Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not So Distant Now

My cousin, Barbara Williams Freeman, arrived in Haiti Sunday to lead a mission trip.

There was a 7.0 earthquake there today.

Here are some of her recent Facebook updates:

Sat. 9:51 p.m.
I would ask prayers from friends and family as I depart for Haiti tomorrow morning. We have a 50 member team doing medical, dental, and construction work in all parts of Haiti and I will be doing my sponsorship work with the children. Many others in my family (Shannon, Laura, Ben, Becky, Benjy, Rob and Parker) will arrive next Saturday for the dedication of the Matt Baugh Mission House next Sunday. Then our family will be off to LaGonave to visit the schools and distribute food packets to the families of the children. How blessed we are to be involved in the work Christ calls us to. I have had a few sad moments since this will be the first time I head off to Haiti without a prayerful sendoff from my Daddy [Dell Williams, who passed away last year] and the knowledge that he was bringing me before our Father's throne each moment I was away. I do miss him so much.

Mon. 11:14 a.m.
Rose on this first day in Haiti tired and with so much to do. I was reminded of Psalm 100 "serve the Lord with gladness", Spurgeon's comment..."if there is not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness." How I pray for holy cheerfulness, not just today but everyday.

7:56 p.m.
Thankful that all 50 team members arrived safely and eager to head out tomorrow to begin work. Clothes and shoes being distributed in the village of Cotin; Clinic held in another; eye exams and glasses; food distributed to sponsored children; construction continuing on the clinic and church! I love what I do. Thank you Lord!

Tues. 7:45 p.m.
Earthquake damaged all buildings here at the camp. My room shook so violently that I could not walk out, I crawled. Many houses around the camp demolished. Team has pulled out many and our medical team just arrived back at camp when quake hit. Many injured and being treated in the yard of camp. Many dead. We are still feeling aftershocks. Pray for us.

8:45 p.m.
Aftershocks coming now. People continue to pour into the camp. Many painful injuries of children, compound fractures. We heard that the central hospital has collapsed. We have no place to transfer seriously injured people. Drs and nurses are treating them the best they can and they are lying all over the yard. Pray my friends.

9:09 p.m.
Strong aftershocks continue. We have all moved outside where we sit among the injured. Our outside field is full of injured but we cannot help them all. It is a minute to minute thing. Our buildings have damage so as long as aftershocks continue, we will have to stay outside. It is difficult to hear the cries of the wounded. The children are the worst.

9:14 p.m.
The guys on the construction team have the saws out making splints. We are tearing sheets making to secure splints and whatever. Thank the Lord of our faithful generator so we can continue to see. No power outside camp that we can tell. I have M & M's in my room and they won't let me go get them!!!

9:20 p.m.
Four Haitians have died here at the camp. We are out of medications. We have heard that US military may be coming to help. Hope it is true.

9:50 p.m.
Death toll at the camp is now 5....all children. We have a man whose leg needs to be amputated and another whose eye is destroyed. Feel so helpless. What will daybreak bring?

With Bebe's updates, it feels so immediate. Please pass this information along to people who pray. Pray for God's tangible presence in the midst of disaster. Pray for physical and emotional safety for the mission team. Pray that Jesus, Immanuel, will show Himself mighty to save.

One comment offered as encouragement stopped me in my tracks:
Your anchor holds secure. Trust Him, even though you are in the midst of a terrible storm. Those proud surging waves of grief and devastation will go no further than a nail-scarred hand will allow. I pray that Haiti will be transformed by the gospel through this. I pray that the wailing for the dead, will be turned into joy in the morning! Great is His faithfulness, do not lose sight of that in the turmoil! Great is His faithfulness!

It's true. I believe it. Lord, forgive my near-sightedness. Break my heart for Your world, Your people.

More Facebook status updates from Bebe:

Wed. 10:00 a.m.
Hey guys, We have heard that CNN is reporting that our runway is usable. We are contacting local people and some outside US to get us drugs. Main goal today is clean up camp and get meds so we can treat people. We are going to clinic at UN to try to find a place to take the seriously injured. We haven't been out to... check roads yet to see if we can get around. Will know more later.

10:10 a.m.
So many have asked what meds we need that I am putting it out here for whomever: IV fluids and tubing needles to start IVs injectable pain medications and antibiotics wound and bandaging supplies iodine oral antibiotics for adults and children Type of antibiotics: Keflex and Rocephen (sp)

11:00 a.m.
We sent out a recon team this morning to check out roads and try to find some hospital or clinic to take those we have helped all we can, also need a morgue to take the bodies. A clinic was located who agreed to take the injured. As some are moved out, others come but not the frantic pace we had last night.

11:05 a.m.
Those who went out reported unbelievable devastation, bodies everywhere and injured lying unattended. One dear neighbor at our camp lost two children when his house collapsed. He was here this morning asking for plywood to make coffins. Tears flow but pain doesn't go away, but we cling to our Christ.

UPDATE: Barbara is back on US soil! Thank you for your prayers. Keep praying for the people in Haiti.

Fri. 1:26 p.m.
Thank you for all your prayers and praise to our Great God for delivering his people. After a very frustrating day of waiting 12 hours to get out of PAP the decision was made to drive to Santo Domingo to try to get commercial flights to US. About 3:00 am, a loud knock came and I opened my door to a 6' something Lt. Col in the Army telling me

1:33 p.m.
to get dressed and have my bags on the bus in ten minutes, he was taking us home. We were flown out in a C 17 transport plane by the most courteous and thoughtful crew to McGuire AFB in New Jersey where again we were fed given cots treated so wonderfully by the military before we were bussed to Philadelphia where we are awaiting pick up to make the final trek home! The prayers of many saints have been answered.

1:35 p.m.
As we left our camp a bittersweet feeling came over me as we said goodbye to our dear Haitian workers and friends. We were going home, but they would be left behind with all the devastation and pain. Please continue to pray for all those we left behind. Love to all.

9:18 p.m.
am happy to be sleeping in my own bed tonight thanks to God's great provision and the Mississippi Air National Guard crew of the C-17 which brought us to McGuire AFB, and the very generous gesture of NWA corporation who provided their private jet to meet us there and bring us home. Loved having the boys meet me....I expect my Haitian friends are spending another night out of doors since there were more aftershocks reported this morning. Please continue prayers.

Thought you might want to see whom you're praying for:

Barbara's mission organization's website: http://www.missiontohaiti.org/

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