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The blog on this page contains messages from Sam.  Check back often to get the latest on his ministry in Haiti.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pictures of Damage to Cote de Fer

The following is one of the pictures of the damage to Cote de Fer, the largest town near Dariol. You can see the Baptist Church and other buildings.  The earth there is not rocky so they felt the effects of the quake more.


To view all the pictures click on the photo.  


Damage to Cote de Fer


10:56 pm est 

No one who knows me would consider me the Indiana Jones hero type.  But even Indie had his phobia--snakes.  Last night I summoned up enough courage to sleep upstairs as we hadn't had much trembling of the ground yesterday.  The moon was waxing strongly-maybe thats an explanation of what happened.  Shortly after extinguishing the kerosene lamp I began to hear a scurrying noise.  Then I felt something crawling on me.  When I found my flashlight and shone it I saw very LARGE cockroaches in the room---YUCK!!!  I HATE COCKROACHES!!!  And these things were big!  I spent a large part of the evening on a hunting and spraying expedition  that almost then choked me from the fumes.  It was not a good night!  But at least there wasn't another earthquake!

A different type of earthquake happened today.  The value of American money dropped from 8.0 to 6.8 %.  That means whereas we got 80 Haitian dollars for 10 American ones. now we get 68 for 10.  This will not be good for the schools we help as they will have less money to pay their teachers.  Perhaps things will be cheaper but in Haiti rarely do they ever drop their prices. 

Here in Cote de Fer the great influx of people from Port au Prince has caused the  open air markets to be chaos.  Things go quickly and at higher prices.  You simply can't imagine the effect this is having on the people here.

I feel like the prophet Jeremiah- never had much in the way of good news to give--maybe thats why they threw him down the well...
10:19 am est 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Oh Lord, hear me when I pray..." Psalm 5:1
Yesterday was 2 weeks since the earthquake and as usual we held our Tuesday morning prayer/fast service in the church.  I have never seen such an attendance.  The refugees from PaP came out in full.

It was a beautiful time of crying out to the Lord, hymns and reflection.  Isaiah 24 was read--it really spoke to the situation for many people.  I also read some passages from Ecclesiastes which were very meaningful (chapters 6 & 7).

I had some annointing oil and everyone wanted annointed.  I also had small cards with Bible promises on them and people drew them out of a basket.  It was a way for the Lord to speak to them personally as it was they who picked a card by hazard.  Knowing these people it was amazing how appropriate they were to each one's situation.

Last night about 8 pm we had another shock- about 4.7 according to the internet.  I had decided to sleep upstairs and was already lying down.  I almost went back down to the porch,  but then I remembered Psalm 4:8, and stayed put.  Woke up this morning OK.

I have sent some pictures to my webmaster of the damage to Cote de Fer the largest town near us, it is like our county seat.  Before long hopefully you will see them.

Please send anything possible so I can help the people of this area with their current needs.  Send any help to our Gospel Growers office
PO Box 968
Smithville, Texas 78957
8:45 am est 

Monday, January 25, 2010

As Noah said, All Aboard....!
As you might have expected from your experience of post-9/11 the immediate effect of the greatest catastrophe in Haiti's history has been a massive attendance in churches for the last week or so.  From what we know of human nature for many this new found ardeur will soon cool and their brief enthusiasm will pass.

However as of yesterday we are still feeling tremors so it is likely we may have full churches for awhile.  Of course, our greater attendance in church is also due to the return of many church members from the city.  PaP churches have been enjoying the exodus of country christians to the city for some time.  At last the trend has reversed, but for how long?

Country churches have long suffered the loss of dynamic, talented members to PaP.  For this reason we have not been as spiritually productive as we might have been.  Its nice to think that we might be on the verge of a new Renaisance of Christianity in the countryside of Haiti.

