Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mercy Mission to Port-au-Prince

Our team is now back from their mercy mission to deliver relief supplies to Port-au-Prince (PAP).  The following post comes from our team leader's notes resulting from the trip.


Today was one of the days which I will remember for the rest of my life.  I've seen disasters on television, and heard reports of terrible events in our world.  Although it impacted me, none of it compares with what I saw today.

This morning we decided to take food, clothing, and water into PAP to help whoever we could.  We ended up taking about 150 meals that would feed approximately 300 people, plus 660 small pouches of water and 100 bags of clothing (shoes, tops, shorts, hats of varying sizes).

Karen, Luckner, and I along with six Haitians (three of whom were Haitian police officers) travelled into the city to distribute what we had, and to get a real idea of the extent of the disaster that had taken place in this country. 

On the way in, the Haitian radio was on.  The announcer said that the estimates at this time could be as high as 600,000 dead, which is a quarter of the city's population.  But, with disease this could well jump to 1,000,000 people.  I know this is a huge figure, and I can't even believe it when I say it, but I saw some of the reason behind these reports today.

Going into the city, we were about half way there when we started to see buildings that had collapsed.  Just before we reached PAP we started coming across places where the road had heaved and cracked, so we had to drive very carefully across those sections.  Our intention was to go to Del Mass, one of the main streets in PAP, where a lot of the commerce and retail takes place.  It's also a section where the mother of one of the people with us lived - we wanted to see if she was safe.  (Thankfully she was.)

Our first stop was at a school that had 1050 students and teachers.  It had collapsed, with almost all inside.  The death toll was almost 100% there.  We talked to one young man who escaped, but his brother (a teacher there) did not.  They were still hauling bodies out when we arrived, and I believe they will be for many days.

The stench in the city is beyond belief.  There is the smell of death everywhere.  We knew we would see a lot of death, but it was more than we ever could have planned for.  Bodies stacked on the side of the road, some covered with sheets, and some not.

We next travelled to the hospital, where the nurses` residence had collapsed.  There too machinery and men were at work trying to save people still trapped.  At another site, there were cries from a young woman who asked for people to save her, but we`re not sure what happened. 

Down in the center of the city, we went to the President`s Palace, the Justice Building, and other government buildings.  All were either partially or totally destroyed.  I don`t see how there can be any real government in this country for many years to come.  They just do not have the facilities or the people at this time to do it.

Our distributions were planned to be very methodical, where we would give out single amounts of food, water, and clothing to individuals as we came across them.  But each of the five times we stopped to distribute, small riots occurred, with people running from all directions, screaming, yelling, and grabbing.  We had to drive off as fast as we could and look for another site to try again.  But it was the same thing every time.  People are so desperate.  Where there is water, there were huge lineups.  But really there is no water, no food, and no shelter in PAP right now.  People are living in fields, out on lawns, wherever they can find a spot where there are no buildings near them which might still collapse.

We saw military planes flying in and out bringing supplies, so I know help has started to arrive.  But I can`t see how a few planes can bring enough food, water, and shelter for so many people. 

I also saw a lot of looting going on, where people were digging into collapsed stores and taking whatever they could find there and running away with it.  The UN forces and the police are everywhere doing their best to keep the city under control, but it`s a massive job with so many displaced people.

As far as the buildings of Port-au-Prince are concerned, the center of that city is completely devastated and destroyed.  It will take many years to rebuild.

I know this is a very grim report.  But the reality is, that this nation is an absolute disaster at this time, and needs our thoughts and our prayers.  It is also going to need a lot of funds to rebuild.

My hope and prayer is that the world will listen to its heart and help these people.


  1. It's fascinating to think that the orphanage is sending donations to the city, but that shows how God can use each of us to help in the way He has planned for us. Our prayers continue for your safety, for the people of Haiti, and for your physical and emotional strength to see you through this difficult time.

