This is a collective retelling of what happened...
 
I woke up today restless. I had to drop into Cabaret a day before our convoy arrived. I arrived about 10am, dropped off my package to Charles and then headed off to PAP with a Dr. Cheryl. I was in PAP for about 8 hours going from hospital to hospital. The day ended with Dr. Cheryl taking me to the PAP UN headquarters (way to many UN people inside headquarters and not nearly enough on the streets) for a meeting with all the major organizational "players" in PAP. Dr. Cheryl tries to set up mobile clinics all over PAP. Now the Haitian police and USA military want more clinics but will give no protection (red tape issues). While PAP is now over saturated with help, I feel like finally major organizations are starting to control the chaos.

As for our compound, there were about 40 people in the church already prepped and waiting to have surgery. Dr. Cheryl has surgeons coming in Sunday, anxious and ready. Tomorrow is another big day. Jay, Kyle, Austin and Lockwood are transporting a huge convoy full of aid coming through the countryside. Pray for their safety.  ETA- 900am

 
Latest news, 2:00 am, hope its understandable...
 
We arrived in Santo Domingo at 5:30pm.

Ghetto sketchy rental cars- check

Inescapable, claustrophobic, 3rd world night traffic- check

Meeting and networking with anyone helping in Haiti- check

First night of deep sleep since earthquake- check

Today is going to be a big day. Our plan is to transport as much aid as close to the border as we possibly can to helicopter into our compound. We need local phones to call Dominicans about trucks to transport aid to the border, we are heading to an executive airport to ask the U.N. to give us some of their overstocked aid and we want to talk to the helicopter pilot face to face. On top of it all, today is one of the Dominican Republic’s biggest national holidays. We also need to meet and pick up 400 pounds of medical supplies that some Canadians are bringing to us. Drop Day will be tomorrow or Saturday. Pray for us to continually seek where God is moving and that we have the strength and patience in the midst of all obstacles that will come before us.

 
 
Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your willingness to walk with us in our efforts to help Haiti in this desperate time of need.  Jay, Diana, Zack and I returned to Jacksonville Friday night, and since returning to America we have been busy refocusing our plan of action to help Haiti and to specifically aid the village we were living in, Messailler. 

The time to act is NOW. Lespwa's short term goal: survival aid. Long term goals focus on restoration and developing sustainable communities, but the immediate needs for survival must be the focus now.    

After meeting together, the Lespwa Worldwide board has devised a game plan in response to the immediate needs of Haiti. The majority of aid and relief effort is being distributed from the capital of Port au Prince and will slowly, if at all, reach the villages on the distant outskirts of Port au Prince. The food and resources in the village of Messailler are nearly depleted as many people head north out of PAP searching for survival.  By the grace of God about 25 water filters were distributed throughout Messailler before the earthquake. The village has hand pumps from which they can get water.  

Our immediate goal:  get to the Dominican Republic and from there transfer fuel and food to Messailer so the campus where the orphanage stands can remain a haven to the 100’s of people already seeking refuge within our campus walls.

We've gotten an incredible amount of responses from people willing, ready and waiting to help.  By far the most significant immediate need is prayer.  Monetary support is very CRUCIAL at this point.  Food drives and clothing drives are not urgently needed at this time, although they will be necessary in weeks/months to come.  Some of you have money, some of you don’t have money but you have time…both are important commodities. Here's how you can help:

  1. Pray. Alot. Persistently.  Talk with your friends and commit yourselves to meeting together and praying.  Decide on a time, say 4:55pm, and pray for Haiti. Pray for specific needs.  Check your inbox and Facebook for specific prayer requests as they develop.
  2. 2nd most IMMEDIATE need:  FINANCIAL DONATIONS, which will go towards relief efforts for the people of Messailler. If every person who reads this donated $10, we could do A LOT for those who are helpless without our help. Donate here:  http://www.lespwaworldwide.com/lespwaworldwide/nosponsor.aspx 
  3. Join this Facebook group for current updates on the game plan:  "Pray for us. Pray for Haiti." Tell your friends and your friends’ friends to join.
  4. We really want to speak at churches, schools, companies, rotary meetings, etc. We want to speak on the news, with newspapers; as time goes on we want to keep this story alive until Haiti is restored. If you or anyone you know would be willing, please connect us with them immediately.
  5. We have t-shirts being made to raise funds.  More info about where to find those will come soon---buy one. Wear it. Buy your friend one.
  6. We have set up an Etsy shop online.  Get together with friends and create artwork to sell for Haiti relief funds. Send us a high quality picture of your artwork and we’ll post it. Kpastori@gmail.com
  7. Do whatever you can locally----hold a fundraiser at your school, church, etc. for Lespwa Worldwide.  Right now the greatest need, again, is monetary support.  Food drives, etc will be more helpful later…currently those goods would only sit in storage for later use.
 
