We have some specific praises and prayer requests we want to share with you...PLEASE continue to lift up Haiti, all those who are hurting, all those who are helping and all that is taking place. Thank you!
This morning we put the very last of our Haitian money in the offering plate. While we have some US cash, all the banks in Cap-Haitien have closed. (due to the fact that all the banks in PAP were destroyed) With banks being closed, we had no way to change our US money for Haitian money, and without any Haitian money...we had NO MONEY at 10 am this morning. We usually keep a reserve of money, but with all the major need this past week, it was ALL gone. We told one of the visiting professors staying with us this morning, "I don't know WHAT we're going to do."
After church this morning, a friend asked us for a little bit of money to help her buy some rice for her family, and I told her honestly, "We have not ONE penny, I'm so sorry! We have US cash, but no Haitian money, and no one is changing!"
"What are you going to do?" she asked, and I honestly replied, "I don't know!"
It was not 30 seconds later that she came back to me, and said, "Someone knows someone. I will come to your house later."
Well, she just left with a friend of a friend, who changed out money for us, and at a great rate, too! We praise the Lord for making that which was not possible, possible.
Church this morning. We have been just so blessed by the reactions of Haitian believers to all of this. After a time of prayer for all those who are hurting, we had a long praise time, and I was in tears listening to the loud songs of heart-felt praise enveloping us. After an awesome sermon about the struggles we will always face, but the faithfulness of our heavenly Father, we were encouraged that NOW is the time.
"It takes much pain for a woman to give birth to something new. We have an opportunity to rebuild, to build something new, to take what has been Satan's for so long and make it HIS, to stop living for ourselves and to live for Him!"
Then, a nearby pastor stopped in the service, and let everyone know that area churches are all coming together to make Casava (a common type of bread/cookie). "If you have the ingredients for Casava in your garden, bring them! If you have money, bring it! If you have charcoal, bring it. If you have two grains of rice for your family, bring one!"
Tomorrow they will make as much Casava as they can with what everyone donates, and then a group of believers will take it to fallen churches in PAP.
I was so touched, and continue to be so touched, by the way ALL those around us are responding to this devastation. For those who have so little already, I know their "three pennies" are beautiful sacrifices unto the Lord.
We saw Lucner's brother yesterday, and what a miracle...so be in a building entirely collapsed on Tuesday, surrounded by his dead room-mates. To be found by Lucner on Thursday in the hallway of a hospital in Port-au-Prince. To be WALKING on his street in Cap-Haitien on Saturday alongside of his mother...I saw a miracle with my own eyes in him yesterday, we praise Him.
Many area missionaries are working with missionaries in Port-au-Prince through our slowly returning phone/internet services to figure out what is needed and how to get it there. Matt's been on the phone will all kinds of people today trying to work on arranging the purchasing of food and water from the Dominican Republic and getting it to missions in PAP that are surrounded by major devastation and need.
Please pray that all of the difficulties that are beginning to surface with security, transportation, flights, etc, that rough places would be made smooth to get water, food, and medical supplies to those who need it. With each day that passes, the needs grow. We are so thankful to have CSI in Port-au-Prince as a good contact point and as a reliable, secure, and perfectly located place to have a major impact. They are working now to make some decisions about how to best work, and we will let you know what's going on there and what needs they have when we know.
Please pray for the country at large, as the initial shock is passing and the reality of how in the world life will go forward starts to sink in. Much of the country's currency is gone. Education. Politics. Economy. Dozens of buses have begun passing our house each day, loaded to the brim with people coming from Port with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They come in search of family or friends or churches to take them in, family, friends and churches that were already barely scraping by. Please pray for each Haitian and foreigner that is trying to help and trying to figure out how to help best. Please pray for the Lord to multiply what each one has to meet the rapidly multiplying need. Please pray that now would INDEED be the time for God to be doing something new and GOOD in Haiti through EACH of us.
I know the news always paints things quite terribly for Haiti, but I can tell you that we have seen and heard of SO MANY beautiful things that people are doing and sacrificing.
Please pray for our students, these 35 "Light Bearers" as they seek to serve their families and the people in their churches as Leaders here in Northern Haiti. Please pray for their wisdom and protection and guidance as they literally set the standard for so many here. What an awesome responsibility for them each. Pray that we would know how to best support them.
