Sunday, January 31, 2010

How You Can Help: Supply Drive

I know since the earthquake many of you have felt like I have: helpless! Well, I'm excited to let you know of a practical way you can now help. A supply drive has been organized in the Pella area to get supplies to Pignon to Many Hands for Haiti and Promise for Haiti (the hospital). Thank you to the churches and groups who have taken special offerings to help in this time of chaos and crisis. Your support is greatly needed and appreciated. Donations given to Many Hands for Haiti and Promise for Haiti are being allocated for food, water, medical care, hospital operating costs, and fuel for generators(which has skyrocketed in price) and basic needs as they arise. The supply list and drop-off instructions are at the end of this post. Deadline for donations is Saturday, February 6, so we can get supplies there quickly.

But first a brief update on the past week in Pignon...

This past week over 1,000 patients were seen at Hospital Bienfaisance, and they expect the number to increase with time as more leave Port and discover that Pignon has resources to help. A doctor sent an email with some pretty graphic photos of injuries, and it was very difficult to see how terribly some are injured. I'm sure these weren't even the worst cases. The good news is that there are doctors in Pignon to offer excellent medical care. Jared & Stacey also got a feeding program started this week for patients and up to two family members per patient. They started feeding over 200 meals a day and providing clean water. Stacey noted that the cooks they've hired and the men they've hired to distribute the food and water are doing an excellent job. It's a win-win-win because they are giving business to store owners since they need all the food supplies, they are empowering Haitians to operate the program, and they are filling a great need--hunger.

A vision team from Meredith Drive in Des Moines will be heading down next Thursday, and surgical teams from the States will continue to assist the Haitian doctors for the next 4-6 weeks. Please continue to pray for the recovery efforts, for Jared and Stacey as they serve and are away from their kids, for the medical team at the hospital and for healing to begin in Haiti. Pray that God is doing a mighty revival in the hearts of his people. Many are turning to Him as their only hope.

Supplies for Haiti for Earthquake Relief
(Drop-off deadline is Saturday, February 6, at 4:00 pm)

Light-weight blankets
Twin sheets
Candles (stand on own) & Matches

Bandages/Gauze/Ace wraps
Triple antibiotic ointment
Exam gloves

Flashlights & Batteries
Hand Sanitizer
Epsom salt
Breakfast Bars

Cash donations are also welcome to cover the shipping costs ($1.50/lb.) of these items by Missionary Flight International (MFI) from Ft. Pierce, FL, to Pignon, Haiti. Make checks payable to Many Hands for Haiti, indicating "earthquake relief" in the memo line. Mail to MH4H, PO Box 204, Pella, IA 50219.

Drop-off Location: 913 W 8th St, Pella (Pella Rental Building)

Directions: Go W. on Washington St to the stop light by Walmart. Turn left. It's the 2nd steel building (white) on the right.

There will be signage at the site. Please leave items inside the building. The entrance door will be left unlocked during Pella Rental's business hours, continuing until 4pm on Saturday February 6. Call John Grandia at 780-2801 or 628-2429 with questions or if you are unable to drop off items within business hours.

Thanks so much for your support!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Relief Efforts in Pignon

I'm happy to report that Will & Natalie made it safely to Iowa last Thursday night and are doing great. They got to my parents' about 9:30pm Thursday night and immediately played in the snow for awhile. They'd already been to McDonald's twice since their arrival in the States the previous day, and they were lovin' it! :) Now they've had a chance to play with their cousins, find all the toys at Grandma's they'd forgotten about and reunite with friends at church. This week Grandma plans to find some routine in all this and hopes to crack the school books. We are thankful that so far the kids are happy to be in Iowa and adjusting well. Please pray for my parents as they do to find routine and discover the balance between being grandparents and "parents" for a time. We also hope to find a recent grad, retired teacher or someone willing with a teaching background to homeschool Will & Natalie while they're here. If you are aware of any possible candidates for this, contact Bev Brand at Thanks to those of you who have welcomed Will & Natalie back, shared clothes with them, and been in prayer for their transition.

