In January 2010 an earthquake decimated Haiti and the Port au Prince metropolitan area. The day after the earthquake, Rapid Response Team chaplains were on the ground at the Port au Prince Airport and enroute to the Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM) hospital.
Since then, the chaplains have provided emotional and spiritual care to the medical victims, the medical staff, the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), and the missionary staff.
The Principle of Encouragement
RRT chaplains and a worker from Baptist Haiti Mission were visiting a principal of a private Catholic school was depressed and discouraged about the state of things after the earthquake. She and her husband are founders of the school, and lost many dear students through death, and some orphaned ones to the state.
Many of the teachers are coming to her for encouragement. But, she says she’s so depressed that she doesn’t have it in her to encourage these teachers.
The chaplains gave her verses on casting out fear and trusting God. They reminded her that we cannot hold on to anything in this world; Jesus is the only one we can hold onto and trust. The principal left the meeting encouraged and ready to pass that same encouragement on to her teachers.
Growing in Christ
One woman named Rosaline lives in a tent village where RRT chaplains hold Bible studies and worship services. After attending several of these meetings, she accepted Christ.
She did not have a Bible and asked the chaplains for one. At the time we are out, but got one for her a short time later. At the next week’s meeting, she said she had been reading her Bible. Pray for me that I can help other people get the peace and comfort I have in Jesus.
One chaplain said of Rosaline says, “Week after week, her smile gets bigger and bigger. Her church and home are destroyed, but since she has received Christ feeling come over her that she can’t explain. She has a great desire to understand and grow in the Lord.”
More Valuable Than Money
While visiting a hotel on the beach a man by the name of Fernando yelled for the RRT chaplains to come ride in his boat for pay. Chaplains introduced themselves, then explained they could not take a boat ride. After a short conversation with Fernando he was asked if he had a relationship with Jesus. He stated he knew about Jesus and it was through Him he had hope. He continued speaking about how Jesus takes care of him and his family. Chaplains then asked if they could pray for him.
Following the prayer Fernando stated praying for him was much more valuable then paying him to ride in his boat. He later came back and yelled hello to the chaplains calling their names.
Hope to Live
As the RRT chaplains were walking through a work camp a man named Charles asked if he could talk with them. Charles is a middle-aged Haitian who speaks English very well. He began telling chaplains where he was during the earthquake and that he had just spoken with his friend and neighbor before she died. They were outside in the street and she was going to a church meeting. He asked her to come eat with them and she told him she would come a little later.
Not long after that he said he felt the ground shake and houses started falling down all around him. He looked over at the church where his friend was in the meeting and that side of the church had collapsed. A few days later they found her body and her head had been crushed.
Tears ran down his dusty, weary face as he said, “My friends and family now live in tents and just want to give up because everything they have worked for is gone. The only help we see is that of the Christians.” He thanked us for caring for them and being here for his community. He said, “Just knowing others care gives us hope to live.”
Ministry of Presence
Several Baptist Haiti Mission staff and two RRT chaplains crammed into the BGEA van and went to two tent camps. There were three ladies from Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM), including 85-year-old Luci, the mother of the BHM director. She thanked the chaplains for asking her to go and experience what God is doing.
Along with a Gospel presentation, visual lessons and songs were provided for the 60 children. They were each given John 3:16 stickers. Lots of hugs and big smiles were also exchanged. 30 people attended the adult Bible study.
RRT chaplains could see by smiling faces and warm greetings that they were happy to see them back at their camp. Several said that when the chaplains came it made them happy. These chaplains believe there is no greater gift on earth than to bring God’s unfailing love to those who are hurting.