Every year at this time I read through my blogs and I weep. I don’t ever want to forget the moments that changed everything– that ultimately led our family to plant the Mole Campus 5 months later. I don’t ever want to become desensitized to this day – that not only changed our family….but the entire country.
I remember the smells – the way I felt – the things I heard – the things I saw – trying to catch my breath – trying to hold back my tears – trying to stand without buckling – trying to help those around me and not knowing how- trying to be strong – trying to be a good mother – trying to be a good leader – trying not to let fear take hold – trying and trying and trying to give it all to Jesus.
It CHANGED who I was- it CHANGED where I found my security – it CHANGED the urgency of reaching people – it CHANGED the way I saw the world – It CHANGED the way I saw God – It CHANGED the way I served God- – and it ignited a passion in me to reach as many people as I could before the next one strikes. It’s been 5 years…..and the passion is still there. You know it’s not a life-changing event unless your life actually changes. I can say with all certainty – it changed my entire life.
Here are a few blogs from that time…..
January 12, 2010 by Castillo 28 Comments
I heard from a crying Jose on the phone. He is fine. He’s at the Visa Lodge and called from their landline. He said the coke factory in front has severe damage. It was like there was a hedge of protection around the Visa Lodge.We both sobbed. He thought that our home had crumbled just like the ones in PAP. They still feel strong aftershocks. He begged me to take the family outside to sleep. He doesn’t realize that what he saw isn’t the same that we feel.
People are wondering the streets aimlessly – with no where to go. All the houses have crumbled – there’s no power and no cell phone service. People have no way of knowing whether their family is okay. St. Louis is grieving as they have family in PAP and can’t reach them. He saw countless bodies buried under debris. He said he just can’t process this – it’s the worst thing he’s ever seen. I praise God he is okay. I pray that God will use this somehow to His glory….like maybe there’s a reason Jose is on the front-lines of the battlefield.
We are all safe and sound. St. Louis du Nord felt the quake. I have cracks all through out my home. However – Jose is in PAP which is where the earthquake hit. I cannot get a hold of him. I am so worried. Please pray that I can reach him. Hospitals, houses, hotels – lots of things have crumbled. People calling out in fear and pain. PLEASE PRAY RIGHT NOW FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF HAITI and that I can reach Jose soon.
WANT TO HELP – GET PEOPLE PRAYING AND COLLECTING FUNDS SO THAT WHEN THIS SETTLES DOWN WE CAN GO OUT AND GIVE RELIEF. DONATE – http://www.nwhcm.org and click GIVE – Mark it Earthquake relief.
What This Earthquake Really Means…..
January 12, 2010 by Castillo 20 Comments
I was sitting here in my bed – while Melissa was trying to find a vein for an IV. No success. Yesterday I was diagnosed with Dengue Fever. It took 5 times to stick me. Finally we got it. AND – As soon as we felt the rumble of the quake I jumped up so fast that the IV was ripped out. With a 104 temperature – and spending hours without hearing from Jose – I can’t even begin to tell you what that felt like.
I gave an interview on the Weather Channel tonight and reported what Jose saw. Someone saw that interview and called the mission. I answered the call. The lady told me – My name is Edgar and my best friend is trapped in her home in Petionville. She is an American. Her cellphone is about to die. She called to say good-bye to her friend. Edgar begged – “Please – save my friend”. We cried together on the phone. Can you imagine being buried alive? I yelled for Jacques and he came and talked to the lady on the phone. We know exactly of her location. In fact we have staff that lives nearby. We haven’t heard from our PAP staff and her house is where the big hospital collapsed. We are trying to call the Baptist Mission and our friends in the area – but there is simply no phone service. It rests in God’s hand but tonight we will do our best to call every 5 minutes in hopes that we can reach someone. Jacques called this lady’s cell phone (she has an american phone with ATT) and she cried on the phone to him – “please save me”. I think her phone must have died then because when we called back there was nothing.
Please pray because this is just one of many people who are trapped and will not make it out of the rubble.
Jose said the streets would remind you of 9/11. No trucks can pass by. Rubble is everywhere. The smoke from the concrete covers the air and you can barely breathe in some areas. With darkness comes fear and in a land dedicated to Satan – I’m sure few have the hope of the Lord. They don’t have anything tonight to cling onto – to help them get through this. Women were looking for their children and everyone had cuts and sores. Jose said one guy was hollering out in pain – laying on the street as he lost his leg when his home fell.
The thing is – this is just the beginning. As we find out more reports from PAP – and morning sets in – we will finally see the battlefield. The reaction to this no doubt will be devastating. While our area has just small cracks and the Catholic church has blocks that fell below – our village will suffer none the less. Next comes the lack of vehicles bringing food and diesel. Next comes the outrageous prices for what small food is still available. While we might have only felt the tremors – we will feel the aftershocks for sure. How in the world will these Haitians survive?
I have had different Haitians coming to me tonight wanting to watch the TV reports – weeping. While I was so incredibly blessed to hear from Jose – I know what that fear did to me for those few hours. They still carry that fear in their hearts. I pray for peace for them although none of us will sleep tonight I’m sure.
