We flew into Port Au Prince a little over a week ago, with everyone craning their necks to see the city. I think almost everyone on the plane was there for some sort of relief work. Some had t-shirts marking the occasion, like “Village Community Church – Haiti Mission 2010.”
I was traveling with 7 other pastors, hosted by Convoy of Hope, the organization we had partnered with since the earthquake that had killed 220k and left 1 million homeless on January 12.
Back in January I did some research to make sure we partnered with someone in Haiti who could do effective work for the long haul. I found Quisqueya Chapel, a local church, had become a DAILY distribution point for Convoy of Hope, serving 4k meals, water, tarps, tents, hygiene kits, etc. I was powerfully impacted finding several old clips of Pastor Carl and Ann Olssen and the church faithfully serving and praying for Haiti and equipping people to follow Jesus. I hoped to meet them on this trip.
One of the most impacting stories we encountered was of Ernst, our security guard. In the earthquake Ernst had lost his 10-year-old daughter Gabrielle in the rubble. After frantically searching and yelling out her name he heard her cries from under the collapsed concrete and rebar. Ernst reassured her he would get her out, as they talked back and forth. He dug for 72 hours and finally pulled Gabrielle to safety.
We met Ernst at the airport along with the team from Convoy of Hope. He was surprised when we told him we’d read his story. He lit up at when we mentioned his daughter’s name and said “Yes, that’s my daughter!” (photo: Ernst at right, Kelo on left)
Traveling throughout Port Au Prince and surrounding remote villages in the mountains we saw so many desperate people. We visited several orphanages and schools (all connected with local churches). We got to talk to people, hear their stories and pray for them. The poverty rate was above 80% before the earthquake so you can imagine the scene of thousands standing around all day every day with nothing to do…
Ernst’s story symbolized to me what God is doing in Haiti (and in Colorado). His kids are trapped beneath the rubble of brokenness and separated from Him. Some of us don’t even know we are trapped. He is doing all He can to rescue us. He will not stop.
And if we have become “free” He is calling us to join Him on His rescue mission to others
Yes, I did get to meet Pastor Carl and thank him for the work he has faithfully done over the years. (photo: Carl on the right) He was so filled with joy. It was as though I was meeting a modern day hero – humble, unassuming, who has given his life to serve Jesus on His rescue mission.
We’ll continue to send teams and resources to Haiti, as well as the other places we are working with in the world.
For more info on how you can be a part, connect with our Missions and Outreach Pastors Kenny and Carla Kneezle and/or go to our “support the mission” link on this website.