Any funds you or your church could make available to us would be greatly appreciated as we'd like to help restore some of the damaged homes and continue food help to those requiring it.  
6:54 am est 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Port au Prince is emptying out fast, and its places like Dariol that are becoming overloaded with refugees.  I was able to cash a check for $5000 and the money has been distributed to the people to purchase food to receive these hurting relatives.  Now that almost everyone who can is leaving PAP there should be some relocation of the aid to stressed areas who have little capacity to care for the new arrivals.

Everyone who received a gift was overjoyed.  They hadn't expected to be remembered, as they are almost always bypassed when hurricaine relief is dolled out.  Cote de Fer , the largest town near us which sits on the coast where a river passes was pretty much ruined.  The loose soil from river deposits in flooding had no strength to resist the seismic waves.  In Dariol we have more rock.

I've been examining the houses and many have walls that have detached from the corners. Another good wallop could cause them to fall altogether .  For this reason many are still sleeping out of doors.  An article I read on from the US Geological society hints that shocks may continue for some time. 
10:26 am est 

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Give the Good News in good times and bad...: 2 Tim.4:2
As I was saying yesterday, the Democrats had one thing right--never waste a crisis.  Or to put it Paul's words in 2 Tim. 4:2 "preach the word at all times, whether good or bad.."  Actually the time is right to present the Gospel to all these people who have fled PaP.  Some are already Christians and so appreciate the prayers and encouragement.  Those who had fallen away from the faith while in the big city are now glad to be offered the chance to renew their faith.  Those who were unbelievers, well, some are ripe for salvation,  As Jesus said, "the harvest is ripened for harvest".  Others are still hardened in their sins and refuse to listen.  Some are angry with God  and others are still too dazed to take it all in.

We will continue visiting homes today offering the Gospel.  Next week we are planning 4 evenings of evangelistic services.

We are more convinced than ever that we are nearing the time of our Lord's return.  Let us be diligent and zealous in seeking the lost before the Door of Grace closes.
6:41 am est 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great is THY faithfulness...!
Yesterday passed with a number of fluttery tremors just strong enough to feel if you were sitting quietly in a chair.  But just after I had arranged my mattress on the floor near the door upstairs(for a quick getaway if needbe)  there was just enough of a temor to make me reconsider and gather up my stuff and sleep out on the porch again.  Our Radio Station had been functioning last night and I heard that the government is still asking people to sleep out of doors due to the possibility of a repeat big tremor.

People continued arriving from the capital all yesterday.  Dariol has experienced a population explosion of sorts.  The outdoor market near here was bedlam.  Things disappeared quickly.  The larger market in Cote de Fer was worse.  A sack of flour doubled in cost from 300 Haitian dollars to 600 Haitian dollars ($75 US),  a gallon of cooking oil went from 40 t0 50, rice from 20 to 30 for a powdered milk sized can, and sugar was 30 up from 20.

It may not seem much to you but to these poor people this is catastrophic.  Price gouging at its worse taking advantage of the situation.  And no government intervention to enforce order and regulate things.

I've been told I could cash a check in Cayes and I intend to do so to distribute funds to the people so they can buy where they can get things at as low a price as possible.

With all these new people we plan to evangelize from house to house--as Obama says "never waste a good crisis". 
6:55 am est 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

At about  6am this morning we felt another rather strong jolt.  When I looked on the internet at 7am it was already posted that that shock registered 6.1 on the Richter scale.  We are  wondering when this is going to stop....

8:23 am est 

Post Quake Adaptation
Well, its been a week since the major earthquake which struck Haiti 12 January.  Incidentally,  their Independence Day is 1 January. Things are somewhat settling into a routine again.

I've always admired the Haitian people for their resiliency and fortitude under the frequent problems they are so often confronted with.  This is especially seen in the countryside where I work.  The men are in the fields again clearing the land in preparation for planting in February (should there be rain).  Everyone goes on with their everyday tasks which are so necessary to survive in this difficult environent called Haiti.

The kids who fled the capital are already playing soccer with their country cousins. And everyone has a story to relate about that fateful day.  And believe me that recounting stories and news is a national pastime.

