Two boats were delivered early this morning – just in time for Christmas! Again – I thank you all for hearing the prayers of a small little fishing village!
Hope everything’s good. Mr. Nene and I delivered the boats this morning. Thimetiel (the young man) and Sterlin (the old man) are the two beneficiaries. They sent a lot of thanks to the church and they said that these boats are gonna be really helpful to their families. Not just their family, but also the community of Kapafu! GOD bless you all! Have a great day!
I’m so excited that we have another two boats ready to set sail this week to our poor little fishing village! This village lost 5 boats (all they had) from Hurricane Tomas. When all 5 boats were functioning they each fed 100 people daily. They have been trying to feed 500 people off of one boat right now. Not an easy task. We had a horrible time trying to get these two boats finished. In an ideal world they would have been delivered over 2 weeks ago BUT getting things done in Haiti are NEVER easy.
I am so HAPPY to report that Saturday we delivered a boat to the fishing village! This village was struck by tragedy when they lost all their boats and fishing equipment from Hurricane Tomas. While their homes survived with minor damage – their livelihood was washed to sea.
For several weeks we’ve been checking on them – crying with them. We knew they were hungry – especially now that they can’t fish. We tried to get Feed My Starving Children Food from St. Louis du Nord but we’re 6 hours away, the rivers were impassable, and parts of the road were completely washed out. I felt like this precious little village was suffering right in front of us and there was absolutely nothing we could do.
The boat has been ready to sail since last Tuesday but the waves were too rough. Despite our best effort it wasn’t until Saturday that we were finally able to deliver it to their village! We are starting to build a second boat right now.
This is Jocelyn’s Report:
I left at 5:00 AM. There were only 5 people there. There were two young men and three ladies. I thought that was very strange. I asked where everyone was but they were out searching for food. So I waited for the village leader (Kenken) to show up. I told him that we wanted to give him this boat in the name of the Haitians from the Mission’s Mole Church. He cried. Those around him cry too. They were very grateful. They kept praising God for hearing their prayers.
They were already loading the boat to go out and fish before I walked back. These are the pictures I took. I hope they’re okay.
Pictured Below – This young man’s papa lost his boat from the hurricane. He said his father is too old to fish but everyday the two of them would go out together. His papa had his boat for over 10 years. He cried and cried when he lost it. He wasn’t at the village that day because he was out searching for work so he could feed the family. I can only imagine how excited he was when he saw it later! To God Be ALL The Glory!
Today was AWESOME! It could not have gone better. 😀
50 families received much needed supplies and it was truly about as organized and calm as anything in Haiti could be! Thank you guys so much for your prayers! We were done with everything by 11:30! Juvensky (the little boy in the red shirt) was there this morning with his bright little smile. The families were very grateful – kept thanking us over and over again. Aww…I’m so happy!!
Andy Olsen, the mission’s Media Director, took tons of pictures. Be looking for the full story in the mission’s upcoming newsletter! YEAH!! 🙂
I knew when we started this journey of helping this tent city that it wouldn’t be easy. If it were – everybody would be doing it. The little boy in the red shirt led me to a zone right in the heart of Port-au-Prince. Across from the palace – this is an area where there is a lot of violence. I have been teased that I wasn’t content with just picking a zone in PAP – but that I had to pick one of the poorest zones in the most dangerous area. I blame it on the little boy.
Understanding that I might not have picked the most logical area to start helping – I realized quickly this would be a battle. Go to any church in Haiti – between songs and even in the middle of the sermon – you will hear the preacher yell – Satan Pedi Batay – and they stomp their foot. Basically they are saying – Satan you lost the battle and I’m stomping all over you.
I was hoping to post pictures today but the internet here in the hotel is too slow to upload them.
