Update on the Work in Haiti

In response to the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on January 12th of this year, the churches in Holyoke and Imperial collected a special contribution to aid the disaster relief. The funds were sent to the Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee, a congregation that has had a long-term commitment to evangelism and benevolence in Haiti. Here is a summary of a report received from Jesse Robertson, one of the ministers of the Estes church.

Let me begin by saying thank you to all who have donated for earthquake relief in Haiti. The response has been astonishing. We never imagined that we would become the stewards of over two million dollars in emergency aid. You have demonstrated that the churches of Christ are a great brotherhood of generous, compassionate, and faithful souls. On behalf of the Estes congregation, the Christians in Haiti, Roberta Edwards, and her children, we humbly express profound appreciation to all of you.

Please be assured that we are making a strenuous effort to put these funds to good use as quickly as possible. Roberta, her children (the Sonlight Children’s Home), and the Santo church were the initial facilitators of the relief effort. Through their hands have passed 450,000 pounds of food, 12,000 tarps, 800 tents, and dozens of relief workers.

Roberta and children are doing well, despite the tremendous workload they have shouldered. In order to try to help their life return to some normalcy, we have shifted the responsibility for food distribution to other church members. We are now using a network of church leaders to distribute food each week through congregations in the Port-au-Prince area. Currently $32,000 worth of food is being distributed each month by these brethren.

Since the earthquake struck, church services have been overflowing. The Santo congregation alone has had 36 baptisms and neighboring congregations are reporting similar statistics. While it is probably true that some are coming because they hope to receive aid, it is also true that the nation as a whole has been confronted with the brevity of life and questions about God and the ultimate end of the world. One of our preachers has said that during this time of great need, the church of Christ in his neighborhood has been like “a tall steel pole” to which people have looked for help.

In addition to providing food, medicine, and temporary shelter we have also now begun to offer assistance in the rebuilding and repair of damages suffered to property such as church buildings and homes of Haitian Christians.

As we look ahead, we are struck by the fact that even if Haiti was suddenly back to normal, most of us would still consider it an emergency situation.

—Jesse Robertson

The Estes church has had a presence in Haiti for over ten years. When the quake occurred, we were in a position to respond immediately. We have people in place and we will continue to do our best to turn the good will of our brothers and sisters in Christ into good work for the glory of God, the spread of the gospel, and the salvation of souls.

God is at work in the hearts of men and women all over the world who are giving, who are going, and who are praying. God is at work in Haiti.

With great blessings come great responsibility, and we covet your prayers as the work continues.

—Tony Hysmith, for the Estes elders

Haiti At-A-Glance

  • 8 million people live in Haiti
  • 6 million live in abject poverty
  • 4 million are under the age of 18
  • Life expectancy: 52 years
  • Poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere
  • Over 200,000 dead from the earthquake

Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

—Jesus, Matthew 25.34-36

Haiti Disaster Relief Update (3/4/10)

The fifth disaster relief team returned earlier this week and the sixth team left for Haiti. Steve and Marie Johnson from Estes led team 5, and that team gives the following report.

Roberta and her kids are doing well. A shipping container filled with rice arrived last week. Three more (including the one packed here in Henderson) are due very soon. Healing Hands Intl. purchased some containers of beans already in the country and they will be coming to Roberta’s to be matched with the rice and given to those in need. Continue reading

A Note from the Estes Church

Dear Friends:

Thank you so much for your contribution to the Haiti Disaster Relief effort being coordinated by the Estes congregation. We are utilizing all funds to directly help the Haitian people, especially the work of our full-time missionary, Roberta Edwards, the children she cares for at the Sonlight Children’s Home, the Christians in Port-au-Prince, and the Haitians that Roberta helps feed every day through the Santo Nutrition Center.

With funds received through our congregation, we are helping with re-building projects, attending to medical needs, feeding the hungry, and purchasing fuel, temporary shelter, and other necessities for living.

Our sixth relief team arrives in Haiti this week. Our aid distribution is coordinated through Roberta and her facility and through the churches of Christ in the surrounding area – congregations that we work with on a regular basis through our long-term work there.

Again, thank you for your generosity.
Estes Church of Christ

Update from Haiti

from the Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee

Attendance at the Santo Church of Christ worship services have been full to overflowing with 21 baptisms in the last three weeks. This last week, Roberta’s children began sleeping inside their house again (they slept in tents outside for several weeks because they feared the aftershocks) and Roberta has started homeschooling duties again.

Roberta and local Haitian ladies normally feed 120 children twice a day through the Santo Nutrition Center, and those activities have begun again. They are feeding around 40 children twice a day – this is in addition to distributing around 3,500 family packs of food each week.

