Within just days after the massive earthquake hit Haiti, Tyler based Youth With a Mission was on the ground providing assistance. Sharon Ambler was one of YWAM's first responders. She knows the country well. Sharon helped set up the first YWAM base in Haiti 18 years ago.
"It was shocking to see the difference in the country," remembers Sharon who arrived in Haiti for a two week mission just after the quake. "I saw that people were extremely open. When they came into the clinic we were trying to pray for everybody and there was never one person that turned down prayer. They wanted to be prayed for."
A drastic change for the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, where voodoo has been the prominent religion across the island.
"Well before the earthquake what would happen in Haiti is you would hear voodoo drums throughout the nation every night," says YWAM Co-Director Debbie Lascelles. "And its very eery. You hear a lot of screams. It feels very oppressive and very eery. There telling me now since the quake you don't hear voodoo drums at all."
Amid the rubble, chaos and death that has been the scene here for over a month, relief workers say they are seeing a very different Haiti beginning to emerge. YWAM'er Matt Krol just returned from two weeks of work in Haiti.
"It was similar to our 9-11 in that the whole nation was in shock in the first week or two. Didn't know what to do," says Krol. "And then slowly that shock would wear off. Some of our doctors would spend the night at the clinic downtown, just doing the through the night kind of night shift and there were a number of times that worship services would develop out of the tent city. Almost like a march for Jesus down the street."
Every week since the earthquake, Youth With a Mission has sent a new team of volunteers. Mostly doctors and nurses. The mission there has changed in just the past few days from emergency work to treating the kinds of problems that arise from millions of people living under tarps and make shift tent cities.
YWAM has taken a building on the outskirts of the St. Marc that was once a clinic that perform abortions and is turning into a hospital to help with long term needs. But while the immediate needs are great, even the Haitian people appear to want spiritual help as well as physical.
"Absolutely," says Krol, "I think more people are turning to the Lord than ever before. They need help and they know they need it and they are looking to God."
"The president last weekend declared three days of prayer and fasting. And they just saw a nationwide turning to God, people praying, singing. They are saying that's remarkable. Through the tent cities these people who are suffering, who have lost everything are just worshipping God," says Debbie Lascelles.
The workers at YWAM know many East Texans won't be able to volunteer on the ground in Haiti. But they can pray. And they believe right now that may one of the most power things that someone can do for the people there for their struggles today and tomorrow.
"You know you do these segments on the power of prayer and we certainly believe in the power of prayer and when people unite and pray things happen you know. Change happens. And we are seeing that unfold. And so I would encourage people to continue to pray for Haiti," says Debbie Lascelles.
"I believe its an opportunity that really stretches across every spectrum, says Sharon Ambler. There needs to be people are willing to pray for Haiti right now. They don't need to go there they just need to be praying that God will continue to open people's hearts up to the gospel message. They are looking for answers. And if they are able to find the answers in a relationship with God during that time the massive changes can happen in a country."
Clint Yeatts, East Texas News
For more information on YWAM and Mercywork's mission in Haiti look for links here on the Power of Prayer page or at the "Big Red Box" on the kltv.com home page
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:14 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:14:11 GMT
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