Below is a summary of relief efforts in Pignon that I received from Bev Brand yesterday. I wanted to pass it on. Please also keep watching the blog because I think we will have some specific ways you can donate time, money and materials very soon. Thanks for your continued prayers and support. Here's the summary:

The following is an update on the disaster relief efforts from Pignon, Haiti. The hospital is now treating many patients with broken bones and head trauma. Jared reported they were amputating many limbs – one little girl just lost both feet. The hospital is running surgery 24/7 and has secured enough fuel to last a month (2,000 gallons of diesel). The costs are skyrocketing because of shortages of fuel and food. The churches are going to have to step up to help as the hospital is not currently receiving any aid from Red Cross, other big humanitarian agencies or the government of Haiti. Pray we can reach the right people and they will help with the effort. Many industries and businesses will not to give to groups that have religious or Christian ties so we are missing out on huge matching funds from many places as well. Tons of money is pouring in to Haiti……pray that God will provide the needed funds for this hospital as they continue to serve the poorest of the poor as a Charity Hospital in Haiti. Keep praying --- Jared and Stacey have really felt your prayers!
Bev Brand (Please feel free to pass along to others who are interested)

Haiti Earthquake Update Jan. 23/10: Summary of what is being done through Hospital Bienfaicanse (Promise for Haiti) in Pignon as of 1/23/10:

  • Dr. Guy, Dr. Batsch and Jared Nikkel are heading up the response team for the hospital in Pignon. All efforts are being coordinated and filtered through this team.
  • Many emergency medical response teams with surgeons, orthopedic specialists and trauma teams are arriving daily at the hospital. These teams are being coordinated through Dr. Guy, Dr. Batsch, and Jared Nikkel on the ground for Promise For Haiti with PFH partner organizations. (Project Haiti, Community Coalition for Haiti- CCH, Many Hands for Haiti – MH4H)
  • Work project mission trips have been suspended for the short term to allow space for medical emergency teams. Work trips will resume as the crisis stabilizes. Iowa groups are working on getting non-medical supplies to Pignon.
  • Jared and Stacey Nikkel have sent their children back to Iowa so they can concentrate on the relief effort in Pignon.
  • At last count there were 60+ admitted patients with fractures and head trauma with an unknown number of outpatients that have been treated and released with stable injuries. The numbers may more than double in the next few days.
  • There are plans in place to house patients in various buildings around the hospital and at satellite locations in the area when the hospital cannot house them.
  • The hospital received some medical supplies from Rotary International yesterday. All are now inventoried, stored and ready for use. Another 4.6 tons of medical supplies is being shipped out of Clearwater, Fl. for arrival later today.
  • The focus now is supplies and patients. Missionary Aviation Fellowship is working with the hospital to fly in supplies and patients from Port au Prince. Missionary Flights International is flying in cargo and medical teams from Ft. Pierce, Fl. CCH and Project Haiti are also working with the Coast Guard and other means to get in supplies.
  • Jared Nikkel is working on contacts in Port au Prince to coordinate getting patients from Port for treatment to Pignon via ground and air.
  • The hospital is working with families of patients to help provide basic provisions, food, water and shelter.
  • A much needed reliable communications system is being sent and installed.
  • Senator Bill Frist, Tennessee, has been contacted to help obtain funding from the large humanitarian organization he supports. He is on the ground in Haiti at the moment and may make a visit to the hospital in Pignon. (Promise for Haiti is based out of Nashville, TN.)
  • The PFH Board is working on contacts to ask/apply for some funds from the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and other humanitarian organizations.
  • Promise for Haiti has been committed to providing long term solutions to the problems in Haiti for the past 27 years through health care, education, water and agriculture programs. These programs will all continue but the focus is to step up to the plate to help in this massive disaster relief effort in the short term.
  • Dr. Guy and Dr. Batsch will be speaking at the Global Health Conference and participating in grand rounds at Vanderbilt University on Feb. 12 to raise awareness of health care and other related issues in Haiti.

