PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Independent Baptist ministries continue to flood Haiti with relief efforts in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. Communication has been a struggle, but details continue to emerge as Baptist leaders in Haiti are able to report in brief e-mails and phone calls.
“It’s very sad to see the situation of Haiti at this time,” says Pastor Prédestin Hérard, president of the Association des Énglises Evangeliques Baptistes d΄ Haiti. “In each street you go you can see about 25 people died and the number increase everyday because there not enough hospital to care for the people.”
“No power, no phone, no food as well. We are in a terrible catastrophe.”
Jason and Sharon Nightingale of Wordsower International were in Haiti when the earthquake hit, ministering with Pastor Hérard. After spending a day at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, they have now been evacuated to McGuire Air Force Base, located 18 miles south of Trenton, N.J.
“When we left the U. S. Embassy, they wouldn’t tell us where we were going. We could only take the luggage we could carry on our laps,” Nightingale says.
As Air Force cargo planes deliver supplies to Haiti, some of them are able to return to the U. S. with passengers. “If you want to leave Haiti on an Air Force plane, you have to have an American passport,” Nightingale says, speaking by cell phone from a staging area for evacuees that has been set up at the Air Force base.
As relief efforts continue to focus on basic needs, Nightingale stressed the importance of long-term, carefully planned relief efforts. “If you made it through the earthquake, can you make it through the aftermath?” Nightingale asked.
Chris Hindal, director of international ministries for the GARBC, is using the GARBC International fund to receive donations for relief efforts. Hindal announced yesterday that Gospel Literature Services was immediately reprinting a French-language version of the popular Why? tract for distribution by various groups ministering in Haiti.
The GARBC has organized a unique online prayer meeting led by National Representative John Greening on Monday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 CST / 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT. Prayer requests will be offered by Pastor Jacquelin Saint-Preux of Eglise Evangelique Baptiste, Elmont, N.Y. Those who register for this international online prayer meeting will receive an e-mail with a weblink that will connect participants on Monday night.
Baptist Mid-Missions in Haiti
Roy and Ruth Shelpman, missionaries serving with Baptist Mid-Missions in Grand Goâve, live about 20 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. They ran out of their house when the earthquake began, then stood across the road watching their house and compound collapse.
“Thankfully, Dr. Shelpman did not report any personal injuries to the people in their immediate residence,” reports the BMM website. “They plan to remain in Grand Goâve for the present time without attempting to travel to Port-au-Prince, because of the severity of damage to the national highway.”
Baptist Mid-Missions has set up a World Relief project fund to offer physical and spiritual help to those affected in Haiti.
Evangelical Baptist Missions in Haiti
Evangelical Baptist Missions has partnered with Double Harvest, a Hatian relief ministry, for more than 20 years. The mission board plans to use the 200-acre compound just outside Port-au-Prince as a staging area for relief efforts. The ministry already has heavy-duty equipment such as tractors, front loaders, and back hoe on site, along with generators and water pumps.
EBM also sponsors the Haiti Children’s Home, an orphanage 35 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince that suffered damage during the earthquake but has so far reported no injuries. “The children in the orphanage we work with are okay,” says Rick Hudson, vice president of missionary personnel for EBM. “The buildings were damaged but did not fall.”
When the earthquake began, the children were evacuated to an open field across the road from the orphanage and spent the night there, Hudson says.
Pierre and Yvette Cadet, EBM missionaries to Haiti sent by Berean Baptist Church, Livonia, Mich., were in Florida at the time of the earthquake.