Dear Friends, January 29, 2010
Stories have been pouring in and I know you have all heard many from TV and radio of aid coming in from all over the world for Haiti in this time of great crisis after the earthquake on Jan 12. The outpouring of love and concern from all over the world has been amazing and inspiring. But what you might not hear are the stories of Haitians helping each other in countless sacrificial ways.
A few of these stories we want to pass on to you. Our neighbor and friend, and the UCNH campus nurse, Myrianne Petite Papa traveled to Port Au Prince just a few hours before the earthquake, to visit her family. Within hours after her arrival the destruction began, crumbling everything around her. She had just arrived at the street where her family lived when the tumultuous shaking began. She ran towards the apartment not knowing what she would find at home. Thankfully all the family had managed to rush out of the apartment before it fell. Her young nieces and a high schooler just home from school were safe, and her elderly mother in-law and cousins, safe! Many who lived around them were lost. They didn’t know if Myrianne’s sister in law, a nurse mid-wife was alive as she was still at work at the hospital located down town, which had collapsed. All the cell-phone connections were down due to the violent upheaval of the earth. No one could contact friends or family for nearly two weeks after the earthquake.
Several hours later, her sister-in-law nurse and some friends managed to walk home, reuniting with her relieved family in the street. There was no sleep in the streets that night. They huddled together bracing themselves during the many after-shocks that happened that night (the after shocks continue as of this writing). No one knew what to expect next. The next morning they walked together to the hospital where the nurse-midwife and Myrianne worked, offering their services as nurses to the hundreds that were injured and in need of medical care.
The courtyard of the hospital at Carrefour was swarming with frightened people. Many were with their families trying to find a safe place to be. The remaining medical staff that survived worked night and day to care for the injured. The night after the earthquake people brought what little they had carried with them and set up places to sleep on the ground all along the street. They made make-shift tents with pieces of cloth or clothes or sheets. They shared what food they could find with their neighbors, and took turns being a watch through the night. They sang hymns and prayed together, a community of sanity and sanctuary brought a few minutes of rest from the nightmarish experiences they had all been through. Myrianne said the week they were there at Carrefour, they received no food or aid from the outside, just Haitians helping Haitians.
Somehow through the grace of God they brought hope to one another through sharing what they had, “loaves and fishes”, songs of hope and prayers bringing encouragement to one another, feeling God’s love together.
Almost a week after the earthquake Myrianne’s husband, Max, was able to travel to Port Au Prince and bring Myrianne home to Limbe to their daughter, Maxianne, age 7, who had been waiting anxiously for her mother. Their small home is now housing nine of their extended family from Port Au Prince. As the population of Port-au-Prince seeks to leave the devastated city, families all over Haiti have now taken in family members and friends.
Last Sunday as we gathered together at the Seminary Baptist Church here in Haut Limbe, where hundreds gathered to worship together, the pastor urged people to take to heart the words of Jesus in Matt. 25: 35-36 “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house. I was without clothes and you gave me something to wear. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me….I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.”
Pastor Manno urged the congregation to visit those who have been injured, help pay for their medical bills, pray with them and take care of the needs of those around you. Those words were great challenge for them and for all of us as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Other signs of God working through His people in Haiti;
-A Haitian psychologist forming a therapy group of earthquake survivors for on-going counseling.
-A Haitian doctor in the slums of Port Au Prince working by himself long hours with few supplies
-A Haitian nurse friend of Mme Cherlie Desir in Dabon caring for wounded with few supplies next to demolished clinic a few miles from the epicenter
– Groups of Haitian people in cities near Port-au-Prince handing out free drinking water to busloads of thirsty people arriving from the capital
– The mayor of the second largest city in Haiti, Cap Haitian, sending buses to Port-au-Prince to pick up people wanting to relocate to Cap Haitian
– The Cap Haitian Gymnasium has been converted to a homeless shelter presently housing over 300 people where local citizens and church groups are bringing food, water, and clothing
These examples and more come to our attention each day as we share in what is happening since the earthquake. It has been deeply moving to us to witness the compassion and sacrificial service of some of the poorest of God’s people reaching out to their fellow countrymen in their distress. Please continue to pray and support Haiti at this time, and may God in Christ continue to bless you.
Love, in Him,
Nancy and Steve James
<td><strong>Haiti Quake Response: </strong><em>You can be part of the Fellowship’s response in Haiti. <a href=”https://www.thefellowship.info/Give/Donate.aspx?fund=17015” target=”_blank”>Give</a> and <a href=”http://www.thefellowship.info/Pray” target=”_blank”>pray</a>. Apply to <a href=”http://www.thefellowship.info/Disaster-Response-Application” target=”_blank”>serve</a>. Stay connected through updates on the <a href=”https://cbfportal.wordpress.com/” target=”_blank”>CBF blog</a> and the Haiti ministry <a href=”http://fellowshipportal.ning.com/group/haitipartnersforchrist” target=”_blank”>online community</a>.</em></td>