Pictures from Gambia!

The makeshift boats

The not so tiny river

Lisa climbing up a tower to get reception to call Fred!

Keep checking back as we update the blog with more pictures from Lisa’s trip to Gambia & Guinea Bissau with Eastern Mennonite Missions!

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Maps of Guinea-Bissau

In case you are wondering where in the world…( or the continent of Africa)… Lisa and Guinea-Bissau is….

Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Samaritan’s Purse Responds to Massive Quake in Chile

Samaritan’s Purse has emergency workers and supplies on the way to southern Chile, where a massive earthquake struck before dawn Saturday and triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific Ocean as far away as Hawaii.

Our disaster response team based in neighboring Bolivia is bringing truckloads of food and blankets. We are working with evangelical church partners in the affected areas to assess the needs and determine the locations where we can help.

The earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 8.8 and centered just off the coast near Concepcion, the second largest city in Chile. Major damage was reported 200 miles away in the capital city of Santiago. It hit at 3:34 a.m. local time Saturday, February 27 (1:34 a.m. Eastern Time), while many people were asleep in their homes.

Chile has a history of devastating earthquakes, including the most powerful one ever measured, a 1960 quake that measured 9.5 and killed several thousand people. (By comparison, the earthquake that killed over 230,000 people in Haiti Jan. 12 measured 7.0. Each increase of one point represents 32 times more intensity.)

Please pray for the people of Chile and our local church partners.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hoop Homes Update

This just in from our friends at Esbenshades….

Hey Everyone,
Want to start off by expressing how much we appreciate everyone’s support whether that came in the form of prayers, finances, or encouragement. We couldn’t have asked for smoother travel on the way down, all our luggage made it and we had no real issues being processed through customs. Our contact from YWAM met us directly after we claimed our baggage and did an awesome job of getting us through the madness that was the outside of the Port Au Prince airport.
We didn’t see a whole lot of devastation while traveling through Port Au Prince. Just outside of town we passed large tracts of land where people had “claimed” plots to put shelters up by outlining them with small rocks. Shortly thereafter we passed one of the mass graves where some of the victims of the earthquake were buried.
That made it real, very sobering.
After we arrived on the base Sunday afternoon we found Scott and Shawn, who were armpit deep in greenhouse parts in the back of the container. We worked till dark trying to unload, organize and also began assembling one of the Hoop Homes.

We are staying in a large communal dorm lined with triple bunk beds and about 25 other guys. Everything here on the base is powered by a generator which is shut off around 9 PM and turned back on around 6 AM. Some of the staff keep their radios,TVs, and lights on until the the power leaves. That made falling asleep pretty interesting. When we did fall asleep, we slept, and slept well.
Morning came early to the sounds of roosters, Guinea fowl, and one very ticked off dog. After a 6:30 breakfast we set to work finishing unloading the container and finishing up the afore mentioned Hoop House. Praise God the base has two, count ’em two, skidloaders. Or as we like to call them, back savers. What a blessing!!!
We finished getting everything organized just before lunch at which time we were told where the first “batch” of Hoop Homes were setup. We loaded enough material for 10 homes and headed down into St. Marc to clinc the YWAM base oversees. As we begun setting the house up, just 50 yards from the coast, I couldn’t help but praise God for the breeze, the ocean AND THE POST POUNDER!!!!! The REAL back saver. There is no way we could have even made 1/3 of the time we did if it wasn’t for that. Pounding 10, 3 ft. stakes by hand, into hard rocky soil would have even slowed down Charles Ingles and Mr. Edwards. We made great time. We started working around 1:00 and by 5:15 we had 5 houses completely finished and the structure of 3 more already up awaiting the poly. The weather was hot, but not unbearable. At least there was no rain. (Keep praying.)
Overall, our first day and a half could not have gone a whole lot better. We are all learning to work together and finding our niches. Thanks so much for everyones support. The houses are going up so smooth, and we are still working out OUR kinks. I’d say by day 3 we will be clipping along like a well oiled machine. Praise God for this!
I’ll wrap it up now. Please forward this to anyone you might think is interested and continue to keep us in your prayers. This whole “idea” and trip has come about in such a amazing way, we feel God truly has his hand in it. Much love to all of our loved ones. We miss you guys.
Jon Gehman for The Hoop House Team
Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Joy in Hope Feb 8 Haiti Update

