Helping Haiti

The Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod is doing good work in Haiti that is attracting attention.  This from WORLD MAGAZINE:

The LCMS has been in Haiti since the quake, providing for the immediate needs of the survivors: food, water, medical supplies and temporary shelter. They realize, however, that they were not doing enough to help with the sense of hopelessness in the people. After speaking with the Rev. Marky Kessa, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, the organization leaders realized that the best way to help rebuild the survivors’ lives was to build permanent houses.

So with the help of the local church, the LCMS initiated its “Building Homes and Hope in Haiti” project by acquiring enough land to build three villages. Because of the confusion within the Haitian government, the group was unable to receive land grants, so the LCMS instead bought the land from its previous owners. The organization plans on building 300 houses, an orphanage, a school, a chapel, and a medical clinic in each of these villages.

In early April, a group of volunteers from Ohio and Missouri went to Haiti to build three model homes—one with a single room, a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom—to give the people in Haiti a chance to see what the houses will look like and to encourage donors at home to support the project.

The building process, which began this week, will take a three-pronged approach. First, local professional contractors will be hired to plan and direct the building, which will also help create jobs for local Haitians. Then there will be a call for volunteers from within the community. Finally, volunteers from the United States will be brought in to help build.

“The local people are really involved in their country and their lives,” Merritt said. “They don’t want mercy organizations coming in and taking over everything, they want a say in what happens, and are more than willing to volunteer and assist.”

via WORLD Magazine | Homes and hope | Angela Lu | May 20, 10.

This is the work of LCMS World Relief and Human Care.  The leader of this effort and the designer of this kind of effective ministry is not mentioned in the article, but it’s Rev. Matt Harrison.

HT: Mollie Hemingway

Insider report on Haiti

I don’t know if you saw the comment from reader Kirk Anderson the other day, but he offers some good inside information on the situation in Haiti, especially as regards relief efforts:

I work in the international development field and I’ve been on the phone with NGO partners in Haiti for the past few days. The general impression that I get is that lawlessness isn’t quite as prevalent as we’re lead to believe by the news media. There is, of course, looting and acts of violence, but in general the situation relatively stable, crime wise. People keep telling me that the real issue is that trucks carrying food aid can’t get anywhere because they get mobbed as soon as they’re out of the gates. I’d guess that American troops will be keeping order around aid distribution points and escorting supply columns, so as to prevent rioting, etc. When I asked the people on the ground what their needs were, almost every single time I was told security for their supplies.

I also keep hearing that the security situation will improve as more supplies roll in. Right now, people are desperate. They need food and water, and they’re willing to go to great lengths to get them. Hopefully as the logistical situation is rectified, security will improve.

If any of you have additional information that you know about, especially from people you know over there, please report.

Matt Harrison on the earthquake in Haiti

Thousands have died in the Haiti earthquake, maybe as many as half a million. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has done quite a bit of work in Haiti. Here Rev. Matthew Harrison, head of Lutheran World Relief and Human Care reports that a number of pastors and church workers are missing and that at least one Lutheran school and a clinic were destroyed.

For more details and to donate money to help the earthquake victims in Haiti, click here.

Pray for Haiti

That poor country:

A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and power lines and inflicting what its ambassador to the United States called a catastrophe for the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.

Several eyewitnesses reported heavy damage and bodies in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where concrete-block homes line steep hillsides. There was no estimate of the dead and wounded Tuesday evening, but the U.S. State Department has been told to expect “serious loss of life,” department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington.

“The only thing I can do now is pray and hope for the best,” the ambassador, Raymond Alcide Joseph, told CNN.

via 7.0 quake hits Haiti; ‘Serious loss of life’ expected –