Children eat lunch at an International Child Care Ministries school in Haiti.
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, and killed more than 230,000 people — including Free Methodist World Missions missionary Jeanne Acheson-Munos, Volunteers in Service Abroad missionaries Gene Dufour and Merle West, and Friends of Haiti Organization caretaker Erlin Blot.
FMWM missionary Jack Munos and VISA missionary Katie Zook were trapped for hours under the rubble of the Friends of Haiti Organization building before rescuers reached them. Other VISA missionaries and a well-drilling team from Clear Blue Global Water Project also were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake.
“[VISA and Missionary Placement Director] Deb Miller and [then-Director of Mobilization] Dale Woods were able to negotiate hard to get evacuation planes to Haiti before anyone else, according to [insurer] Lloyd’s of London,” said David Yardy, FMWM cross-cultural consultant. “This probably saved the lives of Jack and Katie.”
An around-the-clock rapid response team formed under the leadership of Bishop David Roller. The Free Methodist response became an international partnership.
The Friends of Haiti Organization building was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
“The first weekend of February of 2010, the FM bishop from the Dominican Republic met me and Bishop Keith Elford, from Canada, at the airport in Santo Domingo,” Roller said. “From there, Bishop Cecilio Osoria led us overland to Haiti where all three bishops participated in significant reconstruction talks with Haitian church leaders. The Canadian and Dominican churches have been important partners in response to the earthquake.”
As Free Methodists mourned the loss of key ministry participants, they prayed and gave more than $2 million for relief and recovery efforts.
FMWM missionary Rick Ireland said Haitian Free Methodists took the lead in the recovery efforts, such as food distributions in every area where Free Methodists were affected by the earthquake.
“It took courage for the U.S. church to let go and let the Haitian church step up,” Ireland said. “I have been eyewitness to the fact that God blessed their risk.” LLM
Go to fmchr.ch/fmchaiti for in-depth coverage.0