Fred spoke with Gwenn Mangine of Joy in Hope once again this morning. You can hear the interview by clicking here.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hoop Homes for Haiti

Terry Esbenshade talks about the “hoop home” temporary housing structures being sent to Haiti.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Joy in Hope Haiti Update

When the ground first shook on January 12, 2010, the actual event was over in a matter of a minute.  The effects of this tragedy, however, are lingering and will continue to linger for years and decades to come. The Joy in Hope staff on the ground has been honored to serve the community in various (and unusual) capacities as first responders, but we also acknowledge that as major relief organizations/government organizations have and continue to be mobilized in Jacmel, our role will again morph.  After much discussion amongst our team, we’ve come to agree that our main role in the restoration of Jacmel will likely be in a supporting role to these larger, better-resourced, more highly-focused organizations.  Because of the long term relationships/connections we have in Jacmel, we find ourselves in a place where we’re uniquely positioned to offer logistical support such as housing, transport, supplies, connections, and access to a steady stream of available workers.

This has already come to pass in many regards with the opening of our team housing as a guest house and with our involvement in the WFP distirbution, aiding specific NGO’s and the Canadian military.  Joy in Hope is becoming increasingly known and trusted in our community.

To be a little more specific, here’s some info about what we did yesterday which I think is a good example of a typical day here:

  • Yesterday were given the opportunity to be in charge of distribution of food for ALL of Cay Jacmel and surround areas (12,500 people.) We had to make a quick choice, and because of the systems we have in place already, were able to say yes.  Nick was able to rent a Dihatsu and take 4 truckloads of food into our warehouse.  Just for the record that’s 12 TONS of food—or 30,000 meals.  Just GIVEN to us to distribute.  We had to supply the truck and manpower (which is actually a bit more complicated than it sounds) but they got it done.  And funny story—the Dihatsu we rented for $200 was pretty sketchy.  It didn’t have lights so we had to return it by 6PM.  The driver broke our gate when he hit it and the truck actually broke down and had to be push-started.
  • Yesterday we also began hosting a team of 8 doctors who are literally saving lives.   I brought a tiny, very sick baby to them yesterday… a baby I believe was on the brink of death, and they were able to help.  Nick and Mikey were able to get 8 beds brought over to Rue Petion to continue expanding the capacity of the guest house.
  • Also yesterday, Nick delivered $500 worth of phone cards to the Canadian military who have provided hundreds of soldiers who are working all day long to restore Jacmel.  They are doing largescale rubble removal with heavy machinery and small scale with teams of soldiers. (And just FYI–they paid the bill on that one, but we were able to acquire the phone cards when they were not.)
  • Yesterday we distributed donated diapers in the local refugee camp.  Not a ton of them, but given the current situation with heavy rains and mud combined with a widespread outbreak of diarrhea, I have to believe it helped at least a little.
  • Yesterday we also brought 300 meals to the hospital that our staff and children prepared.  300 patients and their caregivers were able to eat a hot meal.
  • On top of all that, we have 2 orphanages that are running well.

