UPDATE: 1/15/2010 9:30 PM
I started out the day feeling very agitated in my spirit. I could not slow down, or settle down in my inner self. I tried to take Bijou for the walk she has always “begged” for every morning. We went as far as the ravine (not far) and she just laid down and wouldn’t go any further. I asked her if she wanted to go home and she took off for the house like a bullet. The animals here are all acting weird here, which is eerie.
Before I left the house I asked Tim that we would pray, as always for the Spirit to guide the steps, but in particular for a peacefulness and calmness of heart. We prayed and I left – still feeling an agitation within. As I drove along, I continued to pray, but still so agitated. I can’t really explain this agitation or what happened next. What I saw just made me literally cry out “GOD!!!” over and over – there just were no words. Romans 8:26 says “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. I don’t know what to pray for, but as I just continued crying out, in a way I have never before done, and really submitted everything over to Him, I felt the peace I had pleaded for and felt the strength of the Spirit lifting me up. As the day went on I felt like I wasn’t doing anything really, but later I knew that I had done just what God had for me to do.
I met with Jeantyrard(JT) and Jean Baptiste(JB) over at the orphanage for a planning session. It was just good for us to sit together and talk, to just be with each other. On the day of the earthquake (what day was that!?) JT and JB had been at the Delmas School meeting with various people. At about 4 PM, JT said he was finished; he was hungry and was going home…. No more meetings! (Can’t those of you who know JT just hear him? J). They left just after 4:00. The earthquake hit at a few minutes after 5:00. We came so close to losing them! I can’t even imagine! Thank God for sparing these two lives!
After our meeting we went to the home of Roberta. She has a home for about 25 or 26 children. Roberta was in the States when the quake hit. I cannot imagine her anguish in trying to get back here! Pray that she can tomorrow! Thomas and the older kids have been taking care of things there at the home. What a huge responsibility for one so young (early 20’s). Pray for these kids too. A wall fell on one of the kids and he died.
While JT, JB and Gusman (he had joined us at the orphanage) talked with Fedson, a preacher from the area, a little guy, Joseph, about 18 months old came and wanted me to pick him up. I did, not knowing that I would not then be able to put him down. This little guy would not be put down. He just needed to be held. There were 2 or 3 other little guys all wanting to be held. This is one of the things, that at first. I thought was just piddling away time. But then as I sat with Joseph, talking to him, rubbing his little back, I knew this was what God had for me to do today.
As I sat there with the little guys, I noticed some ladies sitting nearby. One seemed very agitated from time to time. I kept watching her and really felt the Spirit urging me to go talk to her. I had missed an opportunity a day or so earlier, knowing that the Spirit had been prodding me to stop and talk to a man on the side of the road and I kept going. I wasn’t going to miss this one. I went to talk to them, found out a little about their situation. I started talking to t he one woman in particular about the agitation I had felt in my heart earlier in the morning and how I really felt I was seeing the same agitation in her spirit. She started crying. I talked to her and the young girl beside her about the love God has for them even thought in the midst of something as horrible as what we are living out right now. A couple other women came over to listen in. After we had been talking a bit, Jean Baptiste came over because he noticed the woman crying. I just want to point out here what an incredible sensitivity JB has for people. I don’t think this man misses an opportunity to minister to people in whatever kind of need. I am so thankful that he is such a special friend to me too. Don’t know how I could do without him! This was the second thing God had for me this day – minister to these women with Jean Baptiste backing me up. I didn’t pull anyone out of the rubble, but hopefully an eternal outlook was brightened or a child was comforted.
People are leaving PAP in droves. Everywhere you look, people are wearing surgical masks, or bandanas or handkerchiefs over their faces, or they have smeared toothpaste on their upper lips and under their noses. Apparently, the government put out a notice on radio today saying to do this because of the smell from decomposing bodies. Any medical professionals who can attest to any medical validity to this – I’d love to hear from you!
I heard that some people were pulled out of some rubble somewhere in the city even today. I hope it is true! There were airplanes flying in & out non-stop today! We saw containers being brought in. We saw dump trucks loaded with rubble going out of the city to dump it along the road out from Cite Soleil to the Bon Repo Road.
There is a man in town named Bobby who is Haitian, but lived in Boston a good number of years. He now is living in Thomazeau with his wife and mother. Together they run a small orphanage in the village. When I went in to buy food for people in PAP, I passed Bobby. We talked about our ministry needs and when he heard that we didn’t have a good store of diesel, he offered us the loan of a 50 gallon drum. He met Tim at the gas station with the drum, but the attendant said he would not sell to Tim. Bobby talked him into selling 10 gallons. He was all about helping us with whatever we might need. He told me when I went into PAP if I found children in need to bring them and he would do what he could for them. An amazing man! We’ll be trying to help him as they need supplies. They are low on food, diapers and formula.
I could go on and on, but have been too long-winded already!
Please continue to pray for the enormous needs of the people here to be met very soon.
- Pray for peace and calm in the streets, that three be respect and aide for others rather than looting and violence
- Pray for Bobby & his orphanage
- Jesus once turned water into wine – we don’t really need the wine, but we do need diesel and gasoline here in Haiti! Pray for our gas tanks to burn no fuel so that we can continue to get around – if that is what God has for us to do
- Remember the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17) – “The jug of oil will not run dry and the flour will not be used up until the day the Lord gives rain on the land”. Please – no rain on this land – but may people’s food supplies not be used up and the water not run dry.
There wasn’t much to tell from yesterday – I spent the morning trying to help coordinate a medical team coming in, relief opportunities, responding to requests for help, etc.
So many of our friends from Cap Haitien have been calling now that the phones are beginning to work again. It is good to hear their voices and to get news of our other loved ones of whom we have not heard anything. We got good news tonight – people have gotten news of Dieulene. She is okay – her house is damaged, but she is not hurt. We still have no word of Leonel and several others.
I am getting requests everyday from all over from people not having had news of their loved ones and asking if we can help. I feel SO helpless! Where would we even start the search? And we have so little fuel. I struggle with what to do – go use fuel looking for people I don’t know anything about really, not really knowing where to start – when we have 48 kids in an orphanage needing care. It is such a dilemma – I want so badly to help everyone who asks, but have to focus on the ones I know we can help right now. But , our hearts really ache for those who are searching still for their loved ones. I am keeping a list of names.. just in case we can find someone… somewhere.
We are running low on things already at the orphanage, as is everyone,. I know God will provide – this is what sustains us, but we know we must also be good stewards. WE are trying to take water and what food we can find into the city each day, and fuel if we find it. Today, Tim took diesel and water to the orphanage. The propane for cooking at the orphanage is finished. Tim took Sonia to the local market to buy a couple of charcoal rechos to cook over and some charcoal. We will try to find more charcoal and supplies in Thomazeau tomorrow to take to them. God will watch over the fatherless.
It felt so weird not to be in PAP today. I stayed here all day taking inventory of meds, trying to get things in order for our medical team that is coming, Lord willing, on Tuesday. Please pray that this team will get on the MFI flight on Tuesday! So many people have been working feverishly to make this effort come together and all these efforts are so appreciated! Just pray for our efforts here on the ground to come together and to recognize that God’s way may not be what we have in mind!
Debbie’s Interview through eMail with Channel 2 in Houston:
What is the morale of the people- those that have survived, and those that have arrived to help?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] The Haitian people are an amazingly resilient people. They are used to extreme conditions – this is undoubtedly way far beyond extreme – but it is their experience in difficulty of life that is getting them through. I think for these days so far, many are still just numb, but the desperation is beginning to set in. But for those with faith in God – they take one day at a time, trusting in Him to “give us our daily bread”. The people to help: I have not some in contact with any yet.
Do people still have hope? If so, where does it come from?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Hope is rampant. If there were no hope who would bother to survive this? God puts a hope in all of us and those who hope in Him have a peace and joy and hope that may at times falter a bit, but always will prevail. The hope of the Haitian people comes from God Almighty.
