Respond to the Earthquake in Haiti

This blog is a place:
●for Brethren and friends to find updates on work and connections in Haiti
●for Brethren and friends to express caring and support for Haitian brothers
   and sisters here and in Haiti
●for Haitian members to tell what they know about families and loved ones
   in Haiti and to ask for prayers
●for other breaking news.

50 thoughts on “Respond to the Earthquake in Haiti

  1. Worst earthquake in Haiti. Hopefully they had fully recovered. God is really good. I see rescue teams from all over the world helping Haiti at that time.

  2. if someone hears a complaint about the church and they have already talked to thedeacon of the church–and nothing appeared to be done–does the person who heard the complaint have the right to email the pastor about the problem?

  3. We at the McPherson First Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kansas, stand in solidarity with those of you working in the field and with all of our Haitian Brethren. You are in our prayers continually.

    This evening I watched the series of video clips by Roy Winter at the Brethren Service Center. They are very moving and give us hope through this avenue of sharing. Our McPherson College students are working diligently on a drive for Health Kits for Haiti, and others in our church are compiling the new Household Kits for Brethren families there.

    Blessings to all of you who are working in the field so diligently.

    Jeanne Smith
    McPherson First Church of the Brethren

  4. Haiti Updates from Jeff Boshart

    The following updates from Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) have been shared today by Jeff Boshart, who serves as coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s disaster rebuilding program in Haiti.

    Delmas 3 Church leaders live in solidarity with members of the congregation:

    “Jean” Altenor Gesurand, who is a deacon and licensed minister in the Delmas 3 Church of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Port-au-Prince, was given refuge in a rented apartment after the earthquake, through help from Brethren Disaster Ministries. His wife, Mari Georgia, however refuses to leave the rest of the members of the church who are still sleeping under sheets, tarps, and in two tents donated by the Church of the Brethren delegation that visited them a few weeks ago.

    Temporary housing is under construction for many of these families and should be finished by the end of next week. In a show of solidarity, Sister Mary has decided to move only when everyone else can move also, despite having to endure rain, fear of criminal activity, and intestinal sickness which may have come from drinking contaminated water. The church members are sticking together to get through this crisis.

    Preaching points give refuge to displaced families:

    Brethren preaching points in outlying areas of the country continue to report large numbers of displaced people in their midst.

    Two Port-au-Prince families fled to Gonaïves to live in the homes of several Brethren families who were Hurricane survivors. These families just weeks ago moved into their new homes built by Brethren Disaster Ministries through its “100 Homes for Haiti” program.

    In Haiti’s Central Plateau, the Brethren preaching point near the town of Pignon also is reaching out to displaced families. The pastor of this preaching point, Georges Cadet, has been part of group of community leaders doing a census of his community. A local missionary in this area has reported that the town of Pignon has doubled in size from 10,000 to 20,000 people. This story is being repeated all over the country with as many as 500,000 people having been displaced by the earthquake.

    Haitian government announces three days of prayer:

    In another nation-wide development, the Haitian government has announced three days of prayer, beginning today, Feb. 12–the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. The days of prayer are to continue through this weekend.

    Staff of ECHO in Haiti (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) have contacted the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships asking if Brethren would join in the three days of prayer announced by the country’s president.

    Today has been declared a national day of mourning. In addition, the ECHO staff noted that for the first time in its history, Haiti’s government is cancelling the Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, responded with a request for Brethren to join in prayer, “as we go into Lent.”

  5. Children’s Disaster Services is part of Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries. We meet the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters. A national network of trained and screened volunteers is maintained, ready to respond whenever a disaster strikes.
    For more information visit: or contact

  6. Do you have any facilities in Southern California?

    We are a child-centered agency located in Riverside CA. (near San Bernardino). We clothe and feed elementary about 4,000 school kids that need help every year.

    We would like to evaluate your training for the care of children in disasters. Do you have a printed sylibus?

  7. Thank you all so much for the hard work that you do. It is hard to sit here and read the stories and not doing anything. But I try to imagine how hard it is to see all the devastation. Give my greetings to our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti. Our prayers are with them.
    Udo Sommerhoff, Wilmington COB

  8. My thoughts and my prayers are with you all. There are too many feelings inside of me to adequately express myself. I thank God for you and for calling us to this work. Please get some rest so that you can stay strong for the tasks ahead and also for your families. Blessings and love, Martha

  9. This is an e-mail from Jeff Boshart,Coordinatior of the Haiti Hurricane Rebuilding Project, who went as a member of the delegation to Haiti.

    Thursday, January 28, 2010, 7:35 p.m.

    We’re back in Port-au-Prince, and I’m so tired I can hardly think.

    We traveled back to PAP today and stopped in Mirebalais to purchase two 100-pound sacks of a wheat and soy mixture that is often available here. Again, we passed several markets full of food.

    As we came back to Port-au-Prince we noticed more tents that have been set up by the international community. Likely, you all know much more than I do about what is happening on that scale. The lines at all of the money transfer agencies were out the door (Western Union, Moneygram, C.A.M., Unitransfer, etc.). As we exchanged more money today, we learned that the value of the U.S. dollar is dropping, as more and more U.S. currency is coming into the country. That’s not so good for our buying power but should actually be to the benefit of the Haitian people who have only Haitian currency.

    The teachers at Klebert’s school have done a great job of running the feeding program for the kids there. Over 300 kids are being fed daily. The first few days they ate rice and canned chicken, and then the teachers were able to get some beans to mix with the rice. Today they had milled corn with bean sauce (this is actually one of my favorite Haitian foods). The children are also getting juice and water. According to the teacher in charge, everything is moving along in a very orderly way.

