On the ground in Haiti- Day 2 1/20/10

21 Jan

The day began with a bang…actually a shake, which we learned later was a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. The psychological impact on this people cannot be overestimated. Streets are crammed with households that will wait a long time before entering a structure again. We are living in a house that withstood the first earthquake with little to no damage. Yet even with that assurance, many in the house and compound (70 of us?) went running when the ground shook this morning. Amazingly and gloriously, voices began singing praise songs soon after the early morning quake. We heard many stories today of people who are turning to Christ in the midst of this. To quote my friend Mark Lewis, Director of EFCA TouchGlobal Crisis Response, “a mission field opens in the wake of every crisis.”

The supplies God provided in His perfect time were like a glass of cold water offered in the desert. Patients lined up long before we arrived and waited patiently as we organized a pharmacy and medical supply area. These supplies were sorely needed today as patients continued to arrive with devastating wounds that have gone too long without care. The clinical picture for many is not good and we saw tragedy that would never happen in a normal setting. Yet even in the midst of this, God is here and we know that He loves each of these people.

Walking along the streets gives an up-close picture of what daily life has become for the displaced. People have become very creative in making places to sleep, do laundry, and cook meals. Crushed houses, buildings and cars are everywhere. Some still stand, but each night when an aftershock hits people jump and run. No one will enter a house or building that was damaged. We regularly walk by one school where sixty children still lie crushed beneath the rubble. The pungent smell of decay and open sewage permeates this poor area.

God went before us as we met our partners from Cap Haitian who came with stories of surgeries postponed due to no anesthesia, fluids or gloves. We were able to return to the UN warehouse and were greeted with big smiles from people who helped us late yesterday. God must have blinded their eyes because we aren’t exactly neat and clean or professionally attired. Yet they went out of their way to provide basic supplies for our team and promised to have the remainder Thursday morning. We continued to rely on God to open doors and we were able to drive right into the guarded airport compound where numerous relief and government organizations are based. We visited a number of them and are using those contacts to build a network of partners who can help with specific needs we cannot. Samaritan’s Purse was one such organization, and they were excited about working with us to set up a water treatment plant here in the Carrefour area of Port-au-Prince.

This morning we return to the UN warehouse for more clinical supplies to keep the clinic stocked and operational. We ask for prayer as we seek for God-ordained opportunities to meet and partner with other organizations in this stricken community.

It is hard to express what is necessary for this relief effort. So much is needed, and we are asking our Lord for willing workers, both lay and church leaders and for the Spirit to speak to the hearts of His people and use them mightily. The harvest is ripe, people are open to the Gospel. Workers for the harvest will find their work is fulfilling and fruitful.

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