Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Forever in my heart ...Haiti

I have been thinking of the millions of tiny fibers in my body that had been sticking into me since Jan 1st of this year. It just seemed the calendar turned over from December to January and it was all of a sudden, with a heavy heart I retraced my memories of last January.
For many of our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ there was death, amputations, disease, hunger, no home, no clean water, not a single ray of hope seemed to shine in Haiti. It seemed the world was going to do so much and 2010 proved that things are not always as they seem.
I have felt the terror of aftershocks, felt the electricity in the air when a large truck went by, because it shook or made a rumble. Saw the looks on the faces on the those that endured the night of January 12th. Those intense reactions will take years to subside. On Jan 12, 2010, time stood still and as one that can only imagine that day in the streets and the markets, I was one of many on the other end of a grieving, searching, feeling completely useless and unable to control my flow of emotions. I am sure everyone that has been close to Haiti, through having family there, or lived there at any time, can remember exactly what they were doing at the time they heard the news. I am sure everyone can remember the newscasters and special bulletins, the cries for help, the images and the fear that encompassed their soul when they could not reach their family or friends. It was playing out on large screens all over the world, but for many it was personal.
I was able to speak to a friend at GLA, God’s Littlest Angels almost within hours, and by then the website updated that everyone was okay. I remember staying up all night, in front of the computer praying for news, not eating, not sleeping, and posting on every web forum I could think of. I was trying to hear news of Karly and Carline and our grandson T Mac. It was if my heart was breaking but I couldn’t stop, the pieces from shattering. From my safe warm house in North America, I grappled and prayed for hope. As I saw text messages from every corner of the city, “help me I am trapped, Delmas 32” “anyone their send help, trapped with five others, near Caribbean Market. Some texts in Creole, but some in French and English, I also remember one in Spanish. Some of the trapped people tried every language to find someone that was listening, before their batteries died.  It was surreal I wanted to help them, I put out postings on dozens of other sites, I forwarded their texts to radio stations in Haiti, begging for someone to help these people, but the response was overwhelmingly hampered by the sheer devastation. My own grief of not being able to know if my family was all right had me paralyzed with fear and I honestly felt empty.
I remember going to work the next day because I did not know what else to do. Within a minute of walking into my school, someone asked, “Is everyone you know OK?” The tears flowed, the babbling of all the things I have tried, the sobs, that shook my world, were the only testimony to my anguish and my feeling of helplessness.
I am thankful for the supportive staff at my school and as I stayed the whole day, monies were gathered and websites, checked, telephones constantly on redial to Karly, everyone doing what they could. It was around 8:00 that night when a God moment brought me to a Facebook friend  Kate Michel. She had a phone number of someone I can’t remember who, at the mission where our daughter in law worked and she said from her point in the US she would try that number, to see if they had made it back to the neighborhood of the mission and Carline’s family. Twenty-seven hours after the announcement of the earthquake a message popped up on my Facebook saying they were all safe at the mission! I cried, I yelled and got on the phone to Dan and Gill, our kids, friends, from church and I rejoiced in HIS protection. Then I realized the sheer enormity of the situation and sat and cried some more.
By that time, although the news channels were covering everything, I had many friends in Haiti and was being updated from their eyes. Unbelief, sadness, weeping, over whelmed, chaotic, unable to grasp the bigger picture of all that we were seeing on TV, each of them walking through questions, and answers, helping  and spending every available resource helping others. These friends are heroes and I was so humbled, to know them, but all I could do is gather funds.
On Thursday of that same week we flew to the Dominican and on Sunday as were we in Santo Domingo another earthquake hit Jacmel. The aftershocks, over 54 altogether continued well into the months that followed even when we were back in Haiti in March. It was if the earth was shaking with violent sobs of what had been done. I have seen the hurt, heard the stories, walked through the rubble, handed out supplies and will never forget the opportunity we were given!
God can and will bring healing to the people of Haiti, with all that has happened in the last year, I am humbled at what He has done. The job is not complete though,  Haiti still needs you. If you cannot help by going on a short-term trip, then send funds to the smaller organizations that are on the ground in Haiti. God’s Littlest Angels, working on rebuilding homes for the Haitian people and needing  medical equipment to help save precious babies. Life Water working on installing pumps and bringing clean water to communities.
sponsor missionaries, from any organization you chose,  give to Emmaus Biblical Seminary as they work to raise up leaders, willing to be the change in their home communities.
Whatever your passion I can find someone that is working on rebuilding Haiti. Pray for the Lord’s leading…this is not a quick fix, when the eyes of the world turn away, pray and seek.
Things I am thankful for looking back…
-       Resilience of the people, they had so little and they did what they could to help each other and they helped missionaries in their communities
-       Commitment of the missionaries and aid workers to do what needed to be done
-       The beauty of the call to prayer, that spread through the nation, for the International Day of Prayer
-       INTERNET – without it we would have remained so cut off from everyone
-       Our ongoing connections with those on blogs, that serve in Haiti that keep us up to date…
-       The desire to see change in Haiti and the aid distribution becoming a world issue
-       That today a moment of silence, and a gathering for prayer is the way the Haitian people are choosing to remember.
Please join each of us, with a burden to see Haiti, healing, healthy, and stable, today in prayer and in silence and let them know, the WORLD has not forgotten!

Carline, TMac and Karly

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