Dear friends and family;
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea," Psalm 46: 1-2
We are so thankful for all that the Lord is doing here. The most important thing is that more people are coming to know Him through this. This has always been our prayer for Haiti. Pastors of churches that are affiliated or not affiliated with UCI have been coming to us to tell us the news that many hard hearts are soft and a lot people are being restored to their faith. On Sunday, we were able to visit the house of the family that had 6 people come to know Lord when Jean Jean and I went to pray with them. Every single person in that house from Port had been sick. But, the whole family is doing well now! The mom is so happy to be going to church with her kids. We are hoping to put in a cement floor for them so no one has to sleep in the dust or mud. During the 3 days of national prayer, our community had over 15 people come to Him for the first time and many, many more came forward to re-dedicate their lives to Jesus. We have heard reports like this all over Haiti, praise the Lord!.
Haiti continues to suffer from aftershocks. The last one registered 4.7 in Port-au-Prince. One of Jean Jean's school mates had been living inside his house since a couple weeks after the quake. It had seemed that his house had not suffered damage. But, yesterday's last aftershock shook his house too much and it now has major cracks in it. He will not be living in it again. Keep praying that no more structural damage will happen in Port. Also, it has been raining off-and-on. Usually rain is such a blessing. But, with so many people living outside or on the ground, it has caused a lot of problems.
Many people have asked how our family is coping now. It is much better now but 2 of my sisters-in-law still prefer to sleep on the ground. They do this because every time their bed shakes a little--even though we don't feel the aftershocks here--it scares them awake and they can't sleep. I don't know what else to do but pray and be patient. Another sad story concerns the young people that have been able to go to school in our community. It has been good to have the kids go to school and get back into a routine. But, today, some trouble-makers decided to throw big rocks on the roofs of the school buildings. The kids from Port heard the noise and immediately thought that it was another earthquake. They all panicked and ran out. This caused the other kids to be scared and everyone pushed and shoved to get out into the yard. Many kids were hurt in all the confusion. What is even sadder is that we have heard of several other communities having the same problem. Haiti is trying to continue as before, but it is hard.
We apologize because our camera, after giving us a lot of problems, has decided to stop working all together. I have a lot of pictures that should have been taken of people receiving food and supplies, of the churches being helped, and people who would love to tell you thank you personally. But, we'll get another camera soon.
We have been able to hand out a lot of food to refugee families that have been in need. Many families have benefitted from this ministry. UCI's Haitian board has been praying about how to shift to development. Giving food only lasts a short time and it is hard for many of these people to keep on receiving hand-outs. One of the ways we hope to develop people and help the country is to expand our agricultural program. Everyone needs to eat and Port-au-Prince lost a lot of their food manufacturing businesses. We would like to help families to learn how to grow enough food to feed themselves. Many of the refugees are returning to their family and their family land. Through the local churches, UCI wants to train people and work with co-op groups. One specific way that UCI wants to help is to help finance a water pump that can irrigate land by a river. If several families work together, a water pump can be situated to irrigate an extensive area. Once irrigation is in place, people can grow vegetables that will supplement their diet and can be sold for profit. We also are working on other microfinance ideas that will help out families that have to start over. We know that we need to continue to give people fish for a while longer, but we really want to teach people to fish instead. And with all of this, we are going to use the Bible as our GPS to guide us.
We appreciate your prayers and your love!
Jean Jean, Kristie and all the folks here