    I head out tomorrow morning and will get home to Wisconsin sometime on Saturday. Thanks for the notes of encouragement and all the prayers.


  10. This is an e-mail from Jeff Boshart,Coordinatior of the Haiti Hurricane Rebuilding Project, who went as a member of the delegation to Haiti.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:19 PM

    So much to say… so little time.

    I’m now in the Central Plateau after visiting displaced Brethren in the NW. Between here and there Klebert, Jean Bily, and I visited with the home recipients in Gonaives. They are so so thankful for their homes. The children remember the US work campers who came, and they ask for some of them by name.

    We met with the recipients in Taras along with a representative of an organization which will work along side the community to dig a well and set up a committee to collect monthly fees so that when new parts are needed there will be a fund already in place.

    Today we arrived here in Bohoc, near Pignon, in the central plateau to a place where Peggy [Jeff’s wife] and I met and later worked with a school, doing gardening projects with children in the community. There is now a Church of the Brethren church plant in this community which was started last year by a seminary student, Georges, who was one of those kids who planted trees and vegetables with us. The worship leader is a young woman, Fabnise, who was also worked with us on many of our projects.

    The worship was tremendous. We were first treated to a fabulous meal which was served to the nearly 100 people in attendance. The occasion for this feast? Our presence among them and their excitement at being part of the Church of the Brethren. The young pastor and the young worship leader did a splendid job. We met under sheets and tarps stretched between a cluster of trees. A generator provided the power for musicians and lights. Choir after choir came forward to sing. We sang and danced and praised God. It was a worship of praise and healing.

    Earlier in the day Jean Bily and I visited with several families in the community who had lost relatives in the earthquake. The stories were heart-wrenching. Many of the best and brightest had moved to Port au Prince. Four university students from this small village were living in a house in Port au Prince which collapsed killing all of them. One of them was the same age as Pastor Georges and one of his very best friends. This same student was the older brother of Fabnise, our worship leader.

    A visiting pastor was invited to preach. He preached on Lamentations 3:21-27—words of hope, of God’s faithfulness and his salvation. Each one in our delegation was asked to share a few words. I shared a brief meditation on Mark 4 and the parable of the sower. Peggy and I had no idea nearly 10 years ago, when we were sowing seeds with children in the school gardens, that we were sowing the seeds of a church. What a privilege to see these young people now. Not all of the children we invested in are still with us. Some have left to search for a better life in the Dominican Republic and one even in the U.S. One died while still a teenager of an undiagnosed illness. One died in the earthquake.

    We worshiped and we mourned and we rejoiced in what is good.

    Klebert received word from Brother Jean in Port-au-Prince that the feeding program for children is off to a good start. We’ll return there tomorrow to see how things have or have not changed in the few days we’ve been out of the city.

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.


  11. Excerpt from an email from Jeff Boshart, Monday, January 25, 2010

    Gonaives was a quick visit and we’ll go back tomorrow. I’m using the internet at a local hospital here. Folks continue to arrive to the provinces. This hospital received around 40 people from Port-au-Prince.

    I visited the GFCF programs and they are going pretty well. I talked with some local pastors about some sort of medium-term agricultural program. Jean Bily is keen on a goat project. If we do anything here, I’d recommend that. Quite a few CoB members are here. I have visited the places where Klebert and Ludovic grew up. Sort of a pilgrimage…

    Gonaives was interesting. Life seemed very normal there. The church youth group was having a fun activity when we arrived. The church people were so happy to see us and couldn’t get over thanking the CoB for the houses. One of these houses, not yet painted, has received two Port-au-Prince families from Delmas 3 to go with the new homeowners

    Well, back to Gonaives tomorrow and then on to Pignon.


  12. We are working on several ideas for material donations for Haiti through the Church of the Brethren.

    I would like to send a water filter system that uses two 5 gal buckets and gravity filtration. If anyone has suggestions please let me know.

    The plan will be to put household supplies inside the bucket for shipping.

    Please send any suggestions to


    PS – it is good to be home. I look forward to my bed tonight.

  13. This is the Sunday journal entry from Roy Winter, his last from Haiti. He returned to the US Monday night and is in his office in New Windsor, Maryland at the time of this posting. He will be adding his blogs directly in the days ahead.

    Sunday, January 24

    Ludovic is preaching at the Delmas 3 church location. I had planned to go along, but was advised to stay to help with the generator and because of safety concerns. This is an area where a large sheet city has grown up and there is much unrest. My presence could cause problems for the church members.

    Jeff, Ludovic, Jean Bily and others are heading to northern Haiti to meet with church members who fled Port-au-Prince. They will also work on a few details of our Gonaives projects while in the area (2008 hurricane response).

    I met with Julian Choe & Mark Zimmerman of the Frederick CoB, who where traveling with a group from the Dominican CoB, including pastor Onelis Rivas. We shared ideas and experiences in Haiti. Dr. Choe is volunteering in a variety of clinics in Haiti and the DR.

    I also started working on writing an assessment of our trip, but this can’t be completed until Jeff & Klebert return. Then I worked on outlining a response plan—so far subject to many, many changes as things evolve.

    Having a little time to write also let me reflect on the situation in Haiti. I have chosen not to dwell on the more gory details, but that is exactly what’s on my heart right now. The masses of homeless, the fear of buildings, the hunger, and now the signs that people are starving to death are heavy today. It seems food distributions are just now scaling up, as people literally are dying for lack of food. Likely many have seen all this on TV, but the overwhelming scope of the situation weighs so heavily. Even with all our combined resources (international response community), how do we help these people move from victims to self-sustaining people? For some, living in temporary shelters and receiving handouts of food is an easier life than before the quake, but certainly not a life that helps build dignity and a belief they can care for themselves.

