Haiti - Sunday Morning 2010

Sent: Mon, Jan 25, 2010 4:17 am
Subject: Sun am

Good evening,
We drove and walked through the hardest hit areas of Port-au-Prince today.  Even as we walked through and over these buildings our minds couldn’t take in the magnitude of what has happened.  Everyone is sleeping in the streets in front of their homes because their houses are so fragile.  As you walk through the streets there are people just sitting and staring, still in shock.  Once, some ladies held out their babies as we went by hoping we would take them away from the horrible circumstances.  There are endless stories of people narrowly escaping being crushed, only to have watched their family, friends, coworkers or fellow students not make it.  One lady talked about falling 4 stories and somehow landing on her feet and away from the building.  Seven story buildings collapsed like an accordions.  The smell of dead bodies still trapped under the rubble…  They are digging mass graves just outside the city.
But because of the need to eat and drink, people are quickly returning to some semblance of normalcy.  The street markets are full of people bartering and buying, hauling rice, vegetables, coal and water on their heads and scavenging metal and whatever else they can dig out of the piles of rubble.
This morning as we were sitting in the Sunday morning meeting and watching the Haitians filter in….  I was thinking that it would be impossible for God’s people here on this little secluded island of Haiti to comprehend the thousands and thousands of God’s people in Canada, Africa, South America, Australia, Mexico, the United States, the entire world, that are thinking of them, praying for them and wanting to help them.  The amount of emails and phone calls pouring in with care and concern and offering help is astounding.  It made me think of Heb 12:1 “…seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…..”  I think it would be impossible for us as God’s people here on this little planet earth to comprehend the thousands and thousands of God’s people in heaven that are watching us, praying for us, and wanting to help us continue.  This experience has made me appreciate the thoughts and prayers for us that we never know about.
The meeting was something I will never forget.  Here were people that had just suffered tremendously, physically and emotionally, literally confronted death (a few of them had actually been trapped inside buildings that had collapsed on them) and all of them mentioned how fast life can be gone and how they just want to be ready.  It sounds simple but when you know what they’ve gone through, just days before, it was indescribably powerful.  You could literally feel the unanimous, heartfelt agreement and thankfulness as each person gave their testimony.
I’ll post some pictures via Picasa as soon as I get them organized.  It was a long day today but great to travel to the different friends homes and see how they are getting along.  Haiti is a beautiful country and wonderful people.
Have a good night,




Monday, January 25, 2010 07:06:35

Have you ever seen coals that would not die but they just had to glow and burn again? Yesterday morning up on the mountain side above Port au Prince in the cité called Fort Mercredi the coals refused to grow cold. Each time I think of it.....it all glows again within me. The meeting spontaneously combusted again and again...three times after the last hymn was sung. Each person, visitor and Haitian, spontaneously spoke once more and then again, adding their love for Christ and flowing thankfulness to the warmth of brotherly fellowship with the Lord that we had just savored in Eltude's little room. After that the conversation turned to what we looked on down below and where they were the 35 seconds when the earth quaked this is indelible engraved in their minds for the rest of their lives.
Eltude was a young lady just getting married when she met Orin Taylor and Charles Lauchner. She shared in her testimony Charles' words to her at that point in life. They have been a stay to her through all the storms. Her daughter, Sheila, and grandson, Ralph, live with her. Sheila spent years working in the assembly factories of Port au Prince. She had worked her way up to the "inspecteur" position in a clothing factory making 3 US dollars a day if she met the quota of inspecting 2500 garments a day along with her helper. If they didn't make the quota.....a half that wage. Omanes was in his taxi van. He wasn't able to make it home that night through the ensuing chaos, but got a signal just long enough on his cell to tell Guerda that he was OK. Guerda and Sheila were downtown buying vegetables where they find them cheaper coming in from the countryside by truck near the wharf. This market is always a teaming anthill of humanity. They were in a taptap when the street began to heave. Everyone bailed out and ran. Sheila ran one way. Guerda stood in the middle of the street and then trying to keep from falling. Then she looked for Sheila. She saw her under a store front in a crowd of people. She shouted with all her might, "SHEILA, VINI" (Sheila, Come)...and somehow above the din Sheila heard her and flew towards Guerda. At the same moment the building came down and all under it were crushed. They couldn't see for clouds of shocking dust. Guerda thought of her children, Danny and Orin. They began to run through the streets in anguish and panic. She found herself in the arms of a neighbor running down through the labyrinth of narrow paths of Fort Mercedi the other way saying, "Don't cry, I saw them, they are OK."
The homes of Fort Mercredi are perched on a steep hill. I thought they would be the first to fall. Different from the other cités is Port au Prince  - under it is a solid rock. Most stood. During Orin Taylor and Charles Lauchner's first year in Haiti they became very familiar with this area. Fortunately school was out and Danny and Orin were safely home. Their schools are rubble. We returned to Vaillant and to our pleasant surprise found that Mike and Rachel had a nice meal prepared for all of us. From there Mike went with us and we visited Genese. For days she couldn't or wouldn't speak. I was so relieved to sit with her and her sister, Margaret, and Genese talked with us much like Genese we've always known. When the house fell Margaret's two children were also in it. It is a miracle they were not crushed. They found a tunnel through the debris and came out on their own. Genese was trapped under fallen blocks. They covered her head and torso. Margaret was just coming home from her work. She ran all the way. She found Genese's feet sticking out. When she called Genese moved. With stones she broke away the blocks and pulled her from the crushing cement. Her wounds are healing. I cannot say how grateful I am she is alive. And to see her alive just doubled and tripled the gratitude that she is ALIVE. Did the disciples feel the same when they saw him "ALIVE." The BODY is so ALIVE...how could we ever doubt....."Touch the wounds, Thomas....believe!" ALIVE in the world today. ALIVE in eternity. Waiting for the day to "all be gathered together in one." (Eph 1) May God help me to never be a numb or dead member in such a living body. From there we took Mme Finfelix home. Glenn thought he had her persuaded to come home with us to Cabaret. But the last minute, no. Home is still home. Even a one room little round stone walled home with cracked walls is home. She spends the nights with her neighbors in the street. We at least got a tarp for them to sleep under, and does what she can during the day to be a help. I know her fiery courage is an inspiration to all of them, young and old. So her candle burns in her place...in the darkest night. May we thank God for such light.
A friend from MN arrives Thurs with tents to share for as many as we can in a plane he has rented. One of the Air Force officers who helped us with Caridad had been a Morman Missionary and fondly remembered ju de chadeque (chadeque juice...a fruit something like grapefruit but exotically unique) and asked if I could bring him some. We found our way back out onto the airport, under the wings of all those C 17 and every other kind of plane and down to the tent hospital. I looked over my shoulder and he was rolling them in his hands. Now I must go. The work will soon start again here.

With much love, your brother,