501(c)3 Non-Profit empowering the poor in Haiti

“Everything that can be shaken will be shaken”

If you want to know how to help RIGHT NOW, please skip to the bottom of this Blog. Below I am just giving my story of the earthquake and letting friends and family know what’s going on.

Well, after days of trying to just secure survival for a handful of families, I have found an internet connection. I was amazed to find the computer lab at the school I work at unlocked, and my friend Shawn’s Macbook Pro not only ON, but connected to the internet and not password protected. SO shawn, when you read this, thank you for your irresponsibility. There were 243 messages in my Email inbox, so this blog is my whopping Response. I don’t know really where to start, so I’ll start before the earthquake:

While preparing to go to school on tuesday I found the pants that I wanted to wear and noticed that they were (luckily) inside out. I went to invert them and felt a rubbery action-figure stuck in one of the pant legs. Thinking my son Zebedee had misplaced a toy I pushed it out with my hand only to find that it was actually a very scared and agile lizard. That is the only thing I remember about that day, other than all hell breaking loose at about 5:00. Shelley and I were debriefing our days at school and the beading program and walking through the house when our kitchen began spitting its contents onto the floor, shattering coffee mugs, hucking the water filter onto the floor, snapping the propane tank valves on our stove in half and just being altogether poltergeisty. We hurried to the back door of the kitchen, holding our adoptive Haitian babies and each other and watching the wall between our house and our neighbor’s wobble like cellulite. We yelled out for Keziah and Zebedee, our biological children, and could not see them or hear them over the rumbling and crunching. When the quake stopped I ran and shut off the hissing propane tank and we went looking for our kids. Keziah was outside, and looking almost embarrassed by the awkwardness of the moment asked, “WHAT WAS THAT?” I said, “That was an earthquake.are you scared?” She said, “Yes!” I asked where Zebedee was and she said, “He wasn’t scared, he went outside and started riding on his plastic motorcycle.” At that moment Zebedee strolled up nonchalantly and asked the same question Keziah had, only a little more stoicly. (Later he would say, “Hey, if we all had helmets, we could RIDE the Orfquake!”)

There were many of the poor Haitians who work with our program in the house when the quake hit. They were able to run outside and nobody got hurt, but we were soon to find that two of their houses had collapsed entirely, while others had had a few cinder blocks fall on family members. It was a good thing that the people at our house had been there when the quake came. Other than throwing almost everything on the floor and putting a few cracks in some of our walls, our house was well in tact. When we looked out our front gate we saw about a third of our neighbors cinder block exterior walls lying in the street, having fallen as one big panel.

We began to gather all of our Haitian friends at our house and find out who needed immediate aid. One of our beaders, Chrysaline, could not find her daughter and knew that she had been hit by falling bricks. She wailed in our driveway not knowing where to go to find her child. Others began to show up reporting wounded and lost family members while some of our beaders went to remove people from rubble. Some of our missionary friends set up an emergency room in their clinic down the street and they began taking the most “Grav” situations. We used our car to take people to this makeshift emergency unit, while people shred bed sheets and improvised to clean and treat wounds. There were people with severed limbs sitting in the street, but most people had scrapes, bruises, and simple fractures. We began taking these minor cases at our house, as we had quite a bit of medical supplies at home. Jocelyn (Carey) MacGreggor is at our house and she helped bandage the wounded and make a safe place for people to sit during the tremors that have continued even through today (Sunday). Families whose homes had collapsed came to stay with us as many houses continued to dangle in danger of toppling.

Haitians pray with hands waving and eyes open, much like the early church “orant” posture for prayer. The hills and streets were alive with waving hands, and above the wailing and weeping, we could hear many people saying “Meci Jezi, Meci Senye” (Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord). Many others cried out loud prayers of repentance for all kinds of sins. Because houses were not safe, people had gathered on barren hills and local parks to pray and wait. It was amazing to see.

Knowing that most people were going to horde gas and that there are not very many ambulences in Haiti, I went out to find hurt people. Two of the largest hospitals collapsed, so the small missionary run hospitals like the one on our street run by Bill and Suzette Manasserro were the only hope for many, but because these were created in the aftermath of the quake, many people didn’t know where to find this help. As I drove up Delmas the gravity of the tragedy really came home. I saw building after building crushed, and driving up to Delmas 60, an impoverished ravine near where we live (Where our friends Josue’ and Emmanuel live) I saw a pile of houses with dead bodies strewn across the street. The neighborhood, which is built on a hillside, used to look like a grey Cinque Terra, now it is a heap of rubble in the bottom of a ravine. Richard, a Haitian who lives with us and whose family lost their house in the quake, helped me load our 4 runner up with as many wounded people as we could cram in, and we sprinted off to the Hospital on Delmas 33, one of the only standing hospitals.

