Relief endeavors often take on many twists and turns as situations change from one moment to another,
and this trip was no exception. We began monitoring the earthquake immediately after it occurred and
began communicating with other relief ministries throughout the country. I immediately went on standby to
deploy as we prayed for the Lord to direct oursteps.
Our major contact in the country was a missionary couple, Patrick and Barb Lataillade. Patrick is Haitian
and Barb is American. They had a home in Port Au Prince and oversee 5 churches in the coastal area with
several schools, clinics and a conference center where many Haitian pastors attend and receive verse by
verse teaching of God’s Word several times a year. Our church has been actively supporting the ministry,
Living Word Ministries, for years.
We immediately found out that their home had collapsed with them in it. Barb was able to be pulled out of
the rubble and had a lot of damage to her foot. Patrick was trapped, but they were able to get him some
water. The next morning he was freed, but he was in bad shape. Both of them needed to get back to the
states for medical attention.
We were in contact with a Dominican pastor/friend who has a church in Miami and works with a ministry in
the DR. He offered us a vehicle to get into Haiti if needed. Patrick and Barb’s son, Agape and daughter,
Rachel, both in their early 20’s decided to go in and help get their parents back to the states. We
determined that we would do all we could to help them in this endeavor and I booked a flight and headed to
Miami on Thursday to fly in with Agape and his long time, also Haitian raised friend, Mike.
When we arrived in the DR, we found out that friends in Haiti had managed to go through the rubble at
their home and found the necessary documents that would allow them to be identified as possibly being able
to get out of Haiti and into the US! Through a series of Godincidents the Canadian Air Force agreed to
drop them in Miami on their way back to Canada. They were then airlifted to a local hospital. Over the
next several days, part of Barb’s leg and Patrick’s arm had to be amputated. Patrick also had some broken
ribs and a collapsed lung along with some kidney problems. They are both safe and alive in the US, but still
have a long road of recovery ahead of them. Please keep this family in your prayers.
In the mean time it was determined that we needed to get the kids back to Miami to be with their parents
so off to the airport we went and through much ado, we secured seats for them and they headed out.
This left me in the DR with no Haitian people/plans. Agape’s in-laws, Jim and Theresa, are missionaries in
the DR, which was where we were staying. Another DR missionary friend of theirs, Daryl was taking a team
into Haiti as they have several churches there that he oversees. They are part of Pentecostal Holiness
Church and their ministry is called People to People, a great bunch of guys! He offered to take me along
for the ride, so I accepted, packed my things and got on a bus to Santa Domingo. I took a taxi to a hotel
and arrived just before the team got in from the airport.
We settled in for the night and took off for another bus station early in the morning. We booked a round
trip bus ticket into Port Au Prince (PAP) and began our journey!
The trip wasn’t bad, there was virtually no traffic. The roads were safe, but the borders were crowded.
The Lord put a US Army sergeant on our bus that was Haitian. He took care of us along the way and made
us feel a lot safer! There were mostly Haitian people on the bus who had moved to other countries and
were coming in to find their families and friends. We talked with and encouraged as many as we could, it
was a somber experience.
Once in PAP, we quickly headed out of the main area to a secure compound, Mission of Hope, where they
readily took us in. Almost immediately the ground was shaking from an after shock!
We got up the next morning, went to the church service on the grounds and then took off for the first
church compound that the guys needed to get to. The buildings seemed fine, but the security wall had
collapsed on one side. We talked to some of the people and then headed across the street to the
neighborhood next to the compound that the church served. Every house was either on the ground or
severely damaged, yet the church was untouched! God’s Sanctuary had become the sanctuary! We talked
to many people and prayed with them and let them know that we would do our best to get help for them.
From there we headed into the heart of the city, looking for the next church. We could only go so far and
had to finish the journey by foot. We didn’t have any problems with any of the people, but they were tired,
hungry and thirsty, having spent the last few days in the streets with no form of relief at all. Many people
said that someone just needed to start doing something, anything! Most of the dead bodies had already
been removed from the streets and we passed the mass burial site on our way into town. As we walked
along, we came across one home where a back hoe was in the process of sifting through the rubble in hopes
to find the bodies of family members. One lie dead, covered by a sheet beside the rubble and one was still
missing. When we were returning, they had found the second body and were working on getting it out so
that they could be buried.
