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Helping to end the desperate wait of a destitute people

Helping to end the desperate wait of a destitute people

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by Pastor Dr. E. Walford Thompson Fri, Sept 17, 2010

“In Haiti people are waiting, waiting and waiting. Waiting for the promises made to them by Caribbean and other developed countries to be fulfilled. Waiting for the politicians to end their never-ending quest to become the next President of Haiti.”{{more}}

As our plane came to a stop on the runway of the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport, Port au Prince Haiti, we were greeted by a pack of hungry dogs. The flight attendant explained that they had arrived for their daily ration of scraps which she threw to them on the runway. Today, forty years after my first visit to Haiti, it’s not the dogs who wait, its people…people are waiting, waiting and waiting. Waiting for the promises made to them by Caribbean and other developed countries to be fulfilled. They are waiting for the containers of relief supplies (piled up everywhere at the airport and other ports) to be distributed…Waiting for the politicians to end their never-ending quest to become the next President of Haiti.

Haiti, (described by a professor of geography and community development at IUP) as “the poorest country in the western hemisphere,” was plunged into a further state of desperation by the recent earthquake of January 2010. People who follow the regional news know Haiti as a country that has been exploited and used by those in authority for their own gain. The scarce resources which should be used to bring relief to the hurting people fritter away in their fight to gain the golden prize.

During my 40 years of ministry in Haiti, I have watched the exploitation of the people by past Presidents (from Papa Doc down to the present). I have seen the plight of poor people whose meager incomes are taxed to support a lifestyle of affluence and visible extravagance of its leaders. I have traveled that country from north to south, east to west, along its villages and town and on the Central Plateau. Haiti is a land where the people are always waiting. The women in the market place stooped over; the men who wait, some of them sleeping on the side of the road or in the bushes as they accompany cattle to the slaughter house in Port au Prince. The children standing on the side of the road, or at the door of their thatched or tin-roofed houses, some with nothing but the rolled up grass mat on which they will sleep on the dirt floor. They are waiting…with extended bellies and their bold, sad eyes, waiting. The people wait for the trees to grow again so that they prune them to make fire-wood, or lumber for their huts. They wait for someone to affirm their humanity and safeguard their dignity. They wait for clean water to drink. The falling rain which allow the streams to flow also bring mudslides and mud as it rushes over the eroded scarred landscape.

On August 26th the Biabou Evangelical Church, responded to the call of God to “Go where they are…and have compassion”. The Lord brought together a team of 20 persons, 3 each from the United States and Haiti, and fourteen from the Caribbean. Thirteen of them were members of the church. The team was an interesting mix of skills – one doctor, (associate professor of Trinity medical school in SVG) two high school teachers, three nurses, one building contractor, a police officer, an ex-politician and a pastor from another church. All willing workers. Mission Haiti 2010 from the Biabou Evangelical Church prayerfully decided, in obedience to God’s word to go. They spent several thousand dollars to purchase medicine to cure malaria, typhoid, skin lesions etc., Cement, steel, food, clothing, toys, teaching aids, protective face-masks, building tools, etc. They endured the discomfort brought on by preventative inoculations; purchased their airfare and traveled for many hours, because they felt that the Haitian people had waited long enough.

One member of the team (from U.S) who arrived one day before the others, found a Haitian family of eleven, who had not eaten for three days. He gave them the US$40.00 which he would have used for a hotel room that night to buy food etc. and spent the night with them, sleeping on the floor of their two-room house. Many persons on our team confessed that they were not prepared for the calamitous site of Port-au-Prince, – the virtual sea of blue tents surrounding the airport, every open space, even the median between the highway in Carfour, with virtual no space between the living space and the wheels of the trucks. They are all waiting for relief from their suffering, waiting for food, water, medicine. They are waiting for the dust to stop, and for relief from the exhaust fumes flooding into their tents clogging up their lungs and falling on their bread and in their drink.

