Saturday, January 16, 2010
Christian Workers Among the Survivors of Haiti Earthquake as Midwestern Senator asks US Government to use Emergency Powers to help Haitian Kids
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
HAITI (ANS) -- A Midwestern US Senator is seeking to make it easier for American families to adopt Haitian children in the wake of Tuesday's devastating earthquake.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on Friday called on the U.S. government to exercise emergency authorities to allow Haitian children who are in the process of being adopted by American families to come to the U.S.
In her letter, Klobuchar urged that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in coordination with the State Department, grant Humanitarian Parole to all U.S. families applying for entry to the U.S. on behalf of their prospective children during this period of emergency.
Klobuchar’s office has been working to help several Minnesota families with pending adoptions in Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the island on January 12, 2010.
Twin Cities local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV, in reporting Klobuchar's move, also reported that Minnesota is taking the lead in helping to coordinate the US response to the Haitian earthquake in tracking relief from across the 50 states.
Haitian illegal immigrants are to get temporary asylum, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that illegal Haitian immigrants in the United States will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for 18 months, pending the earthquake recovery.
For more information, visit washingtonpost.com - http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/KYNZS9/KXPA5/SHNC90/U05TG9/NUH9R/PJ/t
Meanwhile, ANS has received continuing reports of the massive aid effort currently underway on the island, as well as a number of encouraging stories of those who survived the quake, which it is estimated has affected the lives of an estimated three million Haitians in and round the capital, Port au Prince.
Samaritan's Purse Continues Airlifting Relief Supplies to Haiti
Samaritan’s Purse continues to airlift relief supplies to Haiti while teams of highly trained disaster experts are on the ground providing aid. The organization, ramping up medical and clean water efforts, was able to send in three additional planes today with much needed supplies and additional medical staff.
“I’ve provided medical aid following many disasters, but this is some of the worst I’ve seen,” said Dr. David Gettle, who arrived in Haiti Wednesday. “The wounded and sick are coming to us by the busloads.”
Gettle and other Samaritan’s Purse staff are currently working from Baptist Haiti Mission, a 100 bed hospital that is overloaded with more than 300 patients.
Samaritan’s Purse is currently responding to the disaster by providing:
Doctors and medical staff
Additional Samaritan’s Purse relief flights with staff and supplies are being coordinated for the weekend.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Haiti right now,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “I’ve personally been to Haiti several times, and our organization has worked in the country for more than 30 years. We will use every resource we have available to provide relief from the suffering of these victims.”
Interview Opportunities Saturday from the U.S.:
**Franklin Graham, relief expert and president of Samaritan’s Purse since 1979
Interview Opportunities from Haiti:
**Dr. David Gettle, 10+ year veteran of international aid, specializes in emergency medicine
Donations: Go to www.samaritanspurse.org or call (800) 528-1980
Mission of Hope (MOH), a ministry which serves the hurting and less fortunate in Haiti, is quickly organizing its 'first responder' teams. Many of its staff are already providing healthcare in its medical clinic to those injured by the quake.
"Our staff on the ground reports that this looks really bad, but we’ve been here before with the hurricanes two years ago," said Brad Johnson, Mission of Hope president. "We have the infrastructure in place and prepared to serve."
Johnson says the MOH warehouse is stocked with 1.5 million meals, which will begin to be distributed immediately.
Fortunately, the North American Mission of Hope staff and families and orphanage children have been spared major calamity, though buildings and other facilities have yet to be surveyed for damage. There has been no report from most of the 150 Haitian staff or the 1,200 students. MOH has established a command center in front of is campus at 777 Route Nationale #1.
Ruben Cenea, a seminary student and MOH staffer was in class when the earthquake hit. He says a concrete roof collapsed on at least 20 students.
"By God’s grace I got out," said Cenea. "God saved me."
Cenea says while as he was trapped in the debris he watched his fellow classmates dying.
The Mission of Hope Complex now sits on 76 acres of land. Approximately 1,200 children are enrolled in the School of Hope and the Hope House Orphanage houses and cares for over 40 children and the Hospital of Hope will soon be operational.
