Ministering After Earthquake, Tropical Storm in Haiti

Ministering After Earthquake, Tropical Storm in Haiti
Ministering After Earthquake, Tropical Storm in Haiti

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Photo courtesy of University of Miami

Calvary Chapel Ministries in Haiti: Helping Suffering Haitians After Earthquake

Story by Margot Bass

Calvary Chapel ministries serving Haiti are working to get desperately needed food—and the hope of the Gospel—into the southwest peninsula of the island nation, devastated by an earthquake on Saturday.

The 7.2 magnitude quake hit the areas of Jeremie and Les Cayes about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, August 14. The death toll by Monday was estimated at more than 1,400 people, with thousands more injured. Local hospitals, in desperate need of medical supplies, were inundated with victims. Aftershocks occurring throughout Haiti, even outside of the damaged areas, meant that the nation’s residents have had to sleep outdoors because of the danger of falling buildings. Haiti’s buildings, made of concrete and blocks, don’t stand up to earthquake pressures.

To make matters worse, rescue efforts were hindered by Tropical Storm Grace, which pounded Haiti on Monday. Flash flooding and mudslides further threaten the island.

“It’s bad,” declared Brian McDaniels, director of Cross to Light in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith sent Brian to Haiti to set up a school of ministry. Cross to Light has since planted 10 churches in Haiti; one has been affiliated with Calvary Chapel, with hopes of affiliating the others. “The reports are that there are about 7,000 structures down and 30,000 homeless now. People are living in tents or tent cities. Last night, it was pounding wind and rain from the tropical storm on the people sleeping outside. No one will go into the buildings.”

People working together

Hundreds of people flood a Haitian street as they survey the damage done by the earthquake and search for loved ones. Photo courtesy of Arab News.

Bringing Relief

Brian, currently on the East Coast of the U.S., is preparing to return to Haiti with food and Bibles to use for outreach. “We’re working on getting a food container with 50,000 pounds of beans and rice from Florida into Haiti,” he noted. He’s also bringing 100,000 copies of a Bible, sharing the Gospel of John and the epistle to the Romans, in Creole. “We have a church in Miragoane, about halfway down the peninsula, an hour and a half away from the earthquake location. We can use that for outreach.” The food brought to Haiti will benefit not only the earthquake victims but other Haitians as well. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (CCFTL), FL, is also helping to get the container filled and sent to Haiti.

CCFTL’s website acknowledged the disaster. “We’re praying for the people of Haiti and all those affected by the massive earthquake … We’re working closely with our partners at Convoy of Hope to begin helping with rescue and relief efforts.”

One of the biggest problems with getting relief to the earthquake-ravaged area is the road between Port-au-Prince and that southwestern tip of the peninsula—the main supply line. There is only one road, and it’s been blocked by powerful gangs controlling it for the past two months. Brian explained, “All the supply lines from the capital, where the doctors, supplies, and equipment primarily would come in from, are pretty much hindered there. It’s a really bad situation. The road is blocked. No one will travel that way because they know what happens on that road. The gangs are killing people.” Flights from the capital into Les Cayes are available, Brian added, but it limits the amount of people who can get in; and there’s no housing for them in any case.

Kids working

The local Haitian population looks on in shock over the destruction caused by the earthquake. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star.

Although this creates a bad, almost hopeless, situation, Brian pointed to hope. “We’ve got to pray that road opens up and that the victims start getting help. The gangs are talking right now about opening up the road to let supplies in. If the road opens, we’re going for it. Reports were that even this morning (Tuesday), they’ve let a couple things go through. So, we’ll be ready. It’s going to be dicey, but we’re going for it.”

Brandy Lee, from Cross to Light, announced on the Cross to Light website that the gangs may open the road for two months. “Praise God for this open door. We have two native pastors there to provide prayer support now,” she shared. Those churches are in Miragoane and Grand Goave, both south of Port-au-Prince.

The Miragoane church, the closest Cross to Light fellowship to the earthquake location, will serve as the hub of ministry. Believers there can get to the site more easily, removing the need to find places to stay, Brian stated. “So that’s what we’re focusing on—getting them food and Bibles, and then preaching the Gospel.”

A Love for Haiti

Dave Hansen, pastor of Calvary Chapel Louisa, VA, is a board member at Cross to Light. Listen to him for even a few minutes, and his love for the people of Haiti shines through.

He expressed concern over the effects of Tropical Storm Grace. “They’re getting hammered. Any amount of rain causes flooding because they have no infrastructure. It’s just going to make it harder, even for the workers looking for the victims. The people who are stuck in their buildings may still be alive. The storm may keep workers from getting to them, meaning more chances that they’re going to be unable to get out. Your heart just breaks because I know there has to be more people still under buildings.”

Although there were no deaths in the Cross to Light churches in Haiti, Dave said, believers all had family members or friends who may have been injured or died in the earthquake. And the reminders and lingering damage of the massive earthquake in 2010 are still very real. “Tent cities are all over the place and a large percentage of 2010’s victims still live in tents,” Dave shared.

Haiti is no stranger to hard times, Dave admitted. “Bad stuff happens in Haiti all the time. It’s their regular life. From gang-related danger to diseases to earthquakes to hurricanes, they’re just resilient people—they just cope with it and move on. All they’ve known is hardship.” Gang violence in recent days, before and after the July assassination of the nation’s prime minister, is ever-present; Cross to Light’s pastors have been targeted, including being shot; the adopted son of one pastor was burned to death. “It’s a war zone, and it’s all related to gang violence and voodoo from the satanic church. Those churches have survived that. They’re fighting the devil.” One of the churches in a Port-au-Prince slum, Cité Soleil, is currently housing more than 100 refugees in their building, Dave said. “They have nowhere to go—gangs have destroyed their homes.”

Pray & Help

Pray that relief supplies and helpers can get through to the earthquake site, and for the salvation of the gangs terrorizing the country. Pray that the main road is opened.

Pray for Calvary Chapel pastors in Haiti—wisdom about how to help their people, to be a light. “They need strength. I know a pastor who is tired. His nerves are fried. It’s very emotional, hard work, taxing on his life and in his marriage; he’s in a war zone. I’ve been there twice, and it’s hell. I’m scared to death of the place, it’s that bad,” Dave emphasized. “That pastor doesn’t have to be there, but he chooses to be there to serve. It’s a strong, powerful ministry in hell. There are a lot of people getting saved, but it’s not easy.”

To help financially, go to crosstolight.com. To support CCFTL’s efforts, donate to their “Relief & Restoration” fund at CalvaryFTL.org/Give.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2021 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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