Please continue to cover these human efforts with prayers for supernatural power, wisdom and strength. Dr. Guy and team have reiterated that this is the “Lord’s Hospital” and all are ready and willing to serve in this relief effort. Dr. Batsch uses this quote: “To Serve, you only need a Heart full of Grace, and a Soul generated by Love” (Martin L. King Jr). And from Dr. Guy: “Many groups have contributed to the making of our Hospital. Pignon is the Lord’s place and belongs to all mission groups working with us. The Lord is our Master.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Update from Stacey


I know everyone has been anxious to hear from us, but this will be brief. We did have another aftershock/earthquake…nobody seems to know what to call it at this point, this morning around 5:00. We did not feel it, but several people around here did. As you can well imagine, emotions are running high and people are getting nervous.

We are getting my mom and dad, Tony and Shirley Phillips, out of Haiti this afternoon along with Will and Natalie. We feel this is the best decision for all concerned as Jared and I are needed here to assist in coordinating a relief effort with the hospital and those coming in to help. We are also trying to work with other missionaries in the area to make sure the people of Haiti are getting the care and material things they need.

At this time we don’t have a better list of supplies, and we are not even sure how they would get here at this time. Our regular mission flights in from Ft. Pierce have been suspended, rightly so, so they can concentrate on efforts in Port-au-Prince. We stand behind them 100% and know we will get our own supplies when they can get them here.

We do have medical teams from Virginia, CCH, and Minnesota, Project Haiti, coming soon to provide care for the growing number of patients coming in from Port and other hospitals around Haiti. The hospital has already declared that all patients of the earthquake would receive care free of cost, which to us seems like a no-brainer, but the hospital still has to operate and most of this funding will come primarily from donations. If you feel led to donate to help with these costs, please visit the Promise for Haiti website at I have asked Beth to post the contact information for them, and you can find it on the right side of the blog.

We were able to secure 1000 gallons of diesel to operate the generators at the hospital and got authorization to cover that with funds from Many Hands. This was just yesterday and already the price of fuel is up again. We are also hearing that prices for everyday things are on the rise, but we haven’t confirmed this information. As you know, after a disaster panic erupts and Haiti is no exception.

On a lighter note, there have been some amazing stories coming out of the city, and we are thrilled and rejoice with our friends from Pella who have been able to get their adopted children home! Praise the Lord.

We will continue to update the blog as we can. Thank you all for your constant prayers and support. We know we are covered.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It is almost 6:00 am Haiti time, and I have apparently gotten in the habit of getting up at 5:30 for our prayer meetings. Although we have officially concluded, there has been fruit from our commitment. Several lay people from Pignon became regulars attending prayer at the hospital and have chosen to continue to pray for the hospital, staff and patients. Some are doing so with their churches, and they have all agreed to start a Sunday afternoon worship service at the hospital for families of patients! It will be “come as you are,” and we pray for a good response. They are also visiting patients and praying with them; some patients are new from Port and others were already there.

A young pastor and his father from the group asked to come to our house to pray for us and our family on Tuesday afternoon. Jared and I were running around, but Mom and Dad, Will and Natalie were still here. The father prayed against the enemy’s attacks and easily recognizes there is a battle much larger going on here. We have already been hearing more Voodoo drumming and chanting, and we drove by a ceremony that was being held along the road in broad daylight. As a matter of fact, I can hear it now.

People here are scared. After the quaking yesterday, there have been rumors flying around about an 8.1 earthquake predicted to hit Cap-Haitien. We keep telling our friends to stay calm and look to God for strength and protection. Many people even here in Pignon are sleeping outside in their yards, if sleeping at all. Jared and I are trying our best to not get caught up in it all and trying to remain calm for those around us. We know that God is in control of it all, and my wise sister-in-law said it best: “God is gracious in keeping the future from us and giving us just one day at a time to cope with.”