Friends, we have been called to unite for such a time as this. Your efforts are needed and very appreciated.   


Because He first loved us,

Jeremy

 
7:30 am- I wake up rejuvenated beyond my understanding. The new day has brought me health and encouragement. It will all be fully needed to endure the day. Thanks be to God and all of those praying…

7:35 am- Charles Amicy takes Zack and I to PAP, in a search party, to find his sister and her family. With no contact since the quake, we will need a minor miracle to find them if they are still alive…

8:30 am- Enter the concrete jungle of PAP. The capital of Haiti is completely shut down and everyone is on the streets walking aimlessly afraid to go near any concrete structures. Almost every building left standing has major cracks crawling up the sides. The higher we go into the mountains of PAP, the intensity rises. More collapsed buildings, more blocked roads, more people covering their faces due to the increasing number of decaying bodies scattered on the side of the road.

10:00ish am- We park at the entrance of a blocked road. Charles gets out and tells us to stay in the truck as he runs off. The door opening and closing allows a strong stench of death to permeate inside. Zack and I make timid eye contact in the back seat as if to say, “God help us.” The ride thus far through PAP puts Zack and me in a heavy silence not easily broken. Finally, Charles emerges waving his arms franticly. Miracle 1- He found his sister, her husband and her kids- unharmed. They have a handful of belongs and throw them into the bed of the truck. They ask Zack and me to watch over it as they go back for one more round of things. Charles gives me his handkerchief to breathe through as the stagnate outside air reeks of dead bodies. We try to reorganize the possessions to make more room and in doing so stand several 5 gallon jugs upright. I witness an unsettling potential foreshadowing of the near future. As Haitians walking by see the jugs now clearly visible, they stop dead in their tracks. With frenzied looks they ask, “Eske ou gen dlo?!” (You have water?!) We say no but they just stare. Not just any stare, for a Haitian does not stare like Americans. A haunting soul piercing stare, the kind of stare where literally anything can happen next. Within 30 seconds, we quickly lay the jugs back down out of view. With no water in PAP, a storm of anxiety is growing stronger by the day. Charles and company return with some final items. Charles sister and family ride inside the truck with him while Zack and I lay on belongings in the bed of the truck. Heading back to Cabaret, we experience a full sensory taste of the sights of broken concrete and twisted rebar, the sounds of restless Haitians wondering about, the smell of rotting humans, the taste of dust and the feel of a rising atmosphere of chaos in PAP.

11:30 am- We arrive back at our house realizing we inevitably need to make a very important decision. Are we staying or are we going? We, the Americans, had weighed the pro and cons of both sides tirelessly. Bottom line- By staying right now with no tangible things to offer (aka medical relief), we are needlessly using scarce and valuable resources our Haitians friends and orphans require to survive. Along with growing concern for our safety, we decide we must go. Jay had been consulting with some missionary friends of ours about potential ways to get out. Our top 3 options, 1st option- try to navigate PAP to get to the US Embassy. The less reliable 2nd option- go to Citibank in PAP and use their helicopters to fly us to the Dominican Republic for a future flight to America. The 3rd option consisted of a crackpot team of our closest and most “Bear Grylls like” friends to come by boat and take us back. We decide to give PAP a try. The truck we have had enough gas to make just one more roundtrip to PAP and Charles needed to go back asap to pick up his other brother Leon and family. So it’s try now or try an unknown extendedly long time from now.

