Churches Helping Churches in Haiti
David Shin September 19th 2011
My name is David Shin and I am one of two people work for an organization called Churches Helping Churches (CHC). CHC is a global partnership of church communities who seek to rebuild other churches in the wake of a catastrophic natural disaster. Our efforts are intended to provide spiritual support and development aid to the pastors and their churches who are often the de facto leaders in these affected communities, as a complement to the initial waves of humanitarian aid that pour into a country in the wake of a disaster. Many countries have relied on networks of local churches to be a primary conduit for the flow of health care, humanitarian aid, and even education. Rebuilding churches is a strategic means of restoring not only the spiritual health and global fellowship of these affected communities, but also the infrastructure through which aid can flow into communities that so desperately need it.
CHC has brought a very unique form of relief to men/women who are often at the forefront of physical, emotional, and psychological relief efforts; local pastors. These men/women worked non-stop to counsel the grieving, help the hurting, and feed the hungry immediately after the earthquake. CHC provided short retreats for the pastors all throughout Haiti, offering them time to replenish their own bodies, minds, and spirits; many of the pastors did not even have time to grieve their own losses. These retreats also provided post-traumatic-stress counseling training and specifically, disaster relief counseling training to equip the pastors for the work in their communities. Over 980 pastors have been to our retreats at 8 different locations throughout Haiti.
Church reconstruction is another major initiative CHC has been fortunate to be a part of. Through the funds raised from churches around the world, CHC has been able to donate over 30 immediate transitional structures to churches and help 40 churches to repair structural damages to continue using buildings for relief efforts. Additionally, CHC is currently in the process of building 20 new church structures. These structures are advanced steel designs that are earthquake resistant against 8.0 magnitude earthquakes, hurricane resistant (able to withstand winds up to 140 mph), and are able to be constructed by local community members. More information about this project is detailed on our blog.
GPSTravelMaps Haiti GPS map will be an essential tool for us to continue building out the rest of our structures for these churches. Our local project manager is required to travel to and from many sites as well as suppliers. If you have ever driven in Haiti before, you understand that it is very difficult to get around unless you have spent much time there. Even Haitians can get lost in areas where they have never visited as street names are nonexistent and roads may have changed due to the earthquake. Donations have been the lifeline of our organization as much of our funds go towards our development efforts. As I am one-half of our salaried staff in the United States, we try to keep overhead minimal to achieve the most out of every donation. For more information on our work, including photos, videos, and stories, please visit