Please keep our kids in your prayers. They got in to Ft. Pierce, Florida, late last night on an MFI flight from Pignon. We had a car and hotel arrangements made prior to their departure here, and the first thing they did was drive by the hotel and went to McDonalds. I am sure the kids were thrilled with that! They are excited to be going back to Iowa and will need lots of love, attention and patient grace. Their world is turned upside down now, and it was the most difficult decision we have ever made to send them out.

The only response I have to, “What can we pray for?” is MERCY.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goodbyes & Homecomings

Everyone is safe in Pignon this morning after the 6.1 magnitude aftershock that Haiti experienced around 6:00 am. From news reports I've heard it sounds like thankfully this aftershock did not create much more physical damage though it did heap more emotional trauma and fear upon an already traumatized people of Haiti.

Stacey emailed this morning to confirm that Tony, Shirley, Will & Natalie will be leaving Pignon this afternoon aboard an MFI plane that will take them to Ft. Pierce, FL. They will stay there tonight and fly back to Iowa tomorrow afternoon. Please pray for their difficult goodbyes today as well as for safe travel. As family, we are thrilled to see Will & Natalie yet these were certainly not the circumstances we hoped for. Pray for Will & Natalie in their transition along with all of us as we want to help them feel normal, happy and secure in all the ways we can.

Stacey indicated that plans continue to be made in Pignon, and everyone is cooperating well. Many medical teams are beginning to move in, so pray that the coordination of all their efforts will be smooth and maximized to help as many people as they can.

I'm sure many of you have heard the great news that the Poulter family returned to Pella last night with their little girl and those adopted by the Fuller & Vanderhoff families. God certainly performed a miracle to get those children to their families. How amazing! There is some great coverage of the story locally if you'd like to see pictures or learn more of the story. It made the front page of the DM Register. You can find the story, video and pictures at There is also local news coverage on KNIA/KRLS at WHO-TV13 was also there last night, so check for their story.

Please continue your prayers for Haiti. We are thankful for the miracles God is bringing out of a dire situation, but the situation remains dire for millions so let's continue to pray for miracles, healing, coordination of relief efforts, orphans, hope and God's perfect peace.

Thanks for your continued support!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Will & Natalie

Plans continue to be made in Pignon for how they will help with relief efforts. In the midst of all that is going on, Jared & Stacey have made the difficult decision to send the kids to Iowa with Stacey's parents. I think Jared's explanation describes the situation best:

While the situation in Pignon is safe and we have the things we need right now, we think it is best that they leave for a time. Of course we can't tell the future and are so anxious about sending them away, but we think that the future holds tougher times. Stacey and I think that if we can make sure they are safe we can dedicate ourselves fully to the work that needs to be done here without worrying about the security of our kids. We plan to constantly evaluate, and if we find that Stacey needs to leave, she will also head home for the kids. I want to make sure that everyone knows that we are safe; we just want to be cautious in deteriorating circumstances.

Right now they are hoping to be able to send Tony & Shirley (Stacey's parents) and Will and Natalie out of Pignon on Wednesday on a Missionary Flights International plane that is coming in. But as with everything else that is constantly changing, nothing is certain at this point. How long the kids will be in Iowa is also uncertain. In a situation like this, it really is "one day at a time."

Stacey expressed that even though this is the second hardest decision she's ever made (the first being deciding to move to Haiti), she really has peace about it. But you can imagine that it still won't come without difficulty and sadness. Please pray for Jared & Stacey and the kids with this separation. Pray for the kids' transition to Iowa as well. As you can imagine, they are excited to come back to Iowa but sad to come with their mom and dad. They will be staying with their Grandpa & Grandma Nikkel (me and Jared's parents).

Thanks for your continued prayer support. It can feel helpless to be here and see what's going on there, but do not discount your prayers on behalf of the people in Haiti. God is at work powerfully in this devastation. We must put our trust in Him to help where we cannot.