This post is getting LONG!
Thank you for your continued help and prayers.
A godly, Spirit-filled past-graduate and pastor came to our home yesterday to see Dr. Cooper, and said something I had never thought of.
"What do you think" he asked us, "About the fact that on Monday, this place, this God-given Seminary for training up Godly men and women on the road between Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince, opened. And then Tuesday, life in Haiti as we knew it ended. What do you think about the fact that Monday, a huge, beautiful, brand new Bible training institute opened for the Lord's service and that Tuesday, the center of Haiti was brought low? God has a plan for this place. He is doing something NEW."
We are blessed, truly blessed, to be apart of all that we SEE that He is doing, and all that we trust He will be doing in these coming days. THANK YOU for being a part of it as well. We cannot thank you enough for your prayers, help and support.
We know many of you are concerned, and I accidentally found an email Matt wrote regarding just this. I was crying again, just reading it, as that he perfectly worded our hearts (some of this info might also make you feel a little better, too, if you are a worrier :) :
I understand where you're coming from and your concern, but please demonstrate some confidence in me. We do have access to the info as Brett just got back from Port with a report and photos and the mission's plan. At the moment, we're all stocked up on everything. We have tons of fuel (for both generator and truck) and food. Fuel stations are still selling some fuel, which is a good sign. We get a lot of our supplies from the DR which is just a 2 hour drive away. So if there is a fuel or food problem, we can make a trip to the DR no problem.
I talked to Greg Benson in Port-au-Prince yesterday. He and the girls from his orphanage sang for Diane Sawyer on TV. He gives me very calm and progressively positive reports as he is in the center of Port-au-Prince. Everything they had (guest house and orphanage) is gone, but their medical clinic is still standing. He's flying in a medical team next week to help. He said as of right now he didn't need me there with him, which is another great sign that things are being controlled. Brett said that even though the news is conveying panic, desperation, looting, danger, etc, that he saw none of this. Everywhere he went people were praying and praising Jesus in the streets.
All of this is going to effect the seminary here. We're going to have an influx in students (because the seminaries in Port are gone) and might even use the new facilities to keep refuges. We're still waiting on more information to be able to make that decision. Regardless, we have lots of resources that we need to contribute to the problem. We have a brand new facility with lots of beds and a industrial kitchen.
Have confidence in me. I'm closer to the problem and information than anyone else. I've had more time in Haiti than anyone else in the states that you might know (including news channels). I'm remaining sensitive to the atmosphere and will continue to do so.
For your comfort, OMS has "tripwires" put in place that initiate missionary evacuation mobilization. When the fuel gets to a certain point, they start sending people out. If there is any security risk, they start sending people out. MFI is always available to send in emergency flights if they are needed. We're also only a few hours from the Santiago airport in the Dominican Republic.
These are real people. If Diane B.'s house fell on her, the last thing I would do would be run away so I didn't have to help. What if Casey was paralyzed and had no where to go and all of his friends and neighbors locked their doors so he couldn't come and find refuge in my home (let alone a facility that can keep up to 150 people). These people are our friends and family in Christ. This is Doug S. with no where to go, Terry B. who's lost his family, home and everything else, Uncle Jody who has open-bone wounds and has to sleep in the mud, and Jesus himself stuck under the rubble. In my spirit, there is nothing sensible or Biblical about running in the opposite direction of such need.
All that said, I do understand where you're coming from. I sincerely understand your loss of sleep and inability to put the issue out of your mind. Have peace in the fact that my first priority is discerning God's will. That's always first. Rest in that peace and pray that we have enough courage to be faithful to what He's asked us to do in circumstances like these.
This is Haiti's chance to start-over. This seminary is going to be a pivotal factor in training and producing leaders that will lead the New Haiti into a day of redemption. I have a strong sensation that this will be the new Seminary of Haiti as others institutions are gone, we have new facilities, a growingly qualified staff and strong potential at a new director. It is NOW that we're beginning to see why God has TRULY called us here. It is for this time. This time.
God is faithful! Praise him for what He's doing. Comfort those who call you and make them realize that God is RECREATING a nation and he's called us to play a role in it.