It has been six months to the day that the earth shook and in that 35-43 seconds of time it is estimated that three hundred thousand people died, hundreds of thousands were injured, tens of thousands of homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed and over a million people were left homeless. All in less that one minute of shaking.
Can any nation be truly prepared for such a cataclysmic event? I suspect not, and Haiti a nation with little infrastructure and unable before the earthquake to meet even the basic needs of its people was rendered stunned and helpless by this catastrophe. Even as the international community rushed to give assistance, they encountered a government that was largely broken and unable to help facilitate the enormous amount of aid and aid workers being held back by a lack of infrastructure and a working government. And now six months later the struggle continues as humanitarian aid is being held at the ports while exorbitance customs fees must be paid before the containers can be released and the supplies made available to assist people who otherwise would not be able to secure help.
I have copied some links below that may help you understand some of what is happening here
THE LOST CHILDREN OF HAITI
HAITI'S CAMPS OF DESPAIR
NO JUSTICE FOR HAITI'S WOMEN INMATES
Progress is being made albeit slowly and seemingly without a plan. Yet volumes could not contain the heroic acts of kindness and bravery of the Haitian people and the international community as they worked to rescue those still trapped alive under falling buildings and to treat the injured.
It is not by intent to criticize the cleanup and rebuilding efforts that are slowly coming into play. The task of just cleanup alone is enormous. I want to tell a bit of what Heartline has been doing.
LOOKING BACK A BIT (THE BLINK OF AN EYE VERSION)
A few days after the earthquake the Heartline people here in Haiti met and talked and prayed to see if there was a need for us to open an emergency clinic. We also went into the inner city to see if there were still people who had been injured and had not been treated. Little did we know that we would still find such people even weeks after the earthquake. It was clear that there was still a need for an emergency clinic and in what I can only attribute to God, Heartline four days later opened its clinic with a group of docs and nurses that came in from the States and Canada and we started seeing people with horrific injuries and in the primitive settings the docs performed some pretty amazing procedures. This clinic continued for about 3 weeks where we saw hundreds and hundred and people that were injured in the earthquake. And with the tremendous support of the Heartline people in the States, medical personnel and supplies just kept coming during this remarkable, amazing, hectic time.
After about three weeks we were no longer seeing as many patients with severe injuries due to the earthquake and now we faced some hard questions. What do we do with the patients that need aftercare? Can we really send some of them back to their inner cities homes in such fragile conditions? What about those that no longer have homes? Should we open up a field hospital where we can offer aftercare? It was ultimately my decision and yet I was probably the one who understood the least what that would mean. And yet there was no other choice. We had to see this through to the end for each patient. And that decision has brought us to places and relationships and struggles that we could never had imagined.
Some nights we would have up to 100 people sleeping at what once was the girl's house and now it became our field hospital. Most people would not sleep inside due to the fear of aftershocks and so the yard would be full of patients on mattresses that we rounded up and then on cots that we had brought in. We still needed a steady supply of docs and nurses and physical therapists and supplies and the Heartline people in the States worked tirelessly. We estimated that we would keep the Heartline Field Hospital open until March 1st. Well it is July 12th and we are still open with several patients still with us. We of course had to feed and care for the patients and so we needed a lot of help and resources and wow did people who heard the cry of a nation respond with finances and by coming and giving of their love and hearts to the broken, crushed and wounded.
We as well developed relationships with other organizations that would take some of our severely injured patients and from whom we would take from them patients that needed aftercare. There were several articles written in which Heartline was mentioned as a place where the patients received loving quality care. God was doing some super stuff and was honoring our effort to do the best that we could, relying on Him and honoring Him by caring and loving those that He entrusted to us. These were uncharted waters for us and we clearly knew that we had to trust in God.
Probably the most rewarding things is the relationships that we have developed with the patients. And the Heartline Field Hospital truly became a community. We are still open as we have patients with lingering infections, others who are getting used to their prosthetic limbs, and other that will leave us after we put up a new home for them and then there will be a few that have become a part of our community and will be with us for years to come.
We have often written about Amanda who suffered severe injuries to her leg and left arm when the three story house next to her one room cement house fell on it while Amanda was inside. She was dug out by neighbors and brought to several hospitals until she found a home at the Heartline Field Hospital. It is Amanda that we are working and praying to get into the Mayo clinic for the specialized surgery and care that she needs for her arm. We are still working at it and very much need your prayers and support.
Healing the Children paid for the travel for Patrick and a 10 year old boy named Emmanuel who is also being treated at the Shriner's and Heartline paid for the ticket for the escort to travel to Haiti and bring the boys to Shriners. Heartline will also help pay the expenses of the host family as they graciously take him into their home where he will stay when not in the hospital. All medical costs are being donated by the Shriner's and the doctors.
