Haiti After Hurricane Matthew: Through a Pastor's Eyes

by pastor Mullery Jean-Pierre, Beraca Baptist Church
Hurricane Matthew

Haiti is the most-fragile state in the Western Hemisphere. After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake six years ago, a cholera outbreak, Hurricane Sandy and most recently Hurricane Matthew, Haiti has become more fragile than ever.

A Converge team of pastors from Beraca Baptist Church and its community development corporation was in Jeremie, Haiti, the week before Hurricane Matthew struck on October 12. We were training the top leaders of our network of 1600 pastors. As we returned the week after Hurricane Matthew, the landscape was unrecognizable. Satellite images show dramatic before-and-after pictures. There was a stark difference. The destruction of homes and churches and the reduction of green areas contrasted with the former colorful roofs and lush green areas that covered the landscape. The southern region of Haiti was the last third of greenery left in the entire country.

It was known as the breadbasket of Haiti. This will have an adverse effect on the entire country’s food supply for years to come. The destruction to property, livestock and trees can be seen for miles. In its aftermath, Hurricane Matthew claimed over 1000 lives, 80,000 are left homeless and the threat of cholera presents a death sentence to thousands who survived.

As I arrived with my executive pastor and our missions pastor, we met with our ministry director, who had been distributing food and water from our Haiti office since the day after the hurricane.

Later, we were joined by Selena Gabriel, director of Converge One by One Haiti, and a video crew from Creative Arts. We began our 177-mile journey south to assess the damage. The destruction was unbelievable. Our video crew flew their camera, mounted on a drone, giving us an aerial perspective on the magnitude of the devastation. Over 100 miles of downed trees littered fields and roadsides. Thousands of homes stood without roofs or were covered with tarps donated by USAID and Samaritan's Purse. Tens of thousands of homes were completely destroyed. Our hearts sank as we saw countless churches lay in ruin in many villages.

We distributed food, water and toiletries. We gave $5,000 to our network of pastors – 700 of their 1000 churches destroyed. This was just a drop in the bucket. We gave approximately $600 to individuals who had lost everything. We heard heart-wrenching stories, but we gave comfort and reassurance. They were encouraged to know we did not forget them in their time of crisis. 

During our meeting with about 30 pastors from Jeremie, several of us shared words of encouragement. I told them, “Crisis brings out the best in the churches as they rise to the occasion to meet the needs of the helpless and hopeless. Christ shines the brightest when crisies are the darkest.”

This crisis gives the body of Christ an opportunity to give, to go and to grow. As we allow it to stretch our faith through perseverance, we will become “mature, complete and lacking nothing” (James 1:2-5).

This is just the first of many trips to Haiti. Converge, Beraca and One by One Haiti are dedicated to raising money to purchase immediate necessities, cholera kits and to work on removing debris and rebuilding what has been destroyed. Longer goals include starting nurseries to replenish food supplies, install a water filtration system and create sustainable jobs through microloans and training. 


One by One Haiti also partners with Haitian churches and schools to develop local Christian leaders to transform Haiti for Christ. Doing so enables hundreds of Haitian children and teens to receive a quality education that focuses on academics, spiritual training and discipleship. Your church can make a life-changing impact on Haiti through our Special Christmas Offering. Your contributions will provide food and nutrition screenings for hundreds of children, invest in leadership development of youth and equip each student with school supplies and materials.

Learn more about how you can help Haiti recover and build a better future for its people.

 

    Point - September 2018

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