Over 600 adults, youth and children come from surrounding villages to attend the Church of Hope. In addition, the Mission of Hope assists close to 200 children in four other orphanages in nearby villages through the Feed A Child program. The Mission of Hope is able to contribute to the local economy by employing over 150 Haitian women and men.
Global Ministries, the joint world mission agency of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), received word from relatives of mission personnel Kim and Patrick Bentrott that they and their son are
Also confirmed safe are members of a Disciples of Christ group from Tennessee who are visiting Haitian mission partner, the National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH.)
A school and children's center at CONASPEH is home to 150 Global Ministries sponsored children.
Linda Lawrence, program administrator of the Child Sponsorship Program, said hundreds of the nearly 600 children at the center are still in need of sponsorship following hurricanes in 2008 and this latest disaster.
Kim Bentrott runs a medical clinic that is housed in the CONASPEH building. Lawrence visited the center in October 2008 and said "the building was in terrible shape" at that time. She doubts the building could have withstood an earthquake of this magnitude.
UCC mission partner, Church World Service, reports it is sending initial funding to its local partners in the country and is prepared to provide CWS emergency kits and blankets to people in need.
"We're continuing to assess the situation," said the agency's Emergency Response Director Donna Derr.
"CWS staff here in the U.S. and in the region are attempting to contact our long-time partners in Haiti, Service Chrétien d'Haiti, Christian Aid, and the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice (EFPJ)."
Derr said preliminary information they've received indicate that EFPJ's House of Hope day school in Port-au-Prince, which both Global Ministries and CWS support, is damaged.
"Some EFPJ staff are trying to determine the well-being of the children and other staff members, but we just don't know yet. The communications are still very difficult, very spotty," said Derr.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds are being rushed to Haitian mission partners, CONASPEH and House of Hope, to support their initial emergency response. As damage assessments are made and plans for relief, recovery and rehabilitation are developed, additional OGHS funds will be shared with their partners.
Tim DeTellis is the US director of New Missions (www.newmissions.com) a 60 year mission in Haiti, which schools and feeds around 9,000 children daily.
He wrote: "Thankfully, no-one on our team is hurt. We just returned to the mission. We are safe. Major damage!"
He described the earthquake.
"The ground was like an ocean wave at New Missions when the earthquake hit. Most of our team was at the Missions Training Center, it was just before 5pm. At the time, I was with Bob Scott doing a video interview of a TFA student when all of a sudden we heard a big boom and the ground began to rock. The concrete pathway I was standing on at the end of the Missions Training Center, closest to the ocean, cracked in half and the earth began to open. We all fell down. Started hearing things crashing and people screaming.
"At first we stood in a circle together between the ocean and the missions training center and confirmed no-one was hurt. We moved to the other side of the mission and began to load the vehicles to evacuate. Along the road to the High School we saw continued structural damage. However, Christians were singing in the villages. At the High School, we circled the vehicles and some slept on the trucks, and some slept on the ground on a tarp. We are thankful to be safe. There is extensive damage to buildings at the mission. Please pray!"
Water Missions International Prepares to Help Haitians in Need
Water Missions International (WMI) is preparing 10 water purification systems for immediate deployment to earthquake-stricken Haiti. Each water treatment system is capable of treating 10,000 gallons of water per day, which is enough to provide for the daily needs of at least 5,000 people in a disaster situation.
WMI is coordinating with several aid organizations and donors to secure transportation for the systems. Current plans are to transport the systems to Port-au-Prince within the next 48 hours. Due to the extent of damage in this already impoverished country, WMI expects that these initial 10 water systems will be the first of many to be deployed to Haiti for this relief effort.
Four staff members make up Water Missions International's country program in Haiti, which is stationed in Port-au-Prince just 10 miles east of the earthquake's epicenter, a 7.0 on the Richter scale. All four members were in Haiti when the quake struck. WMI has confirmed that at least one staff member was traveling outside Port-au-Prince at the time of the strike. He is safe and unharmed. However, WMI has been unable to contact other staff members and is unaware of their situation and whereabouts.
"This earthquake is a real tragedy for Haiti," explains Jerry Miner, VP of Disaster Response for Water Missions International. "We haven't seen desolation like this since the Tsunami of 2004. The time to act is now. We can't wait. The need for safe water increases with every moment in a situation like this. We urge everyone to give what they can and keep praying."
