Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shaken

January 12, 5:00 p.m.

I poke at a meatball in the pan to check if it's ready. Looks good! I smile, satisfied. My goal was to have dinner ready at 5:00 p.m. and everything is done right on time. The next few minutes are a blur. I remember hearing what sounded like a heavy dump truck drive past on our street. Then everything started shaking violently. I hear screaming outside and run to the doorway of the kitchen. What to do? I then see Jason running towards me. The shaking becomes worse as the house begins to buckle and sway. Knowing that Jayden was with Jason in the living room and not seeing him now I yell at Jason. "Where's Jayden? Where's Jayden? Get him!" Jason runs back and the house is buckling so bad now he almost loses his balances several times. I'm terrified. Doorways are safer, I remember from earth quake school drills, so I crouch down in one. A second later I have Jayden in my arms." Stay in the doorway", I yell at Jason, as I cover Jayden's small body with mine. I can't honestly describe what it feels like to have a cement, brick house swaying and buckling, underneath you. I just remember feeling so helpless and not knowing what to do. What's a wooden doorway going to help if the cement crumbles around me? I wonder. The quaking seems to last for a long time. I hear Denise screaming outside and calling "Jezi, Jezi" (Jesus, Jesus). I close my eyes to pray but don't know what to say. The rumbling stops but I remain where I am. Jayden starts to squirm to get out from my hold but I hold him tighter. After a few minutes we get up. The air is thick with dust. It's almost like looking through a thick fog. I'm just about to check the damage in our living room when I feel the ground begin to sway underneath me again. Once again we crouch in the doorway, until the heaving and shaking stops. I stay sitting longer now, knowing there might be more tremors. Jason cracks the outside door open and talks to Anoud and Denise. Denise is hysterical, and can't be calmed down. Seeing this Nicholas is terrified. We do our best to calm her down and make sure everyone is okay. Minutes later the earth sways again. Not knowing what's going to happen next is almost unbearable. I'm so scared. After the tremor passes we wait again and then start checking for damages. Our living room is in shambles. Computers knocked down and fallen over, pictures off the wall, a ton of leaves that came from who knows where. What's even more alarming is when I look through a side window. Our entire side security wall has come down leaving a mass of rubble. Dust is everywhere. The kitchen is a mess. My glass vase holding my Mayan Riviera sand has shattered on the floor, leaving a mess of water and sand. The entire contents of my cleaning supplies cupboard litters the ground. Broken glass, pictures, nick knacks and food are everywhere. As I walk to our bedroom, I feel like I have sea legs. I keep feeling the ground buckling even though it's not. In the bathroom I find more disaster. Shattered lamp shades and broken toiletries cover the entire floor. What a mess. Unsure of what to do next, I decide to join Denise and her kids outside. We sit on our courtyard on a piece of cardboard. I feel more tremors. Denise is in shock. She cries, she screams, she weeps, she yells. It's like she's lost her mind. This really scares the kids, so I do my best to calm her. " From now on I will take my children to church, Jesus, she says, I will give all my money to the church, just help us Lord." I pat her arm while holding Jocemine. "Jesus, doesn't want your money," I finally tell her. "He wants your heart." She looks at me for a moment and then nods. "Oh Jesus", she prays, "take my heart, forgive me."She sits silently for a long time with her eyes closed. She seems to have calmed down. Sabboule starts to complain that he's hungry, so Anoud who's stayed relatively calm, gives him a bowl of rice and beans. I help the kids eat it. I'm not hungry at all. Even the thought of food makes my stomach turn, but having some normality for these kids is the best thing. Nicholas refuses to eat, he's too upset. I finally manage to coax him to eat a few bites. I sit there for hours as Jason goes with Mark Williams to check the damages on the street. Every now and then we still feel tremors, and it's frightening every single time. When Jason come back he tells us of the disasters he's seen. Broken walls, broken homes, vehicles smashed, power lines on the road, everywhere you look there is chaos and destruction. By now it's dark and Jason and I make our way back inside. You're welcome to sleep inside with us in the kitchen we tell Anoud and Denise, but they tell us they feel safer sleeping outside under the stars. Needing some kind of plan, we decide to get a backpack ready in case we need to make a run for it. I quickly pack a big bottle of water, clothes, passports, money and IDs. We then pull a single person mattress into the kitchen since we decided that is probably the safest room in the house. We place a kitchen table over our heads and hunker down for the night. All three of us on a single mattress is a tight squeeze, but I need Jayden close to me. He falls asleep soon and after talking for awhile Jason and I doze off as well. At ten minutes to twelve I'm wide awake and less than ten minutes later the earth starts shaking again. "I'm scared", Jason tells me, "Me too", I reply. Before we fall asleep we read Psalm 18 together. Verse 7 says, "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken because he was wroth." Never before has this been so real to me. To feel the earth tremble and the foundations of the hills shake. I'm in shock myself and when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I see my eyes are permanently wide open. After the shaking subsides, none of us can fall asleep again. Jayden keeps asking for Thomas the Train, and we are just too wide awake to sleep. Jason makes himself a snack since he has hardly eaten all day and I just lay there staring at the underside of the table. Before we turn the lights out again Jason spots a cockroach on the table. It escapes and crawls down the table leg and disappears somewhere under our blankets, but I just don't care. There are a lot worse things to worry about then a cockroach in bed. Will we even survive the night? At 3:00 a.m. we finally doze off again. At 6:00 we are awakened by Jason's ringing cell phone. Someone is asking if they will be flying today, before he has a chance to answer the call is cut off. Excitedly I grab my cell phone in the hopes of calling someone, anyone, but the calls don't go through. Jason tries his as well, but to no avail. Our internet doesn't work either. Nothing works, no water, no stove, no internet, no cell phones. What to do? We wash up the best we can with some wet wipes and Jason gets ready to go to the airport. Jennifer arrives a little later and Jayden and I walk over to the other MAF families homes with her. The streets are a mess and many walls have tumbled down. People roams the streets some looking for loved ones and others just not knowing what else to do. At the Williams house I'm able to connect to MAF Satellite internet. It feels good being connected to the rest of the world once again. The internet is too slow to post pictures, but I'm at least able to share what happened. More to come.

