Presbyterian Medical Teams Reports on Haiti Quake
Members of a Presbyterian medical team in Haiti during Tuesday’s quake have reported on the situation in Haiti and the status of the mission sites operated by Harmony Ministries. The team, composed of members from the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, N.J., and Shilo Baptist Church, Trenton, N.J., returned safely to the States on Friday.
The group was in Haiti met by Pastor Luc Deratus at noon Tuesday and made their way to the mountain village of Thoman where they were to conduct a health clinic on Wednesday morning. They were aware that evening that there had been an earthquake and that the Harmony Ministries Sanctuary in Port–au–Prince had collapsed during a prayer meeting and that some in the congregation had been trapped in the rubble.
There was only minor structural damage to the Church and school in Thoman so the team started the clinic Wednesday morning. The group soon realized that damage must have been wide spread in Port–au–Price because they were receiving people from the capital city with broken bones and compound fractures who had made their way up the mountain for treatment.
They treated over 300 people Wednesday morning. One of the medical team says that one of the team, Rev. Darrel Armstrong, pastor of the Shilo Baptist Church and a classmate of Rev. Mac Shafer’s at Princeton Seminary, prayed with each person after they received treatment for their injuries.
Pastor Luc and his deacons led the group back down the mountain Wednesday afternoon. As they approached Port–au–Prince, they began to see collapsed homes and buildings and dead wrapped in sheets on the side of the road. They realized the situation was much worse than originally thought and decided to go to the U.S. Embassy.
They spent Wednesday evening and most of Thursday treating injured people on the grounds of the Embassy. Late Thursday evening they were evacuated in a U.S. military special operations transport plane and arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, around 2 a.m. Friday. They then took a commercial flight home Friday morning.
The pastor of the Lawrenceville church has been in contact with Pastor Luc and reported that he and his wife Ronide are unharmed, but that an unknown number of members of the congregation died in the collapse of the Sanctuary. It is not yet known what damage was sustained at the mission in Leogone.
If you wish to pray for our brothers and sisters in Harmony Ministries and all others in Haiti affected by this tragedy, here is a prayer written by leaders of our denomination:
We pray for Haiti
God of compassion
please watch over the people of Haiti,
and weave out of these terrible happenings
wonders of goodness and grace.
Surround those who have been affected by tragedy
with a sense of your present love,
and hold them in faith.
Though they are lost in grief,
may they find you and be comforted.
Guide us as a church
to find ways of providing assistance
that heal wounds and provide hope.
Help us to remember that when one of your children suffers
we all suffer;
through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives
and rules this world with you. Amen.
(Adapted from Book of Common Worship)
– Bruce Reyes–Chow, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valent