And I don't mean the France-based megastore! Carrefour is a district just west of central Port-au-Prince. This morning we had to reassess and shift directions. Coincidentally, that is what "carrefour" means: intersection. It is said that in Chinese, the character for "crisis" means when danger and opportunity intersect. An apt description of Haiti post-earthquake. This is an ever-changing situation. We had thought we would rent and set up a certain house in a district called “Delmas” as a home base, but the last 2 nights there've been marauding guys in the neighborhood (same as Tom's house) and shots were fired to fend them off. The owner had fled a few months ago because of an attempt to kidnap his daughter. But now, many zones of Port-au-Prince have increased in tension because people are desperately hungry. The Lord thus steered us away.
So today we followed a connection in a zone near Carrefour, yet still relatively rural, inspecting another house as a potential base for ministry. We engaged with several members of the community to help us gather info and seek out a rapport. Nearby, we visited with staff on a missionary compound called "Christianville." There is a school, orphanage, and hospital, though the hospital was destroyed. They have a good presence in the area, and told us how they sewed stitched up wounded survivors who were brought to the compound for 12 solid hours immediately after the quake. They delivered babies, held the grieving, and performed amputations. Those who rescued and tended the wounded and dying still have not had a break. We want to support them and bless them in any way possible.
Then we went into the heart of Carrefour, which was the EPICENTER of the quake: “Ground Zero.” We checked in with a holistic ministry there, where the press of humanity is stifling. And the loss was staggering. The pastor of the church told us 1500 neighbors were lost. The road is scarred where the earth split, and in the neighborhoods rather tall crumpled buildings teeter dangerously leaning into the narrow streets. It felt claustrophobic and the stench was terrible. Doctors from Singapore sack out at their ministry center as they’re working at the nearby makeshift clinic. The pastor and his staff are doing an admirable work in the Lord’s name, and they entrusted us with a list of supplies which they need. One specific item they will need is large tarps for 40 families, for when the rains come. They are all living in the street in front of the broken houses, which is already such a narrow single lane. At the end of the day they pile the trash and set it on fire, and by dusk the streets are blindingly smoke-filled. We’ll have to acquire such supplies by coordinating with Christian workers in the Dominican Republic as costs are rising in Haiti now.
Christian ministries can and do work together well under these circumstances, perhaps better than ever before, and perhaps better than the bigger aid agencies are managing. Trust, good rapport, prayer,and a sense of Kingdom purpose unites us in blessings these wounded people.
We know you are praying. Thank you.