39 comments:

  1. Corine and Marnix ter HaarJanuary 13, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Hi Will and Jason! So very glad that you were all spared! what a terrible shock! Everyone was anxiously waiting to hear from you to make sure that you are safe. Thank you for letting us know so quickly, we all feel so helpless over here. In times like this, you really feel the distance between us! Please keep updating us on whats going on (when you can) at least it makes us feel a little closer to you all. Sending hugs to all of you! from Marnix and Corine, We are keeping you in our prayers! xoxoxo

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  2. We too are so thankful that you are all o.k! What a shock! We are keeping you in our prayers also, and for everyone there!
    *Big Hugs*
    Uncle David & Aunty Jenny

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  3. Hi Guys! Sooo glad to hear from you. We are keeping you in our prayers as you go forward in dealing with the devastation there. Doesn't it seem unreal when the ground under you starts moving and shaking? The ground that was supposed to be solid? I will never forget that experience when we were in Hawaii 3 years ago and that was only a 6.3 earthquake. I actually still have nightmares from it. Take care and keep up posted. Love Ang

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  4. So glad to hear you are okay. We are keeping you in our prayers.
    Jody & Mark

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  5. Dear Jason, Will & Jayden,
    We are so thankful to hear that you are safe. What a terrifying experience as your world comes tumbling down around your feet. We're praying for your protection and strength as you deal with all the devastation around you. May you feel God's prescence as He is unchanging and always present with you. Love & Prayers, Robert and Sandra