We finally made it to the church and once again, found the church in great condition, being the refuge for
the local people. We were able to offer some pain killers to a couple of hurting people that one of the guys
had in his back pack. There was no way we could carry any type of relief aid to them, as we would be
mobbed and attacked and the items would never reach the church.
We headed out and then proceeded to several huge tent cities in the downtown area where all the
government buildings were located. There were many, many people there with no aid yet to be received and
this was Sunday!
We made it back to the compound just after dark and in time for supper. We had to make a room change,
I spent some time online as I had limited internet service, and then hit the sack.
The next morning we got up early. We had brought in a lot of medical supplies and we gave them to the
mission to use in the clinics that they had set up in the city. Mission of Hope gave us enough food to feed
over 2000 people, 10 cases in all. We then headed a little farther out of town to another church. Most
everything was fine in this village, though the people were afraid to go back in their homes and were living in
the streets. We left them with a case of food to prepare.
We then headed to another church, closer to town, but up on a mountain. There was very little damage in
this area, but the pastor’s home was not safe to live in.
From there we went back to the church with the compound that we had visited the day before. We
unloaded all the rest of the food and the People to People team had a meeting with the pastors as to what
could be done, what they needed and they provided some funds to get the ball rolling.
From there we headed back in time for a shower and dinner. While at the compound I met a lot of
different people from different countries and ministries, all coming together to share their gifts as they
bring the love of Jesus to this hurting country. I even ran into some friends from previous responses and
of course made some new ones!
The next morning we got up early, packed and headed back to the bus station. What a mess! People were
everywhere trying to get permission from the US Embassy to get to the US, which was next door to the
bus station, and then trying to get one of the few tickets out of town if they didn’t have another means.
While standing in line I recognized a young man who had traveled in with us. I asked him how it went and he
happily responded that all his family was fine and their house was still standing. He had taken them some
food and water and they had 5 families staying in the home at this time. His father and a few friends had
come with him to the bus stop. I had been carrying a water filtration system with me and was praying
about what to do with it. The Lord had not told me yet so I was taking it back with me to use on a future
trip. I began praying if this family was what I was to do with the kit and the Lord confirmed my choice, but
there was a problem. If I tried to give him something I would either get mobbed or he would never get
back to his home with it and we were surrounded by people. The son, Joversky quickly got his friends to
surround me so no one could see what we were doing. I quickly filled a small blue tote bag with the kit, a
first aid kit, some hand sanitizer, a few snacks, etc. We were able to make the transition without anyone
seeing us and then took some pictures!
Getting on the bus was a mess. I was trying to help Joversky get a ticket and there were 6 of us.
Supposedly there were only 6 tickets left, but they took all of our prepaid tickets and passports. Once at
the bus, when we realized the mistake, we had to go back to the table and try to figure things out. I knew
God wanted me to help Joversky so I just prayed and out they came with another ticket, and on the bus we
There were many Haitians on the bus again and we heard many different stories, some good and some bad.
Some of the people were living in Haiti and had obtained Visas to go to the US and live; others were already
staying out of the country and had come in to find their families and friends. Besides the border crossing
the trip went well, but was rather long!
Once back in Santa Domingo, I immediately said my goodbyes and headed to the airport where I was
supposed to meet with a pastor friend Vic and discuss what we each found and what plans could be made to
further the efforts. CC Old Bridge from NJ was already forging forward with things on the border and
Vic along with CC Delta from PA and their ministry in Baharona were providing logistic support.
Unfortunately, plans changed and I got on the plane alone before I found out and headed back to the
states which at the time I thought was a mistake!
Our plane was delayed, but I made it safe and sound. Rachel and Mike picked me up at the airport and
took me to my Jeep. I filled them in quickly and headed home. Stopped for a couple hours rest at a rest
area and made it home around 7 AM. I then received and email asking me to be on a jobsite the next day
and then had a part come in to finish another job I had been working on and waiting for. God knew I
needed to be on the plane and home to take care of a few things. I then found out my son was coming
home for the weekend from college, so I also got to spend some much needed time with my family!