Noon- We gathered what we could in backpacks and said some rushed goodbyes. The orphans wanted to know when we would return but I could make no guarantees. Sometimes the rational thing to do proves to be the hardest thing to do. Leaving our compound, our orphans, our friends, we all felt so guilty. Trying to navigate the endless maze of concrete dead ends in PAP, thoughts crowded my head. “It’s not fair. Why can I go and not them? They did nothing to deserve this. They have nothing to overcome this. Government = Corrupt. Basic Necessities to Live = Dwindling by the Day. Land = Deforested. Orphans = Skyrocketing. Life isn’t fair.” But in the midst of a divinely carved out route to our 2nd miracle, God quieted me. He reminded me that He is sovereign and has promised to make all things new. All things. Even the most twisted, mangled things. Even the most hopeless, dejected beings. It is all unfolding perfectly in His story. My hope, my whole existence, clings to the truth that this story of making all things new is finished and now unfolding perfectly. As I passed the UN soldiers to walk up to the Embassy, I felt at ease for the first time since just before 5 pm on Tuesday…

2:45 pm- We arrive at the US Embassy.
 
We got 10 gallons of gas left for the generator and there is no more gas in Cabaret.

There is no gas in Port-au-Prince.

Food and water are very scarce.

Prices for everything have

Charles went to PAP today. He could barely describe what he saw, “The flood was nothing.” He said that the houses on the side of the mountains either collapsed or completely fell through the ground as the ravine opened up. He said road were blocked by piles of dead people pulled from the wreckage. Our school in PAP collapsed on itself, they think people are still inside but no one can help. Most government buildings, a lot of the U.N. force and many, many people… gone. As the earthquake passed through yesterday, any infustructure Haiti had… gone. “PAP is down… everything… no food, no water, no gas, no help.”

I can’t sleep.  I keep having this dream of falling and violently wake up.
Our medical clinic was packed all day, still is. It is a very bloody scene. Compound fractures, giant gashes and they keep flooding in. On beds, backs, wood. They are now getting here from PAP, at least a 20 mile hike.

The team from Savannah has a man named Jose who is an engineer for Gulf Streamliners. Friday morning, the team will have a military convoy escorting them to PAP and they will fly out on one of those planes. 14 seats, 14 savannahians.

We still don’t know what will happen next here. We just keep trying to help people in the clinic. I think the plane coming will bring us some aid. 

We need intentional prayers. Contact your friends, get together and pray hard. PAP prolly will turn in a refugee camp whenever help finally gets here. There are many dead and far more dying.

I’ve never felt sorrow like this.



I just took an hour break from writing. Another huge aftershock. Everyone ran out of the house.

I think this sorrow is making me physically sick. The Earth keeps moving. My head keeps spinning.

I feel so much distress that my heart physically hurts and seems to skip beats.

I switch from tears to goosebumps, back and forth.

Latest News: It is gunna get too dangerous here, we are gunna try and get out...
 
We are painting the outside of the orphanage and putting on a medical clinic. We have a team from Savannah here and they have 2 doctors on the team. So after painting today, we took the orphans on a walk with some of the younger people from the team. After showing the orphans the green bridge, we begin to walk back. We passed the cemetery on the right and walked another 20 yards. Then a low, all tree ruffling shake.

Thoughts in my head, with concern growing expedientially, frantically looking for a cause:

"Is that a truck?"
"Is it a semi?"
"Is there a stampede coming?"

After about several seconds the initial continuous shake grew to a full on violent rumble. I was barely able to stand. It was shaking so hard my vision was blurry. It literally felt as though God was shaking the earth in his hand. I look over to Jean Lubeans, a 5 year orphan, standing in front on a concrete wall 20 feet away falling over like wave break. I yell out and try to gather myself to run. He steps out and barely escapes the crashing wall. I run over and take his hand and any others I can find. We drop down huddled in the middle of the road. I look around at everyone else, faces painted with shock. Then, like a ripple effect, it slowly fades out. From start to finish, about 45 seconds to a minute of shaking.

We get up. No one is hurt. Distant screams and shouts.

There is a spirit of panic in the air. We need to get back to the compound. As everyone grabs a kid and speed walks the half-mile back, I assess the surrounding damage. Almost every single house has at least one wall down. People are screaming and crying. I get back to the compound and help one of the doctors stitch up a woman’s forehead.


We have experienced about 40 aftershocks since the initial shake. Even as I am writing this the house shakes.

