This is from an email I received from the Caribbean Communications Office of the Church of the Nazarene. I thought it might be helpful to see some of the ways that the Church is responding to the tragedy in Haiti and some of the ways that your contributions are making a difference!
Haiti: Hope Remains
Even now Haiti is beginning the rebuilding process. From amidst the stories of tragedy and loss emerge stories of hope. The Tabarre Church of the Nazarene, pastored by Sadrack Nelson, is one such example. Like most of the Nazarene churches in the Central District (the Port-au-Prince area), Tabarre was severely affected by the earthquake. The church building was damaged. Many members lost their homes and several more were injured. Pastor Nelson reports that several members were killed, one being the only daughter of the District NMI president. “It is very hard,” said Pastor Nelson.
Yet hope remains. Nelson reports that his congregation has already banded together to meet the needs of the church and the greater community. The Tabarre church had access to over 2,400 crisis care kit boxes that had arrived last year. Immediately after the quake, the church members organized to distribute over 1,800 of them to church members as well as others in need within the community. The congregation has also joined together to repair the damage done to the walls of the church. The members have mobilized volunteers and gathered the necessary resources of blocks and cement despite the scarcity of building materials as a result of the quake.
In response to the initiatives and care displayed by his congregation, Nelson states: “I want to say that I am very grateful and fortunate to work in this church because the members are very responsible and excited people.”
Of the many ways the Tabarre Church of the Nazarene is responding to the earthquake, none is greater than the concern for the mental health of those affected by the trauma. Soon after the tragedy, the church met together to consider how they could best help in this area. Because the Tabarre church was blessed to have a psychologist and several social workers among its membership, they decided to create and host a training seminar. The three day seminar, which started on January 28, was designed to help lay members of their church to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of trauma as well as to equip them to begin to meet the needs that are present among their families and their neighbors.
Nelson says,”Our plan is also to go outside into the community… and to help the young people, children and adults to deal and to process with their emotional shocks.” The fear is that if the acute symptoms of trauma are left untreated they may develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
An initial 33 members participated in this first seminar. As many church and community members have lost loved ones in the quake, grief counseling is one of the highest priorities. Additionally, working with children in play therapy and providing a safe place for them to express their fears and emotions is crucial. The 33 person team is mobilizing to begin hosting a camp for children as well as one-on-one and group grief counseling and therapy sessions with adults next week.
The church’s vision is much grander though. Nelson hopes that this seminar can be replicated in other churches in the Port-au-Prince area and further out to other affected areas. To this end, he is planning to host a seminar in the near future to train pastors in the surrounding areas.
Out of this great tragedy God continues to build a stronger church—one that is meeting the immediate, as well as the long-term needs, of its neighbors. Praise God for churches like Tabarre, pastors like Sadrack Nelson, and lay leaders that understand their role in rebuilding the country of Haiti. Such response is only possible through the outpouring of God’s strength in a time of crisis.
Please continue to lift up the relief efforts in Haiti:
* Pray for the continued immediate relief efforts of food, water, and crisis care kit distribution.
* Pray for strength and peace for the Nazarene church leaders, members, and their families.
* Pray for church and community members to be able to cope with the effects of trauma brought on by the earthquake and its aftershocks.
* Pray for the mobilization of trauma volunteers and the spread of this necessary counseling to those throughout the church and community.
* Additional assistance will be continually needed for the church’s relief efforts.
Persons and churches wishing to make a donation for Haiti Earthquake Relief online can do so through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries at ncm.org. Checks can be marked “Haiti Earthquake Relief ACM1204″ and mailed to Global Treasury Services, PO Box 843116 Kansas City, MO 64184.
So far, Coast Community has given about $1500 to help in the relief efforts in Haiti through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. In addition, we recently compiled and sent out 24 Crisis Care Kits like the ones spoken of in this article. As the cameras and reporters pull away from Haiti in the days and weeks to come, the Church will continue to minister among the people and share the hope and peace of Jesus. Please keep praying for all of those impacted by this devastating earthquake and especially for believers as they respond in love. If you would like to give you can do so as directed at the end of the article or through our local church. Blessings-