Hurricane Matthew – Facebook Updates

I realize that many of you are not on Facebook and several have been emailing and asking for information! Below are the latest updates since the storm started…..

To find out what our plan is and how you can help  – please check out our ministry blog tomorrow – molehaiti.org . I have been trying to post it ALL day but still waiting for some pictures to upload.

Internet is incredibly slow. The only way I’m able to communicate right now is because I have a T-mobile chip. Natcom (Haitian telephone company) has been down for 3 days in our village.

There was also a water-main break 3-days ago and there hasn’t been any water…until 2 hours ago! Praying it will stay on long enough to bath everyone and fill up our water tanks. 

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Jody Owen Castillo with Jose Alexander Castillo.

October 3 at 7:26pm ·

Well…

We’ve been watching this slow-moving hurricane online for the past 24 hours waiting for it to reveal itself ….. and now we can actually see the outer edges peeking through the mountains heading our way. Being on the very northwest tip of the island – we’re the last stop before it moves past Haiti.

Yesterday no one in our village knew anything about the hurricane until we sent word out at church. We paid for radio announcements and sent a messenger to the fishing villages so they would be informed. We’ve heard from several other missionaries that they’ve experienced the same thing – none of the Haitians in their communities knew anything about it either.

The sad part is – when you tell them to seek safety – where are they going to go? It’s not like in the states where we set up shelters in churches & schools…… most of the churches and schools aren’t any safer than the huts they live in. AND the ones that are – they can’t accommodate the number of people who desperately need it.

The mayor shut off what little power the town had due to safety concerns….leaving just our campus & the hotel across the street as the only places with light…. because we run our own generators.

We’ve moved the orphans to our only 2nd story building on campus and they are settling in there for the night. Now that the staff homes are plastered they will try to ride out the storm there. Susan, Beth, & Jose/Me are housing the St. Louis Missionaries & our small American team. We will be cooking for everyone in our home so that our kitchen staff can be with their families. It’s our hope & prayer that the flooding does not rise above 3 feet or every building on campus will be flooded including all of our homes.

While it can be really easy to focus on what is happening just right here …..we cannot forget about those who really have no options as the storm approaches.

Tonight THERE WILL BE mommas huddled with their babies trying to keep them dry as rivers run through their homes…..as dirt turns into mud….as straw roofs completely disappear with the wind.

Tonight THEY WILL SIT in total darkness while their children cry in fear – hearing the sounds of the wind and the crashing of the waves – not knowing what’s happening outside their home until daylight breaks.

Tonight their faith WILL BE TESTED as they begin to shiver and doubt the goodness of God. Why they continue to suffer? Why do they have to lose what little they have? Why does their life continue to be so hard?

So I’m asking for your help tonight. I’m asking you to be intentional with your prayers for Haiti.

Will you be that voice for the voiceless? For those homes that don’t know Jesus? We have a God who is desperate for each and every one of them. Will you cry out on their behalf? Will you pray that they will cling to Him even though they may not know Him? Will you pray that He will wrap His loving arms around each and every one? That each home will feel something that cannot be explained outside of Jesus?

Will you pray for peace? An unexplainable peace? A peace that only Jesus can give? A peace that will wipe away each and every tear that trickles down the cheek of every little frightened child? A peace for every parent who carries such heavy burdens for their family already? A peace that brings about hope? A peace that God has not abandoned them?

Will you pray for a hedge of protection? That the only things that are lost can be replaced? That in each and every hut we will see Jesus hovering over the mommas that are hovering over their little ones? Will you pray that there will be this third layer of protection with Jesus’ arms stretched out once again – – shielding them from all harm?

You see I believe in the power of prayer and I’ve seen it move mountains. I have no doubt that it can move hurricanes too!

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Jody Owen Castillo

October 4 at 3:47pm · Môle Saint-Nicolas ·

Update:

We have truly been moved to tears by your responses. The internet has been really spotty so we haven’t been able to respond back right away – but please know how touched we are. It is very humbling.

Thank you for your outpouring of love. Thank you for sharing my past post with others. Thank you for your encouraging comments and messages. And most importantly – thank you for praying intentionally for Haiti!

PLEASE DON’T STOP PRAYING!

This storm is very slow moving. Even though we could see the outer edges coming towards us – it spent most of the night pounding the mountains behind us.

Currently though we are getting slammed with wind & rain. We have several trees down on our property. The tin roof & wooden frame where our orphans are being housed right now is shaking. We tied the frame down to a cement beam that stretches across the middle of the room. With this type of blowing rain though – we can’t seem to keep that area dry. It’s leaking through the tin. Please pray for wisdom on how we can keep our orphans safe & dry.

My husband went downtown to assess the situation. This is his report:

The force of the rain made my face sting. There are several big coconut trees down not to mention all the smaller trees. In fact I had to run from one as it crashed down right behind me. All of the “wooden shack” businesses are missing roofs or walls.