When I arrived home Shelley and Joceleyn informed me that the end of our street has become a mass grave, with 25o buried there yesterday and more today. I’m smashing days into hours here, as the last few days have all seemed like one big long one.

There is a lot of weeping everywhere, and as this is really the first time I’ve processed anything (I’ve been in ER mode), this is the first time I think I have felt the emotional weight of this all. I have felt angry that many people who come here to help won’t be able to tell the difference between what is normal Haiti and what has been hit by the quake. Haiti was in shambles before the earthquake, and for a very long time. And people made money off of that pain by being here, but didn’t really do much observable good (i.e. the UN). I find myself thankful that people are going to pay attention to the cries here now, but I’m so deeply saddened by how big that cry is . I am even more thankful for those friends who came to help before. Maybe now is not the time to rant…. but I will say, the people making an impact are the small independent Christian missions, and not the big organizations (US Army, Red Cross, etc.) who are fighting red tape and ignorance of Haitian culture to try to help. Later, those big organizations will save many many lives, and their support will be absolutely necessary, but right now it’s the small guys and the many many prayers coming this way that are making the difference. It will take the giant NGOs a while to set up to operate as they intend to.

I’ve not had access to TV or internet before just now, but I have heard that CNN and other major networks are not drawing attention to the spiritual and religious implications of this quake, so I will say something about that. One, I will say that EVERYBODY on the street in the midst of searching for food and water is having theological conversations. They typically sound something like this:

“God has hit us hard, he is so mad at us. We forgot him and he is mad at us”
“But he hit the church up the street too.”
“But it was a bad church! It was a catholic Church!”
“But Father _____ loved God, that was his church.”

(ecumenical compassion has not quite made its way to haiti yet… maybe now)

Or

“This has happened because we tell so many lies, because of voodoo, and because we have not trusted each other.”

This is the kind of talk I hear in the street… not just at my house, or at the missions, but everywhere. The Powers have been hit hardest… the police, the palace, the banks, the markets, the UN, the places that tend to exploit poverty, use corruption, etc. These are crumbled in the streets, while many many homes stay standing. On a natural level, this is obviously because people with a lot of power have big buildings, but…. so did Babel. After praying for so long that orphans who were caught in a cycle of corupt dealings on the government level, for example, it looks like this earthquake is allowing orphans to go home this week who have been victims of governmental processes for 3 to 6 years. Walls and fears that separated neighbors are coming down. Missions that fought over doctrinal issues are coming out of their compounds to help each other help others.

So people, including myself, see significance in this. However you think of it, what is clear is that this situation demands theological reflection, or said less academically, everybody cries out to or at God in a situation like this.

This, however, is not an act of God, if you ask me. Here’s my theological take from the middle of a disaster area:

Ezekiel 18:32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

While people are wounded and mangled and destroyed and die because of sin, it is not the desire of God. The anger of God has been sufficiently taken out on himself on the cross. The death of God is sufficient to appease him. He doesn’t need people to die. His love, a Father’s love, would rather take on hurt than see his children hurt. And He would rather avert his anger towards himself than destroy his kids. BUT, when people elect as king the killer, stealer, liar, accuser, and destroyer, then his (Satan’s) reign is what they get. And in whatsoever way that we trust selfish ambition, bitterness, sensual seductions and all the other temptations of life over the sure and strong ground that Jesus has laid for our lives, we elect Satan to a place of power over us, our relationships, and our property. The powers in Haiti have consistently elected riches, power, abuse, poverty, and exploitation as king and this week, perhaps we see the fruit of this election, not as the wrath of God, but as the normal outworking of the reigning government. We also see the response of God in all the miraculous survivors, healings, and the benevolent aid and responses of people. And we see a re-vote as to who will be the prince of this world. Casting the vote for Jesus, as it were, however, means living as he has asked. But he is the knight in shining armor rescuing us from a tyrant king… He is NOT the tyrant king. As John says in one of his epistles “The world is under the control of the evil one”. This is why Jesus asks us to pray that his kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven…. because it’s not fully here yet. One day, says the book of Hebrews, all of Jesus enemies, including death and natural disasters, will be put under his feet, but the battle is not over, and it is not against flesh and blood.

