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PCA and Haiti Relief

If you've been coming around to New City, you know that we have been sending our first wave of financial support through the ministry of World Vision International.  In a few months, we'll take another special offering to support the work of Mission to North America in Haiti (MNA is our denomination's north American mission arm).  See the message below from Arklie Hooten, the head of MNA's disaster response.  This will give you an idea of where our next wave of support will be going.

Thursday evening Feb 4, 2010 | Haiti 7.0 Earthquake

On January 12 a very powerful, destructive earthquake measuring 7.0 struck near Port-au-Prince and dozens of powerful aftershocks continue to occur even now. This is the most significant disaster to strike the western hemisphere in modern times. It is almost unimaginable to consider the magnitude of the devastation that has been left as a result of this incredible disaster.

MNA Disaster Response is working to assist PCA Pastors Dony St. Germain and Brian Kelso. These men are MNA Senior Staff members and have been working in Haiti for many years. In order to determine how best to help these men and their ministries MNA Disaster Response sent assessment team, including MNA Disaster Response Director Arklie Hooten, to travel into Haiti with these men. While in Haiti these men made contact with various ministry sites to determine how best to stage MNA Disaster Response Volunteers to response to this terrible disaster.

Currently MNA staff members are working with 42 church plants which had started prior to the earthquake and are ministering to 16,000 Haitians on a regular basis through these churches. The goal of each church is to also have a church school associated with the church. Currently there are 6,000 students enrolled in these schools. They are also working with 13 orphanages that house 2,200 orphans as a ministry of mercy and outreach. Community development outreach of these churches has led to the development of micro businesses as well, which include agricultural farming, fish farming, cyber cafes, motorcycle taxis, and most recently a dump trucking service to haul construction materials.

Many of the 42 church plants already underway are in cities outside of Port-au-Prince. Because of the intensity of the destruction concentrated in Port-au-Prince many thousands of people have fled that city in search of a more stable place to live. This large movement of people has caused many of the outlying cities to more than double in population, with no increases in infrastructure - infrastructure that was also affected by the earthquake. This has caused depletion of almost every type of resource that a city or town would normally afford.

MNA's initial assessment is complete with the return of the assessment team this week. A second team is on the ground now assessing damage to over 30 homes of El Shaddai Ministries church members in the Carrefour/Port-au-Prince area. A plan has been established to direct the response of MNA to this disaster. Of course as with any event of this magnitude, this plan is subject to 'tweaking' and change as future events unfold. At this point the plan is as follows:

  • Mobilize medical teams as space allows. This began within days of the earthquake and is continuing. Currently teams are booked through March. If you are a trained medical provider and desire to serve you can register now. To register, see link below. 
  • Set up earthquake response operations at Carrefour, a city near the epicenter of the quake. We are moving deliberately and as quickly as possible. This site will become the headquarters for the response. MNA Disaster Response First Responders are preparing to mobilize to secure the facility and prepare it for a long term response. We are currently gathering materials and supplies to ship to Carrefour in advance of the arrival of the First Responders. We expect this phase to take up to six weeks to complete. Once the volunteer facility is ready to go and the airport re-opens in Port-au-Prince, mobilize teams to assist in the rebuilding efforts, beginning with the homes of the members of El Shaddai mentioned above. It is absolutely cost prohibitive to send teams through the Dominican Republic and creates a significant logistical problem for coordinating over-ground transport, which is the reason to wait for the airport to open in Port-au-Prince. 
  • Continue to provide teams to both El Shaddai Ministries headed up by Pastor St. Germain and Great Commission Alliance headed up by Pastor Brian Kelso at various short term sites in Haiti, once the Port-au-Prince airport re-opens. 

We are putting together a list of immediately needed resources and will be making this list of specific needs available shortly. Please check back later for this list, including specific instructions regarding packaging, palleting, and shipping these resources. Please consider an immediate financial gift to support relief effort planning, assessment and setting up a base of operations that will facilitate and care for future long term recovery volunteers who will be working in difficult conditions.

You can respond NOW!

  • Join us in giving thanks for the answered prayers for the assessment team. God graciously provided good health, safe travel, and wisdom in determining how best to respond to this great tragedy. 
  • Prayerfully consider a financial contribution. Gifts will be used to meet the needs of mission churches in Haiti who are affected, and to provide resources for God's people to serve others in the community (for detailed information about how funds are used, contact Sherry Lanier at slanier@pcanet.org). To give a gift, go here: Contribute. Or simply mail your check to MNA (address at www.pca-mna.org ) designated for Haiti 2010 Earthquake Relief. 100% of your donation will go toward relief efforts. NOTE: Under a special law recently passed by Congress and signed by the President, a donor who makes a cash contribution (via cash, check, or credit/debit card) for the relief of Haitian earthquake victims after January 11 and before March 1, 2010, can take a tax deduction for the gift for either 2009 or 2010. The law refers to this as an "acceleration" of the contribution deduction, since it may be claimed on the tax return filed for 2009, even though given in 2010. This is not advice for your tax preparation, but rather a point of general information for your consideration in giving to the disaster in Haiti. 
  • Please prayerfully consider a generous gift to supply the needed materials and equipment and to facilitate the movement of the First Responders in Haiti. 
  • We do not know at this time how soon volunteer assistance will be permitted by local authorities; if you would like to volunteer in the future, please register your team here: Register your team for future involvement. In the meantime there are a couple of things you can do to be prepared to serve as a volunteer in Haiti. First, please make sure you have a current passport. Travel to Haiti requires a valid passport. Second, please click here for information on required/requested immunizations for travel and service in Haiti. 
  • Are you highly skilled in masonry, concrete placement and roofing systems and able to join a construction team? If so please contact us at slanier@pcanet.org and provide a summary of your experience and availability. 

Also, MNA Disaster Response is in need of volunteers who can serve longer periods of time beyond a week or two. We are looking for individuals who are willing to serve as Site Managers and hosts for the work sites that we are setting up in Haiti. If you are interested in serving in one of these capacities, please contact Sherry Lanier, MNA Disaster Response Facilitator at (slanier@pcanet.org).

Sincerely in Christ,

Arklie Hooten