Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti: Shifting Gears

It seems that the ministry to Haiti is beginning to shift gears. The Dominican Baptist Convention has taken the lead to put "boots on the ground" and develop ongoing ministry to help with recovery and rebuilding. They are working through one or two churches in the Port Au Prince area. I'm sure that they will develop more partnerships in the days to come.

As they begin to take action, we have the privilege of continued prayer and giving support. It's very possible that the Stone Ridge spring mission trip will be diverted -- at least in part -- to help with the Haiti efforts. In the meantime, we hear of others who are giving and going. One of our (Cathy's and my) nephews left this morning to help with work through and orphanage down there. Paul is a pastor in Idaho and we appreciate your prayers for their team as they go.

I videoed a message this morning to Caveland Baptist Church in Kentucky. One of our Dominican partner churches, they are receiving an offering this week for the work. Other churches have already been giving. An RV Park here in Yuma has winter services and took up a generous offering last Sunday.

Last night I received two requests which I have passed on to the DR, hoping to find help. One was for the Grandfather of a student whom my daughter in Massachusetts teaches. The man has kidney failure and can't get dialysis because of the quake. He survived the earthquake but may not survive without dialysis. Another request was for translation of a Gospel tract into Creole -- it will be used by a team that is going. Please pray for these two needs.

I was praying with some men the other night and one of them admitted, "Lord, I confess that I grew tired of hearing about Haiti on the news. Please forgive and help me remember that this need is great." Perhaps his words echo your heart.

The people of Haiti don't have the privilege of saying, "Let's move on to something else."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dominican Teams Take Action

Yesterday, the Dominican Baptist Convention established an action plan. This morning, Sonia Burnett wrote the following communique from the DR...

Barry is on his way to Haiti with 2 members of Germantown Baptist Church and a Dominican leadership group. He will be there at least until Monday but probably longer. The Dominican Baptist Convention is working on getting a “base” established in 1 church that was not damaged so teams can stay there starting next week. He also will be working on getting the water purification system going and the distribution set up. A truck is on its way from Pto. Rico and the mom of a friend of Gaby’s is donating huge tanks that have faucets at the bottom that can be used to distribute the water.

The rest of us that planned to go had to postpone our trip due to lack of lodging…

Thanks again for your prayers for protection and provision. God has been faithful. Some people did feel the aftershock here but we did not… We asked for vehicles to distribute the water, etc. and God is providing as we speak, we asked for tanks to store the water, He is providing, we asked for doctors to help with surgeries, almost 100 have come and gone since then, we asked for antibiotics, 1000 came in last night, we asked for funding, people are giving generously….Our God is a great God!

One or two things she mentions have changed since last evening. More may have changed today. We continue to pray.

For you Stone Ridgers who are considering going, our spring mission trip looks like it will stay scheduled from March 24-April 1. Most likely the focus of the trip will shift to rebuilding in Haiti. If you are interested and want more info, please contact Mark Flint. His address is mark[at]flintframe[dot]com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Light In Haiti's Darkness

Just over one week ago, we started this communication journey as we turned our hearts toward Haiti. Here is what I wrote in that first post...

Would you pray tonight for Haiti? I am drawn to the following verses…
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."
17 From then on Jesus began to preach, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."
Matthew 4:16-17 (New Living Translation)

This morning I received a message from Edward Veloz, a pastor friend of mine from Santo Domingo, DR. Here is what he wrote...

Hey brother.. check the post from a Pastor from Haiti... just talked with Pastor Vijonet from Haiti on the phone and he asked me to share this: "if anyone is sad about Haiti - tell them God is in control and now there is a spiritual movement... people are crying, worshipping, and praising God! There is hope, spiritually!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pastors To Haiti In North

I just received word from Jose that Pastors Wilme and Patricio from a Haitian village called Munoz (in the DR) have been able to cross the border at Dajabon.

These two brothers are tireless workers, pastoring several churches and leading what may be the first Christian School for Haitians in the DR. They just crossed and have requested prayer. They will try to locate family members of people in Munoz, including the family of Patricio's wife.

I am the personal and regular recipient of the prayers of these pastors and it is one of the greatest honors of my life.

Would you join me in praying for them?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Situation Inside Haiti

On Sunday, Barry Burnett and a small team traveled from Jimani, DR into Port Au Prince for the second straight day. They met with a Port Au Prince pastor who has worked to find out the status of everyone in their church. Sadly, sixteen of their church family were killed.

The Dominican worshiped, gathered information and drove back to Jimani. They discovered that many people have been fleeing the capital because, at least for the moment, more food and water are available in the rural areas.

A growing concern is that many people were wounded in the quake and quickly received bandages for the wounds, but medical supplies were exhausted. This means that they have been untreated for many days, greatly increasing the risk of infection.

In Jimani on Saturday night, Barry's pastor (who is also an M.D.), was preparing to do amputations for people who had been evacuated there by helicopter. Though exhausted, he prepared to do whatever was necessary. Late in the day, four small buses arrived at the hospital carrying a large medical team from Puerto Rico. One bus contained only medical supplies. The team had traveled to another place and discovered it was not equipped to handle them. Someone told them about this hospital in Jimani and they arrived, fresh and ready to work, just in time. Barry's pastor took some much needed rest!

Recalling the above incident, Barry mentioned how much they are seeing the results of prayer. Please, keep praying!

On a personal note, the father of Barry's sister-in-law (Claudia) passed away last night in Brazil. The Burnett family had known this man for many years. Barry's relationship with him was such that Barry called him "Uncle." They have requested prayer for Bret and Claudia and all their family.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Planning Begins

Tonight, this came in from Sonia Burnett...

Barry and team are on their way comes the planning. Thanks for all your prayers and support. Barry said he did not feel like he was in danger at any time so praise God for that. Our sermon in church today was on Ps. 71 - A timely message for the Dominican community who are both scared and impacted by what happened in Haiti.

This morning, I was both encouraged and broken-hearted. The encouragement came when we were able to work with Sonia and seek a way to help a Haitian orphanage get drinking water for their kids.

The discouragement came from news reports of literal chaos as supplies were distributed. Our teams in the DR have visited Haitian villages there and brought candy for the kids. Just candy can almost start a riot. I understood what it must be like for relief workers to bring food and water to people who have gone without for days.

I was struck by the following thought...

Q: What do you do when you are facing a literal ocean of need?

A: Grab the biggest bucket you can get and start bailing!

The ocean is overwhelming right now and our buckets seem small. Please pray and give.

I closed my day with the receipt of the following email from a young lady in our church...

I have really been struggling with the disaster in Haiti. I have donated and prayed as much as I can but I can't help but feel there is more that I can do. Today in your sermon you mentioned that the church might send a team down soon and I was hoping that I might be able to join that team. I know you don't have much information on what will be needed or when everyone would be able to go, but as soon as you get more information I would love to be informed.

I am currently in nursing school. I know I'm not a nurse yet or a doctor but I do feel that I could help medically in Haiti if I had the chance. If I am not able to go, I would love to still help send some medical supplies down that I know would be needed.

God has opened my heart so much to all of the people and families in Haiti and I would just love to help however I can. I will keep praying and donating what I can.

She wants to take one more step. She is praying. She is giving. She wants to GO!

We are awaiting word and will make those decisions as we hear from Barry Burnett and Pastor Manolo. Does God want you to go, too?