Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Personal Note on Haiti- "The horror and tragedy here is beyond description"

As many of you know my wife has traveled for many years to Haiti, taking school supplies and medical assitance to CONASPEH (The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH), made up of 5,000 churches, is an umbrella organization for Protestant churches and associations in the country.)

my wife is scheduled to return again this year in February but obviously those plans are somewhat less certain now than they were a few days. I thought I would post the e-mail that my wife just sent to the many people who called in concern for her and her Haitian brothers and sisters, giving an update. There are miracles abounding amidst the destruction and there is life amongst the death and dying. The faith of the Haitian people is amazing. Please do what you can financially etc. but most of all, please pray. Dr Bentrott is a medical doctor. I have included some addtional links below the e-mail if you would like to contribute.

 Thank you to all of you that have checked in after hearing about the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday evening. I have been awaiting word from our team’s mission partners as patiently as possible. I did hear yesterday that the missionaries working there and their son were ok and the team that had arrived on the Friday before were safe, but no word had been received about Patrick Villiers, president of CONASPEH, the Haitian partner organization or his wife, Francoise, the principal of the schools at CONASPEH HQ. An email from Dr. Kim Bentrott has been received and is below in its entirety.

LATEST NEWS: January 14, 2010 at 9:44am (EST) - E-mail message from Kim Bentrott

Dear India and Felix,

I've been trying since the earthquake to call, but our phone networks are down. Yesterday Patrick and I snuck into our apartment--that miraculously didn't crumble when our apartment building went from three stories to two in one big crunch of the first story. The landlord got out--not sure how... but no one in our apartment complex was seriously injured or killed.

I'm sure you know by now that Patrick, Solomon and I are safe. Patrick and Francoise Villier are safe. The entire Tennessee group miraculously is safe. Had they been on time for dinner, it would have been another story.

CONASPEH building is flattened with all nursing students inside. It is in complete ruin. Francoise and Patrick lost one of their foster care kids inside. Pray for them.

Patrick and I got the Tennessee group to the American embassy yesterday. The embassy was planning on shuttling people 100 at a time to Santa Domingo, and from there AA would take them back to the states. So they all had a plan on getting out.

Veniel--the manager of the Walls guest house, has taken Patrick and I under his wing and took us up the mountain to Kenskoff last night to find a hotel to stay in. We'll be here for two nights and try to figure out where to go next.

We spent most of the day at CONASPEH helping remove bodies and rescue the last few voices inside the rubble. We haven't been able to contact the Villiers since yesterday morning. The phone system continues to either be completely down or jammed.

We'll stay in contact. We hope to head to Port au Prince today or tomorrow to find the Villier's and see what we can do to help.

Pray for us. Pray for Haiti. The horror and tragedy here is beyond description. Such huge loss of life. Such devastation.

Some ways to help:

One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds are being rushed through Global Ministries to denominational Haitian partners, CONASPEH and House of Hope,

Week of Compassion

Catholic Relief Services can be contacted by calling 1-800-736-3467 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Donations may be mailed to Catholic Relief Services, Box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21203.

Donations can be mailed to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to a local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-733-2767 or online at

Those with wireless devices, including cell phones, can send $10 donations to the Red Cross International Relief Fund by sending a text message to 90999. A confirmation message will arrive within a few minutes. Responding "yes" will finalize the donation. Standard text messaging rates may apply.

Disaster response volunteers who want to assist the United Methodist Church in Alabama can call Clyde Pressley at 1-866-340-1956.

Baptist Global Response is working to get disaster relief to Haiti. Donations can be made through its Web site at

The UMCOR ADVANCE number is 418325 for giving to the effort for Haiti Emergency relief. Please send your offering money to: Treasurer, SWTX Conference

United Methodist Church
16400 Huebner Rd.
San Antonio TX 78248

We are also asking for prayers for: Sam Dixon, Clint Rabb and Jim Gulley, who are in Port au Prince for a meeting with the new head of the Haitian church. They have not been heard from since the earthquake. Please pray that they are safe and pray for their families and friends while we await word of their safety.

At the moment we are asking for Health Kits. If your church can make up some of the kits you can get them to the conference office and we will make sure they get to Haiti. The instructions for the health kits are attached to this email.

Grace & Peace,
Marta Rose
United Methodist Church
SW Texas Conference
16400 Huebner Rd.
San Antonio TX 78248
Phone: (210) 408-4550
(888) 349-4191
Fax: (210) 408-4515