Day 1/Day 2
Day 1 was a complete wash. Plan A was to start feeding on Tuesday but the truck didn’t arrive until midnight. So Plan B (Day 2) – We’d just feed them the next day. Well we spent ALL of Wednesday trying to get the food (250 bags of rice and 2000 jars of peanut butter) into a warehouse. The warehouse we were going to use just lost a wall. We were supposed to deliver food at 4pm but we didn’t even secure a warehouse until 4pm. The warehouse ended up being a 40-foot container. There were people living in this container. So we gave the family some tents and some food and they let us keep the container as storage.
I had Maurice, Reginald, Antoine, Jacques, Exalus, Jose, and two mission drivers with me all day long yesterday. Ever so often – just as we would hit another wall – – they would stomp their feet and say – Satan Pedi Batay.
So we went to the tent city Wednesday evening – just before sunset – to tell them that Plan C is to bring the food there early in the morning before everyone wakes up. Right before we left -we actually witnessed a cross-fire as a few of the gangs were now coming out to “play”. I’m not going to lie – my heart was racing. We realized in that moment – God had been protecting us. Had we come at 4pm with a truck load of supplies – we probably would have been attacked. Reginald stomped his foot – Satan Pedi Batay.
– – – – –
So we decided we were going to be smart about all of this. Plan D – Instead of bringing the food to the people we were going to bring the people to the food. We met with the team leader this morning at the hotel. We explained to him that we will go right off this list. We will call the names – load up 15 people at a time. Then we take the people to our warehouse – give them their gifts – take down all the important information we need and then send them back and pick up the next 15 people. We all agreed that this was a wonderful plan.
We knew that people would try to get on the truck even if they weren’t from that zone. So – I typed up the list that he had given me. I sent him back with this paper and said if their name isn’t on the list then don’t let them on the truck. These are the 50 families in your zone – so those are the 50 families we are working with. He said no problem – but could we give him a few hours to organize everything and send a truck at 1pm. So we all prayed together and he left.
In the meantime – we got a phone call from Go Ministries which is an organization that helps Haitians in the Dominican. We were SO BLESSED with a plane load of supplies. We got cooking oil, milk, soap, and shampoo. Again we felt like this was all apart of God’s plan. We were not supposed to give out the food yesterday because now we could give them supplies from the plane PLUS the rice and beans. We were SO excited!
I’m little miss organizer. I have all the sacks of rice out, got the peanut butter and all the plane supplies lined up just perfectly. I brought my special little stamp – so I can stamp all the cards. I have my notebook so I can write down all the names of everyone and find out the ages of all the kids in the household. I have my Bible and devotion ready to share with the groups of 15 when they arrive. I’m so on fire – just ready to make this happen.
I get a phone call at 1:30pm saying that I need to go down to the tent city right now. What? Why? Well apparently a riot has broken loose because supposedly the names on my list aren’t the names of the people who live in the zone. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
So we go downtown. Mind you – there is NOTHING on the truck. Yet I watch as 100 people are trying to load up on the truck – pushing and shoving and there is complete chaos. The people on the truck are lying about where they live and saying that the sheet of names I have aren’t really the correct families. I’m so frustrated I want to scream and quit- and yet out of the corner of my eye I see my beautiful little boy – STILL IN THE RED SHIRT – crying. The lady that was sitting on the bucket that day – who wouldn’t let me take her picture – looked at me and said, “Please – don’t punish us for what others are doing.We are so hungry”. She pulled up the boy’s shirt and showed me a little rope tied around it. In Haiti when you’re hungry you take rope and tie it around your belly because the tightness makes you feel like you’re full. She said, “Please – do not give up on us. Do not forget us. Do not let satan win.” I sat there and wept with the lady.
I’m still crying right now as I type. These are HIS people. They are so hungry. I see the flies that hover over people as if they’re already dead. It’s blazing hot -there are still places reeking of rotten bodies – they have little to drink – they don’t own a pot to cook in – – and my precious little boy has a rope around his belly. Do their children not cry all night in hunger? Do the parents sit around and wonder how their life ended up this way? Every tent zone we passed today you saw people just sitting there – staring out into space – nothing to do – no place to go – in complete despair.