Water Missions International's existing country program and established relationships in Haiti will allow the organization to be one of the first to reach victims with much-needed aid. Although the relief efforts are already underway, donations are needed to support WMI's emergency work in Haiti. The need is great. Those who wish to help may do so online at www.watermissions.org or by calling (843) 769- 7395 / toll free (866) 280-7107.
The Houston, Texas-based Living Water International ministry is mobilizing to provide clean water to communities in Haiti after the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere was rocked by Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake.
LWI teams are already on the ground doing what they can, but the problems for affected communities are only beginning. Earthquakes destroy water systems. Pipelines break, electrical distribution systems fail, and hand-dug wells -- already questionable water sources -- are rendered useless or become contaminated with cholera, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases.
"In Haiti, clean water is a terrible problem even at the best of times," said LWI Executive Director Gary Evans. "After a quake like this, it's a crisis of epic proportions."
In response to the Haiti earthquake, Living Water International is setting a goal to repair 500 incapacitated handpumps in Haiti during 2010, which will serve at least 250,000 people.
In order to do this, LWI is organizing a coalition of water organizations that are partnering to multiply their effect on Haitian communities. Partners include Global Benefit, Mercy Water (working with Nspire Software), Wishing Well, Hydrate Hope Project (through I AM CHANGE), The Water Project, and Safewater Nexus.
Containers of parts and equipment are already on the way to replace rapidly diminishing supplies, but even more will be needed soon.
Visit www.water.cc/haiti to learn more.
Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service, said the Presbyterian World Mission security team reported late yesterday morning that, "Sharyn Babe, the PC(USA) mission worker closest to the earthquake's epicenter, and her husband, Rodney, have been located and we are continuing to monitor their situation. Mark Hare and his wife, Jenny, live about 100 miles from the epicenter. We do not believe the Hares are in danger, but we are seeking to make contact with them."
A PC(USA) mission team -- from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta -- has reported that they are all safe and unharmed. That group was on La Gonave island, just off the coast of Port-au-Prince.
Another group -- a 20-member mission team from Lawrenceville (N.J.) Presbyterian Church -- arrived in Haiti just hours before the quake for a previously arranged medical mission trip scheduled to run from Jan. 12-17. The group, which included three doctors, was set to travel immediately to the mountain village of Thoman. Initial reports indicate that mountainous areas of Haiti fared better than coastal areas.
Leaders at the Lawrenceville Church are in touch with the U.S. State Department, volunteer David Wall told the Presbyterian News Service early this morning, to determine the whereabouts and well-being of the Lawrenceville team.
A third group, from a congregation in Virginia, is also reported to be in Haiti at this time. That group includes a member of PDA's Disaster Response Team. Pix Mahler, the PC(USA)'s partnership facilitator for Haiti is trying to reach all three mission teams.
Filmmaker/cameraman Bob Scott, from Orlando, FL, is in Haiti on a missionary filming project for David Nixon Productions, for the www.newmissions.com schooling and feeding mission. He is the cameraman who filmed FIREPROOF, and recently LETTERS TO GOD.
In his e-mail, Scott said: "Only can say -- wow. God protected us. He really did!! I thought 'this is it' for a bit. We were doing an interview not far from the ocean near where we eat, just before 5, there was this huge Boom -- like a bomb going off. Then the earth just erupted -- threw me about 20 feet. I tried to stand, got to my knees and the light stand came flying through the air and hit me right below the eye on my cheek bone -- I look right and like a movie, the ground opens up with this huge fault line looking thing. It lasted about 14 seconds when I looked back at video. It was like I was a rag doll – so so violent. Then immediately the after shocks started - like a rolling sea. Then it got crazy -- people were in their rooms yelling. A lot of gas tanks fallen -- had to turn them off fast. Finally we all gathered by beach. Then with tsunami worries we gathered anything we could and went to the main compound and got in the trucks and headed inland.
"Just got back to compound. Spent (the) night about 5 miles inland away from water. Surrounded the vehicles and stayed on the grounds of one of the high schools -- buildings too damaged to sleep inside. Slept on ground and in trucks. We've gotten dozens of aftershocks."
