Thursday night (48 hours after the earthquake), we had an emergency board meeting to discuss the situation and figure out what, as best as we could, was happening in Haiti and what we needed to plan for.
There are four main things that I remember standing out from that meeting:
1. Dixie described the devastation in Port Au Prince as if someone took their hand and smacked it down on a model of the city and wiped out large large portions of it. She said it was like wiping out the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the Supreme Court, all at once. It was bad.
2. We had no idea what to expect. We didn’t know if we’d have 20 new kids at our gates in the next week or 200 or 2.
3. Water was a huge concern – we had no idea when we’d be able to get the next water truck in so we needed to make sure that we monitored and rationed our water usage.
4. Dixie wanted a volunteer team of 8 to 10 additional volunteers predominantly people who had been at GLA before and who had medical training. They needed to be familiar with GLA, familiar with Haiti and experienced with medical areas. We had no idea what to expect, so we needed to have the best people in who could help us deal with those unexpected realities.
Immediately, plans were put in place to recruit a team and have them come in, meet in Miami and then gather supplies and go in to Haiti from there.
My wife left Sunday morning to be part of that team.
I brought my wife to the airport at 4:00 that Sunday morning and then came home and started getting the rest of the family ready for church.
Obviously, as soon as we got to church, we were inundated with people asking us what we had heard, how GLA was doing, what was happening in Haiti – anything that people could – they cared and they wanted to know more. Even though there is no way that we could truly explain something that vast and indescribable.
We’re sitting down in church and as our Pastor was walking down the aisle to go up front and start the service, he stopped at the row we were sitting in, “Hey Tom, Two things – would you be willing to come up and give us an update on what’s happening in Haiti and how GLA is doing? Oh and also, we’ve decided we’re going to do a third collection this morning (we normally do two) and give that third collection to GLA.”
“Sounds awesome to me.” So,I quickly made some notes on the back of the bulletin about what I wanted to say. I went up said what I felt God was leading me to say and God opened the hearts of the people at “my church” and they donated over $13,000 to GLA that morning to help with the earthquake relief.
God is good!
All the time!