Thursday, March 25, 2010

"A Night Under the Stars"

As we began to gather our thoughts, I just couldn't make myself go upstairs, and my children wanted me very close to them. Our Canadian neighbors made it back to our house and we started making plans for the evening. I knew we would not sleep in our home; we felt so trapped and if the earth started to shake again, we had no way out. As the men, talked it over, we moms, gave baths in a kivet (a large tub used for washing clothes) and put them in their pjs. The men decided it was best to stay over at Randy and Karen's to conserve as much as possible. Brandon gathered blankets, air mattress, and pillows and we walked over to their house. As we began making our way over, we could see that our haitain neighbors were working on getting the body of the mother who saved her children, but didn't make it out of the home before it collapsed on her. I began to think of all of our church people and could not help but wonder if they were doing the same. These questions would have to wait to be answered until morning. As the men worked on Randy's wall that had collapsed, we began preparing beds and sleeping arrangements. We finally were able to settle down. I remember Kofee was sooo hyper and not a care in the world. It was like a big slumber party to him; he would crawl from matress to matress and thought it was so great that we were on his level. When we finally laid our heads down that night, I prayed myself to sleep. Prayed for safety for our people we had not heard from; prayed for safety through the night; praised God for keeping us safe and our dear friends safe. Around 11 pm, we were sleeping soundly, but an hour later, we awoke terrified as everything began to shake around us. We jumped up grabbed the nearest child and ran outdoors. Before we could say anything to our husbands, they began dragging our mattress outside. It was such a feeling of helplessness. I felt like I needed to be so strong for the kids, but yet, I ran at any shake or loud sound. We finally settled everyone down again, but it was not the last aftershock of the night, and there began a long restless night under the stars.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our eyes see the catastrophe

As we began to think of what to do next, we began calling those in haiti and in the states. Brandon started calling our boy John, who was away from the house and I began calling anyone I could get in touch with. I finally got through to our song leader and I can remember his voice sounding like that was an every day occurrence but he would let everyone know. It hadn't set in you could tell until my pastor, who was standing right next to him, started receiving frantic phone calls to see if we were ok. I, then, called our neighbors who we are very close to; they were not home and I knew they were at a basketball tournament at their haitian school and when I finally reached Karen she was crying hysterically telling me their school had collapsed and they were all sitting out in a big open field. By this time, we have had a huge aftershock. I then called another friend of ours, who works with Randy and Karen (our neighbors). She was so frantic and could not stop talking about how she was cleaning her house and had water everywhere from a busted toilet. I told her to leave it all and come to my house. As she arrived, we were out in the street due to another big aftershock. By now, the kids are beging to become very scared every time an aftershock occurs. It was hard to keep them inside, but to see the sights outside our wall was just as horrible. Men and women running frantically in search of family members. Injured people bleeding running to find help. As we saw clouds of dust fill the sky, we knew it was going to be devastation everywhere.

The Day our World "SHOOOK"

It was January 12, 2010, a very busy day for us. Brandon had bible college until noon and I had a ladies' bible study to go to with missionary ladies. That Sunday night we had discussed our grocery shopping for the week as we usually do it on Tuesday morning while Bailee is doing school with her teacher Kerline. However, I knew our schedule was super busy and would not get to the store until after supper on Tuesday evening. We discussed it and decided to have supper early on Monday evening and go then. I really didn't like the idea because it is usually very unstocked from the busy weekend but I decided to let my husband make that call and went with it. To take you back just a little bit, we had only been back in Haiti for six months after being home on furlough, and the birth of our baby boy for a year. We had been struggling with the next step in our ministry as the church we had been working in had been given over to the national pastor who was doing a wonderful job. We had been praying so hard for a clear leading, and the start of January had felt like a start for us as we had assurance of where and who we should begin our ministry. We had also been discussing the need of a bigger house. That Tuesday morning, I sat with Brandon and said, "I want you to know that I want our ministry to come first, and house second. I love my home and, even though it is a tad too small, and we have no yard, I am happy and content to stay for another year so we can find a rental building to start our work." To make it official, we took out paint and started painting Kofee's room! I was soo excited. I don't know if it was age or knowing I was done having kids or just God giving me that perfect peace in my heart; I was so content and happy to be in Haiti and in God's perfect will! I went to Bible study and had a wonderful time with all the ladies, some of whom was the last time I saw them before the earthquake separated us to different parts of the states. I returned home and started painting with Brandon and then headed downstairs to fix supper. We all enjoyed supper together and I washed all the dishes and we were headed back up to try to finish Kofee's room, but got sidetracked by playing with the kids and having a good time. I started hearing a noise like our big iron gate was opening, and then the ground underneath our feet started hopping, it was like someone was jacking up our house and dropping it straight down. Glass was shattering all around us and we could hear things crumbling outside our walls. It was the most terrifying 45 seconds of my entire life. It is hard to type this for tears that cloud my eyes. It took a little while to even think what it could be and head for outside, but because our wall has been moved in, it is right up against our house and the only way out was next to the car. Brandon stopped before any one of us could exit and told us we would have to stay indoors. Our car was hopping all around and he didn't want us to be trapped by our car. I remember hovering over my precious children and praying that God would protect us. After the longest 45 seconds of my life, I layed out flat on the floor and just screamed and screamed and screamed. I can remember looking up from the floor with Brandon and the girls standing over me with the expression of "what in the world are you doing??" I quickly recovered and jumped up. This part of the quake was over but we had yet to see what awaited us outside of our walls.