I have all the kids tucked into my room. Just want to be close to them tonight. This is a time when all families have to unite. We simply can’t impact Haiti without it.
Updates from Jose In PAP…
January 14, 2010 by Castillo 13 Comments
Wisley came running with his phone telling me Jose was on the line! PRAISE THE LORD! I talked to him for about 20 minutes. I don’t know how to process all that he said as I don’t think he knows how to either. So I’m just going to tell you – just like he told me.
After we got past the initial – cries of hearing each others voices and making sure we were all okay and safe….I asked him to please tell me what’s going on.
You wouldn’t believe what it’s like here. It’s worse than the hurricane damage we saw in Gonaives. There are bodies everywhere. Honey – EVERYWHERE. I see the back of children’s skulls crushed, limbs on the street, people covered in blood, people missing their heads – and it’s everywhere. Think of the movie Rwanda where they drove over all those bumps and it was dark. When they opened the car door – they saw there were all these bodies. There were places that were just like that. Not everywhere but in certain areas.The saddest part is in between the bodies are children and adults crying. There are some Haitians who are trying to help the younger ones but it’s chaos. There is no organization. Gangs have set up road blocks and are robbing people. Everywhere you go there are people just walking with no where to go. Where are they gonna go? There are no schools, universities, churches, homes? Where are they going to go? They sleep on the street or wherever they can.
The Visa Lodge had no rooms so he slept outside. Andy met him yesterday. He had no idea he was coming. He was SO THANKFUL to see him. Today they separated. Jose went with a few people to check on families while Andy tried to document more of the serious hit areas.
Along the way of checking on families – they gave lifts to people to go to the hospital. However the hospitals have nothing and hundreds are just lined outside. They stopped the truck outside a home to check on a family and some Haitians were getting ready to throw a body in the back of the truck. I think they thought we’re with the Red Cross.
Jose said he didn’t see many Americans or anyone doing much of anything. No UN people were to be found where he was at. Andy called Erika and he had quite a different story. He saw a lot of Americans walking around taking pictures and looked like there were some efforts maybe to help people. I think it depends where you go. NEITHER saw Anderson Cooper. They’re been looking for him.
Maureen and Melissa made it there today along with our medical Haitian staff – although it was too late to really see anyone. They will start full force tomorrow and will do mobile clinics if need be.
Jose called me again tonight and said that they heard there was stuff going on at the Carribean Market. He told me he was so shocked to see it. Since the area he was in wasn’t that bad – he didn’t think that area would be either. When Jose landed in Haiti he needed to shop at that market. It’s where we get group food. He was going to buy supplies. He decided to go to the dock first and work there. He said he honestly could have been there because he debated about which to do first. Andy and him watched them pull the girl out. They let Andy take pictures within the hole.
They have plans to travel all over tomorrow. It’s not just so easy to say – Hey – start digging in the rubble. There is little anyone can really do just yet unless you’re trained or medical. But they’ll do all that they can – even if it’s just transporting sick people.
January 15, 2010 by Castillo 9 Comments
We started the morning off at 5am while everyone ran outside of their homes and onto the streets. Why? Because rumors spread that another quake was coming. Frantically people ran out and waited….for nothing.
I’m sure you watched the report on CNN a few days ago where gangs yelled that there was a Tsunami coming and 1000’s took to the street running as fast as they could – with panic and terror.
And for what? Let’s scare them so they run and leave what little belongs they had left. So – now the gangs can just steal all the things left behind. Was today the same thing? Did the rumor come to go out of the homes so that robbers could break in? What un ugly tragedy on top of the worst tragedy Haiti has ever seen.
There are Voodoo Priests here telling the people – you see – you see what your “God” has done for you? He has done nothing. He has taken your families…..He has forsaken you.
I gave a talk to the Haitian staff this morning because I had to share with them truth. Most of them wearing black clothes – ready to mourn any news they might receive – maybe just 15 who’ve actually heard anything.
I said today you ran out in darkness – afraid for your life. And again and again we find ourselves surrounded by darkness. Today I bring you Light…..because darkness cannot hide from the Light. How many times must God shake us before we realize that this earth is not our home? I don’t know why this happened just like I don’t understand many things that happen here on earth….but I know that I have a better place waiting for me.
We must mourn the tragedy and our hearts must break. But for those who know Christ – they ran into the gates of Heaven the moment it happened. The schools full of children were at their desks and within an instant they were at the feet of Jesus. If you had the choice of Haiti or Heaven which do you choose? And if you have family that survived and still don’t know Jesus – you better show them who He is because we do not control what happens today.
I heard the reports that this is the end of the world and voodoo priests talking bad about God. (They all shook their heads yes). So they said if our God was a real God this wouldn’t have happened? Is the same not true for them? Well then why didn’t their Satan stop it? (They never thought about that.)
I said – I may not know why things happen but I know enough not to believe in the lies of darkness.
That’s the thing I hate about voodoo….because it’s all lies and such clever mind games.
Since Jose and Andy are in PAP right now – we are collecting names and addresses of the employees still waiting on word and sending them to the boys to see if they can find the homes and send us some answers.
Jose Is Home….
