For updates on our relief work in Haiti, check out our website: www.growinghopeforhaiti.org
We wanted to let you all know that Gerson was finally able to get through to his sister’s cell phone yesterday! He talked to his sister, his brother, and his mom, and they confirmed that everyone in his immediate family is accounted for!! Some minor injuries…a lot of fear and shock…but they are all ok! I can’t tell you how happy we were to hear their voices.
The situation they described there is overwhelming and heart-breaking. They said that their yard has become like a refugee camp, with many people who have lost their homes and some who are injured, sleeping there because they are the only house in the neighborhood that has a yard. They said that food and water are becoming an increasing concern, as everything is running low. They said there is a dire need for medicine and medical care. They have seen people die there with them because there was no access to a clinic or hospital. They said Gerson’s 5-year-old niece, who they think has a broken arm, stays within the yard because she is afraid of the dead bodies in the street. None of them have slept since the earthquake.
We have spent the past 48 hours making a lot of plans. We have decided to get to Haiti as soon as possible, to do what we can to help. Gerson is going to take the semester off school, and I am going to take a leave of absence from work. Gerson will be flying into the Dominican Republic on Monday (there are no flights into Haiti right now), where he is going to meet up with a group of Haitian and Dominican doctors and medical students. They are going to buy medical supplies in the DR and take them into Port-au-Prince to set up mobile medical clinics. This group has already had thousands of dollars worth of supplies donated by the med school and a local hospital in the DR, and we hope to raise thousands more. There are many injured and hurting people in Port-au-Prince, and not nearly enough resources to treat them all. This is one of the most immediate and desperate needs, so this is what we’re going to focus on for now.
I (Heather) will be taking in a small group of doctors and nurses from the U.S. on Friday. We have talked to several medical professionals here who are looking for a way to get in and a place to serve. They have the medical skills, and we have the knowledge to coordinate the efforts, get them set up in Haiti, and translate for them while they’re there….so we feel like it is a good match. Gerson and I are not able to meet the medical needs of the people ourselves, but we are in a position to enable those who can.
We will be raising money for this trip and for medical supplies. Many of you have been asking how to help– here is a huge opportunity! We personally will be using this money to meet the needs of people in Haiti, and we can assure you that every dollar will be well spent. You can donate online on our website: www.growinghopeforhaiti.org
Growing Hope for Haiti is a 501c3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. We are pleading with all of you to join with us in these efforts by praying and giving. Thank you for the compassion and love you have already shown in this crisis. We are grateful to be surrounded by so many people who genuinely care. Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to go.
We are raising money to help with relief efforts in Port-au-Prince, as they deal with the horrific effects of yesterday’s earthquake. What exactly this money will be used for will depend on the greatest needs in the coming weeks. We will post more information as we have it. If you would like to give, you can donate online on our website (www.growinghopeforhaiti.org) or you can send a check to:
Growing Hope for Haiti
927 Wooden Drive
Florissant, MO 63033
Please include a note designating that the money is for earthquake relief. Any amount, big or small, is welcome and will be used to help people through this devastating disaster. PLEASE keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. Please pray for those still trapped in the rubble, and for those working to rescue them. Please pray for all the people sleeping (or not sleeping) in the streets of Port-au-Prince tonight, filled with fear and despair. Our hearts are broken for them right now.
Growing Hope for Haiti had its very first fundraiser this past weekend– the Eye Run for Haiti 5k/10K! We had a great turnout– 360 runners and walkers! We raised over $12,000 to be used for our first project– the construction of an elementary school.
We are grateful to our sponsors, to all who volunteered to help make this event possible, and to all who participated!
To see pictures from the race, click here.
Growing Hope for Haiti is now officially a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization! We are very excited to have this step completed. All gifts and donations to our organization are now tax-deductible. Contributions can be sent to:
Growing Hope for Haiti
927 Wooden Drive
Florissant, MO 63033
*Growing Hope for Haiti is officially an organization, and we are in the process of getting 501(c)(3) status!
*Gerson spent 6 weeks in Haiti this summer, teaching a class on “How We Got the Bible” to church leaders in the community. They were eager to learn and asked him to come back and teach another class soon.
*The land purchase was finally finalized in July, after 7 long months of searching for the original title and deed!
*We were able to visit many families in Magranbwa this summer, and they are excited about our plans to build a school in the area.
*We will be having our first fundraiser on October 31– a 5K/10K called Eye Run for Haiti. The race will be sponsored by Regional Eyecare, and they will be covering all expenses so that 100% of all entry fees and funds raised can go directly to Growing Hope for Haiti. We hope to raise enough to cover the construction costs for our first project– an elementary school. You can download the entry form at www.regionaleyecare.com.
On our last trip, we were able to purchase about 3 acres of land in a small community called Magranbwa. This will be the site for our first project, an elementary school.
We had a couple of meetings with the people in the community while we were there. On our next trip, we hope to spend some time talking with individuals and families, to get to know the people and the needs of the community better.
I was just reading through an email update I sent out last year. Here is an excerpt, which summarizes our focus in this ministry…
*Education is a valuable resource that is sorely lacking in Haiti, especially in the area we plan to work in. We want to provide educational opportunities at every level—from elementary school to a college to continuing education for adults. Our main emphasis will be on building Christian character in our students, and our goal is to raise not only church leaders, but leaders of various kinds that will positively impact the future of the country as a whole. We want to offer degrees in areas like theology, business, agriculture, health care, and social work….to give people the resources they need to turn around and make a difference in their own community.
*Hunger is the most obvious physical problem plaguing the country of Haiti. It is absolutely heart-breaking to see the effects, both physical and emotional, of poverty-induced hunger. I am sure any of you who have been to a third-world country have had the same reaction as me– “We have to do something about this!” We believe this issue can be better addressed by working to enable people to provide for themselves than by merely handing out food. The majority of the country’s food is imported, which leaves them vulnerable to rising food costs and creates a dependence on the rest of the world. We want to help the people of Haiti to become more independent and self-sufficient, able to provide for their own families and communities. We plan to do this by developing an agricultural program that focuses on educating farmers, rehabilitating farm land, building refineries, and providing mechanical farm equipment. We also hope to buy a commercial fishing boat at some point, to take advantage of this largely untapped resource for food, as most parts of Haiti are on or near the coast. (So if any of you happen to be selling a commercial fishing boat, please let us know!)
We know that we can only do so much ourselves– which is why we want to empower the Haitians themselves to change their own communities and country. There are many who want to make a difference in their country, who would love to help bring about change– and we want to give them the opportunities to do that. This is the vision for our work in Haiti.