Also a brief update on the families working on adoptions in Haiti: Please pray fervently that these kids will be home this week! It's looking very hopeful as the Poulters are there now working on getting the 5 adopted children out of the country through the American Embassy. A major prayer concern now is that the other 4 children at the orphanage (there were just 9 children total at that orphanage) would be able to come to the US as well. They have not been adopted but are like siblings to the other children at the orphanage. Pray that God would bring these kids to a safe haven even without any paperwork. And pray that He acts swiftly on behalf of these children.

I cannot tell you what your support means to our family and these adoptive families. Stacey told me yesterday that they cannot believe the peace they've had and definitely feel the blanket of prayers that is over them. Keep it up!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Brief Update

Here's just a quick update on a few things that are happening:

The mission team from Grace Fellowship made it back to Pella safely last night. They were able to board a cargo plane at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince and flew into New Jersey before getting a flight home. They were allowed a carry-on and had to leave the rest of their belongings behind. The team was originally set to arrive home early next week. It's a real blessing that they could make it home safely and in such a timely fashion.

They continue to make plans in Pignon to help earthquake victims. It was announced on Haitian radio that earthquake victims could find medical care at the hospital in Pignon, so they expect that many will seek refuge there. Jared & Stacey met with Dr. Guy and others this morning to develop a comprehensive plan to help with evacuation, relocation, feeding and medical care as patients with critical needs are arriving in Pignon. They are working on a list of supplies that we will try to get sent in ASAP as they are in very short supply and the demand will be enormous. We will certainly let you know if there are ways you can help, but first we need to make sure we have the right avenues to get things where they need to go. Pray for Jared and Stacey as they have critical decisions to make and will continue to witness much sadness, pain and grief.

Please also keep praying for the Poulter, Vanderhoff and Fuller families who are in the process of adoptions from Haiti. Though it is a great blessing that they found their children alive and safe, they still don't know if or when they will be able to get them home. Meanwhile, the children remain in Port where necessities are in short supply. Pray that God will make a way to get these children home this week! God can do it!

Keep praying for Haiti!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Update from Jared

Hello Everyone,
I am writing with a heavy and anxious heart. I returned from Port au Prince last evening around 7 pm after spending a little over 24 hours there. I travelled with Pastor Caleb Lucien and Dr. Batsch to find the families of Dr. Batsch and several other doctors that work in Pignon but live in Port au Prince. We also planned to assess how we could help so that we could coordinate our assistance in Pignon. I must say that the leadership and compassion of Pastor Caleb and Dr. Batsch was a tremendous blessing to me and the people of Haiti. We carried some medical supplies, water, and tents and were able to help several neighborhoods with the few supplies we had. Thankfully and by the grace of God we found Dr. Batsch’s wife and seven year old son and the other doctors that we travelled with were able to find their families alive although some were injured.

I saw first hand the destruction and loss of life and it is incredible. I cannot fully describe the scene and I am still trying to process it all myself. I wept this morning as we continued our 40 days of prayer. It is simply very hard to experience. Imagine over 3 million people displaced, hundreds of thousands of dead bodies, no power, no water, no shelter, no fuel, no food All of this is unimaginable in a developed country let alone a country like Haiti. From what I saw the city is for all practical purposes destroyed. I was able to see all of the government buildings, finance, justice, health, mayors office, palace, all destroyed. Four large hospitals destroyed, and all hospitals damaged. Nearly all the major businesses were destroyed or severly damaged and commerce has stopped. I saw two working gas stations but each had run out of fuel by the time we left. I saw dead bodies everywhere, lining streets, lying in rubble, piled on street corners and being slowly carried away by men with carts. I saw people erupting in joy at the news their loved ones survived and I saw families erupting with grief as they learned of the loss of their family, the scene repeated itself thousands of times all over the city. I saw thousands upon thousands of people sitting and lying in the streets unable or too scared to enter the shelter of the buildings left standing. I slept outside with many people and listened to the sweet sound of relief planes arriving and carrying hope more than anything else. I listened as thousands of people cried out to God and even praised him. I felt ashamed at my lack of faith as they sang “tout bagay déjà byen” “all things are already good”. Unbelievable. I counted people as we stood and waited along the road out of Port au Prince. The average was 81 people per minute heading north, with that average over 14,000 people passed by me on there way out, many unsure where they will go. I’m sure you have all seen pictures and heard the news stories but the reality is astonishing and will worsen in these first days of this tragedy.