    We certainly cannot solve the problems in Haiti, but we can try to not add to them. The primary issues to address are easy to identify; things like food, safe drinking water, reasonable shelter, finding employment for more Haitians, and so on. Our challenge is to address these issues in a way that builds independence and capacity rather than dependence. As we develop a comprehensive response, we will be working very closely with the National Committee and finding ways to employee out-of-work Haitians to help with the response.

    At this point I will sign off from this journal. I plan to fly back to Florida tomorrow, and make it to Maryland on Tuesday morning. From here my focus will be finishing a draft of our response plan, developing a household kit I hope CoB congregations will help create, and, and . . . the list is long. I will write shorter blogs as significant evens happen—certain responses start, the plan is shared on the web, etc.

    May Gods grace embrace us all,

    Roy Winter

  14. This is the Saturday journal entry from Roy Winter.

    Saturday, January 23

    Most of the morning was spent with the National Committee deciding on the next steps of the response plan. We did some really good work developing a feeding program plan for four locations, considering how we support the leadership who lost homes but need to be part of the response. I will detail this in our response plan document rather than here. Suffice to say, we hope to feed around 1,200 people for six months, provide some household items & water filtration systems (the latter two through a collection in the US). I believe there will be a place for work teams, but not immediately. Right now logistics are so difficult it is difficult to imagine how we support a team, when so many simply need food.

    I know many wish they could have joined this assessment trip, but I am thankful it was just Jeff, Ludovic, & I traveling with the National Committee. We had great difficulty getting fuel earlier in the week, and had to all travel in one car. Three in the back on the floor, four in the back seat—well you get the picture, it was tight and hot. We skipped lunch everyday and ate beans, rice, pasta, eggs, and Klebert’s laying hens—he cannot get the feed he needs. We were certainly well-fed, but certainly no room for picky eaters.

    In the afternoon we visited our partners like the Mennonite Central Committee, stopped at the SKDE offices, and tried to find Church World Service, but the address I had was wrong. These visits are always very helpful and build response partnerships. MCC was particularly interested in our home construction work from last year and we were interested in the canned meat they are receiving—multiple containers.

    We also visited a partner of SERRV, whose store was not damaged. The New American School supported by Brethren in Florida, lost one of their two buildings. The director, Donald Pierre-Louis, was trapped in the school for eight hours while his staff worked to dig and cut him out. One of his teachers had to crawl through a two-foot opening they cut through rebar and then slide on his stomach to free Donald from the debris. Thankfully Donald was not injured and no children where present.

    I scheduled with Missionary Flights to leave on Monday. The evening continued planning conversations.


  15. Thanks so much for the vivid writings we are in prayer today’s Bible study group is putting together health kits for UMCOR and I am sharing this. Travel mercies.

  16. To Ilexene Alphonse and all who ask the same questions: From here in Indiana I also ask what it is that God wants us to learn. And I ask how it is that such a small island nation should suffer so much for so long when it lies so close to such a rich nation. Something is very wrong with this picture.

    God is clearly calling us to pay more attention to our neighbors and what is happening to them. But know that we respond now because you are our brothers and sisters, we are family together in Christ.

    And to other Brethren in America, I visited Haiti a number of years ago. It was a beautiful country and warm, friendly people. We will be enriched in our own lives if we walk this difficult road with our brothers and sisters of the Haitian community both here and in Haiti.

  17. What happened in Haiti is terrible. For two hundred and six years Haiti been on its knees. But God is able and loves Haiti like any other nation. I lost three of my cousins, one badly injured and four are still missing. They were like brothers to me. WE NEED GOD!

    I believe this horrible event is a teachable time for all of us (Haitians) and I pray that we learn every bit of it and apply it as we should. And teach our children and children of our children. WE NEED GOD!

    My Country is ruined. My heart is broken. But I know under the rumble, from the dust, from the ashes there is a new life. WE NEED GOD!

    I pray every day for the Haitian people to reject satan, and claim the blood of Christ in the Country. To divorce the devil and Marry Jesus Christ. To break the pact with the devil and make a new Covenant with Christ. WE NEED GOD!

    I don’t think God Himself shook Haiti, but let it happened to teach us all a lesson. We shouldn’t ask why but what? What is it that God wants us to learn in this terrible time? What? WE NEED GOD!

    I am thankful to God first of all for all his blessing on Haiti. I am thankful to everyone who came together to help my people. Thank you for your Prayers, thank you for your donations. Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

    We are too God’s people. He will never leave us or forsaken us in time of trouble. Praise be to God!

    Peace in Christ,

    Ilexene Alphonse, Miami First CoB

  18. To our Haitian brothers and sisters and the members of the Brethren Disaster Ministries Team in Hait, we thank God for the safety of all of you and for the love you are showing to the Brethren and to your neighbors and communities in Haiti. Our local news had given much attention to groups seeking to assist in Haiti. But we know that it will be groups like Brethren Disastries and the Haitian Brethren who will carry on the work of rebuilding long after other agencies have gone. And I am so thankful that God has made the Church of the Brethren such a generous people. The Peters Creek Congregation in Virlina District will continue to keep you all in our prayers as we also contirbute money and CWS kits to help our Brethren and all the people of Haiti.

