Posted by: calloftheandes | March 18, 2010

HCJB Global Hands, Voice Gears Up for Second Haiti Ministry Trip

Sources: HCJB Global, Mission Evangélique Baptiste du Sud d’Haïti, Radio Lumière, Samaritan’s Purse, Committee to Protect Journalists

Hermann Schirmacher

A second team of HCJB Global healthcare workers plans to travel from Ecuador to Haiti on March 20 to assist victims of the Jan. 12 devastating earthquake, even as team leader Hermann Schirmacher is exploring mission training possibilities there. The first team of physicians worked alongside Samaritan’s Purse Jan. 15-24 at the Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM) Hospital in Port-au Prince.

“When the first team came, there was a lot of chaos and trauma, especially during the first few days,” said Melissa Strickland, communications liaison at Samaritan’s Purse. “What we’re seeing now is mostly infections, diseases and things like that.”

Flying north from Quito, the nine-member team will again work with Samaritan’s Purse and BHM for two weeks. Team members include five medical doctors, two nurses and two engineers.

Sheila Leech, vice president of international healthcare, said Samaritan’s Purse invited the medical team to “help with the more complicated orthopedic cases that are appearing.” She added that team members will hand out 100 fixed-tuned, solar-powered SonSet® radios to patients. The radios are tuned to the local Christian station.

The medical team will be followed by a three-member technical team that will help with HCJB Global’s partner radio stations in Haiti. The team, including engineers David Rhodes and Ed Muehlfelt from the Indiana-based HCJB Global Technology Center and global involvement coordinator Nate Dell from Colorado will leave on April 13.

“The group will interact with Radio Lumière in Port-au-Prince and with its national parent organization, Mission Evangélique Baptiste du Sud d’Haïti (Evangelical Baptist Mission of South Haiti, MEBSH), to explore ways in which HCJB Global can be of meaningful assistance in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake,” explained Technology Center Director David Russell.

“The three men will also travel to Cap-Haitien in the north where they plan to visit partner Radio 4VEH,” he added. “They will do some checks on the satellite broadcast facilities that HCJB Global helped install at that radio ministry site in 2003. They will also interact with representatives of Kids Alive International ( who have a ministry to orphans. Kids Alive was recently assigned many more orphans by the Haitian government. They are in need of work teams to help provide more housing.”

Brad Quist, health services director for the Latin America Region, says MEBSH mirrors what HCJB Global does with an emphasis on both radio and healthcare. The ministry’s medical outreach includes a hospital, several medical clinics and a dental clinic. (The ministry is unrelated to BHM.)

MEBSH (more recently renamed Mission Evangelique Baptiste Lumière d’Haïti) has ministered in Haiti for 60 years. Decades earlier the ministry had grown out of the Bible education of Haitian sugarcane workers deported from Cuba.

“We see Haiti as potentially an ideal missions laboratory because it is truly a different language and a different culture,” Quist said. “We are forming missionaries who will go out to creative-access countries.”

Several weeks after the Jan. 12 quake, Radio Lumière published the names of three of its journalists, Jude Marcellus, Marlene Joseph and Ginord Desplumes, as victims of the quake. None of them were at the station when the quake hit. The disaster also altered planned activities to mark the station’s 50th anniversary.

Radio Lumière is a network of nine AM and FM Christian radio stations and a television station that covers 90 percent of Haiti with gospel broadcasts.

“Thousands of Haitians are [becoming Christians] these days in Port-au-Prince, “mostly in the churches,” added Paul Shingledecker, World Gospel Mission’s regional director for the U.S. and the Caribbean. “However, Radio Lumière has had such a dramatic increase in conversions of those coming to the station or calling in that we are thinking of starting a special program for evangelism in order to give people more opportunities to find Christ. People are very open and are searching right now.”

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