I returned to Pignon with Dr. Batsch and his family and 9 others whose homes were destroyed. We had the business of seeing the Fargo, North Dakota team off, graciously arranged by Pastor Caleb and we will be planning how we can provide for victims in the next few days. They announced on the radio today that patients can be taken to the our hospital here in Pignon so we will see what happens. The patient load here is heavier than normal and I suspect will continue to increase. We will begin planning how we can accommodate any refugees that come to Pignon. We have talked briefly about areas we can use to set up tents and will plan further as we know more.

The needs are enormous. I wondered this morning how you take nothing from nothing. Someone said yesterday “if Port au Prince is broken, Haiti is broken” and that is correct. This tragedy has deeply affected all of Haiti. The availability of all supplies here is decreasing or gone and the means to get supplies here is crippled. Diesel fuel is nearly gone and the price has nearly doubled. Diesel is $5 a gallon and a gallon of gasoline is now $12.50 in many places. I know the town of Hinche is out but this morning when I went to find fuel I was fortunate to get some of the last diesel in Pignon. Dr. Guy said that he had tried to buy as much diesel as possible in Cap Haitian, I don’t know at this time if we have found that fuel. Without diesel fuel we have no electricity, no transportation and no water at the hospital. Most of the rice, flour, sugar here in Pignon is gone or disappearing fast. Many vendors hoped they would have more tomorrow from Cap Haitian so we will see. We could find a little rice, and could only buy sugar in small quantities and could not find flour. We purchased enough supplies this morning to last about a month. Food, water, medical supplies and fuel will be the main concern all over Haiti. Dr. Batsch is preparing a list of medical supplies we will need here at the hospital and will email that soon to our supporters. If we have connections to money and supplies now is the time to use them.

Here is a list that we have compiled of needs that we have seen and anticipate. Keep in mind this is the need we have seen but we don’t know yet about how supplies will be delivered to Pignon or Haiti.

Tents Tylenol
Blankets Ibuprofen
Sheets Advil
Cots Bandages/Gauze/Ace wraps
Flashlights Tape
Batteries Triple antibiotic ointment
Hand Sanitizer Epsom salt
Exam gloves

We are working on improving our communication by getting some Voila phones. Digicel service isn’t working but Voila is intermittently so we hope to get some cell phones up and running. We are still trying to figure out how we will get Stacey's parents home next week.

Thanks to all of you who have sent or left supplies with us we will be able to use much of the clothes and medicine and other items that have been left with us. Thanks to everyone who has shown so much concern for us and the people of Haiti. I’m sure we have forgotten some things and we’ll try and keep updates coming. Please forward this on and we'll try to post it on the blog as well. Keep Praying and God Bless.

Answered Prayers

If you're like me, you are overwhelmed by the desperate images you are seeing from Haiti and the increasing urgency to save any lives that may still be saved and to get food and water to those who have survived. Imagine if you were there living it. But this morning as I had these desperate thoughts and feelings, I was reminded of many ways God has answered our prayers in the midst of this. God is on his throne! Let's praise him for those answers today. Please thank him with me:

  • Jared had a safe trip to and from Port-au-Prince. They found Dr. Batsch's family and were able to bring them back to Pignon with them.
  • The Vanderhoff, Fuller & Poulter families of Pella have found their children, safe and sound in Port-au-Prince. Because of much media attention their story has received, people are working on their case and there is hope that they will be able to get their children home quickly on a humanitarian refuge visa. Pray for this to happen! If you did not see it, I encourage you to find their story on They were on Nightline last night, and it's a powerful story.
  • Kristie & JeanJean Mompremier have found all of their family alive. They were all able to find a way to Bohoc (where the Mompremiers live) and arrived about midnight last night.
  • There is relative peace and patience among the suffering people in Haiti as they wait for relief. Continue to pray for God to hold them in his peace as efforts continue to help them.
  • Lives are being saved, and relief efforts continue. The world is pouring resources into Haiti with great generosity. Pray that all aid can be wisely and peacefully distributed.