We are here to help them – I do not understand what happened today? I felt completely defeated. We made everyone get off the truck – and we left. As we pulled into the hotel to call it a night- Antoine yelled out – Satan Pedi Batay…..and stomped his foot. All the men on the back of the truck yelled out again -Satan Pedi Batay – and stomped their feet. Then they told me – see you tomorrow with Plan G. While I felt like I had nothing left to give- they smiled and simply said – we try again tomorrow!! Wow!
These people here – they’re unlike anyone I’ve ever met. You cannot hold them down. I know everyone on my team had hit their limit today and yet gladly they signed up for it again tomorrow!! These people have been hit with everything imaginable and yet – they will rise again. God kept laying this song on my heart today……
“I Will Rise”
There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
Jose and I decided to go to Port-au-Prince today. There was a group leaving and we had to charter a plane. After dropping off the group – Jose took me around to some of the places he had been. Watching his body language – I could tell there were moments where he remembered too much.
I asked a few times for the truck to stop. I wanted to take a few moments in certain places to just simply stop and pray. I don’t want to be a sight-seeing tourist. I prayed for today to not be about me and what I saw. I am not a victim and I don’t want to write as though I am one. I told Jose before we began this journey – I’m not going to write anything about today. Everyone is expecting me to – so I don’t want to do it. He told me – don’t decide what you will or won’t do before you even experience the day. Let God guide your thoughts and your heart. So here I am…..writing.
But before I write anymore let me say this: There is nothing I can write here that you haven’t read somewhere else. There isn’t a new photo you haven’t already seen. There is little I have to offer you as any sort of news. You’re not going to read this and feel like you’ve walked away with some great find. All I can tell you is what I saw – amid the rubble.
My mind could not wrap around all that was before me. So I didn’t force it to. Instead – God gave me moments throughout the day where His whispers were like a gentle breeze – calming and comforting. He spoke to me – when there were no words. He held my hand – when I covered my eyes. He gave me peace – when my heart began to shatter. He gave me hope – when there was none to be found.
I’ve been praying every day for God to give me His eyes. Today He did.
Amid the rubble – through His eyes – I saw…Sorrow.
I have friends who live in Petionville and all our groups used to stay at the Villa St. Louis before it became UN headquarters. I wanted to go there first. While the streets were clear of the bodies Jose had seen nearly 2 months ago – there were a few places where new ones lie. We arrived in Petionville just as one complex dug out their 2nd story inhabitants. We joined in the tears of their loved ones and their sorrow pierced our hearts.
Anytime there is a tragedy – I always wonder – what were the people doing in that moment? On one of the places we stopped to pray at- my eyes drifted to a hamper full of dirty clothes. It was semi-buried.Were they thinking they’d just do a load of laundry that next day? Were they studying for school or laughing with friends when the roof caved in? Were they putting their baby down for his nap when the walls fell out? What must have gone through their minds as the noise of buildings collapsed all around them – and on them.
I saw beautiful homes – homes of the rich – crumbled before us. They were homes that no doubt people paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for. They probably saved all year to add those special luxurious touches. That marble tile that covered their floors and walls – it’s now exposed to the open air. Whatever earthly treasures and possessions they held – it’s now covered in gray dust and concrete debris. Their whole life’s savings – in ruins before them.
Though very hard to process – God showed me a glimpse of what is still happening here every day.
We all have moved on – while they still dig on.
But how many pictures can you take of flattened buildings, crumbled homes, and rubble every where? Apparently 323. That’s what my camera says anyways. As my mind could not comprehend the big picture – God began to whisper to me. He didn’t need for me to widen the lens – but focus it on what was right in front of me.
Amid the rubble – through His eyes – I saw…Love.
It began in the eyes of a little boy in a red shirt. His smile was bright as he was standing outside of his new tarp home. Before he locked eyes with me – I watched him flying his little kite made of plastic strings. Unaware of what was around him or perhaps inspite of it – his laughter filled my heart where sorrow had started to set up camp.