  19. Prayers and blessings to all of you and to the people of Haiti. Once the Church of the Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries has established a plan for the recovery work, I am anxious to help out in any way possible. I am looking forward to helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

  20. Roy and All my brothers and sisters in Haiti, thank you for keeping us informed and for risking your own health and safety to be Christ’s arms and legs for us all. We are collecting health kits today and just heartbroken over how to be involved. Gilbert Romero and I will be in the DR on February 8 for a week to do music wherever Irv Heishman and his board want us. I am sure we will be connecting with families affected directly by this tragedy. Our prayers are with you; may Christ’s arms enfold you.

  21. I saw Mona Lou Teeter earlier this week. Mona had news from her partners in the New American School in Port-aux-Prince. One of NAS’s buildings had some relatively minor damage but survived. The other has collapsed. I hope the school survives because it is one of the few (maybe the only) college prep schools in PAP geared toward the Haitian middle class. Haiti needs the students this school produces.

  22. Our prayers and support goes out to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Our church has raised $683 and are working on kits. God is good, all the time. He will guide us through this difficult time and we waiver not in our faith. You are and continue to be in our prayers.

    Dan Morgan
    Mill Creek Church of the Brethren

  23. Roy,

    Our congregation will be continuing to remember you and your colleagues as you both minister to and receive from the faith of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Knowing the resiliency of the people in the midst of this devastation and loss teaches us of faith as well. We will be gathering funds in these next weeks to assist in the long term effort.

    Thank you for these glimpses through the blog. May God continue to make you able for this work in Jesus’ name.

  24. Thanks for the stories! I have children’s story tomorrow and hope to make real that these are our brothers and sisters who are suffering. Please share our love with them. Our thoughts and prayers are with them day and night.

  25. The sharing by Roy and Jeff help bring the realities into clearer vision for us who get most of our news from the “big” networks. It’s hard to imagine how to move about with so much need on every side. Thank you for being there and also for writing your experiences! Blessings to you all!

  26. Thank you so much for the news. I rejoice and crya bit every time I see that one of my beloved brothers and sisters is healthy, though I know that there is mourning also for those who have gone to heaven in the last week. Stay strong, God is always at work. In the midst of disaster, God’s hand shows so strongly. He has made you, His church, to be a light to the nations. May God continue to give you the strength, wisdom and vision to continue His work. Be at peace and of good cheer!

  27. Roy and Jeff, thank you so much for your work on our behalf. You are our arms, legs and hearts to the people there. Please know that you and those you encounter are in our thoughts and prayers. Be safe!

    This morning Roy Winter placed this post directly on the blog from his connection in Haiti. He included the journal entry which I had already copied from an email he had sent back to his staff yesterday along with some new material. I have removed the duplicate section (it can be read in “Posted by Admin on January 22nd, 2010 at 5:39 pm”) and left the new material.

    Friday, January 22 – Roy’s notes from Haiti

    We split into two teams heading up to Fond Cheval and Mont Boulage, the small communities in the mountains where we built or repaired a total of 42. It was a joy to see everyone, and they genuinely seemed excited to see us. I am very pleased to say that none of the homes showed any significant damage. Some had very minor cracks that looked more like normal house settling, and nothing like a problem. A few of the homes we did not repair or build showed some minor damage, but nothing that will require our attention. Certainly the poverty in this area is quite intense and everyone has needs, but our focus will be more on earthquake survivors.

    I managed to see the website and blog this evening. Wow, this is really great. Thank you everyone for helping make this web communication possible.

    I also send my gratitude and thanks to everyone who is sending prayers, encouragement and support. This work has intense highs and lows. At times it has been words or texts or prayers from our family, friends, colleagues and church family that keeps us going. I printed and brought many of the prayers that had been shared on the prayer website. I have read these for encouragement and plan to share many on Sunday morning at the Delmas 3 church site. Jeff will take others with him to Gonaives.

    While we have already shared limited amounts of food, personal hygiene supplies, and any clothing we brought, it is just the beginning. We are working on several feeding programs, including support for the communities where our church members have lost their homes and jobs, and also a school of 400 children. We also hope to develop longer-term ministries that will likely include response teams from the US. However, logistics and support are very, very, very difficult in the Port-au-Prince area. Tomorrow we have another meeting with the National Committee of the Haiti CoB. We hope to outline our goals more clearly and move toward defining how to accomplish these goals.

    In the midst of this horrific tragedy, it is my prayer that in two years Haiti will be a better place for all Haitians than before the quake, and that the CoB contribution to the response will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the communities we work. My goal is have a comprehensive response that addresses short-term needs and long-term rebuilding of peoples lives. I seek to help our Haitian leadership grow into leaders who feel capable of implementing and managing a response. By building up these capable people we will help shape the Church in Haiti for years to come.

  29. Blessings to Pastor Ludivic, Brother Klebert, the Haitian sisters and brothers, Jeff and Roy!

    Thank you for being God’s hands and feet in Haiti. I recently saw an article from the Jamaica Observer ( that made so clear that the interests of the Haitian people are not necessarily (or usually) the economic and political interests of the US. US interests trump Haiti interests, especially when troops are on the ground. Soldiers with guns can’t lay block or pass out water.

    I was so inspired by the ways the Haitian COB sisters and brothers have been representing the Reign of God during my fall visit to Haiti. Their vision is powerful!

    I now understand that, for post-resurrection people, miracles should be expected as a regular way of life. The story of the health center in the central valley of Haiti, that Paul Farmer was involved with, provided a model for the rest of the world, not what one might expect in devastated Haiti. I wonder how that center fared with the quake.

    I am full of anticipation for the ways the Haitian COB will lead us in the US COB into God’s reality!

