March 8th 2010:  Jared Kohler Documents "The Event of January 12th"

Shabach Ministries International (SMI) has hired photographer Jared Kohler to document the work that SMI is doing in Haiti.  Jared arrived in Carrefour, Haiti, on Saturday March 6th.  Immediately upon arrival he began documenting "the event of January 12th" (as it has come to be called in Haiti).   What he has found so far on his five-day visit is what many of us have already seen: destruction, hunger, desperation etc.  However, that is not all he has seen.  Amidst the crises he has also found an unconquerable spirit of hope and even peace. 

On Friday Shabach Ministries International (SMI) opened its doors to about 500 students.  In lieu of school the ministry is offering what amounts to vacation bible school at the main campus.  The purpose of the unofficial school is to keep children off the streets, to give them a little education, and to give them a little food.  Word got out over the weekend and today each of those 500 children brought three or four of their friends and family.  The volunteers at SMI did not turn anyone away and what was intended to be a half day event turned into an all day event.  Before it was done the kitchen had run out of rice and was improvising with bread and sauce.  Nevertheless, scores of hungry children waited patiently for what would probably be their one meal of the day.  Everyone was eventually fed.  The volunteer staff which was comprised of church members was exhausted but one of them expressed to Jared that it was worth it as he said in broken English, "Children are... what is it that opens a door... a knob... no... a key... yes, children are the key." It is our hope and intention to run this impromptu school for one month until April 5th when regular schools are scheduled to resume.

The volunteer that Jared talked with is also a leader in the church and on another occasion he expressed to Jared that before the event of January 12th many of the people in the church had an ideal understanding of God's peace; that is to say they knew God's peace but it was easy to know because things were going good.  The event of January 12th put that sense of peace to the test and he was happy to report to Jared that, "when the earth shook it was not enough to take the peace away." 

This sense of true peace in the midst of chaos is evidenced all throughout the church at SMI as Jared reported that the Sunday morning church service was as filled with joy, hope, and the love of God as it was before the earthquake (if not more so).  

Children at vacation bible school

            An elder of the church cuts bread for communion                      Members of the church                          

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