October of this past year our Rock Church team of missionaries in Jeremie, Haiti were in the eye of Hurricane Matthew, where they experienced extreme devastation first hand. Hurricane Matthew, the most catastrophic Caribbean storm in over a decade, killed over 600 people and displaced over tens of thousands Haitian residents. Haiti, still fragile from the major earthquake in 2010, was hit with another disaster.
I am really struggling with the emotional impact of what I have seen and heard in Jeremie following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.” He went on saying, “The most difficult to deal with are the stories of hundreds of families with small children whose little houses are partially or totally destroyed.”
Fredrick Clerie, president of the Hopestart International orphanage in Jeremie, Haiti supported by the Rock Church, traveled to Jeremie just days after the hurricane in hopes to provide some relief. What he found was far more than he could bear, stating, “I am really struggling with the emotional impact of what I have seen and heard in Jeremie following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.” He went on saying, “The most difficult to deal with are the stories of hundreds of families with small children whose little houses are partially or totally destroyed.” Our current team of missionaries, alongside Haitian students, worked continuously to help build cement structures for some of the families who lost their homes. They built over a dozen homes and were able to share God’s love, pray, and distribute food and supplies to many families. Efforts towards rebuilding and restoration for the Haitian community will continue to be a focus for our Rock missionary team.
At the beginning of January of this year, another storm came through Jeremie, Haiti. A man-made storm of riots roared through the streets of Jeremie. Many Haitian people broke out in anger due to the arrest of the region's newly elected Senator, who carried a criminal case against him since 2005. Many of the people who believed in him began targeting their frustration towards Americans. One of our missionaries, Andrea, who is a mother of four, shared that, “Honestly, hearing of riots or protests is just part of life in a country with poor government, so we didn't pay much attention to this.” But the seriousness of the situation quickly changed when a group of rioters broke into the Hopestart Property vandalizing property, breaking windows, and robbing the orphanage president and his son of all they had. Fortunately, none of the children nor Fredrick and his son were seriously harmed. However, the damage done to the orphanage was serious, and the weight of the situation shifted, forcing the team of missionaries and the 13 students from Rock Church School of Ministry to remain in their living quarters. Both teams waited for United Nations (UN) escorts that brought them to UN headquarters where they waited for flights out of Haiti. The ministry students went back home to San Diego, and the missionaries went to a nearby island for a team retreat that was planned before everything erupted.
Now, as things have settled down with the riots in Jeremie, the whole team of long-term missionaries returned to their homes in Haiti. They are confident in the Lord's protection and know that their purpose in Haiti is not finished. Many of the team members and their children experienced unexplainable peace during the entire situation and know that God will continue to use them during this time.
May we all come together as a body of Christ and lift our brothers and sisters in pray for their continuous work in Haiti. Their diligence and faith even through all the trials and tribulations that they have faced in the past year is inspiring and tremendously encouraging. May we become unified through our prayers for the Haiti missionary team and may God bless them abundantly.
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