January 16th 2010: Earthquake Update #2

To all our brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world:


As most of you might already know, Haiti was hit on Tuesday, January 12th, with a devastating earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale.  All symbols of governmental authority have been erased as most government buildings have been demolished including the National Palace, the Supreme Court, the Public Works Department, the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Education, etc.

Most of the symbols of our culture as a people that existed in Port-au-Prince have also been reduced to rubble.  We have lost many important personalities.  Many universities no longer exist and many families are missing a loved one or have had all their earthly possessions and hopes destroyed. 

With no electricity, the people are sleeping in the streets or in any open spaces because it is not yet safe to go back into any building of any sort.  There is also the added emotional trauma of repeated tremors throughout the day and night, some harder than others.  Adding to all of this is the fact that many hardened criminals are on the loose as the prisoners from the major prison in Port-au-Prince have all escaped.  (for these reasons we would ask that no one, except emergency relief workers, try to visit us for the time being)

Yet, the apostle Paul reminds us not to grieve as those without hope amidst trouble.  We are further reminded in the gospels of the two houses that were built and went through similar hardships, yet their fates were not the same.  The reason for this was their foundation; one was built on the sand, the other on the rock.  This is an opportune time to show what we truly are made of. 

So far we have responded to the situation in very small ways due to lack of means.  As you may know, many streets have dead people lining them or have the dead trapped under collapsed buildings.  Because of this, we went and helped transport some of the dead to a common grave for burial yesterday.  Today, instead of helping those already dead, we attempted to keep those who are alive from dying of dehydration and lack of food.  We say attempt because what we did was very insignificant to the size of the need here.  We were able to purchase 20 bags of rice on credit and distribute five pound packets to 147 people.  What is this, though, amidst millions of people in trouble? 

We have also been able to establish relationships with three wholesalers who have agreed to sell us food items on credit for distribution.  Because the owners fear their warehouses will be broken into and looted they have asked us to purchase every item and to move all of it out of their warehouses. That being the case we have arranged for a police escort by some men in our church who are on the police force.  The food will be transported to a separate location and distributed to those in need.

We are, therefore, asking you to hear this Macedonian cry for help.  We need food, water, medical supplies, clothing, toiletries, feminine products, and diapers for children.  As most of these resources can be purchased locally our greatest need has become funds to help purchase them.  Even though the airport is presently flooded with aid coming in from various governments, it will be some time (if ever) before the hurting people in our community will see any of it. 

For now, we are all living on the streets or in open spaces; however, when those that can move back into their homes do so thousands will still be left homeless on the streets.  We are, therefore, asking you to partner with us in making an impact for His Kingdom and for His name's sake.

May the Lord bless you for your kindness and surely reward your generosity.  God bless you.

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Photo by Jared J. Kohler