The little boy in the red shirt led to two other cute kids and then the leader of their small tent zone. He explained that USAID gave a few tarps and that’s it. There’s no food. There’s no water. They live right across from the palace. “Everyone comes to take pictures of the palace – they stand right outside our tarp-homes – but no one sees us though we are in plain sight”. He has 50 families in his tent zone. There is a committee of 3 people who “govern” that zone.
I was impressed number one that they’ve already established some type of government within the tent cities. I was also impressed how he could tell me the story of every family who lived there. What I wasn’t impressed by was the fact that the Red Cross has 50 million dollars and I don’t see those red crosses anywhere but at the airport. The families explained to me how hungry they were – how thieves come into their tents and steal what little they have. The whole reason they have tent zones with committees I’m told – is so that everyone can watch out for everyone else.
The one thing they kept saying over and over again- God protected them.
What? You have nothing.
We have everything right here – all of my family survived – said an old little lady sitting on a bucket outside her tarp home.
The old lady showed me her tarp home. She has a blanket on the ground. “When it rains – it soaks my blanket. But there is nothing I can do. I have no where to go. Everything I own is right here,” she told me. She let me take a picture of her home. I asked her if I could take HER picture. She said when someone stops the hunger in her home – then her photo can be taken.
We prayed for God to lead our hearts today. We prayed for God to give us HIS eyes. The leader’s words – “no one sees us – though we’re in plain sight” – really hit me hard. We prayed with the leader and told him we don’t have a lot – but we will see what we can do to help their zone. Jose goes back and forth to PAP every other week to pick up groups. He can check in with them and make sure the food is being given out correctly. With those 50 families are 145 children. We are using our personal ministry money to help this zone. We don’t have enough to feed them every day but we will do what we can – knowing God will provide as He always does. Why? Because God gave me His eyes and whispered to focus on what is right in front of me – and in that moment – it was little boy in a bright red shirt.
Amid the rubble – through His eyes – I saw…Hope.
People were rebuilding. This is a picture of where a fallen school was. Everyone in the building died. I’m told around 200 children. They completely cleared it out. They will start rebuilding in April. Though there are tears….there is hope.
And we think we have a bad economy! We have no room to complain! Yet – Market is full of people. The apples are mounds and mounds high. People ARE buying. The paintings are back out for sale. People ARE trying to live again.
For the first time since I can remember – I see trucks actually cleaning the streets. Streets that were dirty way before the quake. There are trucks all over Port-au-Prince hauling away trash and debris.
The police are out in full force. I see American and Haitian troops EVERYWHERE. There is law and order here. Not the show – but you know what I mean! 🙂 These are all the theives they caught today. We talked to the policeman and he said when they steal they make the lie on the road so everyone can see them. Later they will be taken to jail.
Amid the rubble – through His eyes – I saw…Life.
Though many churches have fallen – God’s word still breathes. It’s alive throughout every hillside. It rings loud even in the lowest of valleys. Everywhere we drove today – even though it’s Saturday – people were singing praises. We could hear the preachers on their megaphones. Every 15-20 minutes we passed by a church service in progress or getting ready to begin.
I thought I would leave here angry and with questions. The questions still remain but God has given me new life. He gave me His eyes today so that I could see. He gave me arms so that I could reach out to someone. He gave me His heart so that I could love on a few hungry children. He gave me a chance to be His Face….so that others could see Him.
AND – If they can give God glory – when that’s literally all they have to give – then at the very least – we can do the same.
Whenever you really look hard enough – you can always find beauty in the midst of tragedy. As thousands and thousands of refugees make their way north (we are the 2nd largest zone to receive refugees) the churches here are swelling. People are looking for answers to this tragedy and so they’re coming to the church to find them. We have such a huge obligation and burden before us. People who might not ever step inside a church have found a pew and now is the time for us to reach them while they’re still searching.
