What day is today? On the ground in Haiti 1/23/10

24 Jan

All the days begin with a bit of confusion as to what actual day it is. Not that it matters, as life isn’t much different from one day to the next when in a crisis situation. Today began with an exploration for an orphanage that we had been told was not getting any help. We found it near Carrefour. What was a four story building with what appears to have been over 130 orphans, is now ten feet of rubble. Fifty- six children survived but some caregivers and the nurse did not. The neighborhood has joined in to help and the children are in a courtyard during the day then sleep on the street at night. The street is blocked and adults guard either end. There are tarps strung over the street for protection. Immediate needs are food, clean water and diapers. It is difficult to describe the feelings we experienced when we were with the orphans. They surrounded us, wanting to be held or simply just wanting to hold our hands. The adults said a number of aid organizations have come by, but have not returned.

Our next stop was at the UN medical warehouse where we have found a bit more bureaucracy but still open doors. We placed our order for the next day and, as we walked out the gate, some guys came up to us and said, “We recognize those shirts, we were in Galveston with you, you’re good people to work with.” As I write this, I have just received an email from them. They have 400 diapers and ten cases of food supplement powder that they will give us tomorrow for the orphans. This is a small snapshot of how God has brought us to the right people at the right time. Such provision continues to occur daily.

This afternoon we welcomed an incoming RG staff member who will be here for two weeks, helping organize short-term relief teams. Before we left the airport we went searching for food and water for the orphans in Carrefour. God brought us to the Navy who loaded us up with MREs and the Army who gave us water. They all gathered around as I showed them photos of what we found today at the orphanage. One sailor gave us a stuffed Balou bear to give to a child when we take the supplies to them tomorrow morning.

Even a flat tire has God written all over it. It is highly recommended that no one ventures out driving after dark. We have not been back at the compound before dark any day we’ve been here, yet we have had no problems. We heard that the U.S. media is reporting that crime is a real issue. God must be posting many angels around us. Tonight our tire went flat and we had to pull to the side of the road. Our truck was so full of supplies that we were scrunched up like sardines in a sealed tin. Of course, getting the spare required emptying the back first, in the dark on the street. But as we stopped and looked at each other, a van with our ministry pulled up and out came three of our friends, one of them a Haitian police officer carrying a gun. He stepped out of the van, pulled out his pistol and chambered a round. The gathering crowd disappeared. With the tire replaced, we returned to the compound where we are staying, and settled in for the night.

Stress: Crisis response can be divided into phases. Initially, the stress of seeing incredible destruction day after day and human suffering can all have a strong impact on a person. For our emergency professionals out there, yes, we are arranging debriefing for when we return. Our bodies can rebel. Two of us are suffering from gastric problems at the moment. But Imodium and Cipro are right at hand and it was clear that God sustained us today when in other times we would have stayed in bed. We are tired, but we are sustained. Raw photos can be found at http://picasaweb.google.com/bdugganrn. I have not had time to clean them up or organize the albums, so look for albums listed as dates and you will find many pictures illustrating the narrative you have been reading.

We are very grateful for the sustaining prayers of so many. And for the encouraging notes that you send by email,Facebook or other means. We realize that crisis carries an emotional impact that catches people’s attention for a short time. So we ask that you continue to pray for this situation and the Haitian people long after the media moves on to the next breaking news event.

2 Responses to “What day is today? On the ground in Haiti 1/23/10”

  1. mothergoose1961 January 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Your post reminded me of how much God loves children and how blessed He is by your care of those orphans. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5. He is blessed by ALL your work down there. "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40. I am praying for your protection – physically, mentally and spiritually – and that you continue to find favor with the agencies and military. It is so encouraging to hear how God is working down there!!!

  2. Darlene January 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    Thank you so much, Brian, for your updates and pictures. I know it must be very hard to post when you're so tired and not feeling well, but the posts and pics have really helped us in our praying. You truly are being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need His touch so desperately. Many will join the Kingdom because of your faithfulness!Darlene Benner

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