I am sure today will be an equally exciting and opportunity-filled day.  And it’s so awesome to be involved in something so much bigger than ourselves.  It’s amazing to see the way God has given us favor as we’ve tried to make ourselves available to serve our community.  And I do believe we can continue to serve our community in a similar fashion for weeks and months to come.  It’s a good fit for the way we’re each personally wired and a good fit for our organization too

It’s exciting to live here in this time.  We’re thankful God has chosen us.  Please pray that he would give us the strength daily to walk in it.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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Joy in Hope Haiti Update

Today Nick and I drove over the mountains to Leogane.  It’s been the first time we’ve been over the mountains since the quake.  We’d heard Leogane was bad. Wow.  Didn’t quite expect HOW bad it was.  You see, I have heard in Jacmel that around 50% of homes were destroyed.  But that’s kind of a deceiving statistic as much of the major damage was in a few pockets.  In these pockets, nearly EVERY house is destroyed but outside of those pockets, it’s not nearly as bad.  Estimates for Leogane say that there is somewhere between 80-90% of homes are destroyed.  Seeing what I saw today I would say that is VERY possible.  The WHOLE city is in shambles. It’s not just in pockets.  Downtown, uptown, in town, outskirts of town.  It’s a MESS.  All of it.

Even so, the people of Leogane continue to march on.  There is a lot of aid we could see on the ground and things seemed to be running very smoothly.  The streets were all cleared and swept.  There were even women spreading water over the roads nearly continuously to keep the dust down.  The main refugee camp was well organized.  There were no tents—it was all makeshift, semi-permanent structures organized into sections.  It’s still not great.  I mean come on, it’s a refugee camp. People have lost everything.  They still have many needs that are not being met.  But they continue with their lives with a tenacity I just can’t explain.

We’d love continued prayers for the situation in Haiti.  It’s out of the front pages now, but the need will continue for months and years, possibly decades, to come. Pray for continued provision.  Pray for our families as we adjust to our new normal.  But most of all, please pray that we would daily turn our hearts towards God—the giver of all good things.

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Joy in Hope Haiti Update

The camp.

Yesterday Leann and I headed over to the large refugee camp that’s now a part of our community.  As difficult as it was to see, it was a good visit.  We talked and played with a lot of different kids. It was kind of surreal.  In so many ways it was business as usual.  The kids were still just kids.  They were laughing and joking and playing.  Some were making kites, some were using sticks to build model houses, some were playing clapping hand games.   Almost all of them wanted their pictures taken.

But when I took a step back—it made my heart grieve all the more because I knew th reality of the situation.  Amongst the happy children there were deperate parents. Two specific parents who were hopeless enough to offer me two of their children then and there because they just weren’t sure how they were going to move on.

There was this other mother there.  She was the mother of a very small six month old baby.  Her baby was sick.  Very sick.  The baby had her face winced in pain the whole time I was there, but she could not cry louder than just a tiny, tiny whimper.  She was obviously dehydrated.  I asked the mother what kind of symptoms she’d been having and she said the baby has been throwing up and having diarrhea for several days.  I asked if she’d taken the baby to the medical tent located in the center of the camp.  She said that she hadn’t because there were always so many people there.  She didn’t want to wait in line.  I begged her to take the baby the next day.  I told her if she didn’t want to wait in line she should get there very early.  She said she could go, “demen si dye vle” (tomorrow if God wills).  I plan to check on her tomorrow.  I can’t stop thinking about her.

There ware an estimated 6,000 homeless people living in this camp.  SIX THOUSAND!  In a city of about 35,000 that’s a staggering amount.  Where do you go from here?

God save Haiti.  You’re the only one who can.

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 10:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Special Haiti Earthquake Update

The world has come together to reach out to the earthquake victims in Haiti — and yet so much more needs to be done to ease the enormous suffering. Food For The Poor’s feeding center in Port-au-Prince is operational again, feeding thousands of people each day, but we need more funds to ship lifesaving food and clean water to benefit the countless families struggling to survive. Tent cities, some with more than 50,000 people, are scattered throughout the city and lack the basic necessities such as food and water.

The process of recovery in Haiti will be long and difficult. That’s why your continued support is so crucial to the relief efforts.

Please continue to keep Haiti in your prayers. Thank you for your compassion and generosity.

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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