Thank you for your prayers. God is hearing and answering us. There is so much we cannot understand about this, but we can continue to rely on our God, the Lord of all nations.

I'll continue to post as I get updates from Jared & Stacey. Internet continues to be patchy at best.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake Update from Stacey

Update: Thursday, 2:00 pm We heard from Stacey within the last hour that Jared is on his way back to Pignon with Dr. Batsch. We are thankful that they are safe, and we believe that Dr. Batsch found his family. Hopefully we will have more information for you later. Here is a snippet from an email Jared wrote yesterday about the damage:

We know that medical supplies are needed urgently. MFI said they will be flying in today (Wed.) with medical supplies and we hope to help how we can. We have offered our truck and help to transport people or supplies to and from Port.... We have reports of 4 hospitals that have collapsed as well as the Cathedral and parts of the palace. We also know several buildings we are familiar with that have collapsed. The Hotel Montana is demolished, and we got reports of hundreds dead there. Communication is very poor and there are many many people here that have no idea about [their families]. I can say that any effort to send help in the form of money and supplies is needed and appreciated. Thanks and God Bless.

Wednesday, January 13

To say that we don’t know much of anything is a gross understatement right now. Many days I have wondered why the Lord put us here and now I am even more confused. The earthquake yesterday has taught me that I know very little of the way God works and why. This country has been through so much the past two years as far as natural disasters go. In 2008 there were three hurricanes and a tropical storm that devastated the farm industry, most of which is subsistence. And now this.

Yesterday afternoon sometime around 4:00, I couldn’t even tell you for sure because I don’t pay a lot of attention to the clock, Jared was on the computer at the table and I was having a nice conversation with my parents and a missionary friend of ours. Will was hanging out with us in the living room and Natalie was busy “decorating” her room with three of her friends. We felt a slight trembling that continued to grow.

At first I thought my dad was shaking his leg on the couch, then realized I wasn’t the only one feeling the movement. We all looked at each other and someone said, “It’s an earthquake!” And like all good Midwesterners we just sat there. Just when it was becoming uncomfortable, it stopped. We had no idea where it originated or how bad things really were until this morning.

I suspected things were not very good in Port-au-Prince last night when we couldn’t get our cell phone or internet service to work. Around 10:30 I noticed Jared’s cell phone said EMERGENCY across the screen and really started to wonder. I checked to see if the internet was working this morning around 5:30 while getting ready to go to the prayer service at the hospital. Again it would not connect. When we got to the hospital, we started to learn of the magnitude of the devastation in Port.

Even now as I sit here writing I feel very small in this great world. You probably know way more than we do as we don’t have access to television news and can’t completely understand the radio reports. Our phone and internet service is still down, but we have some limited access through the hospital to send and receive information.

Jared volunteered our truck for any service that might be necessary and was recruited to drive some medical supplies and a couple of doctors to Port this morning. They left before noon and I don’t anticipate hearing anything from him anytime soon. Please pray for his safety and that he will be able to help. We will be assessing the situation and helping however we can.

Please continue to pray for the country of Haiti and especially for those who have lost family and friends in and around Port-au-Prince. Also pray that lines of communication open soon and that we personally will better understand our role in all of this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I tried to send this out yesterday but the satellite service at the hospital wasn’t working late afternoon due to rainy weather. As of today I haven’t heard from Jared, but am confident that he is safe and providing much needed assistance in Port. The kids are doing school this morning again with Grandma, trying to maintain some normalcy.