We still reap what we sow, we still suffer for sin, but we do so not under the judgement of God (If He wasn’t satisfied by His own death, what could satisfy?), but under the rule of the powers that we have selected. Ultimately every knee will bow, and every tongue will say that Jesus is the very best president, all others are a painful and unequipped, or worse, a demonic second.
So while there is some twisted kind of justice in the suffering in Haiti when it comes to oppressive powers, and there is some immediate healing (in the adoption process, for example) there is also a whole lot of suffering that is just ridiculous and tragic, and all the pain of destruction is mourned by our Father God and he is visibly rallying His troops to oppose the hurt that is here. That is my take on it anyway, and I would never have come to Haiti in the first place if I didn’t believe that… that we are still in a battle, each of us potentially overcoming some corner of evil from within the army of God, OR we are participating in evil through our apathy, laziness, selfishness, and unforgiveness.
As Bono said, “Put on your boots”
Or as Dylan said, “You gotta serve somebody”
OUR PLANS:
Right now our plans are to stay and help. We don’t want to leave our babies or the families we work with behind, though if the orphan visas allow, we’d love to take a break to come see family if we can soon. Our language skills are indispensable for translating with aid workers right now, and our relationships and knowledge of the culture and geography also allow for us to provide aid that would not be replaced if we left. We are really depending on God’s leading each day, and if we HAVE to leave, we have ways to get out and will.

HOW TO HELP

The VERY best way to help right now is to get food, water, and medical supplies to haiti. IT needs to come now. I don’t know how to do that, but if you have an airplane, I do hear that the US has taken over the airport and is letting things through.

The second best thing would be to give money to SMALL non-profit organizations like ours (The APparent Project), the Livesays, Real Hope for Haiti, Heartline ministries, or people like that. Make sure they are staying in country first. Many missionaries are evacuating, at which point your donations don’t get to the need as quickly. Later, say in a month or two, the larger organizations like UNICEF, etc. will need the financial support to keep the larger organized efforts afloat, but until they really get set up and committed, its more immediately helpful to give to the small guys. The truth is, as aid comes in, without order and police, the aid will turn into a kind of black market, and what was supposed to be free food and water will be capitalized on by gangs, etc. This is what has happened in the past with Hurricane relief. There will probably be riots, etc. so if benevolent people in relationship with the poor have enough money to buy the aid from these markets they will know the culture better and know how to distribute the stuff with less violence, smaller, more local distributions, etc. IT is also important, obviously, to communicate with the large aid distributors about the location of these smaller local points of distribution, as they can avoid doing large food drops in public places and instead get the food to lots of smaller distribution locations.

Fast and PRAY for peace in Haiti while you also pray for food, water, medical help, and some kind of structure to return here. There is a lot of fear developing and hunger makes people do crazy things. Fast for us please. Contribute what you conserve by fasting.
So to recap: Donate heavily to small organizations now (use google to find them)
and then donate to the bigger people and organize trips to Haiti to help in the following months (BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN BE SELF SUSTAINED WHILE HERE!) All aid workers need to bring their own food and water for the duration of their stay, otherwise they are literally making the problem much worse.


I’m not sure when I will be able to get online again. I currently have to climb about a mile uphill up to the school to check email, so please keep us in your prayers, send whatever kinds of support you can, and tell others to join in the effort. Pilots, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, people who can bring food and water… COME!

May His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
Corrigan Clay

P.S> I love you mom!

28 Comments
  1. Thank you Corrigan – we're praying for you.

  2. In tears, and praying for you all. Thanks so much for posting. May god continue to bless and care for you as you bless and care for others.

  3. I love you brother. We are so glad you are OK. Our church and family are praying for you all and giving to Haiti via a number of organizations. Beyond the horror of seeing images from Haiti, we lost 3 missionaries (FM Friends of Haiti Organization) and a gal from Port Orchard was killed along with her entire orphanage. We are praising God you all are OK. Thank you for living and loving for Jesus in Haiti. Hang in there. FYI, we are all being told up here to not fly down to Haiti (as the airport is having to turn people away) but to donate money. We will continue to support the little guys for now. Give Shelley and your kids a big Steve/Heather hug for us.

  4. Corrigan, Your thoughts are those most beautiful words I have read this past week. Please give Shelley and the kids a huge hug. If you could have only captured Zeb's words on youtube!!! Kermit read your blog with me as you and Shelley have been in all our prayers. I called Shelley's mom and I was encouraged by your last line. I hope that healing will stretch beyond the ocean. We will be there as soon as we get permission to pick up the kids or you give us an assignment – whatever comes first!
    Love Tami & Kermit
    PS Didn't we have this unique conversation over dinner about needing each other? WOW

  5. Thank you Corrigan, for climbing the hill to post this. We have been praying hard and sharing updates we have received with all our friends. We will continue to pray and continue to ask people to support you and other missions there through the aftermath.

