Current reports on the Haiti and Chile relief effort
Help For Haiti/Chile

Chile, Wed May 12

Report from Brother Jefte

Little by little the aftershocks are becoming milder and the nervousness is going away. The food is available normally at the local supermarkets and the water service has come back to most all of the houses in the regions affected by the earthquake. There is no fear of sackings and the curfew is only a memory of almost two months ago. Children have come back to classes and everything seems pretty much normal in most of the cities in the seventh and eight regions of Chile. However, this kind of disasters leave scars and wounds that are difficult to heal and a pain that does not easily go away. This is especially so for a number of Message believers that had their houses destroyed by the quake and the tsunami in that fateful day of February 27.

Haiti, Mon April 26

Phone call from Brother Guy

Brother Narcisse Conserve (Brother Antonio’s son) has been a great help in organizing the effort. They are working to get the right customs broker. The brothers are the only customers in the hotel they are staying in, with no hot water, but it is clean and the people are friendly.

Haiti, Sat April 24

Email from Brothers Guy and Rene

We again met with the distribution team for the food distribution. We reported on our first trip that believers were grouping themselves by centers. At that time, non-believers were also staying around, so they had to be careful about the quantities and allocations by assemblies for their safety.

The non-believers did not stick around and are not at the centers any more, so we will probably return to distributing food by centers and not assemblies. We are working on total numbers for each distribution center.

The distribution takes four days to complete. The management of the group distributes the food based on a list of basic items and distributes it among the centers with quantities predetermined by the number of persons. It is safer to distribute supplies now, however, some places are still dangerous and the distribution is done secretly. It has cost about $12,000 per distribution, but lately it is down to about $5,000 a week. Brother Andre Petit has also been a great help to the believers here.

Haiti, Fri April 23

Email from Brothers Guy and Rene

We had the impression that things move very slowly, but today we had a tremendous day. We met with an import agency that will be able to help us with customs. It was a little embarrassing, but we were brought to the front of a long line after one of the brothers talked to a man that he knew in the agency.

We went through all the steps for a non-profit send aid efficiently. After that, we met a gentleman, a broker. We will meet him again later, but we don’t want to base all our expertise on what one single man can say, so we went forward with our research. We then went directly to the customs. The first gate that we had to pass through made us think of a prison, but it was only the first. The second confirmed to us that it was like a prison; many armed guards were there, supervised by a man with no expression in his face and what seemed to be a bad atmosphere around him, but the assistant director of the customs is a neighbor of Bro. Narcisse, so we were introduced to this man and just to reach him in his office the security was at its peak, with several armed guards in the corridor, a huge door and an armed guard in his office, but this man was very kind with us. Once again we passed before many people waiting for him. So, after a couple minutes, he brought us to meet the director himself, of course many people were still waiting for him…

We had a great day and accomplished a lot, and we think we can now get large containers into the country.

Haiti, Wed April 21

Email from Brothers Guy and Rene

We had a nice and safe trip to Haiti. We had a meeting yesterday morning with the brothers. We are supposed to have another meeting with them this afternoon. Here everything is going slow as far as customs and importing.

We found a resaler that may be able to get the supplies we need for a better price, and the meetings went well with the distribution team. The brothers were very happy to see us.

We went over the logistics and a few things that the people were still needing. Again, more shelter and clothing is needed, some of which we may be able to purchase through the resaler. We also went over importing Message CDs and MP3 players with solar chargers.

Chile, Tue March 23

Phone call from Brother Jefte

Yesterday I heard about a local pastor who may be in need, so I gave him a call. It turns out that he and his family, along with many of his 40-member congregation, had no food or work, and they where going hungry. I made arrangements to meet him today, and deliver canned food, noodles, milk, etc. Before we finished the conversation, he told me, “Brother, when you called, it was like the Lord Jesus called me. Thank you.”

Brother Jefte is delivering food to the pastor and his congregation today.

Chile, Sat March 20

Phone call from Brother Jefte

It has been 20 days since we last tasted meat, so I decided to take my family out to get a hotdog at a local shop that had just reopened. When we got there, the kids noticed that a steakhouse next door had also opened, and they wanted to go there. It was our first good and proper meal in a long time. We really enjoyed it and gave thanks for it.

Chile, Mon March 15

Email from Brother Jefte

The water service has not been restored yet and it is one of the facts that are making all things more difficult in the area...We will be looking for places to have a new location for the office in the next months with the help of the Lord, and to come back to normal with our daily activities.

Chile, Sat March 13

Email from Brother Jefte

An engineer from the City Hall came to the office to assess the damage in the building. He entered and immediately said, “Oh, this is serious!” He started looking around and took notes in his clipboard. He said that two thresholds and one wall inside the office are ready to collapse at any other aftershock and we are supposed to have another 2 or 3 months of these, according to what he said. The place is not suitable for habitation or for daily office work anymore.

Haiti, Thu March 4

Phone conversation with Brother Guy Cantave.

