Haiti (MNN) — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Memorials are being held all over the country from just about every sphere of influence: religious and secular.
Compassion International held a special event for young people who were affected by the earthquake. Country Director Guildbaud St. Cyr says, "We have many families and project staff who have been affected severely by the earthquake. Some of them have been orphaned. Some of them have been disabled. Some of them have been injured. We brought them here today to encourage them, to bring them hope."
They met at Berea Baptist Church for worship, testimonies and a message from God's Word. One teenage boy got up in front of the church with his friend. All he said was, "I lost my mother. She was everything to me." Then he proceeded to sing a song with the words, "Hallelujah, I have Jesus."
Another teenage girl spoke about her escape from death. She was trying to run from a building with her sister, but they were trapped in the rubble. Her sister died. After a great deal of medical treatment and counseling, the girl who spoke is wanting to become a Christian teacher to prepare her country for the future.
Compassion International intends on being a big part of that by helping many of the partner churches rebuild their schools.
Regional Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean Edwouard LeSague says the government has kept them from moving forward. "We were waiting for construction codes and standards to be decided by the government, because this country has basically been built without any construction codes from the government or the city."
LeSague says, "It took almost 9-10 months for those standards to come out. We now have a framework from which we can work. And now we can do the ground-breaking ceremony for these projects."
Compassion International plans to rebuild 44 schools. The ground-breaking ceremony marks the beginning of that process. How long will it take? "The challenge is to get started. I think that's what we're putting our eyes on. We hope that it will not take too long to have those completed, but it may be a couple of years, if not more."
Does Compassion need funding for the buildings? Surprisingly, LeSague says not for this part of the project. "Compassion donors and sponsors have been very, very generous. Right now, however, we are encouraging our churches, sponsors and networks to sponsor children. That's where the need is."