Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti . . . the beginning days

We have now been in Haiti 6 days. This has been the longest six days in my life. Not from doing much physical work, but from all the emotional stuff we have gone through.

We made it from Columbus to Miami on Sunday.

Monday morning God kept putting the right people in our paths and we made it on our flight form Miami to Santa Domingo on stand-by. We flew to the DR, was picked up by a taxi driver/pastor, drove all over town, went back to the airport and picked up Shawn, drove to our guest house and slept for 4 very short hours.

Tuesday we woke up at 4 am, drove 5 hours to the border, swung by the hospital that has over 500 Haitian patients, lots of American doctors and only 3 translators! IT was very heart breaking to be there, there were no beds, so people were just laying everywhere! There were not enough nurses to change bandages, the patient charts were a piece of notebook paper taped on the wall above there heads. Roro found a young man that he knew so we stayed around for about an 1 to take care of him. We also met some other people. One lady had a head injury and her fingers were very infected. She had a 1 month old baby girl who broke her arm during the quake. We met another mom who had a broken him and leg who just had her baby girl 5 days before! Sarah asked to hold the 5 day old baby and the mom said ‘only if you promise to take her with you’. That broke our hearts! I was ready to take that baby in a heart beat! How loving and unselfish is that mothers love for her baby! It totally reminded me of God’s love for us - that He sent his very own son down to die just for me!

As much as we wanted to stay and knew we were needed, we had to move on. We drove straight through the border - no one stopped us and no one asked to see our passports! So, I guess we ‘snuck’ in the country cause our passports aren’t stamped for Haiti! We had to wait at the border for over 2 hours for our ride. He has 2 flat tires and no cell service. We drove into PAP and just got a glimpse of the destruction of buildings and walls.

Once we got to PAP, Shawn wanted to go and get his son. Nandy’s orphanage was completely gone! But all the boys were safe!

Tuesday night we felt like it was safe to sleep inside of Roro’s house. We ate a peanut butter sandwich and drank a coke and then was in bed by 7pm!

I woke up at about 5:30 am. I was just laying there dozing in and out and listening to the noise of life happening outside my window. At 6 am, I felt the bed shaking, opened my eyes and the whole room was swaying form side to side. I yelled for Sarah to get out and we both ran for the door! Those first couple of steps were hard cause the room was still moving. By the time we got to he door the shaking had stopped but we did not! We ran for our lives down the stairs and outside. My dad met us at the stairway and ran with us, but he kept asking what was wrong. He thought there was a thief inside trying to get us and that is why we were screaming. Yup, my dad slept through a 6.1 earthquake. It ‘shook’ us up really bad. Everyone in the house made it outside and nobody was hurt. After we calmed down, we went back inside only long enough to dress and pack our stuff up. We were no longer sleeping inside again!
The rest of the day was spent waiting on Shawn and my dad. They went inside the embassy with Nandy and Martin. Both of them had adoption papers and we wanted to get them out of here and into the States. Sarah and I waited outside with Roro and at about 1pm, a friend of Roro’s meet up with us. His name is Phillip and he lost his wife and 2 kids in the earthquake. He still has 2 sons left. Toskanny, a very sweet and mature 9 year old and Rachid, an extremely scared and clingy 2 year old. Phillip wants to get out of the country and he wants his sons out of here too. Sarah and I tried taking the boys into the embassy to adopt them as our own, but we couldn’t. So then we tried getting them in as a family, but the 2 yr old needed to get his injuries checked out by a Dr. first.

Shawn got his papers to take Nandy home with him and he wanted to go NOW! So we dropped him off by the airport and him and Nandy walked to the airport. Sarah and I drove around with Phillip and his boys and found the medical ship Comfort. We had a Dr. Look at Rachid who said he was fine. We had Phillip take us back to our new sleeping place - Roro’s cousin house. We were going to sleep in a drive way away from the house and walls. We were SO tired and very hungry. We told the Dr. (Roro’s cousin) and so she went and fixed us something small for dinner. Sardines in a red sauce eaten on bread. It took all that I had to eat half of it. I was able to sneak the rest of it to the dogs. Roro and dad finally came back at about 7:30pm. Sarah and I weren’t super worried but I did feel a lot better once they were back with us. Being out after dark is just not a smart thing to be doing right now.