  6. Praise the Lord you guys made it out safely and God bless you for helping everyone you come in contact with! I wish so much there was more I could do to help but know that I will be praying daily for your family and for the country! I will share your blog with everyone I can! Be safe and I look forward to more updates!!!

  7. Thank you for this, Corrigan. It is so helpful to hear your first-hand account in knowing how to pray and act. We are standing with you.

  8. Corrigan,

    We've been praying for you and all of Haiti this week. You're right, it does open my eyes and heart to the needs in Haiti. THANK YOU for giving us an update. PLEASE continue to communicate how we can help in individual ways and what is NOT helpful like you did at the bottom of your post.

    There is a lot of talk on the news about violence (the kind like you described) and gangs starting to build. I'm praying for that specifically and that aid can come before that has to occur. If you get time, please keep us updated on what that is really like (the news sometimes can give a different impression of reality) and if it gets worse. Praying for the protection of your family. Praising God you are there to help and love on your neighbors. May they come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

    Love,
    The Majors,
    Lauren, Michael, Hannah Grace, and Emily

  9. Praying for you!

  10. Corrigan,

    Thanks for the update. My church had a mission trip planned before the earthquake. They are still planning to go, but with a new mission. Your perspective is invaluable. I'm praying for you.

  11. shalom

  12. Many thanks for your good thoughts and for the perspective you add to the discussion and search for understanding.

  13. Thank you Corrigan…your thoughts and perspective help me understand this disaster. I am praying for you! Hold onto the Lord!

    ~Amy in WI

  14. thanks for posting and giving a first person account…. just donated. our prayer's are with you and your neighbors. – Ryan and Emily Hughes

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  16. I want you to know that your blog is being distributed widely by friends of yours on FB, etc., and I appreciate being able to hear your perspective. I disagree with you profoundly on some of your opinions, and I hope you have the humility to realize your perspective is just one on this great march towards helping the Haitian people. Please be safe, and please remember that government and secular organizations are capable of great good in the world.

  17. Glad to hear from you. If you happen to see this and happen to hear about J's birthmom, please let us know. He is asking.
    Amy(TN)

  18. We will pray for you, Corrigan, good to hear from you!

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  20. Corrigan and Shelley we pray for strength and wisdom as you help the Haitians.

  21. I think that your take on how this is NOT God's wrath but instead the consequence of choosing Satan instead is probably the most rational thing I've heard about this, or any natural disaster.
    I found your blog randomly through a post on Ravelry, and I will be praying for your mission. My husband is a youth pastor and we have friends from another church who had a mission trip to Haiti planned for next week. It has been canceled, but a few members are still going to give medical help at the orphanage they were originally planning on visiting.
    I'm trying to think of ways we can help – its hard to sit here and feel helpless. Even though donations are helpful, it doesn't feel like much.
    Thank you for posting this and for your work there. I think we all need to hear more first-hand accounts and fewer major media accounts.

  22. I am a long time friend of Laurie and Jim's. So glad to hear you and yours are okay. I feel so helpless. I can only pray and cry everyday. The world is helping and people that are there are trying their best. So let us Bless those that do help in anyway possible and forgive those that criticize and loot. CNN has been great as far as sharing and caring 24/7. God Bless you and your family and all those around you. We need to keep this in the news long after it goes off air. So many children my heart breaks and aches. Sherry Gardner

  23. Dear Corrigan and Shelley—I am Dan's mom. He has always spoken of you with such love. Thank you for the beautiful entry written with compassion and Truth from the Scriptures..I forwarded it to some of my friends who have asked explanations from me…Thank you for this Kingdom work you have so selflessly undertaken.
    Because of HIs Grace–Carolyn Randall

  24. you are all in my prayers. The work you are doing over in Haiti is amazing.
    When I watch the news I see stories about so many children and infants that have lost families and are now orphans. what will happen to them? how can I be involved with them here in Utah?
    Jessica (Gallus) Simonsen

  25. Liz and I are praying for you, order, and the people of Haiti.

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  27. So very well said… thanks

  28. Corrigan, thanks for writing. You have been and will continue to be in our prayers. We love you guys. Hoping to connect with you when the day comes you're able to come up for air.

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