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  6. Hey Jay and Will, Glad to hear you are all safe and were not harmed. I hope the same for the rest of your co-workers. Praying for you guys for what's to come, as I am sure you will be busy with the rescue efforts that will happen now. Take care, And God bless you all!
    Drew

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  7. I am a faithful reader of your blog!:) I love hearing about your work & life in haiti, & when i heard about the earthquake, I thought about you. I'm so glad to hear you're all right! I pray you will sense God's presence very near you in this time of uncertainty. May He give you peace!! Praying for you1 ~Dorcas

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  8. Dear Jason & Will. We are so glad and thankful to hear that you have been spared the devastaion of the earthquake. Thank God for His goodness. Although we may not understand why these things happen in certain places and not others, we know that God does and we must submit to His will. May you experience His nearness now in this most desperate time. We are near you in thought and are praying for your continued safety. With love, Peter & Diane Schenderling & family

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  9. Thinking about you all in Haiti....keep us posted.

    Love, Henrietta

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  10. Hi Jason, Will, and Jayden. Very thankful that you are safe. Hold Jayden tight. We are praying for you.
    Love Casey, Annedien, Casey, Victor, Sidney.

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  11. Dear Jason ,Will and Jayden
    Thankful to hear that you are spared .You are in our thoughts and prayers.Uncle John&auntie Jeannie

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  12. Praying for you all, from what we're hearing it's becoming a greater miracle by the minute that you've been so remarkably spared and that you're able to communicate to reassure us that you're safe. God has been faithful. May God give you strength to face the devastation around you as you grapple to help out. God bless you,
    Love, Uncle Chris & Aunt Judy

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  13. Jay and will,
    thankful to hear that you guys are well. We're praying that you will be given strength to deal with everything. Praying that you'll be able to lead many to Christ during these circumstances
    hans, mare and stormie

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  14. So glad to hear that you are all ok! Many thoughts and prayers for you all!

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  15. Dear Jason, Will and Jayden...

    What a nightmare in real life! I can't imagine how that would feel. So thankful to God for sparing you all! I'm sure the future is going to be very difficult...so we pray that the God who spared you, will also comfort, provide, strengthen and help in the future. We love you - please know there are many, many people praying for you all.

    Love Henry and Jenny

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  16. Dear Jason, Will and Jayden, We're thankful you're safe but think of so many who are not, and all the chaos....Praying for you all. Love, Brian, Anne-Marie & family

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  17. Hi Will and Jason. We are sure happy to hear that so far you are okay, and we hope that you will continue to be spared. Besides Psalm 18, Psalm 91 is also very applicable to your situation. We pray that God may keep you safe. Please keep posting.

    Love, Jaap, Cornelia, and the kids

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  18. Thinking and praying for you all out there..glad you were kept safe

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  19. Hi Will, Jason and Jayden.
    I'm sure glad you are all safe... Hope to hear more from you guys....

    Love Gloria

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  20. We are thankful you were spared. Praying for you, that you will be given strength to help,in these devastating circumstances.
    Richard and Jeanette Wierks

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  21. Jason and Wil- Our hope and wish for you is Psalm 46. It begins with God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.... We are praying for you and your neighbors. Love, Troy, Lori and clan

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  22. Hi Jason & Will,
    Thinking of and praying for you and for your Haitian neighbours in their great losses. May all our eyes be opened to the majesty and faithfulness of God! May His Word by His Spirit be brought to those who don't yet know of His forgiveness!!
    Take care! Eldon & Nelly

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  23. Dear Willemien, Jason and Jayden,
    Your are spared by the Lord, what is a great wonder. In all these hardships we pray, "The Lord keep you and bless you and give you peace." Do what your hand find to do. We think of you and pray for you with all our heart.
    Love, Dad and Mom

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  24. Thanks for the great work you do in Haiti. A group of around 40 people from my church in Montreal was at an hotel in Port-au-Prince when all this happened. They're all OK and Canadian Forces will bring them back to Canada tonight. This group was returning from Tiverny where we hold a Missionary center. God bless and use you for the sake of haitian people!
    Gabriel

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  25. Jason and Will
    We hope that you may continue to receive His help in all the difficulty you are facing. May you be given the strength to be a strength to those is need. Our thoughts and prayers are with you continually.
    Uncle Andrew and Auntie Astrid

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  26. Glad to hear you are safe, may the continue to keep you!