We saw more of PAP that day. Houses flattened, walls broken, people living on the streets - literally under makeshift tents from sheets. Very draining of our hearts. :0( The language was slowly starting to make more sense to me. I could understand a lot of what was being said, but still very choppy in speaking it myself. Sarah was the opposite - she could speak but didn’t understand much.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quick update from Sarah ..

I don't have a whole lot of time - but I'll try and give a quick update.

No matter what you've watched on the news, it cannot begin to show how things really are here.
House after house is completely smashed - so many people have died. They will never be able to know the real number.
I literally have not met one person who didn't have a direct family die. A lot of people had multiple children die as well as their wives or husbands. But they're so strong. They don't feel sorry for themselves at all - because they know everyone else is suffering too.

Port-au-Prince is a huge city. There's not ANY businesses open. Most of them were destroyed, but even those that are still standing aren't open. It's like a wierd ghost town, but with people. No one is in any buildings. They're afraid.

I can understand now. Our very first morning in PAP, there was a tremor that was a 6.1. We were sleeping in our friends house. I've never been so scared in my life. I can't imagine what they went through.
Now we're sleeping a driveway. Away from the house and walls, in case they collaspe.

We've been trying like crazy to get food into these people. We finally got some yesterday and we drive 3 hours this morning to get a load in Jacmel. We'll be taking it back tomorrow.

There are thousands upon thousands that are still very wounded. We were able to help some of them yesterday.

My plan in the next couple of days is to take a bag of bandage supplies into some of the camps of homeless people. They all need their old bandages changed - or they still their wounds treated for the first time.

We were able to get to adopted boys out to the states earlier in the week. We had to spend two straight days at the U.S. Embassy - but we finally did it.

Julia and I tried our best to get a man with his two kids out to the states. His wife and two other children died. Now he has a 9 year old and 2 yr old and no home and no job.

We weren't able to do anything though...we went and saw their house...I can't imagine driving up to that and finding out my wife and kids were inside. They found the 2 yr old inside - God saved him. The 9 yr old was on the porch and was able to jump off.

A lot of people are literally starving to death - we're trying to get to them...but there's so many.

Keep praying! God's doing amazing things. Thank you all for all your prayers.

There's way more to tell than I can write right now.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Plans and Packing

I am starting this blog for our friends and family to keep updated with what is going on with our trip to Haiti.

Plans have changed by the minute over the last 2 days. My family and friends have been scrambling around to raise funds, find flights, and trying to arrange the 'whos'' and 'where's'. God is present in our lives and I am seeing it like I have never seen it before. Planning an emergency trip to a disaster area for 4 people in 2 days is nothing short of God.

Today we have all been running around to buy supplies and pack our bags. My dad was also interviewed on News Channel 13 (just google news channel 13 in Charleston/Huntington WV) and Sarah traveled up to Charleston from Knoxville this evening with her husband.

Here is a short e-mail that my mom sent out to our church family:

"Paul, Julia and Sarah are flying from Columbus to Miami tomorrow night(Sunday).
They will fly from Miami to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR)on stand-by Monday. They are meeting up with a Dominican Doctor there and going to the border. The Girtons missionaries to DR lined up the connection with the DR and those plans. They are flying in with RoRo - a Native missionary to Haiti. They will cross into Haiti at the border (not sure of how getting to Port au Prince --- that is up to RoRo!).
They will also be traveling with a UN lady. They hope to be helpful in interpreting for other workers there. And, they will minister to whatever needs God puts before them: food, shelter, etc.

We also have a friend in WI who is adopting a Haitian boy --- we found out he is ok and at an orphanage in PAP --- if God works out all the details, Paul maybe bringing him back!! He is at an orphanage of 50 boys --- the building was destroyed, and they are all living in the yard and have little food and water left.

RoRo isn't sure of what all he will find with his work... Paul will work alongside him, too.

Paul and our girls have their travel money (and are actually getting free seats from Miami to DR --- flight attendants gave up their flight hours to give them those seats...) and are working on "work" funds.

I know this isn't very specific --- we just don't know yet exactly what will put in their paths. We believe God quickly brought together all the details for them to make the trip and know it is guided by Him.. We will try to keep you posted as time goes.

Gifts can be made out to King's Way Christian Church (PO Box 307 Nitro, WV 25143) and specified for the Haiti trip. Paul hopes to be there 4-6 weeks - and he will cash and use funds as they come in.

Thanks so much for your prayers and interest --- Rachel (for Paul)"

Please continue to pray for us!