He said it seemed the shakes were every 15 minutes apart, shaking the car hard.
"Haven't had one for about hour now. Dale and I are going to scout out the road to Port-au-Prince at dawn, but from what I've seen it looks really bad -- thousands of people sleeping in streets and sides of road... They won't go to homes cause too damaged or afraid tremors will cause more."
Scott added: "But all we hear is singing -- praise songs all over the place -- these large groups huddling together singing. You can hear it all around from the darkness. Its unbelievable -- these people are in the dark -- singing to the Lord. So awesome! We prayed a lot. God is in control. He's got our back! Most everyone is ok -- a lot of the young girls were really emotionally shaken up. Back at compound buildings damaged. Most will have to be torn down. There is talk that one of the TFA girls' dad might charter a plane to get us out on Thursday. Not a lot of news -- it comes in pieces."
In another message from Tim DeTellis, President of New Missions, in Haiti, the missionary said: "We have major damage to buildings here in Haiti. The destruction is beyond repair. Numerous buildings will need to be torn down and re-built. Temporary structures will need to be erected in the meantime.
"We are still reviewing the overall damage to our 22 elementary schools and High School."
DeTellis gave an update on deaths, which included a kindergarten teacher died, three of their school children died, one from Birey and two from
An update on building damage stated that two elementary school buildings were damaged beyond repair, their medical clinic building is damaged beyond repair, the mission's Bordmer office is damaged beyond repair, As well as two churches are also damaged beyond repair.
"We have Haitian men traveling to each location reviewing damage and we will have another updated list of building damage," said DeTellis.
He continued: "We will need to re-build. As of now, our top priority is hiring nurses for each of our 22 elementary school locations and High School to provide medical care in the aftermath of this historic earthquake. As children may experience infections or illness and have increased first- aid needs, we will be right in their area available to meet the need. Please donate to our medical clinic ministry to make this possible.
"The amazing sight in the middle of all the tragedy was villagers singing songs of praise along the road last night. The power of the Gospel prevails," he said.
DeTellis reported they distributed food to two villages, and all their schools already have food on hand to cook and prepare as children return to school
"Immediately, we will purchase more rice and bulgur (wheat) to meet the needs in the surrounding villages.
"The mission team is safe here at New Missions. We have food, water, and diesel fuel on hand to last for at least one month. Concentrated efforts from Central Florida are being organized to help provide
On January 26, the group will ship a 40ft cargo container to Haiti with necessary medical clinic supplies and construction supplies.
Meanwhile, international broadcast ministry TWR is airing timely hope to the hopeless in Haiti.
The international Christian media ministry will provide Creole language messages of hope into Port-au-Prince by radio. Beginning tonight and continuing indefinitely, TWR will provide a simulcast of local Christian programming from Haiti’s Radio 4VEH via TWR’s 100,000-watt AM outlet on the island of Bonaire. Broadcasts of Radio 4VEH’s live Internet audio stream will be aired from 10:15 p.m. until 2 a.m. local time in Haiti.
“Two solid Christian stations on Haiti are Radio 4VEH and Radio Lumiere,” explains TWR Americas International Director Tim Klingbeil.
“Since Radio Lumiere is off the air due to a damaged transmitter facility, we believe broadcasting Radio 4VEH’s programs from Bonaire will reach people who currently are not able to receive much-needed gospel messages.” Radio 4VEH is located on the northern part of Haiti, and broadcasts do not effectively reach listeners in Port-au-Prince.
TWR said that according to sources from Radio 4VEH, the station plans to make adjustments to its regular programming in an effort to address the needs of those who are suffering and looking for help. “Our thinking is that we will continue providing simulcasts at least until Radio Lumiere is able to go back on the air,” Klingbeil says.
TWR has established a Haiti Earthquake Reponse Fund, which initially will handle airtime and program production expenses. The ministry plans to produce additional programming in Creole to be aired later and will also offer disaster-related broadcasts “Growth Through Hardship,” a series of upbeat radio spots that focus on how believers can respond during the aftermath of natural disasters.
“The key is to provide ongoing help once the immediate crisis passes and people begin to realize the reality of the situation,” says Klingbeil.
