Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"The Day the Earth Spoke" Written by Guest Blogger: Bernaldo Luc

The Day the Earth Spoke
Written by: Bernaldo Luc

In 2008 I survived my first earthquake. In fact, I slept through it. The next day neighbors and friends and classmates all asked, "Did you feel the earthquake last night?" Apparently the earth had whispered during the night. On January 12th, 2010, the earth spoke again. This time it was loud and clear.

 It had been a normal, hot, almost cloudless day. A perfect weatherman would have predicted 0% chance of rain and 100% chance of earthquake. I walked to school in the morning, endured another day of the 7th grade, and headed home at around 3:00. Home was a small, two-story concrete house in a very crowded neighborhood, which lay right next to one of the many ravines in Port-au-Prince. My family lived on the second floor. 

At 4:53, I had just taken a couple of steps out of my house when the earth spoke for the second time during my lifetime. It was almost deafening, but despite the noise I could hear voices saying, "Jesus, Jesus." It was dusty. The ground pitched and bucked for all of thirty-two seconds. It seemed like thirty-two years. During that time, I was flung into a neighbor's home. I never saw her; it was so dark and dusty. She was calling, "Jesus, Jesus," probably thinking it was the apocalypse.

Eventually the ground stopped shaking. I climbed out of the neighbor's house, onto what was left of the roof (the doorway was blocked by rubble.) Once atop the roof, I looked around. My world was broken. It had been reduced to rubble and ashes and tears. Cries of grief rose around me as people started to find dead loved ones. In retrospect, I don't remember being frightened. Maybe I processed everything and saw no point in being scared. Maybe I forgot to be scared.

 I ran towards my school. The streets were chaotic. People were running in every direction still trying to process their nightmarish scene. One minute they had been parents, sons, and daughters; the next they were childless and orphaned. Every other person was tearfully trying to make a call. Calls couldn't get through because most telephone lines were down. I went by a friend's house, and she was outside screaming for her mom into a phone.

I got to the school and saw that it had fallen. The formerly imposing cream-colored building was underneath its red-tiled roof. I didn't know it at the time, but I had a friend underneath that roof. His name was Peterson, and he had been about 8 years old.

 I headed back, in the direction home had been. I met my aunt halfway there. She was heading to the school.  She told me my dad was looking for me. My dad found us minutes later. I endured their inspection. I never asked them where they had been when the ground had started shaking. They were both uninjured. I had a small wound on the top of my foot, where a piece of a brick had fallen, and another on my thigh which I assumed to be a burn.

 "Everyone is safe except for Guerdson," my aunt told us. Guerdson, her younger brother, had been like a son to her. He had been my favorite uncle. His body was never found.

We walked to the Sisters of Charity, where my aunt worked. It's a Catholic institution for children with diseases like HIV and tuberculosis. Somehow their building was intact. The yard already had many people in it. Injured people were lying on blankets while the sisters administered first aid to them. That night we slept in the yard. All notions of privacy were abandoned. We were one in our fear of houses. No one would sleep in a house for several weeks.

 There is something divine about natural phenomena, something eye-opening. On our way to the sisters we had seen several "preachers".  They had preached about the end of times. In Haiti there aren't many atheists. There are Christians (Catholics, Protestants, etc...) and there are those who aren’t Christians despite acknowledging God’s existence. The earthquake was a major turnaround for the latter. Maybe it was their proximity to death that made them realize they didn't deserve life any more than the dead. A whole nation had realized in thirty-two seconds that there was more to life than luck and had turned their eyes upward. I never met anyone who blamed God for the death of their loved ones.

Over the next few weeks we endured the aftershocks with pounding hearts. According to Wikipedia, "By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded." The earthquake had been magnitude a 7.0 earthquake. Anticipating a tsunami, crowds of people fled towards higher ground, but thankfully it never came.

   The earthquake, called Goudou Goudou in Haiti, had something for everyone to learn. It was a catalyst for me, forcing maturity upon me.  However, Haiti became entangled in a mess of countries that tried to help and consequently aggravated the country’s problems.

Monday, August 24, 2015

God will make a Way ~ An Update from Amy

Last year, I spent six months in Haiti teaching; it was during this time four young students shared a dream with me. A dream the Lord had laid on their hearts.

They dreamed of going to college in the United States. They did not desire to move to the United States and stay; they all wanted to return. But, they wanted to return with a voice, one that would be heard, made possible by a college degree from America.

We spent time dreaming about this and then we filed the dream in the "there is no way" category of our minds.

Months passed, but God did not let this dream rest.

As they were dreaming, I started to realize how academically gifted they were and wondered if this dream was truly from the Lord. I decided to start praying about it too. After praying together, the song, "God will make a way, when there seems to be no way" kept returning to my mind. We knew God could make a way, if He desired. The next question was, were were they gifted enough for college in the US?

After praying about it, we decided to take one step forward in faith and signed the boys up to take the ACT tests (college preparation tests) and the TOFEL (English Proficiency Test)....All four of them aced both of the tests. "God will make a way, when there seems to be no way."

But, would we be able to find a college for them to attend.

We took another step forward and completed applications to three colleges. Two fell through, but Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Minnesota accepted them. "God will make a way, when there seems to be no way."

But, they would get no financial aide and/or grants.

Again, another step in faith was taken and we made the financial need known. A private donor heard about them and gifted us an amount to pay for most of the tuition costs! "God will make a way, when there seems to be no way."

But they would each need to get VISA's.

God had not let us down yet, so we took another step forward and applied for their student VISA's. We were told that getting four student VISA's would be impossible. One... maybe. Four? Unheard of. Can you believe, they were each granted student VISA's! "God will make a way, when there seems to be no way."

Last year, if you were to ask me if four young men from Port au Prince, Haiti, each of whom come from backgrounds of poverty, could go to Minnesota for college, I would have had some serious doubts. But, once again, the Lord has blown me away with His goodness and provisions. He is the reason they are here and the One who made the way!

Last month, I traveled to Christian Light School in Port au Prince Haiti and brought back to Minnesota Kadmiel, Kervens, Bernaldo and Fransicot. Let the adventures begin!

Abundantly Blessed,
Amy Twedt

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way. He will make a way.

Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

Song Written by Don Moen