Help for HaitiWritten by Jenifer Christiaanse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The tragedy which has struck Haiti is beyond our scope of imagination. The situation will only grow grimmer as the need for clean water, food, power and basic sanitation rises. Before the Jan. 12 quake, there were more than 20,000 orphans in the metropolitan area of Port au Prince. Certainly these numbers have escalated. More than half of the population of Haiti is age 15 or younger. And sadly, more than half of the people of Haiti didn’t even eat on any given day. Many orphans die of malnutrition and the streets full of children who were the least in this country. And this was the case before the earthquake.
A year ago this month, Pastor Duke Crawford, senior pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, was in Port au Prince visiting an orphanage called My Father’s House. Later this year the head of this organization (Wordsower International) and the pastor in Haiti who runs the orphanage, Pastor Predestin, are scheduled to visit Toledo so Emmanuel Baptist Church can partner with this orphanage. But their need is now greater than ever. Though times are tough here in the United States, they don’t begin to equal the misery the hundreds of thousands are experiencing in Haiti. What follows is a brief encapsulation of the ministry of Our Father’s House.
In January 2009, moved by the many orphans roaming the streets, Pastor Predestin established an orphanage on the outskirts of the Giardo Ravine Slum. Initially, My Father’s House took in 25 orphans — children orphaned by hunger, natural disasters and political upheavals. In April the house had reached capacity with 41 children. Food was tight and they had to turn away children daily. In June there were more than 50 children.
Two orphanages in Haiti had to close because of the worldwide economic downturn. These children were going to be “dumped” back into the streets. My Father’s House wanted to feed these children and to offer them a home, a bed, a roof, safety, education, shoes, medical care and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They took in many and were sleeping two and three to a bed. The crowding was not a healthy environment. A house designed for 25 housed 100. At Thanksgiving, Emmanuel Baptist Church and others supplied the money so they could rent an additional house, purchase mattresses, sheets, bowls and help pay for additional staff.
It costs about $4 to feed and educate a child each day in My Father’s House. Quickly, the second home was filled. There was no room for tables, but the house was brimming with joyful children — children that were so happy to be in a place where they had no reason to fear. They were not going to be sold or abused. They would not starve. The building was large and sound. Soon 100 children grew to 200 children. They sadly had to turn away more children. The orphanage was seeking to buy a generator and a refrigerator. With two houses full, My Father’s House began to look for a third home in Port Au Prince this very month.
To help find a house, Jason Nightingale, the head of Wordsower International, and his wife, arrived in Haiti at 4 p.m. on Jan. 12, the day of the quake. The earthquake struck at 4:53. Word has come that the Nightingales, Pastor Predestin and the orphans are safe. “We have people who died right next door. And the three Americans that they think are dead were staying here with us. Heartbreaking. The front courtyard is a homeless shelter currently. Lots of aftershocks. Keep praying.” This word was received two days after the quake. However, they only had food and water for the weekend. With banks closed, supermarkets destroyed, and anarchy reigning, the needs of this orphanage are great.
At present their greatest need is money. No funds will be used for promotion or anything but the immediate needs of these children.
They would like to open a third home as there will be an overwhelming demand. “There are many, many new orphans. We will take in any and all that need it,” writes Nightingale. If you would like to contribute to this organization, the people at Emmanuel Baptist Church at 4207 Laskey Road are accepting monetary gifts to support My Father’s House. Please contact the church (419-473-3280) if you would like to make a contribution. For further information and pictures, visit www.wordsower.org.
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