Yesterday morning we held our weekly fast/prayer service.  It was very well attended. After singing hymns, praying and hearing God's word there was a time for prayer requests and witnessing.  We went into overtime as there was such a desire on the part of people to tell how God had saved them or loved ones from the terrors of 12 January.  Absolutely amazing how God prompted some to leave or move from where they were before a building came crashing down killing everyone else where they had been standing, sitting or walking.

Since the city people came with virtually nothing our meager resources are disappearing quickly.  I may soon have a problem to continue  my blog if I am unable to get gas to run my generator and recharge my batteries.

Last night was the first night since the quake that I slept upstairs in my house.  The continuing tremors had made me sleep on the downstairs porch.  So far, so good.   
4:07 am est 

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Realistic Assessment
We are in a very ironic situation here!  Before 12 January if anyone had asked I would have said that the countryside of Haiti was in greater need of help, now the reverse is true.  Port au Prince the seat of money and power where most of the country people have gone to seek a life is now in greater need than its poorer cousins.  In the past when hurricanes ravaged the countryside and crop failures had brought many to near starvation the better off people in PAP ignored them. Now people are streaming by bus and truckloads out into the countryside.  The problem is while we have had little structural damage recent crop failures have left little food to go around for the people and their city cousins who are arriving with empty hands.

How true the Bible verse  "the first shall be last, and the last first"  Only in this case all will be last as the food situation isnt good.  All our supplies, gas ect come from PAP.  The price of gas has doubled and food costs increased.  No one is doing anything to control price gouging.  Black markets will soon be in operation.

The Radio Station survived intact but gas is too expensive to run the generator.  Some cloudy days have diminished solaire panel efficiency.

The clinic is intact but will we be able to get meds as PaP is blocked.? 

Our schools are intact but the government hasnt given the go ahead to open them.

Will the banks be open so that I can even write a check to provide for our needs?

These are questions waiting to be answered hopefully they will be soon.
7:10 am est 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Praise the LORD!!!!
Believe me it has been very frustrating withe phone and internet services blocked for 4 days!  I wanted so badly to communicate to all that I was fine but could not do so.

It has been so awesome at your responses and prayers!  I feel very humbled and as if I have a great army behind me. But the Lord was ever with me.  Read Psalms 16, 139 and 91 when you get the chance.

Everything was as it should be until 4:50 on Tuesday afternoon. The day started out normal enough up until that moment. THEN...it was awful!  I was on the second floor porch supervising a kid sweeping off the tin roof of a downstairs porch cautioning him to be careful when suddenly a noise and tremor started getting louder and worse.  Some Haitians later said they had thought it one of the UN helicopters passing over as they sometimes do that.  But then the whole house started shaking.  The kid got down in a moment and as I stumbled through the room to the stairs things were falling off of shelves and the noise was frightening.

Getting down to ground level didn't help much as the ground was bucking and rolling as well.  I' m very thankful Bob Brannan designed this house to be strong.  At the time though we were thinking hurricanes not earthquakes.  As Haiti hadn't had any such thing within memory.  But my two story home built on rocky bench held together.  Others were not so fortunate.  Some houses in Dariol are flimsier and had walls cave in.  Thanks to God this didn't happen during the night--the results would have been staggering for loss of life.  Haitians are pretty much outdoors all day long so that fact saved a lot of people.

The high school was in session but the roof held.  Kids came screaming out of the bulding and there were cries and yelling all around.  No one had ever experienced an earthquake before and there was absolutely no warning beforehand.  You can imagine the chaos!  Finally things calmed down and there were visits all around.  As reports on the radio started telling about the devastation in Port au Prince everyone was fearful for family members there.  EVERYONE has family in Port au Prince.  Cell phone service lasted a short while then gave out as did internet service.  The worse part was not knowing.  For me it was awful not being able to communicate to my family in the states that I was OK.

That night there were strong aftershocks--no one slept indoors.  I spent the night on a cot under the almond tree in my front yard.  Even til today we are feeling tremors from time to time.  It is a time of relief and joy, pain and sorrow as people find out who is still alive and who is not.