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  27. Dear Will, Jason & Jayden
    We are so very happy to hear that you are safe, our thoughts are with you.

    Toon & Jannie Klaassen
    William & Helena Stym

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  28. What a horrifying experience! We´re so thankful that you´re safe. Our hearts ache for Haiti and our prayers are with you and that devastated land!

    Carel & Irene Geleynse

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  29. Hi guys,
    don't know you, but do know the MAF. there was a link on the NOS website to your blog. so many Dutch people will probably read your testimony now!
    We do know a Canadian missionary family in Kaliko, they are safe also. We are praying for the people in Haiti.
    God bless!
    Greet (the Netherlands)

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  30. Your story has been translated and posted on the Dutch national news website for all of Holland to read!
    We pray Gods protection, comfort and wisdom for your family, colleages and surroundings as you all recover from this disasterous event.
    Thank you for your story and the work you are doing in Haiti.
    God bless

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  31. Dear people,

    What a terrible tragedy for the poor Haitians. We'll be praying for them and for you. "Lord, be merciful, in the midst of your judgments."
    in Christ,
    ds. Kim Batteau, geref. kerk vrijgemaakt Scheveningen

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  32. Willemien Jason Jayden,

    Ook hier in Holland leven we met jullie en de bevolking van Haiti mee.
    Gelukkig zijn jullie safe!
    Heel veel sterkte toegewenst!
    Margreet Arie

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  33. I don't know what to say.......I am speechless. Your words paint a very real picture and my heart is racing. My thoughts are with you all in Haiti. I simply cannot imagine.........I am just so sad for you - but relieved too that you talk of so many people around you so you can support eachother. Be strong.
    A package has been organised through our community here. If you see a Lake Gwelup shirt - I sent 5 - along with other stuff!! It's hard as we have our own local massive bushfire distaster to cope with but we sent what we could yesterday. Sending you big hugs and very best wishes from Suzie Griffith, Western Australia

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  34. We are thinking of you all in the middle of this disaster... wishing you very much strength! Waiting anxiously for another update!
    James and Sara Stoutjesdyk

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  35. Hi there
    This is Caryl, from South Africa. Im Kryna & Bert's aunt. I've come to your blogpost on their recommendation. Ironically both Kryna & I had 'Haiti' blogposts today. I hope you don't mind, but I've added a link to your blog for my readers.
    We all just want to say how shocked we are at the horror you are all experiencing. Your post is an incredible and heart wrenching account. Thank you so much for sharing it. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    With lots of love
    Caryl and the gang in SA
    (from http://theadventuresofmaxdog.blogspot.com )

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  36. Hi Will and Jason

    We are glad to hear that you are okay! You are in our thoughts.

    Anton and Kathy VH

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  37. Dear Jason, Wil & Jayden,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all the people of Haiti. What a terrible calamity. We are so glad to hear you are safe. May God continue to protect you and give you the strength you need to assist the people of Haiti.
    Love from Adam & Annie Slingerland

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  38. Willemien!!!!
    Je bent famous in Holland.
    In HET nieuwsjournaal van Nederland op TV, het nosjournaal werd na de berichten over Haiti door de presentator vermeld dat men op nos.nl het ooggetuigeverslag kon lezen van de Nederlandse Willemien Krul.
    We waren trots Arie en ik.
    xxx Margreet

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  39. Jay and Will - We are praying that you receive much strength and continued protection in the days ahead as you care for your family and your haitian friends. Best,
    Daniel & Annemarie

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