Hello from Haiti! A few folks at the guest house got really sick last night. I asked one person what she thought it was and she said "it's the Haiti hello." My hello from Haiti is just a greeting. I'm not sick. Praise the Lord.
Below are some notes from my iPhone, but first here's a quick summary of what's been happening. First, Brian, Caryn and I traveled here with Brent Gambrell Ministries of Nashville. They brought a team of about 45 people from all over the States to do orphan care and work projects. Trip leaders were Mike and Missy Wilson. Great folks. By the way, their son Dillon is a pretty amazing singer/actor/entertainer... don't be surprised if you see his name all over the place one day. GREAT kid too. We all stayed with BGM's primary Haitian ministry partner, Dr. Jacob Bernard and his wife, at their home, the Bethel Guest House in Thomassin. Really nice place. Very kind hosts. The Bernards are the kind of people who have done SO incredibly much with their lives for the kingdom that you kind of feel like a schmuck, if you know what I mean. He has 3 masters degrees from a seminary in TX and 2 PhDs. They run 2 orphanages and have adopted 17 children. Pastors a church. Teaches at a seminary. Blah, blah, blah. Now do you know what I mean about feeling like a schmuck? :)
Had a great time with BGM and the Bernards...
This morning we left the guest house and drove to Titanyen, about 30 miles from Thomassin. Drove straight thru Port au Prince. Can't begin to describe the scene there... devastation... and we're 5 months out from the quake. We will be here until Wed. Our hosts are Chris and Cheryl Brumley, who are with Global Outreach Int'l. Wonderful people. Fed us lunch. Talked about potential partnerships for Fellowship. Toured the church they attend with Cheryl and Pastor Kelley, their pastor.
That's about it for now. I'll post as I'm able and as we have WiFi...
Pray for us. God has definitely gone before us and shaped the trip by guiding conversations and setting the schedule. Really cool to see that happen. Very thankful.
FYI, I would post pics but I can't transfer them to Brian's laptop and I can't pick up the WiFi signal on my iPhone... :(
Left Bethel Guest House about 30 min ago. Our driver is Nazer Olivier. Gets $100 a day. Has 3 sisters and 2 brothers in West Palm. He went to H.S. in Miami. Moved back home to work for his father, Nadier, also a driver. Mother died when he was 6.
Nazer's house was leveled in the quake. All 7 people inside got out safely. Lost "a lot" of friends and had many who lost arms and legs. Said he spent the 3 days after the quake helping people. No sleep. No food. Said wks following the quake we awful, very bad... especially the smell of dead bodies.
Driving into downtown PaP on our way to Titanyen. People everywhere. Quite a seen. Totally calm (except for the traffic) but bustling with activity. LONG lines at banks and Western Unions... 100+ people waiting? Lots and lots of debris and rubble remains. Much of it has been moved to the sides of streets so traffic can get thru. Some of it has been moved into "fields" that have been leveled off for future building projects. Majority of rubble has been broken up and moved by hand. Just drove by The Palace, where Pres. Prevail was when the quake hit. Nazer said no one knew if Prevail was alive b/c as they found out later he got out of the city to safety. Didn't even hold a press conference to let the people know what was going on.
Just switched vehicles. Went from a Toyota Tercel to a Nissan Pathfinder. The Tercel just wasn't working for the 3 of us and all our luggage. Did I mention that the traffic is nuts here? Just drove by a tent city with upwards of 16,000 people according to Nazer.
One sign of malnutrition is a reddish/yellowish hue in the hair. Seeing LOTS of reddish/yellowish hair and it's not dye.
Eating lunch with the Chris and Cheryl Brumley (of Global Outreach Int'l) and Pastor Kelley Balde (of Titanyen Baptist Church). Pastor Kelley oversees 18 churches and pastors 2 of them full time. Sunday service times: 4:30-6AM and 7-9AM; Sunday School is 6-7AM. Why so early? B/c of the heat. Said that for 2 months after the quake the Haitians would not go inside a building with a concrete roof b/c they were afraid of another quake hitting.
Touring Titanyen Baptist Church with Pastor Kelley and Cheryl. The church suffered some damage but not much. Outside of a $1000 gift from a US church, they have done all the repairs by themselves. Amazing considering the poverty here.
Waiting for dinner. In honor of Memorial Day, Chris and Cheryl got American beef and we're having burgers on the grill tonight. Very nice people.