One of the cell phone services (not the one we have) is up and running so there are reports coming into Pignon from people in Port. It is not good. Many schools, hospitals, and businesses, not to mention government buildings, are destroyed. There are many young people from Pignon in secondary (high school) in Port, and we have heard some of them have died. So far the numbers we are hearing are over 100,000 dead and of course lots of people are still missing. We have also heard there is rioting and looting, as could be expected. I am anxious to hear from Jared and we will evaluate from there what we are going to do.

I will try to keep this updated as I am able.

God Bless,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nikkels Are Safe Following Major Earthquake

Thanks to so many people who have inquired about the safety of Jared & Stacey following the devastating news of a major earthquake today in and around Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti, which is 50-60 miles from Pignon. We are thankful to report that Jared, Stacey, Will & Natalie are safe as well as Stacey's parents who are currently visiting. Although they felt the quake in Pignon, no significant damage was reported there. All phone communications are down right now so we cannot get in touch with Jared & Stacey so far, but we have been able to receive news via email from some doctors and other missionaries in the Pignon area that confirm that everyone is safe. Here are some email excerpts with more information:

From Kristie & JeanJean Mompremier, missionaries who live 5-6 miles from Jared & Stacey:

Yes, we definitely felt the earthquake that hit Haiti. We are 85km from Port-au-Prince where they reported a 7.0 quake but we felt the first quake and the 2nd aftershock. It was crazy--we were outside by our Ford pickup. It was rocking up and down and the springs were making a lot of noise. We thought someone was horsing around and jumping on it! The girls were on a rock bench that surrounds our huge tree with all their friends. The whole rock bench starting swaying. My house had some vases of flowers and pictures fall down. We are all just fine. We are just very anxious about our family and friends in Port. JeanJean has heard from one brother but can't get a hold of 3 of his sisters/sister-in-law who live in Port. They say the national palace and cathedral are wrecked. There are reports that many have died. Our phones aren't working. Only one radio station is broadcasting. I can't imagine what things are like down in Port. Keep praying!

Kristie and JeanJean

From Bev Brand:

We have not heard from Jared and Stacey but just received an e-mail from Dr. Batsch at the hospital in Pignon and he said everyone was ok. He did not elaborate but did ask for prayers for Haiti.

Below is the message from Dr. Batsch:
Thanks for your support and prayers. Thanks to God everybody is OK in Pignon (Fargo Team members and the Hospital staff).Thank you...

Please keep praying.

On a side note: Denny Brand was on his way to Haiti and is in Florida – American Airlines has cancelled all flights into Haiti – he was to fly in tomorrow for the Promise for Haiti Board meeting. So he will be spending the night in Ft. Lauderdale and flying back to Pella hopefully tomorrow.

I’m not sure what all this means but I think it is significant that we are in the 40 days of prayer for Haiti. We can see the destruction, but what we can’t see is what is going on in the heavenlies. 1 Cor. 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” There is something going on here that is much bigger than we can understand. Keep praying!!!

Another update: Karen Carr from the Virginia CCH group just let Tim Brand know that she has talked to Dr. Batsch and that they were reporting no major damage in Pignon but they definitely felt the tremors. Dr. Batsch’s family lives in Port-au-Prince (wife and children) so he is quite concerned for them and has not been able to get information. Please pray for their safety and also the safety of four children that are in the process of being adopted by two families at Third, the Fullers and the VanderHoffs…….their children are in an orphanage in Port au Prince.

Bev Brand

There are many ways to pray right now. I'm so thankful that the Nikkels are safe, but the reality is that many, many people in Haiti are not. This is devastating. Please be in prayer:

  • For Dr. Batsch's family in Port-au-Prince
  • For Kristie & JeanJean Mompremier's family in Port-au-Prince
  • For the Fullers' & VanderHoffs' children in Port-au-Prince and all the children in their orphanage
  • For those injured or grieving loss of loved ones
  • For the government in handling this tragedy
  • For many people, already impoverished, who have been left with nothing.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers!