Calling on God in Haiti

Market Day in Haiti (photo by Hank Husby)

Now that a little time has passed since the earthquake in Haiti, it’s harder to find news in mainstream vehicles about what’s happening there. But the Internet is full of communications that help us to know what’s going on. Here are excerpts from e-mails that came across my desk in the past few days, plus this link to a video you won’t want to miss.

Our friend Dr. Jerry Rusher is in Dessalines, Haiti, supervising medical teams assisting earthquake victims and other patients in the Free Methodist hospital there. On February 19, he wrote:

The churches were overflowing Sunday. The 2000 seat Parc Chretien Church in Port au Prince had a 6 hour service and was packed with people standing outside. The Dessalines church also was about as full as I’ve seen it. This past Tuesday was Mardi Gras here which normally is a time of marching bands, singing, and dancing. This year all the celebrating was cancelled at order from the president as it is a time of grieving. I am hoping that the praying and repentance that is going on here is lasting and sincere. I am really impressed by the strong faith of Christians here in these hard times. One worker at the hospital, Alphonse, who knows his Bible inside and out shared with me a verse this week which God had been encouraging him with. It is Ephesians 3:20 which talks about how God’s answers to our prayers are much better than what we ask for. They are” greater than we can think or imagine.” I trust that will be true of the many prayers that have been going up for Haiti this past week.

Jerry Miel is a radio engineer who served as a missionary in Haiti with World Team mission.  He returned to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and makes these observations:

Only about 6 years ago a former Haitian president called the nation to come together to rededicate the nation to Satan.
 
As (we) left the guest house about 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. The next observation was that there was NO traffic. Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper to bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps),  some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. The same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.
 
The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running . . . The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands (of street vendors) work each day and spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.
 
Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church . . .  had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray. . .This scene was repeated in every town and hamlet that we passed during the day.
 
Tonight, Pastor Ignace, who is sharing the room with me, asked this question:  “Can people still say that Haiti is a voodoo country?” What has been happening and is continuing to happen in Haiti did not happen because of the earthquake.  It has been happening because the Haitian people know how to pray.  This is a tremendous outpouring of God’s power as the result of prayer.

 
Rural family and home

Market Day in Haiti (Photos Hank Husby 1999)                  

Helping Haiti


Sun Breaks guest blogger Dr. Jerry Rusher of Camano Island, WA, mentioned in his entry of Jan. 12 that he and his wife, Wanda, had frequently spent time in Haiti volunteering their skills to help the sick and injured. After Wanda passed away last year, he returned to the Free Methodist Hospital in Dessalines, about 90 miles from Port au Prince, to check on friends and patients there and to help where he could.

He was preparing once again to leave for Haiti on Sunday, January 17, when word came of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12. By now everybody has heard of the horrendous difficulties in getting help to those suffering in the aftermath. On the 12th, Dr. Rusher knew that his plans also lay in ruins. He’d heard by cell phone that the new, four-story-building he would have stayed in upon his arrival at Port au Prince had collapsed. Two days previously, the building had housed 70 national pastors for a Free Methodist conference…the entire denominational leadership for that country. They’d gone home, but Katy Zook, a young volunteer from the nearby town of Arlington, WA, was trapped in the rubble. She survived, but others he knew did not. Planes were having trouble getting in and out of the damaged airport. The seaport too was wrecked, and roads were blocked.

The horrified world looked on, wanting to help. Dr. Rusher could think of nothing else but how to get back to Haiti. He found that the hospital at Dessalines had stood, and despite its distance from Port au Prince, it was filling up with gravely injured people now suffering from gangrene and other infections. The Haitian and missionary doctors and nurses there were under stress because of the huge workload. After talking with denominational leaders in this country, Dr. Rusher was asked to head a team of nine medical volunteers, including a couple from Canada and some from New York. One of the team, Dr. Gary, a Haitian, is an expert in infectious diseases. His knowledge will be of great value to his colleagues.

Plans now are for the team to leave on Saturday, Jan. 23, to fly to Santiago in the Dominican Republic. After a four hour bus ride, they will be met at the border by a driver from the hospital (if he is able to get fuel). The hospital has always used diesel fuel to power generators for use during surgeries and at night, since electricity is turned off at night and is erratic during the day in the best of times. The hospital still has diesel in its storage tank, but gasoline is in short supply.

The team would appreciate the prayers of God’s people for the Haitians and all those who are trying to help them.

Here is a short list of concerns:

  • That the team members will be able to get rest, so the stress will not overwhelm them. (Dr. Rusher will be there for six weeks, supervising teams of volunteers who will each be there for two weeks.)
  • That they will find ways to get medical supplies to the hospital.
  • Wisdom and easy cultural adaptation for the volunteers.
  • Good rapport with the Haitian staff already there.
  • Unpacking and putting the supplies to good use.
  • Safety in the face of increasing lawlessness.
  • Comfort for the grieving.

Note: There are many reputable organizations handling donations for earthquake victims, but if you are interested in helping Dr. Rusher directly, you may send a check to

Dessalines Rural Health Project (DRHP)
Free Methodist Church
PO Box 126
Arlington, WA 98223