Our hearts just ache and break as we watch the images of a country that is so dear to us. The magnitude of the devastation of the capital, Port-au-Prince, is unimaginable. It is hard to wrap our minds around what has happened.
There is a 2nd wave of tragedy that is currently unfolding – and it has not been mentioned in the news yet. Hundreds of thousands of Haitian refugees are flooding the countryside as they flee the devastation and lack of the most basic of needs in Port-au-Prince. They are leaving with just the clothes on their back and maybe a few personal items in a bundle on their head, some carrying their injured or even dead family members. Many communities will find themselves doubling or tripling their population almost overnight. They are descending on family, friends, and churches with nothing but what they could carry out with them.
Les Cayes, where RMI is headquartered, is already beginning to feel this crush. The few hospitals that are there, including the 2 mission hospitals in the area, are already overwhelmed by wounded with more pouring in by the hour. Our Sister Church medical team that is on the ground right now has been helping as much as they can with the overwhelming need at our mission hospital. The MEBSH (the Haitian church association that we have partnered with for over 30 years) churches in the area are beginning to feel the rush from Port as refugees are flooding the area beginning to seek aid and help since they have NOTHING. Since many of these folks have been a part of the MEBSH church association, they will flock to the MEBSH churches as they have no where else to go or turn to.
GREAT NEEDS are rapidly developing in the Cayes area. Hospitals are already out of medicine and supplies to treat the wounded who keep pouring in. RMI already has lists of medical needs from our mission hospitals and others in the area.
Since the earthquake we have wondered how we could help - our headquarters is in Les Cayes, 120 miles from Port. We don’t have a presence in Port. But this wave of refugees brings the needy right to our door step! It seems that we didn’t need to go to Port, Port is coming to us!
RMI is UNIQUELY positioned to help these refugees. With our extensive base of operations, our staff on site, our network of contacts in the communities around the south of Haiti, and you, our Sister Churches, and many friends, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!
Our strategy is to concentrate on the masses of refugees pouring into southern Haiti:
Provide desperately needed medical supplies
Provide short term medical teams to help in the hospitals
Provide food and basic necessities for the refugees
Provide short term housing as possible
Provide spiritual encouragement and witness
We cannot do any of this without your help!
How can you as a church or individual help?
1. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ so impacted by this tragedy. Everyone in Haiti has been impacted by the earthquake, even if they weren’t in Port-au-Prince.
2. DONATE FUNDS – THIS IS THE GREATEST WAY TO HELP INITIALLY. RMI has already provided $20,000 Haitian dollars to the national church leadership to help their churches in Port as well as we have purchased basic food for distribution. One US Sister Church has committed $10,000 US right away with more to come.
3. Put together a medical team or volunteer for a team. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a medical person that could volunteer for a team or you can put a team together to minister in Haiti for a week. Time frames and transportation are being worked out.
GOD has placed RMI in this situation for this time! Help us make the most of the opportunities that God is placing right at our feet. All of our resources, staff, and time will be focused on accomplishing these goals. We need $250,000 to accomplish these things. It is crucial to purchase and transport the URGENTLY needed supplies immediately. But it cannot happen without the money in hand. To facilitate donations, you can donate online or send a check to RMI. Please donate now with a goal of helping out monthly as we focus together on meeting these great needs. Thank you for your partnership with us, the MEBSH churches, and the Haitian people.