It has been raining, and people are digging ditches to divert the water from their shelters. The believers have food and water, but personal products are tough to find. The work is continuing as planned, and we are working to continue to supply their needs.

Chile, Wed March 3

Voicemail from Brother Jefte

His voice sounded stressed and nervous. He said he and his family were fine. They had food for 3 or 4 days and got some water from a nearby river. He didn't seem to know the extent of the damage to Chile as he stressed that it was not safe for us to go there, and we should cancel the ministers' meeting as there were riots and shootings in the street.

Chile, Tue March 2

We have not heard from Brother Jefte yet, but we did receive an email from a brother who wrote on his behalf. He said that Brother Jefte wanted us to know that he is fine, but they have no water, electricity, or communication system. The situation in Penco and Concepcion is chaotic with the military patrolling the streets to prevent looting.

Haiti, Thu Feb 18

Phone conversation with Brother Guy Cantave.

U.N. distribution is very slow and difficult to find. The U.N. does not distribute food in set places, so the people listen to the radio to find the next distribution locations. Brother Cantave reports that the distribution network we initially set up is working efficiently and as planned.

Haiti, Thu Feb 11

Phone conversation with Brother Guy Cantave

Brother Cantave located a trucking company in the Dominican that can get supplies into Port-au-Prince. We are currently checking into safety concerns for doing this.

We have established 30 distribution centers to distribute food. The brothers take the funds and purchase the food, then go to the 30 different locations to distribute it. Currently, the brothers say that they have enough funds and the effort is going as planned.

Brother André Petit (a minister brother from Quebec who has been serving the Bride in Haiti for years) is also doing relief work among the believers and has made a donation to the distribution effort. Even local brothers, like Brother Conserve, have donated what they can. Everyone is working together well.

The distribution team is taking great care to document all the distribution of funds and supplies.

It is dangerous to transfer money via Western Union in Haiti, because thieves watch the banks. Too many know you are walking out with money. We have other options for getting money to them, and we must be very careful.

Brother Cantave won’t be available this evening, because he is going to a wedding. This is really uplifting. It shows that life is going on despite the situation. Praise the Lord.

Haiti, Wed Feb 10

We spoke with Brother Guy Cantave (VGR Rep in Haiti). When we called, he was searching through his crumbled house for things he could still use. He will be traveling to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday and Friday to investigate methods to safely transport goods from the Dominican to Haiti. He says that he knows a safehouse in the border town Jimani, where they can store supplies.

Haiti, Tue Feb 9

We have been working with the U.N. and other agencies over the past few days to find the safest and most efficient methods to get pallets of supplies to Haiti. Although we found a way to get our shipment to the island (through the Dominican Republic), getting the supplies from the port to the believers is nothing short of perilous. Any truck leaving the port and traveling in Haiti without a military escort is at great risk of being attacked and robbed. Right now, we are still sending monetary aid through Brother Cantave, so the believers can purchase food, water, and shelter locally.

Haiti, Thu Feb 4

VGR Jeffersonville is now purchasing large tarps and other material for the relief effort, and will be sending a shipment in the next few days. Although there is a need for used clothing among the believers there, we are not accepting shipments of this type of material at this time. We have one shipment of clothing ready to go, but it is still difficult (and very expensive) to get large shipments like this into the country. This may change in the future, if we can find a more efficient way to get containers into Haiti.

Haiti, Wed Feb 3 - Phone call

It just tears at your heart to see the people. The city is about 90% destroyed. I talked to some first-aid personnel, and they told me that there have been 300,000 surgical procedures and 200,000 of those have been amputations. Of course we cannot verify this, but I do know that there are many people walking around the streets with missing limbs. We prayed for a brother yesterday with a severe infection in his foot.

The relief effort is really going well. Everyone is working together, and there is a strong spirit of cooperation. I am amazed at how much work has been accomplished. Not only have we been providing material to sustain these people’s lives, but we can see something special happening otherwise (Brother Guy was talking about the spiritual aspects of his trip).

I heard gunshots outside our house last night. Today, a man armed with a machine gun walked up to the car and told us to open the door. We thought that he was going to rob us, but the phone rang and seemed to deter him. It was you calling. The angels are watching over us.

Brother Rene and I are now leaving Haiti to return home to Quebec. Brother Guy Cantave (VGR Representative in Haiti) is doing a wonderful job and will carry on from here. He is working very well with the pastors, and will be in charge of distributing the food and material.

Haiti, Mon Feb 1 - Phone call

Oh, my brother, where do I start! The reality of all of this has set in.

There are between 200 and 300 believers living at Brother Lamothe's church. There are many without shelter, and I am working on getting tents for them right now.