There are a few nicer homes where the tin roof has blown off already. There is a pastor in town who just had a wall cave in. There were several people gathered by the main school downtown because that roof is shaking as well.

Several of the yards with wooden/bamboo fences are gone. The main streets are a little over ankle deep in water and there’s large streams still coming down the sides of the mountains. I can only imagine what is happening to the straw huts on the mountainside. With this type of blowing rain there’s just no way they are able to stay dry or that their straw roofs are intact.

One of the side gates at the catholic church downtown broke free right as I was walking by and I had to run and duck to keep it from hitting me. That’s when I decided it wasn’t safe to keep walking around anymore.

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Jody Owen Castillo shared Northwest Haiti Christian Mission‘s photo.

October 5 at 1:29pm ·

The pounding rain & whipping wind continued through the night until 9am this morning. As the storm was leaving Haiti we were expecting for the weather to dissipate. Instead there were moments where the pressure of the wind was stronger than when the core of the storm passed.

Last night around 7pm the staff had a river running beside their homes as the water from the mountains made it’s way down our property. Everyone was grabbing debris & limbs and moving them out of the way so that we could redirect the flow of water to the street. At one time parts of our campus were knee-deep in water. The staff spent the entire night re-arranging the flow of water as it tried to enter through the back of their homes.

On our campus we have tons of trees & plants down, we have an electrical pole down, the door to the orphanage sleeping quarters blew off, the wooden gates all around campus are down as well, the wood frames to many of the tin roofs need repair, and there’s other minor damage throughout the property.

Oddly enough the only 2nd story room we had got flooded. We were unable to keep the orphans there as planned because we couldn’t keep them dry. We will sweep out the water & begin making repairs in case we need to open it up to families who find themselves with no where to go right now.

We weren’t able to assess the town until closer to 10am when the rain & wind finally came to a stop. The river had swelled by the bridge bringing large amounts of water into fields and destroying plants & trees. There were countless homes with tin or straw missing from their roofs. There were homes missing walls. There were homes & businesses completely destroyed with nothing left to show for it.

There were MOUNDS of sand pushed into homes along the bay. They are spending the morning trying to put the sand back on the beach so they can better assess the damage to their homes.

When we moved to the Mole we had already established a church at the end of a street that was inside the pastor’s home. That area was completely destroyed. The ocean water caught up to that street and flooded it about a 1/3rd of the way down. The homes that our employees lived in before we moved to the property were concrete & faced the bay of the ocean. Each home had several feet of standing water.

We were unable to make it up the mountainside where most of the poorer people live, as the walkways are slick and muddy. We couldn’t get traction on our feet without sliding back down. We are going to try again in a few hours.

We heard that there were 4 people who died in Kapafu which is one of the fishing villages we serve & travel to by boat. We believe that they were not from that community but not knowing about the hurricane – they got caught there as the storm approached. We know that on Sunday we were the ones delivering the news about the hurricane at church and then to the streets because no one knew anything about it. This was the case in many communities throughout Haiti.

We have not been able to reach the NWHCM pastors that serve in smaller villages between here and Port-de-Paix. I’m not sure what damage their villages have faced. We know that the Mare Rouge Church lost the roof of their stick/bamboo church right as the storm came through. I’m not sure if anything is standing there now. So please be praying for our surrounding villages as we wait for word to come in.

Reports here in town are continuing to trickle in this morning and I can only imagine after the night we had here on campus what others in the mountains have faced. We’ve got a lot of misplaced people who lost everything they had. The charcoal is so wet that no one can cook. We tried to buy bread so we could pass it out but we can’t find any to buy. We’ve got a lot of hungry & shivering families who just seem lost this morning.

We are buying rice & beans today and planning to distribute them to 200 families at 4pm as a first step.

Please pray for wisdom & discernment. Please pray that God will make Himself known today to those who feel abandoned. Please pray that we can be the hands, feet, and face of Jesus to this community – as we strive to serve, love & care for theses beautiful people in the Mole.

Here’s a link to donate online:  http://bit.ly/NWHCMDisasterRelief

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Jody Owen Castillo 

October 5 at 5:37pm ·

This afternoon we sent our Haitian staff to town to select 200 families that we could could give rice to. We wanted to give beans as well but there are none to be found anywhere. So we put money in each bag of rice instead so they could buy other things they might need.

We sang How Great Thou Art & prayed together. It doesn’t feel like much but they were SO thankful. We found ourselves in tears as their voices came together praising God so passionately – knowing last night they had lost so much. If I’m speaking transparently…I don’t know if I would be praising God “quite” so quickly……they continue to teach me and humble me every single day….especially tonight.

It felt so insignificant…..yet they said it was a reminder that God still had His eyes upon them. You know sometimes all we’re able to do – no matter where we live – no matter what our resources are – is just remind other’s of God’s love. And while sometimes that feels so small…..it really might be the biggest thing we can do.