    Blessings of peace to you all! Cliff Kindy

  30. This is from Jeff Boshart, Coordinatior of the Haiti Hurricane Rebuilding Project, who is a member of the delegation in Haiti.

    Friday, January 22

    This morning (Friday) and last night we had a few more aftershocks. We’re still doing well, and last night I slept the best I have since arriving. Roy is doing a good job covering our daily activities. My thoughts are a bit different. They reflect more what our Haitian brothers and sisters have been saying.

    I hear a great deal of discussion of God’s grace and greatness. I hear so many stories of sadness, but the terror and absolute dismay and discouragement that we saw when we first arrived have slowly turned to resolution to help each other and those in the communities surrounding our Brethren churches which have been impacted. We’re even beginning to see people smile and laugh.

    I’ve been through Port au Prince many times and have never really had a good sense of the city. One major impediment in that process has always been the walls. Port au Prince has so many walls on the borders of properties and high metal gates that one never really knows what is behind the wall. What do the houses look like? What sort of landscaping or gardens lay hidden behind those walls?

    This earthquake has exposed everything. Walls have fallen and what is behind those walls is often tragic. People have also been exposed through this disaster. Price gouging, stealing, and cheating are commonplace occurrences. Sharing, caring and solidarity are even more prevalent. One house stands and the neighboring one falls. The difference? As Brother Klebert shares, mostly God’s grace, but poor preparation of foundations and a lack of proper supports and columns has something to do with it as well.

    Many people are sleeping on the streets at night and church people have congregated together in neighborhoods to sing hymns each night. They sing of assurance and faith. Our delegation has come with, more than anything, hope. The long faces of our church leaders are gone. We’ve visited and traveled and eaten together. Roy, Pastor Ludovic and I have taken the beds inside the house while everyone else sleeps outdoors under a tarp.
    We’ve delivered some clothing and food and money to various locations as well as in our immediate neighborhood.

    When speaking of God’s goodness, Haitians have noted something I had sort of missed. One would think that after a 7.0 earthquake which leveled the homes of rich and poor alike, one would see flower petals or leaves all over the ground, but that is not the case. Certainly mangos and papayas and citrus would be scattered all over the place.

    Strange things are happening. Unpredicted things. As we drove around visiting various families and communities earlier this week, we passed through Croix des Bouquets on the outskirts of Port au Prince. Buildings in this community were barely touched by the quake, but as we drove through our jaws just dropped. In Port au Prince we were filtering cistern water to drink and here were bags, bottles, 5 gallon jugs of reverse osmosis treated water for sale! It seemed every house had water on the side walk and ready for sale. Yesterday we went by one of the principal markets of Port au Prince not far from the most heavily damaged areas. Again, I was overwhelmed by the activity and the amount of goods available.

    The problem is not supply, it is money. No one has money. Banks are still closed and few transfer houses are opened. Just getting those opened will make a huge difference as people will be able to purchase what they need through remittances from family members in the U.S. and abroad.

    Well, I have to finish up. We are going out to the Mirebalais area today to check on the homes we built for families impacted by the hurricanes of 2008. We’ve been in telephone contact, and they say they are fine except for a few fine cracks in some of the walls. The folks in that area also tell us that many, many more homes are down, but since they were small stone homes, there was little or no loss of life.

    After a day of visiting some other aid agencies here in Port au Prince on Saturday, we will begin our visits out to the countryside where we know many displaced persons have fled. The impact on these communities which are always just on the edge of hunger, will also be great. With the influx of displaced persons from the city comes the responsibility to feed and clothe them. Before the earthquake, these same persons were the breadwinners sending money back home to support their poorer relatives in the countryside.


  31. This is the Friday journal entry from Roy Winter.

    Friday, January 22

    Last night I ran out of the house another aftershock. We had also had a pretty good shake last night just as we where about asleep. It certainly doesn’t help one get to sleep. Just now another small shock ran through (we are sitting outside now); we could feel the wave action. This one didn’t bring much of a reaction. Most shocks result is a load crying out – not screaming – but a sound of urgent action. Then lots of loud chatter and eventually lots of laughter. It keeps everyone on edge—and I am learning to be more on edge, but for some reason I am moving slower. The shock from the first morning got me moving, even though I was basically asleep.

    The discussion this morning is that the banks may open tomorrow. If this happens, many will be helped because they can get money wired from the States. Then they can buy some of the food being sold in the streets. The prices are high, but there is food if people have funds. The church leaders also shared that the relief work we saw yesterday in Port-au-Prince and Leogone was the first they had really seen. Each area had masses of people standing around watching and lots of armed troops. As UN, Haitian police, or other troops go by, they seem to make sure their guns are visible for all to see.

    In many ways we are all very fortunate. In another example of God in action, several actions came together to really benefit the Haiti CoB at this time and in turn help us all. Klebert apparently used part of the stipend we gave him for the hurricane response to purchase a generator, batteries, and an inverter for his home (at least he did not have them before he started working with BDM). He also installed internet in his home, which is working better than my SAT or global cell phone. Then add to that, the Church leadership decided not to distribute all the canned chicken sent from the Southern PA & Mid-Atlantic districts. They held 20 cases for children’s programming or emergencies. What a blessing it has been to share this vital food resource with people who have not had much to eat.

    The major challenge with sharing resources is getting them to the people without causing a major disruption. As I mentioned earlier, if you are seen with a bag of food in some areas, it can cause a real problem, and if a white face is involved, it becomes even more of an issue. A real problem for the safety of everyone involved. So any sharing is done by others after Roy & Jeff have left the area.

