January 12, 2010 changed life as Haiti knew it forever. It has been a defining moment for Haitians around the world just as 9/11 has been for Americans. How can a nation so desperately poor endure the loss of 250,000 people, all of it’s infrastructure, government buildings, businesses and countless schools, churches and homes all in less than 30 seconds?
How can it rebuild? Rebuilding implies that there was something there of worth in the first place. In many instances this wasn’t the case.
A late season hurricane hit the southern peninsula hard, severely affecting crops.
Cholera has reared its ugly head and killed over 3,600.
Life was hard before. Agonizing more often describes it now. But this is real life. It is inescapable and unforgettable.
The world has forgotten for the most part. There have been other happenings that have grabbed the headlines.
We here at RMI have not forgotten, and never will!! It was a “game changer” for us. It brought about a paradigm shift within RMI. One day we were solely involved in the Sister Church Program and Hope for Kidz. The next we were thrust into disaster recovery: organizing and delivering medical and relief supplies, flying in medical personnel, and organizing and delivering relief food aid. Our missionaries and national staff worked tirelessly for months trying to meet the needs of the earthquake survivors.
In response to the ongoing needs for transitional housing, RMI started the Homes for Haiti Program. To date, 28 homes have been built and the material for 24 more homes are in customs. Monies are still needed for homes. There are so many families that need them!!
In response to the ongoing hunger issue, RMI started the Food for Haiti Program. Since this program began 6 months ago, we’ve been able to distribute 540,000 meals – just think about that! God has been at work.
The Hope for Kidz Program is now providing a hot meal for over 1,300 kids every school day. Not only is it meeting nutritional needs of kids, it has become an evangelistic tool. Once people heard that the schools were providing a free hot lunch, they flocked to the school, transferring their kids so they could be a part of it. Those additional families are now exposed to the Gospel on a daily basis!
In response to the cholera issue, we have a cholera handout in creole for each Sister Church to pass out to their congregation and people in their community. This will go hand in hand with a seminar for the people in the community on how to prevent, recognize and treat cholera as well as how to properly treat water for drinking and cooking.
RMI is committed to coming alongside the Haitian people in meeting their needs and helping them as they travel the road to recovery. We are enabling people here in the US be a part of meeting those needs. Hands on ministry that makes a difference
Remember Haiti today. Don’t forget the Haitian people!
RMI missionary, Amy Long, has many memories of that day and the long days that followed. Here is Amy Long's blog.
The Ft. Myers newspaper, The News-Press, has a reporter and photo journalist in Haiti this week. Besides their general reports, they are visiting several ministries from the Southwest Florida area who are ministering in Haiti. Thursday (tomorrow) they will be meeting with RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, and visiting some of the Homes for Haiti homes in Leogane. Look for links to those pictures and the report on this blog in the next couple of days. Once they return, there may also be a TV report on the local CBS affiliate. (Cool, huh?!)
Crosses mark the site of a mass grave Tuesday in Titanyen, just outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bodies were brought to the spot after the devastating earthquake of one year ago today (Andrew West/news-press.com)
Haitians rely on faith-based organizations (video from ABC News)
Haitians turn to God at quake anniversary (Yahoo.com article)
Franklin Graham's crusade in Port-au-Prince (BillyGraham.org)
US Ambassador: Progress in Haiti is slow but real (The Washington Post)
In Haiti, Hope is the last thing lost (Wall Street Journal article)
We know that Haiti’s hope and answer is in Jesus Christ. We are excited that God is using us and you to make an impact!