    God bless you all,
    - Russell and Janet

  2. Praying for you all and especially those that went into PAP and all that they witnessed....God has a plan for all of this and you are in the midst of it all.....
    God's richest blessings to all of you
    Dick & Anna

  3. Sending our love and prayers.
    Sue & Dennis

  4. Praying for you all and the people of Haiti. May God richly bless you as you use your resources to do the best you can in the situations you find yourselves in. Hello to Jim, praying for your safe return.

    The Lord bless you and keep you
    The Lord make His face shine upon you;
    The Lord turn His face toward you
    And give you peace...
    Numbers 6:24-26

    Dennis & Joanna

  5. Sorry I missed something out.

    The Lord make His face shine upon you
    And be gracious to you;

    Dennis and Joanna

  6. Hi Gramp, It's Hailey!
    I Love you, xoxox We went sliding yesterday with Olympians and I had super fun! We still have lots of snow. I miss you to infinity and beyond, come home really quick and be safe!
    love hailey
    Have a prosperous day, you are all in our prayers, be safe and God Bless!
    love the Roberts Crew

  7. God has you where you are supposed to be at this time. I am sure for those that went to PAP that it was a very stressful but an eye opening experience. Not only were you looking at it with your eyes but also through God's eyes as these are also his children. " For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would have everlasting life. John 3:16. We continue to pray for you all daily and last night at Salvation Army bible study each person was prayed for individually. We are anxious to see you all safely home but in the meantime you are doing God's work and I am sure are a great comfort to Karen as you do repairs that need to be done for her to live there and do her work for the Lord. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

    Larry and Shirley
    Salvation Army

  8. My prayer for you today is that God will wrap His loving arms around you and give comfort and strength to continue doing his work. You are all in my prayers. Please keep safe and healthy. Love to you all, I love you Brian un Patricia

  9. karen,many people are aclaimed to being heroes movie stars,sport stars,singers etc.mostly to there own glory.karen you are a true hero giving your life to a people that you know there will be little praise or glory.dont loose heart i believe there are more people routing for you than you could ever know.and God and angles cheering you on ,holding your hand and leading you to a great hero karen.may God bless you and keep you and provide for all your needs.

  10. Amanda, Trevor, AnitaJanuary 15, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    Bobby, we're all thinking of you and waiting for you to get back home. We cannot begin to imagine what you're all going through. Please keep safe and know that you are in all of our thoughts.

    Amanda, Trevor, Anita

  11. let karen and the haiti team know how you feel about them today.

  12. I have always been proud of the kind of family I have, but never more than today.

    Dad, you are showing us all that IS possible to make a difference, and you are doing so much good with the life you have been given.

    The thought that as many as 300 people ate and drank last night for the first time in two days because you and your team put your wants and safety second in the face of their need really is amazing and should make us all think long and hard about what we could be doing.

    Just so proud of you Dad , and cant wait to give you a big hug,
    Love Hannah

  13. Gerry,
    I heard you and Ben on the radio this morning,it was good to hear your voice. Know that we are all here praying for you and for the people of Haiti,I'm proud of you and Heidi, Tima nd the kids. Please be safe. Give the kids a hug for me. Love, Becky

    Becky Rhyno

  14. Please tell Kate that her pen pal Lauren is praying for her and the people in Haiti.
    Today in chapel her school took up a collection to send to the people there. It will come through ACSI (Accredited Christian Schools International)
    Praying so much for you!
    Stan & Linda Harrell (Lauren's Parents)
    Virginia Beach, Virginia

  15. Gerry,
    I am so proud of your efforts to help the people of Haiti.We don't realize how lucky we are living in a country such as ours.It takes a special person like you to come forward and give of themself like you have over and over again.My heart is overwhelmed with proudness and my tears are flowing with emotion.I hope and pray that you and your family make it home safely.
    Love always and forever,
    Cousin Darlene

  16. Everyday is such a gift! I am so proud of your faith and ability to give of yourself! Lots of love and prayers, your neice, Kelly

  17. This situation is beyond belief ,and we cannot begin to fathom here the pain these people are enduring physically and emotionally . I am sure this will stay with you all of your lives , so glad that you were there to give a little bit of hope and humanity to these people . so proud of all of you . Love Pam


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