    Similar problems have come with taking pictures. While I was taking a photo of temporary shelters, I was trying to take a picture without people to show some respect, but a man walking buy started yelling and making threatening motions. Brother Jean worked with him to calm down, and I moved back into the car. After that, I gave my camera to Romy to take pictures and we don’t stop for pics. So I don’t have the great pictures I hoped, and many are taken from the car. I have heard the Paul Jeffers is here with ACT, so we should be able to use some of his pictures.


  32. Many have asked whether the 100 houses constructed by Brethren Disaster Ministries in response to the 2008 hurricanes withstood the recent earthquakes. The preliminary answer is yes. The one house built on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince suffered no damage, while the houses around it fell. In the Mount Boulage area to the north, some minor cracks were reported,but no damage. There are still no reports from Gonaives, where most of the houses were built.

  33. This is the Thursday journal entry from Roy Winter.

    Thursday, January 21

    Klebert went early to get drinking water. I brought water filtration supplies and he has a large cistern used for showers, laundry, etc. On his return he had about 30 gals of water, soda and ice—a bit of a surprise and certainly not necessary. We are already finding that people are adjusting to this new reality, and some supplies are more available. I have only seen one water distribution point, but we found fresh water for sale by Haitians in many places. This is not to say anything about the trauma, the horrific disaster, loss of life; it is simply a statement about the Haitian people. They can’t dwell on the disaster and survive. They simply must figure out how to go on, how to earn a little money, or they won’t survive. We haven’t talked to anyone who has received aid of any kind, except what we have given out.

    Our travels took us through some of the worst destruction. We traveled along the coast through Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, onward through Leogane then into the mountains to a small village that holds a Haiti CoB preaching point with 53 people worshiping. I heard the village was called Anba Tonel (meaning “toe nail”) however, there was considerable disagreement about this on the return trip since anba tonel also means a simple stick structure with palm fronds covering the sides and roof, which is what the preaching point is made from.

    It is here that Pastor Yves, the Haitian CoB moderator was found. He was in his home in Carrefour when the quake brought his house down on him and his sister-in-law. He received scratches, cuts and a tear to his ear—all which appear to be healing well. He had to travel to this village for medical care and any help. His brother-in-law is the leader of the preaching point, and is housing, feeding and caring for Pastor Yves and his wife. He seemed moved that we had made the effort to find him and bring some supplies to help for a few days.

    This also means that the National Committee members have all survived the quake, and their immediate families did as well. Three of the six lost their home in the disaster. Most of the six have lost any source of income. They are all free ministers—all our Haitian pastors are—and work to survive. The moderator and the general secretary were teachers in schools with uncertain futures.

    I believe our response has to include ways to help this committee recover and provide leadership for the response. It appears they have connections to secure resources like fresh water, food and fuel—things that would be very difficult for BDM to ship from the US—at least in a cost effective way.

    As we traveled today, we saw many of the horrific things this disaster brings—by far some of the worst damage we have seen, where most homes are a total loss. We saw US Marines landing in a field, circled with guns pointing outward as they protected some type of supplies. We assumed they were preparing for a food distribution.

    We saw many places where people where digging through the rubble. In a couple situations they had a backhoe, I believe looking for bodies. At this point it is easy to tell which buildings have bodies, the smell is really bad, but even worse is when realization hits what the smell represents. You see, much of Haiti has strong smells with air pollution, trash piled along the road, and many vehicles billowing smoke. Sometimes I found myself tired, just watching out the window, seeing the destruction, but not feeling what it really meant. Then the smell finds its way into consciousness, and, bang, the reality of the situation comes crashing in.

    I can’t stop without commenting on the roads. Our travels were on roads that appeared to be in good shape prior to the quake. Landslides closed some areas and we had to drive around, but mostly we drove over the dirt, some as deep as the guard rail was tall. Lots of cracks in the asphalt, some drops in the road about a foot. Many places people had put sticks in the cracks to keep people from damaging their car. It made the day’s adventure that much longer.

    Tomorrow we plan to visit Fond Cheval and Mont Boulage to see how the families in the homes we repaired and rebuilt are doing. While the damage only reaches certain areas, the impact, especially financial reaches across the country.


  34. I am praying for you and all the Haitian people. I do hope that your many efforts will result in helping many of those who have suffered so much due to this disaster. I will continue to read your updates to this blog and pray for all of you.

  35. Thank you for reports from your heart. Thank you for being ambassadors for Christ, for us. Although this tragedy is deeply saddening, at the same time it seems that God is doing a great work. There are no adequate words to thank you for what you are doing. I pray that the great love of God would be a constant comfort for each of you, for our beloved people of Haiti. You are in my prayers day and night.

  36. I’m so glad to hear the good news of pastor jeans and pastor Billy. You all are in our prayers.

  37. Roy, Thank you so much for keeping us updated from Haiti. Our prayers are continually with you. You are a there. Stay healthy

  38. Prayers are with our Brethren delegation representing the wider church’response in Haiti. May the peace and Light of Christ be felt by those traveling. And may our Haitian brothers and sisters come to know a deep and sustaining sense of love and support through our gifts and leadership.

  39. To Roy, Jeff and all, we at Wilmington Church of the Brethren send our prayers. Be safe and take care of those in need. God Bless all of you.

  40. This is the Wednesday journal entry from Roy Winter.

    Wednesday, January 20

    The day started at 6:05 a.m. as the ground shook from another aftershock. In a half sleep, we could hear the ground rumble and groan before we felt it. Urgent voices accompanied the rumbling, then quickly turned to energetic conversation. Everyone in the courtyard of Klebert’s house huddled together with faces going from concern to laughter.