As our tears fell (in sympathy for the plight of these our fellow human beings) our prayers went up to God on their behalf. We traveled for six and a half hours by bus to an established clinic in the southern peninsula, (where many Haitians have sought refuge from the sweltering heat of the tents in Port-au-prince, and the over burdened and inefficient distribution center); we choked on our food as we thought of the many waiting outside still hungry. We rolled up our sleeves, sorted medicines and began our work. Hundreds came to the clinic, and our medical team, led by Dr. Coey who was more accustomed to the lecture halls at the Trinity School of Medicine where he is an Associate Professor, worked long hours each day seeing patients and distributing medicines. Our school teachers held a seminar with the local Haitians teachers, and gave them gifts of teaching aids etc, much to their surprise and delight. Our team of workers finished the floors of the school, and interacted with members of the community and church.

We reluctantly left Haiti after one week of ministering to people who are loved by God and by us, and we resolved by God’s grace and enabling to return.

We are deeply grateful for all of the churches and individuals who helped to make this project possible. On behalf of the entire team Thank you! There were no spectators on the team. No executives or managers, only servants of Christ. The doctors and nurses served in their capacity the teachers worked alongside the men mixing cement and even taking part in the bucket brigade along with the preachers at the building site. We left with calloused hands, aching backs and joyful hearts. “Everyone cannot be famous, but everyone can be great, for greatness comes from service”.

The members of the Biabou Evangelical Church are committed to ensuring that the people of Haiti are not kept waiting in vain for an expression of the love of God in Christ Jesus. Can they depend on you to show up for them? We can help you.

lesions etc., cement, steel, food, clothing, toys, teaching aids, protective face-masks, building tools, etc. They endured the discomfort brought on by preventative inoculations; purchased their airfare and traveled for many hours, because they felt that the Haitian people had waited long enough.

One member of the team (from U.S) who arrived one day before the others found a Haitian family of eleven who had not eaten for three days. He gave them the US$40.00 which he would have used for a hotel room that night to buy food etc. and spent the night with them, sleeping on the floor of their two-room house. Many persons on our team confessed that they were not prepared for the calamitous site of Port-au-Prince, – the virtual sea of blue tents surrounding the airport, every open space, even the median between the highway in Carfour, with virtually no space between the living space and the wheels of the trucks. They are all waiting for relief from their suffering, waiting for food, water, medicine. They are waiting for the dust to stop, and for relief from the exhaust fumes flooding into their tents clogging up their lungs and falling on their bread and in their drink.

As our tears fell (in sympathy for the plight of these our fellow human beings) our prayers went up to God on their behalf. We traveled for six and a half hours by bus to an established clinic in the southern peninsula, (where many Haitians have sought refuge from the sweltering heat of the tents in Port-au-Prince, and the over burdened and inefficient distribution center); we choked on our food as we thought of the many waiting outside still hungry. We rolled up our sleeves, sorted medicines and began our work. Hundreds came to the clinic, and our medical team, led by Dr. Coey, who was more accustomed to the lecture halls at the Trinity School of Medicine where he is an Associate Professor, worked long hours each day seeing patients and distributing medicines. Our school teachers held a seminar with the local Haitians teachers, and gave them gifts of teaching aids etc, much to their surprise and delight. Our team of workers finished the floors of the school, and interacted with members of the community and church.

We reluctantly left Haiti after one week of ministering to people who are loved by God and by us, and we resolved by God’s grace and enabling to return.

We are deeply grateful for all of the churches and individuals who helped to make this project possible. On behalf of the entire team Thank you! There were no spectators on the team. No executives or managers, only servants of Christ. The doctors and nurses served in their capacity the teachers worked alongside the men mixing cement and even taking part in the bucket brigade along with the preachers at the building site. We left with calloused hands, aching backs and joyful hearts. “Everyone cannot be famous, but everyone can be great, for greatness comes from service”.

The members of the Biabou Evangelical Church are committed to ensuring that the people of Haiti are not kept waiting in vain for an expression of the love of God in Christ Jesus. Can they depend on you to show up for them? We can help you.

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