One can simply not comprehend of whole schools being wiped out with the kids inside as well as offices, stores, hospitals.  It does seem like the end of the world to these people.  Things will never be the same again.

As you might imagine there has been alot of people converting to Christianity lately.  The Book of Revelations is studied and preached here.  Many are aware that Jesus is coming back soon, and many, including me, feel it will be soon.  The greatest and most timely decision anyone can make is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord.  Confess and repent of your sins and be restored to God as one of His children,  Don't delay!

Any discretionary funds would be helpful as there are buses of survivors arriving from the capital with nothing.  Dariol itself has been in poor form due to the crop failure last Fall.  This added stress of family arriving is going to cause hardship for sure.
9:18 am est 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Update from Haiti
Dear Friends of Sam....
At 9:15 am this morning I received a cell phone call from Sam himself, and it was soooo good to hear his voice !  He was safe and unharmed. 
He was indeed in Dariol on Tuesday and definitely felt the earthquake.  His home received absolutely no structural damage, only a few things fell off shelves.  He is still feeling the aftershocks (even last night) so he is sleeping now closer to the front door for a faster escape.  Some of his neighbors in Dariol did have structural damage, but no physical casualties.
He cannot get a signal yet for his laptop but the cell phones are working today, finally.  Jean Denis (his #1 Haitian assistant) is in Les Cayes and the computers are working there.  If the roads are not too heavily damaged, he will try to get there soon or maybe Jean Denis will be able to get to Dariol...and hopefully will be able to get his laptop up and running.
Sam has not been able to see any of the TV coverage from Port au Prince and was very interested in hearing all about it....shocking, but not unexpected, as he was fully aware of the lack of building codes in Haiti.  I assured him that all of America was praying for them and that the world has responded with recovery efforts.
Sam said he would type up a "blog" entry on the web-site as soon as he is able to, so please check it daily.  Again, over and over, he said to tell everyone "THANKS" for all your prayers and inquiries. 
Blessings, Wanda    
11:32 am est 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sam is OK!
PTL...the message received was short, but sweet ! !  
Sam's Mom called Angie to report that she had just received word from Jean Dennis (he works for Sam) that Sam is OK and would be in touch later.  He was using someone else's phone in Les Cayes. 
I'm sure that the service is limited and jammed packed with calls/callers, so maybe we will hear from Sam personally in a few days when things settle down a bit.  We will also include any updates in our Newsletter that will be going out next week along with the Contribution Statements for YE 2009. 
Please continue to check for updates from Sam.
"Thank You" so very much for all your prayers ! !
Blessings, Wanda
7:09 pm est 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pictures for January 4th Blog Entry
The following is one of the pictures of the New Year's Eve festivities described in the January 4th blog entry.  To view all the pictures click on the photo.  This picture is of Byad, a young man from Dariol who I've known since 1995.  Since then I have helped him through school and he is now in college learning computer skills.  He has become a believer in Jesus Christ.  He also serves as my unofficial photographer.  The following pictures are 1) a tin covered structure we have set up for the new church we planted in Metayer can meet under.  The cement base was just done.

2) the other pictures are of the 31st December celebration in Dariol Church.  The  kettles show the food and the buckets of soft drinks the participants consumed.  A good time was had by all and God was praised all night long!!!!
2009 New Year's Eve festivities
10:36 pm est 

2009--the year in review
We praise the Lord for His mercy and grace during the last 12 months.  By His power and provision He stood by us to enable us to carry out this ministry through which He chose us to help the Haitian people.

There are different facets to the Gospel Growers ministry and each one of them addresses a particular need of these people.