Klingbeil adds: “Please pray that God will use TWR’s Bonaire signal and the programming from 4VEH to bring comfort and hope to the Port-au-Prince area during this challenging time.”
To give to TWR’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, please visit https://www.twr.org/projekt/967.
Two Milwaukee men are alive, while others continue to wait for news of the missing.
Pat McCaughan, writing for the Episcopal News Service, says the waiting and watching for two missing members of a mission trip to Haiti was over for Mary Alice Eschweiler, a board member of the Haiti Project of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee (http://www.diomil.org).
McCaughan says that on Jan. 14 Eschweiler said she'd received word that James Tamlin and Andrew Lee, part of a group of seven current and former University of Wisconsin-Madison students on the trip, were alive. But she didn't know where they were, or if reports they were being evacuated to the Dominican Republic were true. Nor did she know the fate of some 2,000
(Full story: www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_118489_ENG_HTM.htm )
The Archbishop of Canterbury has given a message of support to the people of Haiti affected by the devastation caused by Tuesday's earthquake.
"I am profoundly shocked and concerned to hear about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As the news comes through, we are learning more
"I commend the swift action of the Department for International Development and the relief agencies and churches in mobilizing an emergency response. In this time of catastrophic loss and destruction, I
Rachel and Joel, graduates of the Christian college based in Oregon, George Fox University, were in Haiti on a four-year stay, doing human rights work among the people there. They were both in their 3rd-story apartment in Port-au-Prince when the tremendous earthquake struck.
Back home in The Dalles, Oregon, Rachel's parents Bev and Alan Eagy waited in desperation for any word about their daughter and her husband.
"All I could see was my daughter, in the dark, injured or dead, and my son-in-law dead," Bev told reporters.
"It was a terrible feeling," added Alan, Rachel's father. It was a feeling the parents had to endure for nine anxious hours, until a brief call came in the middle of the night from Rachel saying, "I'm alive."
Rachel explained to her mother that the couple's apartment building had collapsed, and with no rescue workers around, the two were forced to dig themselves out with their own hands, and get to safety.
Before hanging up, in answer to her mother's inquiries on their condition, the young girl told her, "Mom, it was a miracle, God performed a miracle."
Husband Saves Wife Who was Trapped for 10 Hours Underneath Wreckage from Quake
Frank Thorp, who works for CBS News in Haiti, felt a tremor from the devastating earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince, but initially didn't think much about it -- he was 100 miles away.
But when news reports began to paint a horrible picture of destruction in the tiny nation's capital, he immediately jumped into his car for the six-hour drive to rescue his wife Jillian, a Christian aid worker.
Jillian had managed a 10-second cell phone emergency call to her husband to tell him she and another worker with Haitian Ministries, had been trapped underneath piles of concrete debris -- all that remained of their 3-story home.
"It's all on the ground level now," Frank said, explaining that she and the co-worker were "completely trapped" under about a foot of concrete.
Upon finally reaching the area where their home once stood, Frank described the scene and what happened.
"I jumped into the hole and I was able to see her wave her hand. I couldn't see her whole body. She was just waving and I could hear her voice. And it was -- I mean, you know, I couldn't hold it together, but all she was saying [was], 'just hold it together, hold it together, just get me out of here.' And, you know, we had to pull, you know, bricks and bricks and bricks and wood and doors and metal away for at least an hour before we were able to get her and her co-worker out as well."
Thankful and proud of his son-in-law was Jillian's father, Clay Cook, who said, "Frank actually literally lifted her out of the wreckage. Just like the cavalry. You can't script that stuff."
Jillian sustained only cuts and bruises, while her co-worker may have broken his leg; both were treated at the US Embassy.
When asked about going home to America now, Jillian refused. "I can't leave, I have to stay and help," she said.
Kids Alive, an international orphan rescue group will bring Haitian orphans to temporary homes in the Dominican Republic on Monday.
Known for providing homes for orphans and abandoned children around the world, Kids Alive International currently serves more than 1,000 children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As part of the emergency response to the Haitian earthquake, Kids Alive will rescue 50 new Haitian orphans on Monday, bringing them into Kids Alive homes in the Dominican Republic until new group homes can be built for them in Haiti.