There is food available from the UN, but sometimes it is hard to find. Even with the UN, they still need rice, oil, and water. They really need shelter, blankets, and personal hygiene items also. We are going around delivering food, but it would be easy to leave people out. That is why we are relying so much on the pastors to give us lists of who needs what. I have impressed on them that it is very important for us to keep accurate records of the money we are spending and the food we are delivering. We cannot just have a free-for-all. God does His work in an orderly fashion and that is the way this needs to be done. That is the only way this work will continue. The pastors are doing a very good job.

There is such a spirit of cooperation among the pastors and the believers. Everybody needs to be involved for this to work. Things are moving really fast, and I think everyone is encouraged. I am impressed at how the pastors are handling things. This has brought them all together.

We must be very careful. It puts anyone in jeopardy if we store food at their home or church. We cannot drive around with a truck-full of food, or we will get mobbed by the people. The UN food trucks drive around with armed guards to keep the people away.

We had a really nice service yesterday. I was asked to speak and I did my best to encourage them by telling them that the Bride from around the world is behind them. VGR is here for them. I told them that the Bible says when one member of the Body suffers, we all suffer, and the entire Bride is suffering with them. After the service, 15 people were baptized. Truly, the Lord is with us here in Haiti.

Haiti, Sun Jan 31 - Email

Sent in full report and pictures (posted on main webpage).

Haiti, Sat Jan 30 - Email

We did the meeting this morning with the minister brothers and all went well. It was above expectation, by the grace of God. Phone don’t seem to work, either way. Nothing can explain what we saw today. We took over 400 pictures only this afternoon. We will do our best to work with another access to internet tomorrow. Communications are hectic and still no electricity. We are staying at Bro. Tannis place and we're well.

God bless you

Bro. Guy

Haiti, Fri Jan 29 - Email

We're working on downloading pictures with Bro. Rene. The generator is going on outside to provide power. We will send that other. Hopefully, you'll have something to put on the web. Piles on concrete everywhere, hundred of buildings went down, just collapsed, many with people inside (still there). In the mean time, here is my first report of our meeting yesterday:

Bro. Rene made a quick introduction and after prayer we started the meeting. I approached the brothers with a map plan on a flip chart with 3 columns on page 1:

Column 1:

- Food

- Medical supplies

- Lodging

Before moving forward, we went on page 2 and make them understand that whatever we provide , cash or products, we needed them and us to be responsible (accountable) for how it will be spent. It is easier to take inventory of products than cash spent. The point was not that we want to control, but rather we need to do the exercise in order to be able to forecast the project for specific reasons:

- Identify the needs

- How much it will cost per week, per month...

- Forecast budget on the longer term as the situation will evolves, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr and so on.

We came back on page 1 and started the discussion. I wrote in red (on the whiteboard) their pertinent comments as we move along the items. The cooperation was amazing and a lot of things came up that help us to structure our strategy. They knew right away that VGR was serious and that we were looking forward to support them on a solid base.

Fri Jan 29 - text message

Every survivor of the earthquake have their own testimonies of these terrible tremors which actually only lasted for 35 seconds. They all speak with so much emotions that the hardest heart would be touched. However, a few testimonies specially caught our attention. One of those is the testimony of sister Fiotte, who lost her son and her son in law. She told us that her grand-son was found unharmed in the arms of her dead son who was holding the boy so tightly protecting him that they had to break his arms to set the child free.

With an incredible calm.

Haiti, Fri Jan 29 - text message

Facing the National palace, the Mars Field, wonderful park where fountains throw water in the air, has now been transformed in a pile of hanging canvas and tents sheltering homeless people. What was yesterday the pride of Port-au-Prince is now most likely a refugee camp. The lack of latrines forces the people to relieve anywhere in public, at the point where every breathing is almost unbearable.

Haiti, Fri Jan 29 - text message

Some brothers gave us the following testimony: Brother Michaud, pastor of a 400 believer’s church, was preaching in his church when the earthquake began. As he was preaching, he shouted “Stand still, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall not be harmed…” 2 believers left the church running and at this very moment, a part of the outside wall fell down on the brother’s legs. Only these 2 people were harmed. (Reference: Bro. Tanis, Bro. Conserve).

Haiti, Thu Jan 28 - text message

Port-au-Prince

Driving in the roads of Port-au-Prince, we face a reality that even the most realist photos cannot show. You must be there to feel the sorrows and agony of the situation. In the ruins, there are still hundreds of human beings in state of putrefaction, the air is contaminated, putrid, mixed with dust, human putrefied, and carbon monoxide but however, even with all the other things we are witnesses of, we are grateful for the amazing grace of our Lord for His people. In fact, in a city where almost 1/10 of the population passed away, only a few Christian of this Message went home. For example, in our Bro. Guy Lamothe’s church, with more than 2,000 believers, located in one of the most destroyed area, only 16 official deaths were counted. Some more people are still missing but it is only a minority.

Haiti, Thu Jan 28 - phone call

We got across the border into Haiti. The brothers’ radiator went out so we are fixing it right now. Please pray for us.

Arrived in Dominican Republic on Wednesday, Jan 27. Traveled to Haiti the following morning.


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