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