I know that many of you have taken interest in our patients and have tracked their progress. Some reading this blog have been to Heartline and have personally met Amanda and Patrick and know what wonderful people they are and how they demonstrate their trust in God in spite of their injuries. Heartline for Amanda will pay for airfare to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the ticket for her escort and help the host family will her expenses. Her medical care will be donated the the Mayo clinic and by the doctors. Your help with the ongoing costs of helping Amanda and Patrick would be greatly appreciated. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to help those that can't help themselves. I often sit alone in the yard of the field hospital and feel overwhelmed that God has given us the privilege of caring for some who were injured when the earth shook on January 12, 2010. You can help by praying for Patrick and by praying for Amanda's approval by the Mayo Clinic and by giving to help with their expenses. Click here to give and thank you for caring!
A HOUSE FOR MARJORIE AND FAMILY
You should have seen the look on Marjorie's face when she showed me the keys to the house that we had put up for her and her family. Marjorie house was destroyed in the earthquake but Marjorie was at school where she was trapped under debris for three days. She lost her left hand but not her joy and determination to move forward. The next house we will be putting up is for little Emmanuel and his father and mother. This couple lost three children in the earthquake with only little Emmanuel surviving. Heartline has purchased a good size piece of land for them a couple hours outside the city and will within the next several days be traveling out there with the pieces of the house and put in together for them.
So many of you have given so that Heartline can help people with housing. Paige Porter ran a half marathon and raised 52K for houses, and now let me share with you an e-mail I received this week from a 10 year-old boy named Malcolm.
I am Malcolm Mitchell and I am 10 years old. I really want to try to get pepel to give some money for houses in Haiti. we were looking at pictures of the tents that the pepel are living in and I told my mom that we could do something. I like animals and I have some hens and me and my dad bult a coop and I was just thinking that the coop is a better house than the tents where children and babies live with all the mud. That just isn't fare! I want to walk to South Padre Island about 20 miles and kids and adults at my church and school and my mom and dad's work could give like $1 a mile or maybe more and that could get the money to buld at least one house. I want to call it houses for haiti. I think if we have so much we should all give some! Also my brother Caelan is really good with computers and he can make a website and a movie that I could show pepel who live other places and get them to give some more money. He is 12. I hope you like my idea and my mom said maybe you could find a family that we could buld the house for and help us get the money to haiti.
WOW, I responded right away with a $10 per mile pledge and I will make known his website as soon as he and his 12 year-old brother get it up and running. Praise God for kids like Malcolm and for families and churches that encourage their children to love their neighbors as themselves.
I really like the opening sentence in the authors' notes of Dekker and Bright's book: BLESSED CHILD. "God often brings His children together in the most unusual ways to accomplish His unique tasks."
HOW ROSEMON CAME TO US?
Rosemon lost his mother and father in the earthquake and he himself suffered head, face, and arm/hand injuries. Please remember the above quote as I tell the story of how Rosemon came to us.
It began last Summer when after church I was greeting the people and I greeted a couple of guys who I hadn't seen before and who both had big camping type backpacks. I could tell that they were visiting Haiti and as I spoke with them that they would be traveling around a bit but things didn't seem sure. They were kind of ratty looking, which I like, and so I invited them to our house to come and eat as we were having a bunch of people over. They came and it was great to get to know them. I saw them the next week in church and then the week after as well and they asked if it wouldn't be too much trouble, could they camp out in our back yard. I of course said, "no" but they can stay with us inside the house as long as they like. So they stayed for a few days and headed out visiting people and ministries and they stayed with us several more times before they left Haiti after several weeks.
They told me that there was a guy from Ohio who'll I'll call M who helped them financially come to Haiti. They weren't sure of all that he did but he was generous in helping them pay for their trip. So then several weeks or perhaps a few months later we get visitors to our house and it in M and his wife. We had never met but somehow they found out where we lived and came to visit. It was a good visit and they told us that their son and daughter and law (J AND J) were coming to Haiti to live. Mrs M was crying and so was Beth and I was kind of standing out of the way. We assured them that we would contact them and spend some time with them and help them acclimate to Haiti. They after they came also enter our Kreyol class and ate with us several times.
So now we have the earthquake and they had a young man who had lost part of his foot due to falling blocks who they were taking to the Israelis Field Hospital. The Israelis took the young man but only after J and J agreed to take a boy who had been injured from them. So they said, "yes" and they took Rosemon and then brought him to us and asked if we could take him. We did and are we ever glad that the connection was made by inviting two ratty look young men to our house after church.
Rosemon and his grandmother have become such a part of our community and lives. We are in the process of getting the land on which their house had fallen prepared so that we can put up a house for them. God in his wisdom is a master at connecting people to fulfill His purpose even though at the time you couldn't begin to see what God has planned.
I AM SO GLAD THAT HE HAS CONNECTED HEARTLINE TO YOU AND YOU TO HEARTLINE. ONLY GOD KNOWS HOW THIS CONNECTION WILL BE USED TO FULFILL GOD PURPOSE.
We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose. Romans 8:28
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