Yesterday, Mon., Jan. 16, was the opening of Haiti Providence University, a Christian university located near the capital, Port-au-Prince. The university offers liberal arts undergraduate degrees in education, business, theology and nursing. Construction on the first building began in December 2010, less than a year after the earthquake that left many Haitians homeless. Pray for university president/rector Jean Marc Zamor (a Free Methodist), the more than 50 university students enrolled, and instructors desiring to apply biblical principles to their lives.
“Last Sunday Jean Marc Zamor and I called back into action the health team, which we had put together in the early phases of the earthquake, to respond to the cholera epidemic. This is a Haitian team consisting of two doctors, several nurses, and some community organizers, about a dozen all told. The team has been spending this week in the Dessalines area. The medical people are helping the staff at the DRHP (Dessalines Rural Health Program). We have had 50,000 fliers printed up and the community mobilizer part of the team is traveling the region, working through the local churches to educate people how to protect themselves and how to respond with early symptoms of the disease. In addition to the fliers, we purchased medicine based on a list provided by Dr. Dan Snyder, as well as bleach and hand cleaner for distribution.”
Specific prayer requests from Rick and Cookie Ireland: “Please pray that this epidemic will be stopped, that there will be no more deaths, that needed personnel and supplies will reach those affected. Pray for continued strength for the Haitian people as they face yet another crisis.”
July 12 was the six-month anniversary of what has been described as the greatest natural disaster in recorded history. A major metropolitan area (Port- au-Prince is home to one- fourth of Haiti’s population) was hit by a major earthquake. The response of the Free Methodist Church was immediate and generous. Over $1.6 million has been received from churches in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic and around the world. To date, more than a mil lion of that has been distributed.
The full report can be reviewed in PDF format HERE.
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.
We arrived in Port-au-Prince 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 Jack Munos and Katie Zook 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 Jean Marc Zamor. 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!
Pray for team members currently ministering in Haiti:
- Tomorrow, Wed., Feb. 3, Canadian Bishop Keith Elford, Dominican Republic Bishop Cecilio Osoria, U.S. Bishop David Roller, Dr. Art Brown and Grant Sigsworth (Canada) will meet with leaders in Haiti to coordinate leadership and relief between the four countries.
- Rick Ireland, newly-approved missionary, is serving with Haitian pastor Jean Marc Zamor as the on-ground coordinator in Haiti. Larry and Alice Judy, Russ Cole and Jim Donnelson are providing support services. Sherry Cole will join the group next week.
- A team of 14 from the Spring Arbor FMC (Spring Arbor MI) is working on construction of a road and retaining wall at the FOHO (Friends of Haiti Organization) site.
- A medical team, led by Dr. Jerry Rusher, is based out of Dessalines Hospital. A second medical team from Yakima, WA, will leave for Haiti on Thurs., Feb. 4, to work at Terra Blanche with Pastor Dellamy. A third team of medical personnel is making plans to minister in Haiti over the course of the next month.
- Vahan Sipantzi, Curt King and Kevin Kate are drilling wells.
Praise God for this report from Dr. Delia Nuesch-Olver:
FM pastors are distributing food and water to their members. Jean Marc Zamor and Rick Ireland are encouraging the pastors to share a portion of that aid with non-FM neighbors.