Pastor Vincent On Haiti Earthquake by Cristi Winkler
In one day, hour or even minute everything can change and no planning time is given for it. It was actually one minute and 1 second according to Pastor Astrel Vincent, from Cite Soliel, when everything changed. In what seemed like the worst thing that could have happened it appears God is turning for His good, like the finger of God in a divine appointment.
It was on January 12th around 4:50 pm when Pastor Astrael Vincent had found himself unable to stand and fell to his knees. There had been hurricanes but this could not compare. He hid himself in one hand and raised his other shouting in fear for people to get out of the church and houses that this was an earthquake. He also was desperately calling out for God's grace. What he then heard was the sound of screaming and crying from everywhere. Every home every person.
This particular day was a day of preparation for a conference in City Soliel, the largest Caribbean city of about 800,00 people. It was Pastor Vincent's vision to have the neighboring pastors (about 500) to come every last Saturday of each month to gather and pray and find ways to help each other meet the needs of their community. He, as president and host for these meetings, was in need of a new toilet facility and was showing a man where he needed it to be built. All of a sudden it seemed like he was standing on the moon and had no footing underneath him. It was the time, when as he explains it, the finger of God had touched the earth. It was above anything of man's capacity.
His hardest part of this earthquake experience was when his neighbors came running with their young six-year-old son in their arms begging him to help them. He felt helpless because there was nothing in his power he could do to help. He had no transportation or medical clinic of any kind. The way he usually got around was by a motorcycle taxi that is known as motortaxi. Even the school that was a part of his church didn't offer any kind a medical facility because funds were low. The school had to be recently reduced from 2000 students to 200. To get anyone to a hospital or medical clinic they had to be taken by Wheelbarrow or on cots. The distance would take about an hour to get there. Unfortunately that hour for this couple was too long. They lost their son and this pastor is torn inside. No words can express the tears he holds for them. Their house had fallen and a brick block from the wall fell on the boy. Their home was not the only home whose walls had fallen. The school's walls were down as well as every home in sight. Second stories were now on top of the first stories and many people were trapped, killed, wounded and afraid.
Previous to this happening Pastor Vincent met Jorge Parrot (CMM MorningStar Ministries Missions) through a friend who brought him for a conference. He, since then has been coming every year, about 5 years now not knowing just how close the Lord would bring their relationship. Now he is so grateful and cannot express his gratitude enough for Jorge and all that CMM as well as Morningstar has been doing to help him and the Haitian people there. He now has a medical center and has hired a doctor and nurse and is able to now offer medical help. But, he says that there are many wounded people still coming for help. He is also now able to offer food and clothing and is trying to find them places to sleep. He now has a pick up truck for better transportation, but his hopes and needs are still great. He is hoping and praying for a vehicle to transport people to the hospital. He even has one picked out that he would use for their ambulance. It is a Toyota that seats 15 passengers. His vision is to continue feeding the people and offering medical help and clothing and also them tents. This is another great need. The rain season is coming and there are many that have no place for shelter or to sleep. So, he is in desperate need of tents. Another very important thing on his heart is to get out to the countryside to find the people who still have not been attended to. He said that there are many areas that may still have people trapped, wounded and in need. Here that 15-passenger Toyota would be a great help.
Many people think this is a sign of the end being here but he disagrees. He believes that this is not the end time for them but a new beginning. In Romans 8 we read that God is a God of hope and in Isaiah 41 we know that God is a God of restoration. He is taking this bad situation and turning it for His good and they are now getting a new Haiti. He is so grateful that now he can offer help to people that he wishes he could have that young boy.
I asked him to give in his own words anything that he would like to add to this article. He really wanted to say thanks to all the Americans that have helped. He believes that we are the best neighbors in the whole world. Without our help he could never be doing what he is doing. He also wanted to thank Jorge and CMM who is really standing by him as well as Morningstar Ministries. His prayers and love go out to all of us.
If there is anyone that would like to help but hasn't had the chance or wants to get involved there are 3 things that he needs, they are in order:
1) Food, Medicine and Tents
2) 15 Passenger Vehicle (Ambulance)
3) Help in rebuilding the school
I would like to add that before this man became a pastor to this church, he at a young age use to be a street boy who slept in this church. Now God is using him to help find shelter for thousands of others. It inspires me to not miss out on where I can be used. It can start by even a small thing like supplying a tent to keep a family out of the rain or clothes to keep them warm and food, even if for just one day. It is a start to be a part of this new beginning. I also want to mention that I don't want it to have to be this kind of disaster for my day, hour or minute of everything changing in my life to make me see things in a new perspective, but for it to take place in a mighty way in my heart. It can happen in 1 minute and 1 second.