Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life in the midst of death

Through all the horror stories of the past couple of days, a few joyous moments shine through to help us keep pressing on. The night of the earthquake, a woman gave birth to a tiny baby boy right in front of the Christianville gate. His cries during that horrendous night helped us remember that life goes on. The next day, two other babies were born at Christianville. One was delivered by Amy and Evelyn, the other was delivered by Jenn. All three of those ladies had been longing to deliver a baby, and they finally got their wish! The babies are healthy and have no idea of the chaos surrounding them.

Another joyous thing we are seeing in the midst of this tragedy is an increased response to the gospel. At church on Sunday, there were at least 7 visitors who made decisions for Christ. At clinic on Monday, another woman was saved. Pastors in our community are going around to the various "tent cities" and preaching the gospel. They are reporting many people coming to know the Lord just this past week. Please pray that these new believers will take their faith seriously, be discipled, and become strong Christians. Pray that God can use this earthquake to shake Haiti away from voodoo and towards the living and all-powerful God of creation.

Monday, January 18, 2010

As far as we know

For those of you who are wondering about friends you have made here in Haiti, here is a list of people we know who survived, did not survive, and those whose status is still not known:

Seguin boys in the Jacmel boys home
Danny and Leann (and all the Jacmel missionaries)
Greg and Cathie (and all the CSI missionaries)
Sue Witt and her orphans
All the employees of the eye clinic and their immediate families
All the employees of the dental clinic
All of the clinic employees
All the orphans at Val's orphanage
Most Christianville employees including pastors (see exceptions below)
Pastor Roro, Pastor Gerard, Toto (?)
Margarethe's family
Christnet's family
Pastor Johnny
Roger, from Seguin (who personally came to visit me here in christianville this week and told me all in seguin were doing pretty well)

Passed away:

I will try to update the list and we get more information. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake update

I've received a lot of messages on facebook and email about the situation here and how people can help, so here's an update for all of you. Thank you so much for your concern and prayers.

The earthquake hit about 20 minutes after we drove into our driveway (we had arrived in port that same day and went grocery shopping before heading home). I was walking in the road on my way to the clinic when the earthquake began. Ryan was outside in our driveway, and Eleanor was outside in the hands of Connie Nichols. We all struggled to keep our balance during the quake, which seemed to last forever. When the tremors subsided, I saw that the first floor of the apartments of Jim, Sandy and Jen (the apartment complex where I used to live) had collapsed. I ran to the clinic to see if they were there, then ran back when we realized they were inside. As I came back, I saw Jim and Sandy in the road, covered with dust. They had escaped through a new hole in the side of their house. Jen was safe also. Ryan came running up, and we walked back to find Nora together. At this point we had no idea of the magnitude of what was happening. We heard that there was a person at the guesthouse who was injured. I had some supplies in my bag from donations that Sherry Donovan had given me stateside, so I pulled those out and began working on the patient. I foolishly thought that she might be the only one injured. Soon after we began working on her, a steady stream of people began flowing into the yard. Some were injured and others were just homeless and scared. We separated the groups and began working on the injured. A group of people went back to the clinic and braved the gases and dust and cracks in the wall to get a truckload of supplies and bring them to our triage area near the guesthouse. Others set up lights, because darkness was fast falling. As we looked through the crowd and began treating wounds, the extent of the injuries astounded us. As soon as we thought we saw the worst case, another patient even more injured would come along. Many had severed and mangled limbs, many had serious head wounds, one woman was paralyzed from the waist down, the majority of the people who came had at least one broken limb. One woman was in labor and delivered in the driveway. Two other women came the next day and delivered their babies without complications. Several people were dead on arrival, and many more were so severely injured that we were confident they would die within a few days. Jim and I felt helpless at times in the face of such grave injuries and such limited supplies. We worked until about 5 am, and then tried to sleep for about half an hour. Then the injured came again, en masse.
We set up shop at the church, which was still standing, although it had some concerning cracks in its outer walls. Sandy and Nannie triaged the masses of people who came to the church for help, choosing about 40 of them. The rest were left to find help elsewhere, if possible. Jim and I, with the help of the team, sutured people and splinted fractures. Jim performed some amputations. Jen delivered a baby in a pew. A woman died of blood loss as she was lying in front of the altar. Almost everyone had a story of a loved one that was lost. Evelyn and Connie watched Nora for me so I could work. Ryan was busy attending to our house, which suffered flood damage. Throughout the day, small tremors kept our nerves on end, and as we were finishing up our last few patients, a large tremor rocked the building and sent us all running out the door. The building stood, but we finished up our last patients in the yard.
Today was a day of regrouping for the missionaries. We are basically out of medical supplies, so opening up a clinic today was useless. We focused on contacting loved ones, taking pictures, getting possessions out of destroyed houses. The eye clinic is not able to be opened because of stuctural unsoundness, so we don't know the extent of the damage there. The medical clinic is not too stable as it is. Our house is livable. None of us are sleeping inside at this point. There are too many tremors still. We have our mattresses in the open air, and Nora is comfortable in her pack n play with her mosquito net.
We learned of the death of our housekeeper, Daphne, this morning. She was only in her early 20s. We haven't heard from any of our other haitian friends in Port or Seguin. The Jacmel boys are safe.
God is good. We have heard of many people who want to come help, and at this point we are strongly urging no one to come. We don't have access to enough food or fuel to support more people here. If you would like to help, please send donations to Commuity Christian Church, 10001 W. Commercial Blvd, Tamarac, FL 33351 and designate it for "Earthquake".
Thank you for your prayers. Please pray for no rain at night, since everyone in this part of the country is sleeping outside. Pray for order to replace chaos, and calm to come to our hearts and the hearts of the haitians.