed the major outline of our response efforts and a structure for making decisions going forward under their leadership. The Spirit of God provided a wonderful atmosphere as we grieved, expressed mutual support and prayed together. Each of the bishops – Bishop Cecilio (Dominican Republic), Bishop Roller (U.S.) and Bishop Elford (Canada) – expressed sorrow for the tragedy, solidarity with the Haitian people and a commitment to stand with them as we go forward.

Next we met with the western district pastors – their churches took the brunt of the devastation. We wept, prayed and shared together. Bishop Roller and Jean Marc explained to them the response plan, and we dialogued together. Each of them has lost their home. Most are living under temporary tarps where they can find a place. When I asked one pastor where he was living, he said in a neighbor’s yard. “Do you have a tent?” I asked. “No,” he responded, “just a cover.”

We visited the yard where between 12 and 15 families from our Delmas 53 church live in tents. It is a block from their destroyed church and a half block from a school where three of their member’s bodies are still under the rubble. The ladies’ church choir was practicing in one corner; tents covered nearly every square foot; school benches were along the wall; and dinner was being cooked. An amazing sense of calm and peace prevailed in spite of the very difficult circumstances. The church was living together and sharing both their need and their resources.

Lord, help us know how to be extravagantly generous as we stand with our church in Haiti!

We prayed for a miracle…

  -February 3rd, 2010 @ 9:46 am

From www.mlive.com

We prayed for a miracle, and got it: Living for others can result in the ultimate sacrifice
By Eileen Button | Flint Journal

It’s been three weeks since Haiti’s earthquake devastated the country and incited the sympathy of the world. For many in this area, the tragedy is personal. As for me, I have lost a friend.

, originally from Indiana, worked as a missionary in Haiti alongside her husband, Jack. When the earthquake struck, she was meeting in her home office with of Mount Morris and of Clio.

It has been reported that Jack was standing near an outside wall when the quake hit. It took six hours to rescue him from the rubble. Jeanne, Merle and Gene could not be saved.

For days, we prayed for a miracle in hopes they would be found alive. We soon learned that a different miracle took place. Today, they are sitting in the lap of God.

I spent a week with Jeanne at a family camp the summer she and Jack were preparing to become missionaries. I was facilitating a weeklong course in voluntary simplicity. They were raising spiritual and financial support for their service to Haiti.

Together, we laughed over our attachment to stuff. (Jeanne spoke wistfully about having to give up a rocking chair she was particularly fond of.) We talked about the disparity between American and Haitian cultures. And we lamented the fact that those who have the financial capacity to give so much often give little, while those who are more financially strapped often sacrifice.

Jeanne was living for a God who called her to give nothing less than what he himself had given. Along with Merle and Gene, she gave everything she had to the people of the country she loved — her time, resources, love, life.

The full article can be found here

Port-au-Prince Report #4

  -January 26th, 2010 @ 8:11 am

Report #4
Reported from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by Delia Nüesch-Olver on behalf of the second response team
Monday, January 25, 2010

Starting at 6 a.m. today, we divided into two teams. 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 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.

Give
Give online at:
     www.helphaitiheal.org
or send checks to:
     Bishops Famine and Relief Fund
      Church of North America
     PO Box 535002
     Indianapolis IN 46253-5002

Go
Complete a response/registration form for volunteer service in Haiti.

Pray
Participate in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Haiti, January 27, 2010.