The catastrophe that occurred yesterday afternoon around 5:00 in and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti is beyond words. My wife and I prayed last night for the people there. We also prayed for a group of about 40 people, many of whom we know, who are currently on a mission trip there. They are on mission with the New Missions organization and from multiple local churches around Central Florida. They are staying in the New Missions Compound just 10 miles west of the epicenter of the earthquake. New Missions director Tim DeTellis is with them. You can read an update from New Missions by clicking here.
Here are two eyewitness accounts just received through a friend via email from two men with the group (one of them Tim) recalling the events as the earthquake happened and what followed. There is also a link to a video from local reporter Christine Webb with CFNews 13 who is with the group. I hope this will you not only help you “get there” but also help you as you pray for them. Notice the report of praise. Unreal. How great is our God. He is to be feared and worthy to be praised.
Only can say – wow! God protected us. He really did!! I thought “this is it” for a bit. We were doing an interview not far from the ocean near where we eat just before 5:00. There was this huge Boom – like a bomb going off. Then the earth just erupted – threw me about 20 feet. I tried to stand. Got to my knees and the light stand came flying through the air and hit me right below the eye on my cheek bone. I look right and like a movie the ground opens up with this huge fault line looking thing. It lasted about 14 seconds when I looked back at video. It was like I was a rag doll. So, so violent. Then immediately the after shocks started, like a rolling sea. Then it got crazy. People were in their rooms yelling. A lot of gas tanks fallen. Had to turn them off fast. Finally we all gathered by the beach. Then with tsunami worries, we gathered anything we could and went to the main compound, got in the trucks, and headed inland.
We spent the night about 5 miles inland away from the water. We surrounded the vehicles and stayed on the grounds of one of the high schools. The buildings were too damaged to sleep inside, so we slept on ground and in the trucks. We’ve gotten dozens of after shocks. Seems like every 15 minutes. From mild all the way to shaking the car hard. Haven’t had one for about hour now. We are going to scout out the road to Port-au-Prince at dawn, but from what I’ve seen it looks really bad. 1000’s of people sleeping in the streets and on the sides of the road. They won’t go to their homes, because they are too damaged or are afraid tremors will cause more damage.
All we hear is singing. Praise songs all over the place. These large groups huddling together singing. You can hear it all around from the darkness. Its unbelievable. These people are in the dark, singing to the Lord. So awesome! We prayed a lot. God is in control. He’s got our back! Most everyone is ok. A lot of the young girls were really emotionally shaken up. Back at compound, buildings were damaged. Most will have to be torn down.
The sky is starting to show some color now. It’s looks so peaceful. What the sun will reveal I’m sure will be quite a different story.
The ground was like an ocean wave at New Missions when the earthquake hit. Most of our team was at the Missions Training Center. It was just before 5pm. At the time, I was with Bob doing a video interview of a student, when all of a sudden we heard a big boom, and the ground began to rock. The concrete pathway I was standing on at the end of the Missions Training Center, closest to the ocean, cracked in half, and the earth began to open. We all fell down. Started hearing things crashing and people screaming.At first we stood in a circle together between the ocean and the missions training center and confirmed noone was hurt. We moved to the other side of the mission and began to load the vehicals to evacuate. Along the road to the High School, we saw continued structural damage. However, Christians were singing in the villages. At the High School, we circled the vehicals and some slept on the trucks and some slept on the ground on a tarp.We are thankful to be safe. There is extensive damage to buildings at the mission. Please pray!
Click here to watch the video report from Christine Webb on the ground at the New Missions Compound.
Let’s be praying for the group’s safe return home, for the people of Haiti, for Haitians who reside in Florida who have loved ones in Haiti, and for wisdom on how the churches of Florida can and must respond.