Thursday, January 28, 2010

Base Camps In Port Au Prince

I just received an update from missionary Sonia Burnett in Santiago, DR. Sonia's husband Barry is helping establish centers of operations inside Haiti. Here is an idea of the work as seen from up close...

Thanks for continuing to remember us in prayer. This last week has been busy with Barry coming and going from Haiti and good things are happening. The Dominican Baptist Convention has now assessed the needs and developed a plan of ministry much of which has already been put into action!

The goal is to provide for the immediate needs of the people as well as plan for the long-term reconstruction of the Baptist churches and people. Phase 1 of the plan is to use local Haitian Baptist churches as the centers for food kitchens and water distribution as well as providing tarps for shelter. (Sadly, the food that has been shipped by many organizations is still not being distributed effectively. I read in the news today that many of the larger organizations have divided up the city to make the distribution more organized and effective but until now food is scarce.) The Convention is providing stoves, generators, cooking utensils and food as well as water storage tanks to use to store and drinkable water. The local church members are involved in the cooking and distribution. Currently two churches are being set up with these supplies but tomorrow will be the second meeting with other church leaders to expand to other churches as soon as possible.

Phase 2 is to begin the process of rebuilding. The convention is going to provide sledge hammers and other materials needed for demolition that needs to be done prior to reconstruction. The goal is to enable the Haitian people to do as much as they can for themselves and those around them by providing them with the materials they need to do the work. Determining the best method of reconstruction that will be affordable, as well as hurricane and earthquake proof is also a priority.

Phase 3 is to develop bases in local Baptist churches where work teams can stay and work from as a center for ministry. The goal is to have either a Dominican national team or an international team on site each week for the next few months. The Convention has selected one coordinator to organize the scheduling.

It has been fun to work with the national convention and to see how they have really jumped in to help their neighbors during this time. The Dominican Baptist Churches alone have raised over $500,000.00 pesos for disaster relief.

On a personal note, Barry is going and coming every 3-5 days and right now is busy securing the buildings for safety and getting them ready for teams. He and the pastors with him have a tent, sleeping bags, and are staying in the back yard of Concorde church in Port Au Prince. This world we live in is amazing as cell phones from the DR still are not working but Vonage and internet are! He called me from the local Texaco station whose owner has Vonage!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Facing The Pain In Haiti

Sunday morning I looked into the eyes of a man who recently lost his dad. The man with whom I spoke is single and his dad was, in many ways, his best friend. He blinked back his tears as he spoke of facing life now.

Sunday afternoon I noticed two Facebook updates from Missionary Barry Burnett. First, he said "...back in Santiago after a few more days in Haiti... Things in Haiti are still critical, but stable. The food is getting to the people now, but water is scarce. Our Dominican brethren move in tomorrow with equipment to set up at Eglise Baptiste Siloe and Concord. These churches are the starting points."

After that bit of news, Barry added, "...waylaid in Santiago for a few days because of car problems. Please keep praying. The pastor of Siloe was killed in the earthquake, but his widow and the associate pastor are going strong in helping their community. The pastor of Concord is very organized and has also found four other Baptist churches and pastors with great needs."

The pain my friend here at home echoes the cries of tens of thousands Haitians tonight. Among them are a pastor's widow who labors on in the aftermath of disaster.

Please pray and ask God to open doors for the Gospel. Ask Him to comfort the injured and minister to the broken-hearted. Pray for the Dominican teams as they establish ministry points with Haitian brothers and sisters.

Finally, please pray for a little group from here in the U.S. who are in the Dominican preparing to cross into Haiti. They have permission to relocate a group of Haitians orphans into what once was a hotel in Cabarete, DR. That group of Americans includes our nephews Paul and Drew, as well as Paul's son, Silas.