    Jeff, Ludovic, and I rushed sleepily from the house just as the aftershock ended, feeling a bit shocked ourselves. We were the only ones who chose to sleep indoors. Klebert and the National Committee members and others all slept in the courtyard or the truck. The night before, we helped carry bedding out into a small courtyard area in front of the house. It is a mostly cemented ground area large enough for a couple of cars, or one truck and about 10 people sleeping. They position themselves carefully away from the walls and house in the small middle zone.

    We are working on getting fuel for our expedition today. Klebert sent out children from the families sleeping in the street to buy what fuel they can. People are selling it in gallon containers. If we can get enough, we will head out. Otherwise we may have to walk and use “tap taps”—public transit in the back of trucks or vans.

    Today was all about visiting our fellow Brethren here in Haiti, listening to their stories, their pain, trying to give them some hope, all while trying to understand the critical needs so we can give some aid. The most common theme from our conversations is that many are no longer working because of the quake, and not working means not eating, much less not having any idea how they will rebuild their homes, how they will rebuild their lives. Add to this the frustration about not getting any help.

    We spoke to no one who had received any direct assistance. Then put in a healthy dose of boredom from not working. It seems that many Haitians are quickly making the best of the situation and trying to do what they need to do to survive—just as they did before the quake, only now it is even harder.

    Our first visit was to the Delmas 3 church. The church building is still standing and is being used for storage because the tin roof is intact. But one wall is down. Cracks and leaning walls spell a total loss in my mind. The Church of the Brethren members in the area are living on the ground outside their houses, or in an open area along Highway 1. Dozens—that will likely turn into 100s—are using wooden poles to stake out space in this open field and in many places around Port-au-Prince in order to make a shelter. They use old plastic, tarps, old tin, whatever they can find to create privacy and shelter from the sun. I doubt there is much shelter from rain.

    We could not update our numbers from yesterday. The earlier estimate of homes lost by Church of the Brethren members, etc., still stands. Suffice it to say, a very significant number of people in this area are now homeless, and the church won’t work as a shelter though the church is in better shape than many buildings.

    We then moved to Marin. The house we built for Mrs. St. Louis [widow of Brethren pastor Delouis St. Louis] looked perfect, while a house in front of it was completely rubble. Brother Joseph Leus is the leader of this preaching point. He showed us his destroyed home along with several other church members’ destroyed homes. The amazing story from this group is that they were just starting an evening worship service under a tree (they take turns holding weekday services at their homes), when the quake struck. They were convinced that if they had been at home, they would have been injured or died.

    The last visit was to the Croix-de-Bouquet church. There was much less damage in this area, but some cracks in buildings. Many in the community, about 100, are sleeping outside the church building. Every time an aftershock hits, everyone in the city feels the fear, remembering what happened.

    After a long day without any lunch and not enough water we headed home, only to be stuck in traffic for about two hours longer than normal. Apparently a bridge is out causing more traffic to divert to the roads we were using.

    The night-time crowds outside of Klebert’s house have grown, maybe because we gave them a little food this morning. We want to be in good relationship with this group, and sharing is the best way. Then we help protect each other.


  41. This is a long post, Tuesday’s entry from the Journal of Roy Winter, Executive Director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, who is in Haiti. You are encouraged to read it to the end for its vivid and moving descriptions.

    Tuesday, January 19

    By 6 a.m. we were at the Missionary Flights International (MFI) hanger waiting to be “checked in” A very different experience than with a commercial airline, we piled our carry-on bags in the parking lot with about 120 others and waited for our name to be called. Once in the hanger, we learned the fog was too heavy for these planes to fly, so we waited some more. It seems so often in a disaster, when all your adrenaline is running and you want to get started and go make a difference, you have to practice the virtue of patience a great deal. When we loaded the plane, we were surprised to be getting on a Saab 2000—a nice 75-seat regional turbo prop—rather than the 1940s DC-3 that MFI flies. The flight was donated by the Hendrick Motorsports Team—this is the NASCAR team that includes Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Mark Martin. Since the flight was donated, including fuel, MFI waved any fees for the passengers.

    Once in Port-au-Prince, our flight used the small regional airport. We had to find a taxi, as our ride never showed up and did not respond to calls. Getting to Klebert’s house took us further into Port-au-Prince, with visible damage increasing as we moved away from the airport. We saw large tent cities, some with nice tents and others built from debris, old plastic, and sheets of tin.

    Klebert is an incredible man in many ways and completely a servant of our Lord. His family lives in Orlando so his two sons can attend Valencia Community College and his daughter can attend a local middle school. When in Orlando, Klebert attends a Church of the Brethren. In Haiti, he is a leader in a Protestant church and helps run a local school supported by his church. On top of all this he is a consultant for all Church of the Brethren disaster work in Haiti. He has managed the construction of homes in our hurricane response and helps guide us through relationships with local partners and church leaders. Klebert is the ultimate logistics man. If we need it done, he knows someone or can find a way. He also helps a great deal with the Church of the Brethren mission in Haiti, helping support our young pastors, giving guidance (Klebert is an ordained minister) and, again, giving lots of logistical support.

    We found significant damage to some homes in Klebert’s street, but his home appeared undamaged. We found a few items that had fallen over in the earthquake, but actual damage was limited to a few broken dishes and lamps. Next door, Ludovic St. Fleur’s home also appeared to have only minor damage. A block fence on one side had fallen down, but the house is okay.

    During some of our down time in Florida, Ludovic was able to contact most of the leaders of the Haitian Church of the Brethren. They call themselves the National Committee (NC) and include a moderator, general secretary, treasurer, and several at-large members. Those who could, met us at Klebert’s house for a meeting.