Our ministry to the people of Haiti is ongoing and long-term. We appreciate your willingness to help; may God be glorified in all we do in this effort.

Note: Jesse Robertson of the Estes church is sending regular updates via a Facebook page set up on Roberta’s behalf. You can see the updates at the Gospel Advocate website. Roberta and her school were featured in a recent issue of Christian Woman magazine. The website for the Estes church is http://www.estes.tn.org/

Update on Haiti Relief

from Estes Church of Christ, Henderson, Tennessee

Our third relief team is currently in Haiti, helping to fulfill many needs – construction, food organization and distribution, medical needs, transportation, etc. The teams are, of necessity, small because commercial travel is still not allowed into the country and our ways of getting teams in and out of Haiti are limited.

We are also working with John Kachelman of the Judsonia Church of Christ in Arkansas to fill shipping containers bound for Haiti, transported by the U.S. government. John has container-filling points at several locations – one is here in Henderson. The containers we fill here can be earmarked to be delivered to Roberta Edwards for distribution of items there. A container filled with more than 8,000 lbs. of toiletry items, food, mattresses, and medical supplies was recently shipped. We expect to fill another one by the end of February.

Our ministry to the people of Haiti is ongoing and long-term. We appreciate your willingness to help; may God be glorified in all we do in this effort.

[The Westside and Holyoke churches have contributed $2670 to the Haiti relief through the Estes church.]

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Haiti Disaster Relief Update

From the Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee

Our security and logistics are now coming into place so that we can purchase and distribute basic food items at a substantial level through the Sonlight Children’s Home and the Santo Church of Christ, as well as other congregations.

Food kits for families are being assembled in a combined effort from Roberta’s children, Santo church members, and mission teams. Each kit contains 5 lbs of rice, 2 lbs of beans, two cans of fish, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 bar of soap, a washcloth, salt, 16-oz. bottle of oil, matches and two pounds of spaghetti.

Funds that are being sent to Estes are used to pay for the bulk foods. Friends at Manna Global Ministries in the Dominican Republic are procuring and transporting it, and many busy hands are sorting and delivering the food at Port au Prince. Continue reading

Special Contributions Aid Relief Work in Haiti

Last Lord’s Day we provided an opportunity for you to help with the relief work being done by our brethren in Haiti.

The special contribution in Holyoke totaled over $700, which is in addition to the $500 the church will contribute. In Imperial, the special contribution was $1,570, also in addition to an amount yet to be determined by the Westside church. I am confident we’ll surpass $3,000.

You have made a substantial contribution to the relief work you have just read about. God bless you.

Haiti Relief Fund

This morning we are providing an opportunity for you to help with the disaster relief in Haiti. The Estes church in Henderson, Tennessee has been supporting the work of Roberta Edwards in Haiti for a number of years. She fosters 30 children and also operates a school. Though her facilities were damaged in the earthquake, they were not destroyed. Because of that, people from the surrounding area have turned to her for help, food, and shelter.

The Estes church is organizing a significant relief effort, including medical support. We know this church, these people, and this work. If you plan to give a check, make it out to either the Holyoke Church of Christ or the Westside Church of Christ and designate in the “Memo” space “Haiti relief.” If you are giving cash, please place it in an envelope marked “Haiti relief.”

Thanks. I know you’ll be generous.

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Update on the Situation in Haiti

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti just before 5 pm on Tuesday, January 12. The epicenter appears to have been approximately 14 miles southeast of the capital, Port-au-Prince, a city of 1,234,742 people. The quake caused widespread catastrophic destruction. It has been 11 days since the quake, and relief efforts have barely begun to provide the help needed.

As of this date, the confirmed death toll stands at 111,481.

Only 132 people have been recovered alive from the rubble.

Over 600,000 are homeless with very little food and no safe drinking water.

Chaos and violence are sweeping the country as people are becoming more desperate for food and water. The international organization Doctors Without Borders, has warned of increasing tensions and a rise in the number of wounds from gunshots and machetes in some parts of the city. The situation is desperate.

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From the Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tennessee

Our missionary in Haiti, Roberta Edwards, along with the 30 children she fosters at the Sonlight Children’s Home are feeding an additional 150 people every day at their home – mostly Christians along with some other neighbors, all of whom have lost their homes. Several families have pitched tents in Roberta’s yard. Because of the work that Roberta does with the Children’s Home and the Santo Nutrition Center (where she normally feeds around 100 children twice a day every day), she had food on the premises and was able to help her fellow Christians and neighbors. Continue reading