Hello everyone. For those who are not aware, Shaun, Josh, James and I have been in Haiti since this past Monday with Holt International. The earthquake that occurred a few days ago was devastating and frightening to say the least.
I wanted to update you all and assure you that the guys and I are doing okay. We are still here in Haiti, but doing just fine! I appreciate all the messages to me and how many of you continue to reach out to my wife, Colleen. This has not been easy on her or the kids but she is doing better knowing we are safe.
We are here supporting Holt International (an international adoption agency) and have been visiting with the orphanage here and observing the dire poverty that plagues this nation. Fortunately we were 40 miles from Port Au Prince in a small village when the earthquake actually hit. There were fewer buildings and structures around to fall on us. We immediately realized the destruction in Port Au Prince would be severe because the view as we flew in and drove through the city when we arrived was of a very crowded city with literally nowhere to run. People pack every street, along with pigs, goats, cows, and garbage between old, rundown buildings. While we are overcome with grief for the people of Port Au Prince, it’s no surprise that there has been such a loss of life.
Our new friend and contact here, Mansour, and his staff have also lost several family members. He went into town yesterday to check on his family. Mansour witnessed his uncle being crushed beneath a concrete wall and had no choice but to just leave his body there because there was no way to get him out. It was so tragic.
The aftershocks continue to come, even now. One woke me up this morning; hence the reason I am drafting this update at 6:44 AM. Sleep has not come easy since the quake.
Although we are stuck here for a while, we are fortunate to have plenty of water, food, and a roof over our heads. We were scheduled to fly out today (Thursday, January 14) but were told that it would be at least next Thursday before we’d have an opportunity to fly out. We are also fortunate to have any outside communications at all. I wouldn’t know what to do if I could not have let everyone know we were alive.
As dire of a situation this is, it could be so much worse for us. We are blessed to live in a wonderful country in comfortable homes with loving wives and healthy children. Yet, the people of Haiti who have lived with suffering from unimaginable poverty are now bearing the added pain of losing their families, their children, their homes, and what little possessions they had. Eventually we will be able to leave Haiti and return to our blessed lives but for the Haitian there is nowhere to go and nothing to return to.
Our biggest thing in returning safely is conserving what water and extra food we do have in case we’re here longer, as well as the gas that fuels the generator/inverter that powers this place where we are staying. Already there is a shortage of gasoline for the vehicles. We’re told not to drink the running water here, so we’re only drinking bottled water. As long as help and supplies continue to come, we should be fine. Another concern is for safety and security as the desperation of the people intensifies due to lack of support and aid. However, it does look like outside assistance is slowly arriving. We’ve seen several coast guard planes fly over and a huge ship arrived yesterday.
Our problems are secondary at this point, given the much greater crisis happening here. However, as a result of the situation here we are facing a personal crisis when we finally do arrive home. The financial loss and increased expenses being incurred as a result of our situation in Haiti is very substantial. In addition, we forced to cancel many performances which are our primary sources of income as well as delay completion of a new album. We came to Haiti to discover ways to offer help to hurting people in need. And while our situation pales in comparison, each one of us will eventually be returning home with substantial personal needs of our own and without the resources to meet the needs.
We want to ask you to help us in one or all of the following ways:
1) PRAY. Please pray for our families first. All our wives, parents and siblings are nervous; understandably. We’re more worried for them than for ourselves! You might also pray for our financial situation, wisdom for the decisions we face, and most importantly that we will not miss this opportunity for ministry. God has placed us here at this specific time for a specific reason. Pray that whatever comes of our trip here will be used for His glory. We’ve had requests and opportunities to share our experience through statements and interviews on radio stations. Pray for favor as we strive to use our influence to bring attention and aid to the relief effort here in Haiti. Pray more than anything for the people of Haiti.
2) GIVE. If you wish to contribute at any level to the relief effort here in Haiti, you may go to www.holtinternational.org. They are on the ground meeting needs as we speak and they need your help. Also, the very orphans we are here to help and love on will need our ongoing help now more than ever. If you want to help through a child sponsorship of $30 per month, you may also sponsor a child at that link as well.
The members of Julian Drive need your help as well. While the need for financial in Haiti and with Holt International is continual, ours is only temporary. If you are able to offer one time financial support for Julian Drive as we attempt to overcome the substantial financial losses we now face as a direct result of being caught in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, you can do so by giving donations through our partnering church. Go to http://thebridgeonline.cc/donations_online_giving and click their “On-Line Giving” button. Be sure to indicate your contribution as “Julian Drive Relief Fund”. You may also mail your contributions to: The Bridge Church, Julian Drive Relief Fund, 976 E. Kytle St, Cleveland, GA 30528.
Blessings to all and I hope to see you soon.