So many people have written to ask how we are doing after the recent series of hurricanes and storms to pass through our region, and we appreciate the concerns, prayers and encouragement of each one of you. Let me assure you that we are fine here at the HOH, which unfortunately can't be said for a lot of other places in Haiti who were much harder hit than we were. Linda and I were not here for the storms, but the kids said it was a very scary time, the winds and rain were fierce, but in the end we had no damage to the HOH whatsoever. All we can say is "thank you Lord for Your mighty protection".
The only damage done on all of the mission property here at La Pointe, was a few tree branches that fell down. One fell in the area where our vehicle is usually parked, but Ronel had thought ahead and had moved the truck when the winds had started to pick up. Thanks to his quick thinking, we were spared any damage to the vehicle! In anticipation of any other storms that might be heading our way, the maintenance men of the hospital have been cutting off any tree branches that are over the buildings, just in case.
You've been asking if we have food and water, and at the moment we do have both. But with the extensive damage all over the country of Haiti, the roads cut off in many places, thousands of people left without homes or anything at all, and most if not all of the gardens completely wiped out; supplies are becoming scarce and food prices are soaring. Some estimates have said food prices have risen 60% in the past month alone, and we can believe it. Getting anything fresh from the market is increasingly difficult, and staple goods like rice and flour are expensive. Powdered milk can't be found, and the condensed milk we use for our malnourished kids has gone up in price as well (we were only able to get 30 cases for the same price we usually get 45). But we have some for a while, and are thankful to just have it. So the bottom line at this point is, if you can afford it, you can find something to eat...if you can't, you go without, and there's plenty of people around us going without these days. We can see it in the numbers of malnourished children brought to the HOH. Every day there seems to be at least one or two new ones, we have 2 babies in almost all the cribs in our nursery.
As for water, we are still having trouble with our water source, the local hospital. Their pump has problems that they can't seem to fix, so in the 10 days we've been back, we've had running water for a little bit on 2 of them. The rest of the time the kids have been hauling it from wherever we can find it. They are such good sports about it, and when doing it together actually seem to have a good time creating ways to carry as much as they can at a time. We don't know for how long this problem is going to last, but we are much better off than many other people around us, so we'll take it when we get it, and carry it when we don't!
Another issue we are facing is a shortage of diesel fuel. With the roads so badly cut in many places, the fuel trucks can't get to us from Port-au-Prince, and what does make it through is expensive (we've seen it as high as $18 US a gallon in the past couple of weeks, but it has come down considerably if you can find it, I paid $5 last week for some to put in our vehicle). Anyway, we get our electricity from the generators at the hospital, and they've had to shorten the hours they run their generators as their supply of fuel is quickly being used up. We've had to tighten our belts and manage our time more wisely to use the hours of electricity we do get to get as much work done as possible. But again, we are privileged to have this amount considering those around us who go without on a regular basis.
School across Haiti was canceled until October, so we've had the kids here at the HOH every day. We've also become the official "drop in" center for all the boys and young men around our town who have nothing to do. Our yard is constantly full of kids playing basketball, soccer, dominoes, or whatever else they can find to keep themselves busy. While it can get kinda crazy at times, we are happy to provide a safe and healthy environment for them, and hope to start some week-end activities with them during the school year. God has been impressing on our hearts the great spiritual needs of this group of young men, and we hope to be able to use these activities to reach them with the Good New of Jesus in the days ahead. Pray for us as we throw around ideas of how to do this, that we'd be effective ministers of Jesus to this needy group of kids.
So here are some ways you can pray for us:
- Pray for the country and people of Haiti. We hear of a lot of aid coming in to help people who have lost everything, pray that it would be distributed wisely and fairly, and that there wouldn't be a lot of corruption through the process. Pray that the leaders of the country would use this help wisely for the good of the people and country of Haiti.
- Pray that in the midst of incredible loss and devastation, God would be glorified, and that God's people would allow Him to use them to bring His message of hope to those who need it. Pray for the comfort of the many people who have lost family members, and pray that many would come to know Jesus during this difficult time.
- Pray for Linda and I as we are working on the Bible studies for our kids. We hope to start when school starts up, or the beginning of October, whichever comes first!
- Pray for God's provision of the financial support we need to continue to purchase food and supplies at these high prices.
- We have a lot of items coming for us on the boat. The boat is anticipating coming into Haiti from Miami in early October, pray that all the items for us would make it here ok, that God would protect them from theft and damage. These items help us out in so many ways.
- Our friend Jeb is coming down for a couple of days, we look forward to his visit, and already marvel at how God worked out this trip in His perfect timing as Jeb is bringing us some items we really needed. Praise God together with us for His perfect provision.
- We have been offered help with our staple foods from World Vision. Unfortunately, just when they were going to bring us our first shipment of food, all the hurricanes hit, and we were not able to receive it. We have no idea where this food is now, or if we'll ever see it, but pray that we would, it would be a huge help as we feed around 100 people 3 times a day!