Stories from Haitian Brethren Show Solidarity of Church Members Through Crisis

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Feb. 12, 2010

The following updates from Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) have been shared today by Jeff Boshart, who serves as coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s disaster rebuilding program in Haiti:

Delmas 3 Church leaders live in solidarity with members of the congregation

“Jean” Altenor Gesurand, who is a deacon and licensed minister in the Delmas 3 Church of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Port-au-Prince, was given refuge in a rented apartment after the earthquake, through help from Brethren Disaster Ministries. His wife, Mari Georgia, however refuses to leave the rest of the members of the church who are still sleeping under sheets, tarps, and in two tents donated by the Church of the Brethren delegation that visited them a few weeks ago.

Temporary housing is under construction for many of these families and should be finished by the end of next week. In a show of solidarity, Sister Mary has decided to move only when everyone else can move also, despite having to endure rain, fear of criminal activity, and intestinal sickness which may have come from drinking contaminated water. The church members are sticking together to get through this crisis.

Preaching points give refuge to displaced families

Brethren preaching points in outlying areas of the country continue to report large numbers of displaced people in their midst.

Two Port-au-Prince families fled to Gonaïves to live in the homes of several Brethren families who were Hurricane survivors. These families just weeks ago moved into their new homes built by Brethren Disaster Ministries through its “100 Homes for Haiti” program.

In Haiti’s Central Plateau, the Brethren preaching point near the town of Pignon also is reaching out to displaced families. The pastor of this preaching point, Georges Cadet, has been part of group of community leaders doing a census of his community. A local missionary in this area has reported that the town of Pignon has doubled in size from 10,000 to 20,000 people. This story is being repeated all over the country with as many as 500,000 people having been displaced by the earthquake.

Haitian government announces three days of prayer 

In another nation-wide development, the Haitian government has announced three days of prayer, beginning today, Feb. 12–the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. The days of prayer are to continue through this weekend.

Staff of ECHO in Haiti (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) have contacted the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships asking if Brethren would join in the three days of prayer announced by the country’s president.

Today has been declared a national day of mourning. In addition, the ECHO staff noted that for the first time in its history, Haiti’s government is cancelling the Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, responded with a request for Brethren to join in prayer, “as we go into Lent.”

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact  to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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