So if I have it right, in the Dominican Republic, right next door to Haiti they have huge gatherings that would obviously eat up vast resources, both financially and food stuffs etc. Instead of cancelling and diverting this to Haiti they ask for more money for the "world wide" work. And emphasis every little thing as wonderful on them. of course this would be far more magnanimous then any of the "worldly effortsm since theirs are truly driven by Jehovah's holy spirit
Well today we experienced a unique event- the Dominican Republic received a zone visit from Charles Molohan of NY Bethel and for the first time ever all the Witnesses in the country were able to benefit from the programme together via video linkup to different locations across the country from the main stage in Santo Domingo . There was a total attendance across the 5 stadium and assembly hall sites of 65,185, twice the number of Witnesses in the country! The visit was translated into Haitian Creole, English and sign language.
A special report was given with the latest on Haiti so here are some of the main points we wanted to share with you. Sadly 104 brothers are now confirmed dead. Many of us have applied to go and help out with any relief but as you'll see from the report, its currently far too dangerous, plus Bethel are struggling to feed all of the bethelites with the few supplies they've received so the more personnel, the more difficult it gets to keep everyone going.
Attached below is a report we recieved plus an email from a sister in the Haiti Bethel. It's a long read, but important for those of you wanting to know more about our brothers.
Report from Haiti - Zone Visit - 17 January 2010
The day after the earthquake, the Haiti branch made enquires to check that all missionaries, special pioneers, circuit overseers were alive, and what state they were in. Bethel and the Assembly Hall didn't suffer any real damage. The Governing Body started to co-ordinate the relief efforts, in order to provide practical and spiritual help. On Thursday a little after midday, the trucks with aid arrived marked Humanitarian Aid of Jehovah's Witnesses on the side, containing 6 tonnes of food and medicine. This relief effort has been the largest ever organised on the island of Hispaniola .
The Assembly Hall became the refuge centre for hundreds of injured brothers and sisters. The vast majority were attended to by brothers and sisters who are doctors and nurses from the Dominican Republic who had offered their services. They have attended to hundreds of broken bones and other injuries. They have carried out operations and amputated limbs. The cases requiring most urgent medical attention have been taken over the border into the Dominican Republic to Jimani, where they have been met by a group of Witness doctors, and treated at the hospital there. Many have then been transferred to hospitals in other parts of the country, by ambulance or in the brother's cars. Groups of brothers with Creole interpreters have been receiving the brothers who are brought to the Dominican Republic , providing them with food and medicine, demonstrating true Christian love.
A brother who went to Haiti to help on the relief effort was interviewed for the New York Times newspaper, as he prepared to cross the border into Haiti . The journalist asked him how he was going to get into the country, and which organisation he was working with to do relief work. He explained that Jehovah's Witnesses were already providing aid to the brothers, and giving them food, and that more supplies were on their way. The journalist was very surprised and impressed.
104 brothers are now confirmed dead. 10,000 witnesses live in the areas affected by the earthquake. The Bethel family and construction teams have been working to rescue those who are trapped under rubble. Brooklyn Bethel has offered to send a French-speaking doctor. As far as we know the Kingdom Halls survived the earthquake, and brothers are currently taking refuge in them. In one Kingdom Hall, between 300 and 500 witnesses who lost their homes are now living in the hall. The branch in Dominican Republic is working hard to provide aid. 25 tonnes of food and medicine have already been sent from the DR.
This is only the beginning of the aid effort. The relief work will continue with the help of the brothers throughout the DR. At present, it would not be suitable for the branch to send groups of volunteers into Haiti ; this work is being done by a specialised team. It was asked that donations of food and clothing not be given to Bethel , as it proves more effective and economically viable for the Branch to buy these in bulk. We were asked to keep donating to the Worldwide Work, as this fund will be used to pay for the relief work in Haiti .
We have attached some photos of the Zone Visit, we were assigned to the Estadio Cibao baseball stadium in Santiago where 10,983 were present.
Below is an email from a sister in the Haiti Branch - it is long but for those of you want further information from an eyewitness account it will be interesting.