What difficulties are the people facing on a day to day basis?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Finding the basic necessities for life – food, fuel, shelter, water is all in short supply. When it is found, there are very long lines to get it.
What is the government doing with the mass amount of people that have died?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Mass graves have been dug to bury people in designated zones. Radio announcements have been nonstop – asking the general population to tag corpses with a number, where they were found, and photograph them with a digital camera so that perhaps later family members can find their loved ones and have some sense of closure.
Do you see one group that is in charge and making decisions, is it several groups, or do you see a lack of organization?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] The first day there was no organization to be seen on the streets, but the population who were able to have some sense of functionality did so much to save others (see story on our web site of one young man in our program). As the days have passed we see more organization each day – esp. since the US military has taken control of the airport. The people I have spoken to are favorable for another stronger country to come in and take charge until there is some infrastructure, order and normalcy restored.
What type of resources are available, and or needed?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Many resources are becoming difficult to find. Water, food, fuel, money, etc. When fuel is available there are very long lines to get it and then it is sold in limited amounts. The lines really weren’t lines – just masses struggling for the product. We saw today at a gas station near the airport that the UN military and National police were making some order of the situation. A good thing!
How limited is the airport space? Are the seriously injured able to be transported to a working hospital?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] I cannot really speak about airport space – planes and helicopters are coming in very regularly now. I would assume that space is limited due to the high volume of traffic (but better than the first day when there was no traffic!) If there is a working hospital here I haven’t heard of it – not one that is really very functional anyway – medical people are doing what they can with little to work with.
How is the medical care and food distribution organized?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] I do not yet know, but sure hope to find out in the next day or two
What about the prison? The prisoners that survived escaped… is crime an issue?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] The word on the street and radio is that all prisoners were released. Crime is an issue. My friend who lives up Delmas says his wife is frightened and they get very little sleep – they hear gunfire at night. I think people are pretty concerned about security right now.
How do you see people surviving- to get daily needs met?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Haitian people always seem to help each other – even out of their own extreme poverty. I have a friend in Gonaives (still trying to recover from the 2008 hurricanes there) and he already had 30 people living in his house with him (not a large house)
What is it like at night?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] We live outside the city so I really don’t know. My Haitian friends will not let me remain in the city after dark – they insist that I be home before dark. See above on question about the prisons
Do you have any miracle stories, stories of rescue… stories that would give others hope?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] There are so many miracle stories – like that anyone survived in any of these buildings! It’s a miracle. See our web site for the story that mentions Fefe Mathurin, one of our sponsored youth. We also operate an orphanage in Ti Plas Cazeau area of PAP. Our house-mother, Sonia Toussaint, to me, is a real hero. She daily has 48 children to care for in addition to her own child and partially paralyzed husband. She restored order at the orphanage with the children, reassuring and calming them. Sonia is also a nurse. The next morning she took a couple of the older girls and went into the neighborhood to care for the wounded. She has worked tirelessly to care for many and still, always has that lovely smile on her face! There are so many stories…….. so much hope to be had
Is there talk of moving people out of Port au Prince, or trying to re-build… what are the plans done the line?
[Debbie Vanderbeek] there has been quite an exodus of people leaving the city. People are going to the provinces to stay with family and friends (but these are also people who were already living in dire conditions, a daily struggle to survive). I have heard talk of rebuilding……..
[Debbie Vanderbeek] Please keep getting the word out about the extreme need for help! Relief items are most needed and medical persons. It is too soon for other inexperienced groups to jump on planes and come. I know so many want to be here to help, but many times this can add to the stress on resources. There is a shortage and difficulty in getting fuel – it is difficult for those of us on the ground to be mobile. Food prices have risen significantly in the past days. On Thursday I bought 50# sacks of rice for $145; on Friday morning a sack cost $200. Diesel was $29 a gallon Thursday; on Friday it was $35 a gallon. This morning my husband got diesel in town for $40 a gallon and at the same station this afternoon he had to pay $45 per gallon.
Photograph property of LoneStarLifer. 2010.