PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (February 16, 2010) – Ministry partners who are meeting the needs of Haitian survivors amid the devastation left by the January 12 earthquake are inspiring Jeff Anderson, superintendent of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada (ECCC).
Anderson arrived in Haiti last week and spent the weekend in Port-au-Prince. He is scheduled to stay in the country until Friday.
Anderson has met with Dr. Emmanuel Mareus (popularly known as Dr. Manno), the medical director of Eben-Ezer medical clinic; Dr. Hubert Morquette, the national director of World Relief Haiti, and Pastor Jovin Martinez, who has partnered with Covenant churches in the Southeast Conference and started nine schools and eight churches around Port-au-Prince.
The ECCC has a long relationship with Mareus because minister Kathy Brawley, who served at Covenant Bible College-Canada, had taken groups to Haiti. Five churches in the conference have sent teams to Haiti to partner with the clinic, which is located about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Port-au-Prince.
Shortly following the earthquake, Mareus traveled to Port-au-Prince, where he used to live, and found about 500 people living in a small compound that remained intact after the buildings around it had been damaged beyond use or destroyed, Anderson says. Little aid had been delivered to the area.
Working with several local church leaders, Anderson brought supplies that included protein powder provided by the Reliv Kalogris Foundation, as well as bags of rice and oil. Mareus told church leaders they had to distribute the goods in a fair manner. He plans to return in two weeks with a truckload of food, medicine and relief funds supplied by the ECCC.
World Relief International offices were destroyed in the earthquake and the organization has moved its offices to the Kings Hospital complex. World Relief – a ministry partner of Covenant World Relief – is focusing most of its efforts on immediate assistance, but also hopes that in the coming months the organization can begin shifting more attention to wider issues of long-term health and sustainability.
“It was very clear that the partnership the Covenant has with World Relief is in excellent hands if Dr. Morquette is representative of the 40 Haitian staff persons,” Anderson says.
Anderson also connected with Pastor Martinez, who has worked closely with Covenant churches and helped start churches in the United States for Haitian refugees.
Martinez observed that the love that continues to be shown by the denomination was evident when he first met people from the Covenant.
“I had visited many groups and was always given procedures or was just told ‘no,’ and then I visited with the pastor of the Covenant church and I still remember his words – ‘Welcome in the name of Christ,’ ” Martinez told Anderson.
Anderson notes that he had received an equally warm welcome from Martinez in Haiti. “We arrived at his home and were prepared to pitch a tent in his yard, but he and his wife are people with the incredible gift of hospitality and found beds for us along with a wonderful supper. All this while they were hosting workers from two other aid groups.”
Anderson says the goals Martinez has for ministry will be important in the years to come, if Haiti is ever to recover. “His heart is for the needs of the whole person, and he is one of those visionary people that see endless ways to help his country – starting with better education.”
Anderson says of his time in Haiti that “The images that one saw on the nightly news take on a three-dimensional perspective that goes beyond words. In the midst of the chaos, there are many followers of Christ who are working as the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Some small markets have restarted, Anderson says. “We passed by two of the major markets that are nothing more than compressed levels of concrete. Occasionally you will see one or two people working in the midst of a huge pile of rubble to find something of value. One man we passed had salvaged three good concrete blocks.”