I encourage you back home to make a point to show God’s love to someone each and every day. It may be the only reminder they have that God still has His eyes upon them……

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Jody Owen Castillo added 4 new photos — with Jose Alexander Castillo in Le Môle Saint Nicolas, Nord-Ouest, Haiti.

Yesterday at 5:42pm ·

Update on Fishing Villages:

We sent Bena to the Preskul Fishing Village to check on the people but he isn’t back yet. We heard that many homes were destroyed. We knew it would be really bad for them…luckily we got word out and no one stayed there during the actual storm.

The folks from the Karenage Fishing Village stayed in the school during the storm. Their village is stationed at the lowest point of the bay. They told us several homes along the shore were washed to sea. Most of their housing structures weren’t very strong at all – so this wasn’t too surprising. It REALLY is a miracle that no one was hurt.

Trucks still can’t pass through most of the surrounding roads. The mountain walk to KaPaFu is not passable and the ocean is still too rough to go check on them by boat. We know that 4 people died in their village and we are still trying to identify who they were.

Update on the Mountainside:

There were parts of the mountainside that we were able to travel to today. These pictures below are of Fabi’s house….the sick little baby we’ve been caring for since January. This house had strong rock walls & a straw roof…. which you can see is now laying to the side of what once was a home.

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On Tuesday Jose & I were supposed to go to the Catalyst Leadership Conference in Georgia – and Fabi was going to start transitioning back home – now that she’s healthy & walking.

I’m sitting here in tears as I see Malaya rocking Fabi to sleep….. that if God hadn’t brought her into our lives – she would have been in that home…..she would have experienced that terrifying night….and she would have woken up with absolutely nothing.

We passed by families just sitting alongside the mountain path…..just sitting… with no where to go. Of course you can’t help but see their sweet little kids waving and yelling “blan blan”. They STILL find a way to smile & greet us.

But you also can’t help but notice the little babies too…..and they’re not smiling. They’re flat-out crying.

When you see these homes – it’s hard not to think about those babies…… babies I don’t know……babies that have been soaking wet for the past several days….. babies who are hungry….babies with snotty noses & fevers…..babies that can feel the destress of their mommas……babies unlike Fabi – – who don’t know someone who knows someone – who can make it better for them…..

So many people are walking around outside not sure what to do. Quite frankly when I see everything I’m not sure what to do right away either. It’s overwhelming. Who do you help – when you can’t help them all? What do you do first when all the needs feel so urgent? Where do you even start?

Well… the one thing that living in Haiti has taught me…..the one constant in my life that has always been reliable – crisis after crisis after crisis…the one thing that I really DO know…..I DO know where to start.

The starting place is on my knees praying to the one person who knows all the answers…..who I KNOW will guide my steps if I can be silent enough to hear His whispers.

The key – is being silent…which we all know – I’m a talker!!! But I know during times likes this…. He needs me to stop trying to be everything to everyone. He needs me to slow down, lean in, and become the audience of just one.

For me it happens late at night – when all our kids are sound asleep. I can feel Him hold my shoulders up – as the burdens begin to weigh me down. I can feel the squeezing of His arms – as He pulls me in and He lets me know – He’s right there…..I’m not alone.

And as I quietly lean in …..each and every time ….. my tears roll right down His chest…..and the silence is replaced by the beating of His heart……. and then I know – that I know – that I know….. it’s never stopped beating for me – no not once.

Though I might not have heard it earlier that day – it’s always – always – been there. I just had to be silent long enough to hear it….

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Jody Owen Castillo added 12 new photos.

1 hr ·

I know many of our travelers have been worried about their friends in KaPaFu & Preskul Fishing Villages. We still are unable to make it to KaPaFu but here are some pictures from Preskul.

Note to self: Bena doesn’t know how to focus a camera. He took about 40 pictures – and these are the only ones where you can actually tell what they are. Everything else is blurry.

Bena’s Report:
They lost all of their animals because they didn’t find out about the storm early enough to make arrangements to bring them. So they had to leave them behind.

They lost 4 fishing boats completely – like they’re out to sea somewhere – and several need repairs.

There are about 1/3rd of the homes flattened, 1/3 that need some major repairs, and 1/3rd that had minimal damage.

Comments

  1. I want to thanks you from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices and services that you are enable to provide to my folks. I am a native of Mole St. Nicolas resided in NYC. Only God will give you the reciprocity of your kind action. How can I help you guys to help them? Clearly, you on the site doing what I would love to do for these people? Beside my prayers, I would love to contribute something to the extend of my capability. Sincerely Joubert.

    • Thank you so much for your comment and for wanting to help your hometown. We absolutely love this place. God is moving here! I’m going to send you an email with more details but are just thankful for your continued heart for this place.

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