On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16, my first thought was, “Thank You Lord.” Finally an answer to the many phone calls and e-mails I had placed to Haiti beginning in the evening of Jan. 12.
The short e-mail simply read: “Deacon your kids and the families at the Bill Childers preschool are OK. I will talk to you some more about them later. Roger and Ivy and the house people are OK, too. From what I am hearing I am afraid things are going to get bad times, Port au Prince is no more, and we and the whole country are going to need a lot of Gods help. Your Friend, Francois Filogene.”
After what seemed like an eternity having those little guys on my mind the tears of thanks and relief came. Francois is a friend and a professor in our local school district. I could tell by the way he worded his e-mail that he was really concerned.
I had been worried and afraid I would get the same message about our community that we all were getting from Port-au-Prince. The devastation that had occurred there was catastrophic. I had seen on TV coverage some of the places I had been, that now lay in rubble. Again I thanked the Lord for having his hand on our community. All we had gotten there were rumbles and shakes.
The Internet and phone service soon came up and we began receiving answers to our e-mails and phone calls. One of the first troubling bits of information was a statement made by our Mayor, George Duval, of Ranquitte, that more than 500 people from Port-au-Prince had come to our area with only the clothes on their backs, looking for a refuge.
“What are we going to do?” I thought.
The unknown is here with more coming. We don’t know. We know sending materials there now is not an option. We also know going there would only complicate the struggle. Our friends there are extremely capable of doing whatever needs to be done. We know for sure we will have to concentrate on our small area. We can’t do anything except that; to approach it differently would cause us to be fragmented and ineffective.
We knew that our needs were great before the earthquake. Last year a tropical storm and two hurricanes devastated Haiti. Flooding washed away families’ homes and gardens, forcing some parents to mix mud and spices together calling them cookies, and feeding them to their children.
We are going to have to concentrate on that little pin speck of Haiti which claims our Bill Childers preschool, our little fellows, their siblings and parents, our staff and their families. Food, medicines, clothing and all essentials costs are going to skyrocket.
We will continue to ask the Lord for directions. Only He knows what is going to happen in our community with so many new poor people trying to fend for themselves.
Please help us help our people in Haiti. You can help by sending a tax exempt contributions to The Group Inc. at 980 Sugar Valley Rd. NW. Calhoun Ga. 30701 or Call Deacon Balliew at 706- 629- 6156.