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Haitian prays for strength to continue God’s work
Tristan Taylor, Baptist Press
February 09, 2010

Haitian prays for strength to continue God’s work

Haitian prays for strength to continue God’s work
Tristan Taylor, Baptist Press
February 09, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Before

the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti Jan. 12, Port-au-Prince neighborhood

Vallee de Bourdon was a beautiful place to live.

An otherworldly light filled

the hillside community when the setting sun angled its rays through the

surrounding lush trees. Like stadium seats, houses were stair-stepped up from

the riverbed below. Stairways leading from one level to the other functioned as

sidewalks on slopes too steep for roads.

IMB photo

Hubert Duchatelier’s home in a hillside community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was rendered uninhabitable by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Now, “… the neighborhood is

almost completely destroyed,” said Hubert Duchatelier, a Haitian Baptist and

father of five who has lived in Vallee de Bourdon for 13 years.

When the earthquake started,

Hubert was on his home’s flat rooftop. From there, he had a view of the whole

valley and saw the houses of his neighborhood shake and fall. When the quake

ended, all he could hear was wailing.

His family was unharmed. So

were his mother’s and sister’s households nearby. But his brother’s house, only

yards away from his own, collapsed on the family inside. The bodies of his

brother, Edgar, and four others are still buried beneath the rubble.

But Hubert is grateful that

so many others have survived, given that most of the houses covering the

hillside are only broken shells of concrete. Walls have collapsed, exposing

empty interiors.

People continue to move

along the stairways, but few stop at any houses. Some people sought shelter in

other communities. Those who stayed have made do along the riverbed in

sheet-metal shacks that used to house their pigs. Though difficult to live in,

these leaky huts pose less of a threat than the houses if another earthquake

occurs.

“We live like pigs here. I

can say that because it’s me,” said Hubert, pointing out the mud, burning trash

and wandering pigs. “This is not a way to live.”

After saving money for two

weeks, Hubert was able to move his wife, Marie, and their five children between

the ages of 2 and 12 out of their sheet-metal shack to a one-room house in

Marie’s hometown of Saint-Marc. Every day, Hubert uses public transportation to

travel nearly 46 miles from Saint-Marc to Port-au-Prince, where he works at the

Florida Baptist Convention’s Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d’Haiti (CMBH)

guesthouse.

IMB photo

A hillside neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was heavily damaged by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Many residents have set up camp in nearby shacks where they kept their pigs before the earthquake.

Hubert recently received a

theology degree from Haitian Baptist Theological Seminary after three years of

study. Before the earthquake, he led Bible studies in his home, gave

devotionals for his neighbors twice a day and shared the JESUS film along with International

Mission Board missionaries Mark and Peggy Rutledge. Sometimes he stood in

public and spoke against voodoo.

“I am not afraid of (voodoo),”

Hubert says. “When (people) talk about that, I take out my Bible and read Psalm

91 to them and I tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid, because God is your shelter.’”

Hubert will have to make a

new start — and find a bigger home — in Saint-Marc. But he has every intention

of continuing his ministry. He plans to speak out about his faith and share

devotions with his neighbors in his new community.

“You’re supposed to minister

where you are. I plan to do the same thing in Saint-Marc,” Hubert says. “After

this earthquake, if God saved your life, He saved it to continue His work.”

Haitians are interested in

God’s Word right now, Hubert says. They believe God spared their lives, and

they will listen carefully to people who talk about Him.

Hubert asks for people to

pray that his family will stay close to God.

“Tell the people in America to be

praying, because I am going to start a new work for God where my family is

now,” he says. “And for me to touch people’s hearts when they hear my teaching.

“And pray for me,” Hubert

adds. “For God to give me strength to continue His work in good and bad times.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Taylor

is a writer for the IMB in the Americas.)