January 17, 2010 by Castillo 9 Comments
I was upstairs in the group eating area with Melonnie when the truck came through the gates. I ran down the steps and so happily hugged my husband. After sharing some tears together the girls joined in right behind me. Our family was together. How many others could say that after the quake?
Malaya had to tell him all about the quake and how the bed moved – how he had “missed” all the excitement. The girls were telling him all about the people who had died and how so many people were crying. I believe I shared this on facebook but I never did write it down on the blog. Most parents watch their children playing school or doctor. I watch mine play Earthquake.
Mikela: Okay. Your house fell down on you. It’s shaking. It’s shaking.
Rosie: Help me! Help Me. My house fell on me.
Malaya: My house fell too. I don’t see my baby.
Mikela: Sorry Rosie. I can’t help you. You’re dead. Malaya – I will try to dig you out. I cant save your baby-sorry.
We had another lady come to my house. She had lost her sister and was crying on the couch. My mom was here listening to her story. Mikela told her not to cry. Then she told my mom – – Tell her Nana – Tell her about the thing in Heaven…where they feel better and they dont hurt and they get to sing and play all day. (Then before my mom could speak – Mikela started speaking it in creole and wiping away her tears).
The girls had to tell their daddy all about it.
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Melissa and Maureen got off the truck tonight and looked like they had been through some pretty rough days too. I can only imagine the patients that they’ve seen. Please pray for them and for their hearts. We watch things on the TV and we look at pictures – but it’s not the same thing as being on the front-lines and experiencing it in person.
I talked with Magdala and Roselande tonight. The Haitian radio is playing a phone call from some Haitians that are still buried under the rubble but are alive. Roselande is telling me – “I heard her voice on the phone. She told everyone exactly where she is and people are there now trying to dig them out”. I never know when you hear those things on the radio – whether you can believe it or not but so many Haitians are holding out hope that there are still hundreds alive that need to be rescued.
The next few days we are focusing our efforts on how to best help the victims of the quake that are making their way north. Our focus can’t simply be on those that are injured. We have to address the needs of those that are healthy too. Many of our Haitian employees were barely making it before and now they’re adding their extended families. How can they take care of so many? Their burdens have tripled.
In all that we do we want to remain faithful to His calling and direction. So please pray for the leadership of the mission as they try to make the right decisions. Pray that logistics that sometimes seem so hard to coordinate will line-up as needed. Please pray that we can get the right people and the right supplies all here at the right time. We need all 3 things to line-up just perfect.
When Fear Comes a Knockin’
January 30, 2010 by Castillo 2 Comments
I have one of those calendars on my desk where you flip through it each day and it gives you just a sentence or two that encourages you for the day. I’ve been so busy I haven’t been flipping through the calendar. The last day I had read was January 12th – the day of the quake.
On January 28th – Fear will always knock on your door. Just don’t invite it in for dinner and for Heaven’s sake – don’t offer it a bed for the night.
On January 29th – Proverbs 3:24 – When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down your sleep will be sweet.
On January 30th – Matthew 8:26 – Jesus got up and gave a command to the wind and the waves, and it became completely calm.
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I feel like fear has been sleeping in my home. Not the kind of fear where there are monsters in your closet – but a more subtle fear – Lord am I really being used to the full potential you had planned for me? Am I doing all I should be doing? What if I can’t ease the fears that this quake brought on for my children? Will Jose ever be able to forget what he has seen, smelt, touched, heard, and felt in Port-au-Prince? Will the people there ever be able to understand what has happened to their country? Will I be able to bring peace and comfort to the people here? How are our friends and family here going to take care of so many family members when they are barely making it now?
The list goes on and on. So at night – I toss and turn – I allow doubt and fears to take over my mind. The hours on the clock pass by slowly and at 4am – I’m still awake. I suffer with a little chronic insomnia anyways – but it has been magnified since the quake.
I read today’s verse Matthew 8:26 and I immediately found peace. Jesus was sleeping – knowing that the storm was coming – because He knew it would be okay – and yet he was woken up. With a quick word – the chaos in the sea stopped. Just like that – it was over.
Jesus is the same Jesus today as He was in the boat. All that happens in this world is within His reach. I am sitting at my desk right now and on the wall I have Psalms 33 – another beautiful reminder of how amazingly LARGE our God is. I knows that our God (who breathes stars into space) can triumph over any circumstance. He is just THAT BIG.
More encouraging scripture from God’s Word:
John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may find peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Matthew 14:27 – Take courage. I am here!
Mark 5:36 – Don’t be afraid; just believe.
Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia. It dulls our miracle memory. It makes us forget what Jesus has done and how good God is. Fear may fill our world but it doesn’t have to fill our hearts. The promise of Christ is this – we can fear less tomorrow than we do today. Jesus takes our fears seriously. The one statement He made more than any other was – Don’t be afraid
My prayer tonight is Proverbs 3:24 – When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down your sleep will be sweet. I think all of us here in Haiti are due for a sweet sleep. That’s my prayer for everyone – all over this nation – that tonight – there will be no earthly tremors – but only sweet heavenly dreams.
*My calendar is Fearless by Max Lucado