By Kim Plummer Krull
An LCMS assessment team crossed from the Dominican Republic into Haiti in the early hours of Jan. 22 and met with Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti President Rev. Marky Kessa at a local police station.
Team member Dr. Jorge Groh, LCMS World Mission regional director for Latin America, reported that as the group entered Port-au-Prince, “slowly we start to see the effects of the [earthquake] jolting.”
The team left the police station with Kessa and four other Haitian pastors and trekked toward Port-au-Prince. The team, coordinated by LCMS World Relief and Human Care and LCMS World Mission, tentatively plans to take medical supplies and tents requested by Kessa into devastated Port-au-Prince, where thousands of homeless Haitians are living on curbsides.
“The Haitian police have promised to provide security, and will accompany us into Port-au-Prince,” said Rev. Glenn Merritt, LCMS World Relief and Human Care director of disaster response and a member of the assessment team. Merritt said he is eager to talk with the Haiti church president to learn how the LCMS can best assist its partner church in meeting the needs of congregations and communities shattered by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
“We ask for your prayers,” Merritt said.
The assessment team also includes: Dr. Douglas Rutt, former LCMS World Mission area secretary for Latin America; Dr. John Lautenschlager, a medical and health relief consultant; James Neuendorf, LCMS World Mission communications specialist and missionary for Latin America; and Chaplain Steve Lee, a critical incident stress specialist.
The team spent the night of Jan. 21 in a vacant house near the Good Samaritan Hospital in Jimani in the Dominican Republic. The hospital has served as the base for LCMS relief efforts since the earthquake. They were picked up by Kessa and four other Haitian pastors.
Two additional LCMS teams also continue their work in the Dominican Republic. Immediately after the earthquake, the Dominican Republic Mission and Medical team began working to provide medical care and secure emergency supplies for Haitian refugees. Team members include Rev. Ted Krey and fellow missionaries based in the Dominican Republic with LCMS World Mission, as well as local doctors.
A 13-person Mercy Medical Team (MMT) of volunteers from the United States also has been treating a flood of patients at the Good Samaritan Hospital since Jan. 19. Plans are in the works to send additional MMTs, coordinated by LCMS World Relief and Human Care, perhaps as soon as Jan. 26.
According to published reports, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people, injured 250,000, and left some 2 million homeless in this impoverished nation of 9 million.
On behalf of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, LCMS World Relief and Human Care (the mercy arm of the LCMS) is working cooperatively with LCMS World Mission (the mission sending arm of the LCMS), LCMS congregations and districts, and U.S. and international partners to provide immediate and long-term relief for the people of Haiti and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti.
To make a gift to help with earthquake relief in Haiti, click here, call toll-free 888-930-4438, or mail donations marked “Haiti Earthquake Relief” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
Posted Jan. 22, 2010