Kids Alive President Al Lackey said the Dominican Republic government has told them to expect at least 50 children on Monday, but Lackey has a feeling there may be many more. With 150 Kids Alive staff based in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the organization is very familiar with the great need in the region and will be working together to provide homes, medical care and a safe environment for these traumatized children -- with a priority on keeping siblings together -- no matter how many children they find in need.
"We love these kids, and as much as looking after them physically, we provide loving house parents and a real home environment in order to meet their emotional needs as well," Lackey said.
"We take on the care of these children for the long term, and will be providing educations for them, giving them stability and a hope for the future as they struggle with the loss of their parents."
Kids Alive representatives will stay in close contact with both the Haitian and Dominican Republic governments, and will eventually establish new homes in Haiti so that these earthquake orphans can be brought up in their own country. Those who have become separated from parents who are injured or simply have yet to be heard from will be reunited with them once they are able to care for their children.
Currently serving more than 6,500 children in 17 of the poorest countries around the world, Kids Alive provides children with the love and care every child deserves, and raises them to be contributing members of their society. In addition to group homes for orphans, Kids Alive also provides care centers, schools and medical clinics for families and children in need around the world, not only rescuing children, but also restoring communities.
Begun in 1916 in Shantung Province, China, by missionaries Leslie and Ava Anglin, Kids Alive International is a Christian faith mission dedicated to rescuing orphans and vulnerable children -- meeting their spiritual, physical, educational and emotional needs. Donations to their Haiti rescue operation can be made at www.kidsalive.org. Kids Alive has the highest credibility ratings from GuideStar, CrossGlobal Link, Charity Navigator and the ECFA. Kids Alive is also an accredited 501(3) organization under the Internal Revenue code so all gifts are tax deductible.
(Note to Editors: For more information about Kids Alive International or to arrange an interview Al Lackey or representatives in the Dominican Republic/Haiti, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or email@example.com ; or Kristin Cole at 615.289.6701 or Kristin@alarryross.com. )
Kids Alive has just received word from the Dominican Republic (DR) government that first orphans identified from the Haiti earthquake will be brought to its homes in the DR. Staff and missionaries are preparing to welcome 50 young survivors into its homes as soon as Monday.
Kids Alive International: www.kidsalive.org ; 1-800-KIDS-330
Alumni of the Haggai Institute reported safe
Haggai Institute reported that Bienne Lamerique of Port-Au-Prince died during the earthquake.
Beyond his theological education, Bienne held two masters degrees -- one in psychology and one in development. He attended Haggai Institute Singapore in August 2002 (Session 419) and was an active alumnus in Haiti.
Bienne ministered as the pastor of the Eglise Baptiste Church Salos Delmas while also practicing as a psychiatrist. Prayers are invited for the well-being of his wife Marjorie and their three children.
Haggai Institute received news that the president of the Haiti Alumni Association, Emmanuel Dérivois, is alive, though suffering the loss of his mother’s house and his office building. Emmanuel works for the Social Service Administration. He attended Haggai Institute Singapore in 1995.
Alumnus Joel Moise Dorinsville said: "When the quake began, I had just come out of a classroom after teaching the subject of Mission and Contemporary Society."
Dorinsville received Haggai Institute's advanced leadership training at the Mid-Pacific Center in 2008. He has a bi-vocational ministry, serving as a pastor at the Upper-Limbe Baptist Church and also as assistant professor at the School of Theology in the Northern Haiti Christian College.
After getting down on his knees and praying for God’s mercy and intervention, Joel grabbed the phone to find out whether family, friends, and other alumni had been spared. That’s when he discovered that all communication lines were down.
"All I could do was surrender the situation to God’s merciful care and get on with the task at hand."
Around 230 Haggai Institute alumni are making a difference to Haiti’s population of 9,035,536. Of that population, around 50,000 are reported dead or missing.
The massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean island on Tuesday, 12 January may have startled the unprepared nation, but H.I. graduates are doing whatever it takes to help their people recover.
Many nations have stepped forward with financial and medical aid. H.I. alumni are also focusing on the spiritual healing, comfort, and onward journey that Christ alone can provide.
