Several weeks ago, Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on more people than we will probably ever be able to fully measure. Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the U.S. were all in the path of this monster-storm. Haiti was hit with the worst of it. Hundreds lost their lives. Thousands of people lost what little home they had. Most are still without ample food or clean water. Cholera has spread everywhere. Some are saying that in many ways this disaster was worse than the 2010 earthquake because the damage was so wide-spread.
Many organizations rushed to Haiti’s aid. We were stateside at the time of the storm, but we knew we needed to help. With so many great organizations going in with aid, we didn’t want to get in the way or cause more problems. We decided the best thing we could do was mobilize teams of Haitians to go in and help their own people.
I quickly got on a plane back to Haiti to meet with our leaders and disciples in Port Au Prince. Thankfully none of our people were directly effected by the storm but many of their family members lived in the areas hit.
After assessing the situation and receiving the generous donations from many of you, we were able to mobilize five different teams to go into five heavily effected areas. We aimed for small villages outside the major cities where no help had arrived yet. Our priority was to provide clean water, food, medicine, and some sort of shelter. Of course love, prayer, encouragement, and the gospel was at the foundation of all that we did.
The areas were difficult to reach. Most of the countryside roads are washed out and inaccessible by car. Our only way in was by small motorcycles and sometimes only on foot (one of our teams traveled in on donkeys). We slept on concrete floors and did a lot of walking in the hot sun. We only had supplies for a few days and so we did as much as we could in the time we had. We were able to treat minor illnesses and basic first aid. We provided lots of clean water, rice, macaroni, and tarps for shelter. We prayed for many and shared the gospel with more than 100 people. Across our 5 teams, we were able to help about 200 families.
We also were able to connect with a local church and did a two-day discipleship training. They were excited to receive the training and were ready to put it into practice as they went out to love their neighbors!
I am so proud of our teams. They did such a great job. Many of them took off from work and school to be a part of helping their people. Many of them have been following Jesus less than a year. But burning in their hearts is a desire to see God’s Kingdom come, a desire to be disciples who obey Jesus and train others to do the same. They take Jesus’ words literally when he said, “Love your neighbor.” Our new church plants were taking up offerings to buy more supplies for the relief efforts. All aid was purchased in-country. Haitians loving Haitians. The Haitian church being the church!
Thank you all who prayed and donated. There is still much more to be done. Entire cities of people literally have no place to live. Next steps will be replanting crops and rebuilding homes. Please continue to pray for ongoing efforts.