    The meeting was framed by a conversation about Job and how God is faithful to us. We need to give glory to God in all things, even at this time. The purpose of the meeting was to hear about the assessment work the National Committee members have already completed, hear about the status of Church of the Brethren members, their homes, and the church buildings.

    The Delma 3 church was hit hard. At least 30 homes of members were destroyed, but only one person is known to have died. The church building has major damage. This was the first Brethren church in Haiti, at least the first resulting from the current mission efforts.

    Many people are missing from all the congregations. Some may have left to be with family, others may have died, but no one knows.

    The preaching point at Leogane has been hit hard, but we don’t know how much was lost. Pastor Yves Jean, the moderator of the Haitian Church of the Brethren, has been found, but injured, in Leogane. We hope to visit him tomorrow.

    The Croix-de-Bouquet Church of the Brethren lost one member. The church building is intact. There is less damage than in other areas.

    In Marin, we understand the house we built for the widow of Pastor St. Louis is okay. Some members were found. Nine homes were destroyed. A member and two children died.

    I am pleased to report that with the finding of Pastor Yves, all the National Committee members have survived the quake, but they are scattered. The general secretary, Pastor Jean Bily, lost his home, but his family survived. His wife and three-month old child moved to Gonaives to be with family.

    After the facts were shared, the raw pain, frustrations, and fatigue became more evident. All the church leaders are struggling with their own losses, but are setting them aside to help the church and their members.

    Many (of the Brethren) are sleeping in the street. Brother John, a deacon from the Delmas 3 church and part of the National Committee, shared that they are all sleeping in the street next to their destroyed home. There is no food, and we don’t know if the water we get is safe. If you are carrying food someone will cut you or stab you and steal it. Everyone is talking about not having any money. Like most in Haiti, the Brethren members count on working to buy their meals for the next day. Since they can’t work and can’t get fuel if they have a car, they are simply stuck.

    How do we plan, with people who are starving and living in the street? How can the Church of the Brethren make a difference in this huge disaster, when the US AID has already leveraged $100,000,000, and these folks still don’t have food? So many questions.

    Plans were made to visit Delmas 3 area and Leogane tomorrow. We [Roy Winter and Jeff Boshart] gave out the tents we had brought, the flashlights, and water treatment equipment for Brother John. He was also given some canned chicken and cash to help feed his family.

    The other members of the National Committee are all staying at Klebert’s home.

    As I reflect on our plans for this trip, first we visit Church of the Brethren congregations and family sites to minister to our Brethren. Then, as we work on plans to meet some of these needs, we will meet with potential partners: Mennonite Central Committee, Church World Service (CWS), ACT (an ecumenical humanitarian organization), SKDE, etc. I see our work with CWS and that collaboration as our efforts for the broader cause in Haiti. This trip is working to form a plan for how we can also minister to our own Brethren.

    As I listen to the evening, the crowds—yes, there are many people sleeping in the street just outside our compound—are signing hymns. It goes on for several hours as the darkness shrouds the damage, but requires everyone to stay put in groups for safety. Brother John was almost desperate in his desire to go with us as we visit the other churches. For eight days, people have been able to do nothing but try to survive in the street and wait for someone to bring aid, to bring food.

  42. I have made a donation to Haiti and continue to lift up the nation in pray. I have been to Haiti about 9 times doing mission work for many years. I know of some of the problems of Haiti and this disaster is too much to bear along. I heard from some people in Haiti things are worst. Do what you can for Haiti and more.

  43. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. You are a blessing to the people of Haiti. I am a RN who has done mission work in Haiti, with Chester Fisher. I am praying for all of you and wish you God speed. Is there anything I can do?? I am trying to come to Haiti thru RNRN Disaster Relief, thru Calfornia Nurses Assoc. We have over 10,000 RNs who have volunteered to come for medical relief. Please check out their website and the latest on this effort. Catherine

  44. We just received copies of a journal that is being kept by Roy Winter. We have also received some photos. We are preparing Roy’s journal entries to be posted here and other places on the website, and we are creating a photo album. Keep checking this blog and the Haiti Earthquake page. Also, go to the General Sercretary’s page to view a video of Stan Noffsinger talking about our church’s response to the crisis in Haiti.

  45. Thanks for this opportunity to stay connected. We’re in regular prayer for the people of Haiti.

  46. So glad to hear that Pastor Jean Ives is alive, and that Klebert’s home is OK. We pray for continued safety for all.

  47. We continue in prayer for our beloved brothers and sisters and are cheered so far by good reports. God is with you!

  48. Roy Winter, Executive Director of Brethren Disaster Ministries flew to Haiti yesterday, Tuesday, January 19, with a delegation made up of Ludovic St. Fleur, coordinator of the Church of the Brethren mission in Haiti and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Miami, Fla.; Jeff Boshart, coordinator of the church’s current hurricane rebuilding project in Haiti; and Klebert Exceus, Haiti consultant for the hurricane rebuilding project. See Tuesday, January 19, Newsline Special for more about this trip.

    Text messages and e-mail excerpts from members of the delegation will be posted here as they come in.

    Text messages from Roy Winter in Haiti to Stan Noffsinger, General Secretary, in Elgin, IL.

    4:46 pm, 01-19-10

    In Port au Prince. In Klebert* home. OK. Meeting with Haitian National Committee.** Lots of stories. Food, water major concern. Verbal report later.

    6:57 a.m., 01-2-10
    Felt aftershock at 6 a.m. All OK, with no new damage in area.

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