Currently, Joel is part of the delegation of leaders coordinating the supply of food and antibiotics to the most affected areas.
Said Joel: “In the past, Haiti has been through several catastrophes, like hurricanes, floods, civil unrest, and war, but none have been so alarming as this one. However, the training I gained from Haggai Institute has taught me that this is precisely the kind of situation in which we can become agents of change, both spiritually and socially.”
Alumna Marlaine Alex was on a tight schedule in Florida when the news of the earthquake reached her. She made immediate plans to return, despite discouraging reports of closed airports and downed communication lines.
Marlaine and her husband are responsible for two children’s homes in Haiti. She invites prayer for God’s compassion and grace, as she begins the work of restoration.
Haiti has claims to historic distinction. Having won a slave revolt against Napoleonic France, Haiti became the world’s first black-governed republic. French continues to be the official language, along with Creole. The people are energetic, resilient, and full of zeal.
“The alumni association in Haiti is one of our most active and vibrant," said Sundar Sangma, H.I.'s Vice President of International Advancement.
"It is a blessing for Haiti that Haggai Institute leaders are active in the midst of the crisis."
Baptist Worker In Haiti Reported Safe
A missionary who cares for orphans in her home in Haiti escaped the rubble after the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12, according to Joni B. Joni B. Hannigan, managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (www.gofbw.com ), newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Sherrie Fausey, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL, who works with the Jacksonville-based Christian Light Foundation, is safe, according to an e-mail forwarded by eyewitnesses who had seen her after the earthquake.
"Sherrie's house suffered severe damage and Peterson was killed in the rubble," the e-mail from the Christian Light Foundation reported, "but miraculously everyone [else] got out including Sherrie and Julie."
Peterson was a 6-year-old orphan who is a member of a family of three orphaned brothers Fausey cares for, said Jim Hambrick, field coordinator for Jacksonville-based Christian Light Foundation.
Julie who is referenced in the e-mail is Julie Wirries, assists Fausey in her ministry.
"Praise God," the foundation e-mail stated. Though Fausey's house was seriously damaged, the school building where she teaches approximately 200 children "held well and everyone is staying there." The workers and children have been sleeping outside, the e-mail said, due to safety concerns. The e-mail also indicated sporadic electric service.
"It is a disaster here," the e-mail stated. "Many killed and injured."
It urged: "Have everyone pray for Haiti."
A day after the earthquake, Hambrick told the Florida Baptist Witness he was "very, very concerned" about Fausey and "desperate for any news."
Fausey's son, Jeffrey Fausey, told News4Jax.com that ministering in Haiti is what Sherri "loves to do."
"She went down there to help another missionary and felt the call to help the people of Haiti," Jeffrey Fausey said in the hours after the earthquake. "As time goes by, you get more and more worried. You hear from others but not from her."
Hambrick, in an interview with the Witness the morning of Jan. 15, said he received the e-mail confirmation late Thursday amidst the "chaos" of also assembling a team of medical volunteers to dispatch to Haiti.
"I was elated, to say the least," Hambrick said. "I have the real peace that only God can give you, knowing she's OK."
Hambrick said Fausey and 20-plus orphans are staying at the school, which is about two miles from the Port-au-Prince airport in one of the poorest, busiest and most congested parts of the city. There, with the assistance of men sent by local pastors to help secure the school, Fausey will attempt to set up a base camp from which assistance can be offered to the stricken.
The extra security is necessary, Hambrick said, because the perimeter wall built around the school crumbled in the quake, leaving the missionaries and orphans vulnerable to escalating violence as the situation worsens in Haiti.
There are no plans for Fausey to evacuate, however, Hambrick said.
"She would never leave them now," Hambrick said. "She loves them and they need her more than ever now."
Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, said he was concerned when he learned Fausey was not accounted for in the initial days after the earthquake and called on members of the staff and the church to pray for her safety.
On receiving an e-mail that she was safe and ministering to others, Brunson said, "We just rejoiced."
Brunson said he is working with church officials in behalf of relief efforts by Florida Baptist disaster relief, which is coordinated through the Florida Baptist Convention. He has urged people to donate funds for food and water and for churchgoers to prepare to join relief teams from the church or the Florida convention as the needs are clear.
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