The Radio Station--Semence 106.9 FM-- (the name refers to seed reserved for planting) is the only Christian station located in the Cote de Fer area.  For nearly eight years now it has been providing comfort and encouragement to its listeners through its beautiful Haitian, French, Spanish and English Christian music.  We also provide teaching through recorded sermons.  For 9 months we have been waiting for our 300 watt transmitter to arrive so that we can upgrade from 110 watt one.  This way we hope to reach a larger listening audience and have a stronger signal.  It is a volunteer staff that runs the station and the sacrificial giving of our listeners provides funds to purchase the gasoline which powers our 6250 watt generator.  There is no electricity in this part of Haiti so we must create our own.  We also have equipment on order to create a substation here in Dariol which will enable my participation in this ministry,

The Dariol clinic which I started for the Baptist church here has been serving the public now since 1985.  We have a staff of 4--a Haitian nurse, archivist, pharmacy girl and housekeeper.  The lack of adequate income means we must subsidize this ministry to pay our staff.  Its about $300 (US)/month.  It is a very necessary service provided to these people.  Keep in mind there is no health insurance or other plans to help defray costs here for the poor. It is all out of pocket.

C.E.F.S.O.R.  is a ministry which adresses the lack of biblical education for the rural church workers here in this area.  Bible studies are held for anyone wishing to have a deeper and firmer grasp of biblical doctrine.  This is a vital need if Christianity is to be implanted securely in Haiti.  Brother Obriant Ilnea runs this ministry  which serves any church regardless of mission or denominational affiliation.  We teach the Bible as it is written.  It is through this ministry that we distribute bibles, hymnals and Sunday school materials.  Over 50 churches received these materials this year.

The Child Sponsorship Program which was started in 1995 helps poor kids here to attend a Christian school.  We currently help around 430 kids which has dropped as some sponsors have decided not to conntinue their aid due to financial constraints with the US economy.  Its only $20/month for ten months a year.  The importance of this ministry should not be underestimated as it is by this way we hope to create a generation for Christ and slowly change the spiritual demographics of Haiti.  About 12 schools get these funds which allow the children to get educated and evangelized.  The school provides a Christian presence in their respective communities.

Since my coming to Dariol we have implanted 4 new churches in strategic areas around us.  This was accomplished largely through the efforts of youth who have participated in the sponsorship program.  Thus one ministry has fostered another one.

As keeping good young leaders was a problem due to lack of employment opportunities in the area we have started a program to build small houses for ministry workers by helping them construct a house through donations from a few generous people.  At $3000 per house, 2 have been done , a third nearly done and a fourth and fifth will soon start digging their foundations.  Before able staff members had to leave ministry to go to the DR to make enough money to build a house.

This is an brief overview of what we have been doing.  Many thanks to ALL those who have helped Gospel Growers through their prayers and donations.  We pray that the Lord will  bless you richly so that you may continue to help us do this work among the people of Haiti.  

9:23 am est 

Monday, January 4, 2010

December 31, 2009---A night to remember!

Well, looks like we outdid last year's Christmas festivities by a good measure!  For one thing there was a greater attendance (word got out how great last year's fete was).  We had people coming all the way from the capital (5 hr. drive away), and people from neighboring churches and alot of unbelievers as well.

The Agape meal capped off a week of nightly meetings in the church which had as their theme Psalm 51:10-12.  I spoke at the Wednesday night service which just happens to be the only time it rained.  You can imagine the noise of a pounding rain on a huge tin roof!  Before my time to speak came I prayed that if the Lord wanted the people to hear what I had to say He would have to "turn off" the rain.  And do you know that's exactly what He did!  As I took my place behind the podium the rain slowed and stopped!

I spoke on the wonders of modern surgery that could transplant a human heart.  Then I brought David's plea for a pure heart into play stressing that the only one who could transplant our "spiritual heart"  is GOD.  Jeremiah 17 tells how sick and wicked our heart really is.  God's diagnosis is Ezekiel  18:31--get a new heart!  God's solution is Jeremiah 33:8 and Hebrews 8:10--He will give us new hearts.  And this is accomplished when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

Most probably it was the star attraction of the feast which caused us to have an overflowing church attendance on the 31st-- a young bull was the primary ingredient to the menu which included rice and beans and soft drinks.

We thank once again Ronni and Jim Guerriero's home group which contributed generously to this event.

Hopefully pictures will be posted soon by my webmaster, Don Petersen.  

1:00 pm est 

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