I had 12 pastors from the churches downtown come and ask me how we can help feed their congregations. I guess word got out that I met with them because all day long I’ve had people lined outside the office – people with sick children needing medications and people with children who are hungry. They bring the children with them when they ask me for food – so I can see for myself how bad their kids look. I’ve remained teary-eyed nearly all day long. All of them have stories. Today alone – I used all my benevolent ministry money for the month.
I wouldn’t say that the northwest zone is OUT of food – but I would say that we’re really low. All those relief supplies are fixed for the PAP area. BUT we heard they are headed our way – we just haven’t seen them yet.
I have been slow to give out a lot of information about what all the mission is doing because my brother has spent the last several days laying out the mission’s response and actions we will take. I think everyone will receive the news better coming from him so I am trying to be slow to speak!! (HA – those who know me know how difficult that is!)
I will share about a few things we’ve already done as opposed to all that we WILL do. We have given money to the mayor to help house refugees and to refund any money they spent to get here. We sent a medical team to PAP immediately after the quake happened and cleared out our surgical center’s supplies so we could use it there. We have flown in two surgery teams that have been working on several crushed bones from the earthquake. We’ve done emergency c-sections as well as other life-saving operations just for people from the St. Louis area. We are waiting for several containers of food that are in PAP to arrive here. In the meantime – we have given away pallets of food to help the surrounding areas.
We have set up several collection sites all over the states. We have 2 large Shrimp boats that will be headed our way in about 10 days or so. Those collection sites will be sending their supplies to the shrimp boats. We will be bringing in 10,000 gallons of diesel as well as food, medical supplies, toiletry items, baby formula, etc. We have been receiving plane loads of supplies from Canada and Florida. Those supplies we’ve used here or have donated to other hospitals so that we can meet the demand of our growing population.
So those are things we’ve done and we’ve only just begun. There has to be a long-term goal – something sustainable – or we’ve done it all for nothing. It’s the whole story of – do you feed people fish for 3 months – or teach them how to fish so they can eat forever? God has laid a huge burden on our shoulders and we want to glorify Him n all we do. Things we were going to do last week are not the same things we want to do this week. Haiti has a rapidly changing environment and so we are constantly re-writing our plans. So if you feel like you haven’t heard what all we’re doing – it’s simply because we are constantly meeting the demands of the ever-changing environment.
I do want to put a plea out to groups. Several are getting nervous about coming into Haiti. Just as I said that so many people are showing up at church looking for answers – we have so many new youth and children looking to be loved. We need Vacation Bible Schools so that these refugees can hear about Jesus. We need huge Youth conferences – we need revivals – we need people to just hold and love on babies – we need someone to pray with our granmoun – we need someone to play soccer with the kids. We need to make our refugees as well as there rest of the population here who is nervous and scared – – feel like there is HOPE. We need to be the face of Jesus to all these new faces. More so now than before – THIS IS THE TIME to have hundreds of people come to Haiti and be the light.
I’m reminded of the story Mother Theresa shared about the nuns who were cleaning the houses of elderly patients in India. A lady was going to clean an old oil lantern for an older gentleman. As she was getting ready to wipe it down the old man said – No. Just leave it. The nun asked him why? He said to her – No one comes to visit me. Who am I going to light my lamp for?
The Haitian people sit around in darkness. Do they even know what that light represents? Do they even know that there is a way out of darkness through the light of Christ? My question to you is – Who are they going to light their lamp for?
Today we had 22 surgical and medical personnel arrive safely at the mission. Tomorrow we will start dividing out roles and making plans for this week. Something you have to realize is that LaPointe and Port-de-Paix are basically the only functioning hospitals on this side of the coast. Most of the major hospitals around Port-au-Prince are gone. So we will basically be a 3rd hospital for our region. We’ve always seen patients and had clinics – but there is a difference in having clinics where patients go home everyday and setting up a full-time hospital. Only God knows how we can pull all of this off.
