Here is a letter Ernie has written in response to Hurricane Matthew. Since writing this letter Ernie has been out 2 more times and is out today. Please keep him and the people with him in your prayers as they travel.
The impact of Hurricane Matthew has been felt the most on the western part of the peninsula of Haiti. As I traveled west on National Highway 2 the first evidence of wind damage was just east of Leoganne. Leaves, limbs and whole trees were on the road and in the neighborhoods. The banana orchards, sugar cane fields and row crops were flattened and a total loss. Rocks and boulders were on the roads where landslides had occurred.
The heaviest damage from the storm, by far, is from the rain and flooding. The highway in places had huge piles of soil where runoff from the mountains had washed over the road leaving the dirt. I found the Route 2 bridge just east of Petit Goave washed away. Until this crossing is repaired there is no truck access to the western part of the island where the brunt of the storm was felt. This is as far as I went on this my first trip into the storm affected area.
There are four pastors that I relate to that are in the affected area, Pastor Remy at Croix Hillaire Baptist Church, Pastor Enoch at the Good Samaritan Project, Pastor Phenix Bail (pronounced Buy) at the church and school of Mourn Tapion (Tapion Mountain) and Pastor Jean Claude at the church in Les Cayes. The communities that Remy and Jean Claude minister to are on the western side of the washed out bridge. Yesterday I took bags of rice and beans and propane to Enoch and Remy. Remy met us at the washed out river crossing and hand carried the supplies across. Jean Claude already has support being mustered on his behalf so I will focus on supporting Remy, Phenix and Enoch who live and minister within 10 miles of each other. They already partner in ministry.
The Haitian poor live in a day to day existence in a very precarious balance of survival. These kinds of events interrupt their ability to feed themselves and create an immediate and urgent need for food. This is the case whether their house was damaged or not. Those that have lost their home or have a home that was damaged have had to find shelter. All three pastors are sheltering people in their churches and are ministering to the needs of their community. Clean up supplies and hygiene are the next critical needs so as to combat diseases such as Cholera.
Our response priorities are as follows:
Provide food and fuel to cook it. Rice, beans, spaghetti, cooking oil, sugar are all staples of the Haitian diet and are in good supply in Port au Prince. 25 pound bag of rice costs $17. Beans $31.
Provide cleaning and hygiene supplies. Clorox, laundry soap, toothpaste, bath soap are also available in PaP.
Provide personal water filtration devices. I have about 500 ceramic water filters suitable for the two bucket systems TBM has provided in the past. I need the buckets to make the systems with. Plastec in PaP has a food grade bucket with a lid for $2.75. One system requires two buckets.
Haiti is about to fill up with all sorts of organizations and people who will attempt to help. Some will be affective. Some will not. And then they will go home. The key for us as Kingdom workers is to point everything to God. It is very difficult to provide help and not look like the Haitians salvation. Think on it. Many Haitians believe that the blanc (white person) is their savior. They have good reason to believe it. For a long time expatriates have come here to save Haiti. You only need to read their t-shirts to know this. I have tried to make myself small if not invisible for that reason. As a strategy for Kingdom work I support the local Kingdom servant, the pastor. My point is that while there are many opportunities for teams to come and be effective in Haiti, now is not one of them. To be affective we should act immediately on the priorities listed.
Many people here need your help. Thank you for all that you do whether it is saving lives now or in the long term. God bless you.
It is very discouraging to me to see the same problem arise time and again when disasters strike Haiti. While it is a good thing that people come to the aid of Haiti it is my heart to provide a remedy whereby Haitians are able to help themselves. If you have a similar perspective then contact me and I will give you details on how I intend to help accomplish this as a long term goal.
I have rainy day funds that I can use today to act. As you commit financially I will use those funds and then replace them when your funds arrive here.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas receives funds for Haiti and then wires them to me here. Your contact there is Marla Bearden. Checks can be sent to Texas Baptists 7557 Rambler Road Suite 1200 Dallas, Texas 75231 ATTENTION MARLA BEARDEN. In the memo of the check put Haiti Relief.
I have the ability to purchase and deliver all these goods and have Haitian volunteers to help me to do it.