I begin today by thanking all of you who have responded to me via email, Facebook, Twitter and phone calls since yesterday. I am amazed at the network of people who have replied, reposted my blog and sought every way to get the word out. Sincerely, and on the half of Pastor Manolo, Missionaries Barry and Sonia Burnett, plus Haitian Pastors Patricio and Wilmer, thank you!
Some of you found yourselves waking up in the night last night and remembering to pray. Some have felt convicted about how much we have and how much pain is present in Haiti right now. Many of you have given or are finding ways to give. My daughter in the Boston area wrote me early in the morning, "Haitians (mostly immigrants and first-generation) are by far the biggest ethnic group at my school. I'm glad that most of them came to school today. They showed all the effects of a sleepless night, and before school there were lots of tears and hugging. But coming to school gives them something to distract them as they wait for news. I'm glad to be able to at least help out by giving them games and work to keep their minds busy."
In the meantime, my friend and interpreter Jose was constantly on the phone receiving updates from Manolo. In the DR, they are trying to deal with this through a unique vantage point. Haiti shares an island with them. Two million Haitians live in their country. Most or all of the Haitians have family in Haiti.
And it has been nearly impossible to get word about them! Imagine!
Relations between the DR and Haiti have been tense as of late. Many of the Haitians in the DR are there illegally. They are the undocumented immigrant farm workers in that country. At the same time, racial prejudice abounds in the DR against the Haitians. At times, the tensions have boiled into violence. Consequently the border between the countries is pretty much sealed tonight. Perhaps our Haitian pastors in the DR can get into Haiti tomorrow to assess how their churches can help.
Pastor Manolo received a call today from a North Carolina church. They have a team of docs ready to come help. He told them to stay home -- they aren't sure that they can get them to the needs yet.
As you watch the news and rejoice over the variety of aid that has begun arriving, please remember that much of the initial help will go into Port Au Prince. Rightly so, because it is the epicenter. On the other hand, the effects of this tragedy are like waves cascading to the interior of the country. Those may be the people who end up with a pile of needs and little notice from the outside world.
Please pray for them all.
I will update as I receive word.