As I had written earlier – there are thousands of new faces that are in our village. The mayor came and talked to us a few days ago about how we could help him. We are working closely with him to help all the victims of this tragedy. Everything that the mayor is doing – we have our hand in it – helping to make it happen. Anyone who comes from Port-au-Prince to seek refuge here – they have been given money to cover the expense of their trip. If you don’t have a place to stay – the mayor is putting people in hotels or small one-room apartments. The mission is giving away bushels of corn that was donated from Larry Stipe and the boys from New Brunswick Christian Church. It’s our hope that we will be able to get our containers of rice and beans soon so we can provide more food.
Today I heard the tragic story of one of my friends who recently moved to Port-au-Prince. She told me – Jody I was in Port-au-Prince. I was at the market when the earthquake happened. My two children were in school. I went to the school and the building had fallen on them. They were dead. I was staying with my brother. I ran to his house. The house had fallen on him. He was dead. I lost everyone. I just made it back to St. Louis today. I lost everyone. They’re all dead. Jody – they’re all dead. I lost my babies. They’re all dead.
There is a story like this nearly every day here. Word is just now starting to get back to some families. The effects of this tragedy are far from being over. We ALL have a role. Whether it’s to come to Haiti and be the face of Jesus or collect supplies and raise awareness in the states – we all have a responsibility. We cannot see with our eyes and hear with our ears and now walk away. Haiti needs you not just now but for the many months and years to come. While you need to pray for all of us here in Haiti – you also need to pray about the role God is going to have you play. Be open and start listening for His whispers. He has a plan to USE YOU and BLESS YOU. So keep your radar up for what He has in store for you.
Everywhere you go – there are new faces. While some of the news in the states has moved on – those of us who are here cannot forget. I started watching the telethon for Haiti – and had to shut it off. Seeing the words HOPE FOR HAITI NOW on the screen – it was too much. These types of shows are for countries that I’ve never been to. Tragedy like this isn’t supposed to happen in my backyard. So I turn it off. Yet I cannot forget. Turning it off doesn’t take away the fact that I walk outside my home and there it is staring at me.
We don’t have the option of “turning it off” because it’s too emotional to deal with. No – Haiti is our home. We walk outside our home and there we are – faced with tragedy right before us. The town is full of people – faces we do not recognize. They come from all over – people looking for extended family to take them in. They come with nothing. How they even made it this far – it baffles us all. Stories of sorrow….people losing everyone around them – children who witnessed their parents being crushed – parents watching their children die….. those are the stories that now fill the homes in St. Louis du Nord.
Our workers come to the mission every day – each one with their own story. So many who still haven’t heard from their loved ones. Others wondering if they’ll ever know what has happened to their family. Mass graves cover Port-au-Prince now. I believe there will be over 100,000 people lost. Each person mattered to someone. They were the daughter, mother, son, father, sister, or brother of someone. There are no names. There are no records. There is no way for people to really know if their loved ones were buried in those graves. There’s no way to know if they’re still buried under rubble. So people just wonder – wonder what has happened to the people they love so much.
They search for peace but their hearts are left empty. Where is their family? What really happened? Will they one day be surprised and they’ll show up at their door? Will they hold out that “hope” for the rest of their lives? I talk with our workers here – they all say the same thing. There are so many faces – faces we don’t recognize. They must be refugees- but will they indeed find refuge in a village that already struggles to survive? If our workers cannot feed their families already – how will they feed all these new faces?
If it were not for my Jesus – I would not find the strength to walk outside my home. But I know that He is a place of refuge. As tears continue to stream down my cheeks – I find comfort in the scriptures. I find comfort in knowing where I can find refuge. What about the faces of those we don’t recognize? Who wipes away their tears? Do they know that God will hold them like they once held their children? We may not be in Port-au-Prince digging people out of the rubble but our job is life-saving just the same. These faces we don’t recognize – God knows every hair on their head. WE MUST TELL THEM. We have to tell them where they can find refuge. Please pray – that in all we do – we will be the face of Jesus to the thousands looking for a savior.
2 Samuel 22:3
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me.
2 Samuel 22:31
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.