Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Letter to the Shawnee United Methodist Church Regarding the Haiti Earthquake

People of Shawnee

Surely by now you’ve heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Port Au Prince. While I am relieved to report that our partners in the Cap Haitian area – Living Hope Mission and Victory Christian Church - sustained no damage, and that the orphanage led by the Nungester family in Port Au Prince received only moderate damage (all the children are well and safe), the rest of the news from Port Au Prince is dire.

If you’ve ever been to Haiti, you know that in the city everything is built with concrete block, mortar, and metal rebar. These structures were not designed to withstand even a moderate earthquake. Hence, the devastation in Port Au Prince has been unthinkable. If you’ve seen the pictures or video, you know how badly the people are hurting.

On a more personal note, I have also received the terrible news that a meeting for all the clergy of the Methodist Church of Haiti was scheduled yesterday at the Montana Hotel, in Port Au Prince. While nothing has been confirmed, the Montana has reportedly collapsed. Three members of our UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) staff were present at the gathering and have still not been heard from. Literally every single pastor from our sister denomination is at risk, and no news has arrived regarding their safety. Please continue to pray for them.

Currently, a building team is scheduled to fly into Haiti on Saturday, January 23rd. We had been planning to work in the Cap Haitian area. However given the devastation in Port Au Prince, I have made our services available to the collective ongoing relief effort of which UMCOR is a participating member. I have no definite news as to the particulars of our work or if we can be utilized at all. Given the destruction, the number of available beds for relief workers, and the immediate need for trained “search and rescue” personnel, I don’t know if our kind of help is presently needed. I can assure you, however, than in the coming year the Shawnee United Methodist Church will be committed to the rebuilding of Port Au Prince, and particularly the churches, schools, clinics, and various ministries of our sister denomination, the Methodist Church of Haiti.

Until then, here’s what you can do:

1) Pray. Pray for the people of Port Au Prince and all who love them. Pray especially for the clergy of the Methodist Church of Haiti and their safety.

2) We will take financial donations for the ongoing relief effort. These funds will either be used by our team when they are on the ground on January 23rd, or if we aren’t able to directly participate, we will use them to fund the greater relief effort.

3) Pray for our team as we seek God’s will and direction for our effort.

God Bless,

Bryan Bucher

Senior Pastor - Shawnee UMC

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