From everything I have heard, Port-Au-Prince got rocked. It’s dark there now, powers out. Estimates like half the buildings are down in some places. Won’t know for sure til the morning light shines.

Please be praying. I know of one hospital that has completely collapsed. Houses destroyed. People are trapped in rumble. This country is always on the edge of complete chaos. Pray for our safety. Get your friends to pray too.

God’s might and power were on display today.

It forced me down on my knees with fear and trembling.    

Pray for Haiti. Pray for us. 

 

I am back in Haiti. Somehow. I didn't think I was gunna make it. I woke up way too early Wednesday morning to the coldest air this skin has encountered in a long time. I got dropped off at the Orlando airport before 6- freezing, tired thus confused. I had 2 carry on backpacks, a suitcase and a box of soccer nets. I was really late but too drowsy to care. I got pulled to the front of the check in counter when the AA lady told me the Port-au-Prince airport doesn't except boxes, only suitcases. With a sigh, I reluctantly agreed, checked my suitcase only and grabbed my two backpacks and started towards security. The lady yelled at me to stop and said I had to find somewhere to put my tapped up box. I asked if they could just throw it away, they declined and so I grabbed the box and backpacks and took off.

Where in the world do you put a 2 by 2 foot box? I didn't know either and my plane is taking off in like 25 minutes so I just politely put it down by some seats where no one was sitting. I got in the security line, waited, and then with 3 people left in front of me I got a tap on the shoulder. I turn around to see a rather unpleasant man saying come with me. He takes me to my box where about 6 other men, all in different uniforms, are standing impatiently. They ask me what's in the box, I reply "nets". They ask for my ticket and passport. Then each man standing there pulls out separate scanners to scan my passport and ticket like a cashier at a grocery store (my personal information is now the newest and latest addition to every warning and watch list the United States of America operates). They ask me to open the box, "okay" and as I go down each man takes 2 steps back. After opening, they ask me to pull everything out. Then they ask me questions that resembled a lightening round on a game show. With every answer, one of the men would turn and tell a man behind him in a suit who would then repeat my answer to someone on the other end of his phone. 

Then I said, "Am I gunna miss my flight..." After a few more questions and many, many "this was a terrible decision" comments, one of the men walked me to the front of the security lined, mentioned something like "level one" and left me. At this, all my carry on items were pulled out and wiped down individually to see if there were any explosives as I was thoroughly hand and electronically checked by security. FI left for my plane which had surely left but they ended up holding the plane for me, I was the last one on... lot of cheery faces walking down the aisle... 

 
Diana reminded me today of an unfortunate miscommunication problem I had awhile back...

I had to pee. I proceeded to the bathroom. As I let loose, one Mindylove walks in unannounced (she's 4). I turn for cover. She freezes at the door just half smiling at me. I want her to leave so I search my mental Creole Dictionary- eureka!- I say "gade". She doesn't leave. I say "Gade!". She stands there befuddled. I yell out "Hello!?" for someone to rescue me. Silence. I turn and look over my shoulder at Mendylove with a stern face and say, "GADE! KOUNYE A!". Nothing. So, I finish, walk down stairs and see Diana in the kitchen. I say, "Mindylove doesn't listen to anything?!" Peeking her curiosity, I explain the whole situation. I told Diana how I repeatedly said "leave" and she blankly stared at me. I even confidently explained to Diana what I said in Creole to Mindylove in my retelling. Then, revelation. "Gade" does NOT mean "leave"... It means "look". Which means I said, “look. Look! LOOK! NOW!” So that was kinda funny/ubber creepy.


Speaking of Creole, there are constant reminders of my desire to speak it fully. Last night I had a discussion with one of our closer Haitian friends. It was dark and the generator had not been turned on yet. The stars burned bright. So, out of nowhere I had this convo:

Me: Did you know that the sun is a star.

Woslin: (curiously) No…

Me: Did you know that the sun is WAYYYYY bigger than the earth?

Woslin: (shocked) No! Is the moon bigger than the sun?

Me: (shocked) no….

And that’s where that conversation ended. I cannot explain in Creole that the moon is closer and it appears bigger. I cannot explain that the world is far bigger than they ever could imagine. They have never seen a map and if they have they have no idea what it means. Many have not even been to the ocean like 3 miles away. It’s still shocking…