Less than ten days after the catastrophic January 12th earthquake that devastated Haiti, the Friend Ship Integrity will depart Lake Charles, Louisiana. Expected to dock near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, around the 29th of January, the humanitarian agency’s vessel is stocked with food, water, water purification systems, doctors, X-ray equipment, medicine, sleeping bags, cots, generators, trucks, a helicopter—and lots of spiritual encouragement.
Decades of experience, the support of the local Friend Ships’ Lake Charles community, and generous donations from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)—including $100,000 from the Smile of a Child Ministry—enabled the rapid organization of the Integrity’s upcoming mission.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with TBN and Smile in this response to help Haiti,” says Sondra Tipton, president of Friend Ships. “Working with Smile is a wonderful help to our efforts, and will enable us to go into Haiti for the long haul, providing much more assistance than we ever would be able to on our own.”
Smile of a Child Ministry was founded by TBN co-founder Jan Crouch as a vehicle to reach out to children the world over. In 2005, her ministry began by providing dolls to poverty-stricken kids in Haiti, and today supplies food, medical care, and disaster relief to people in need everywhere. Crouch has over twenty years of personal involvement with the island country, having established a children’s hospital, an orphanage, and a school in Haiti.
“Our entire family is reeling from last week’s devastation in Haiti, so far away, but so near to my heart,” says Crouch. “I’m so grateful to be in a position to provide help, and will continue to do so until the Haitians are back on their feet again.”
The massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake damaged Haiti’s main Port-au-Prince port, making docking a serious challenge.
“Friend Ships is uniquely positioned to help because the Integrity can be backed up, and its contents offloaded from the back, just as a ferry does,” says Tipton. “That gives us the option to port at smaller docks, ones that are really just cement slabs.”
Due to the severity of the situation in Haiti, Friend Ships will be embarking on multiple trips to provide assistance, but all subsequent missions will depart from Miami. Friend Ships has received tremendous support in collecting top quality supplies, and will keep returning to Haiti “as long as the Lord continues to provide,” says Tipton.
“Friend Ships has been partnering with TBN and Smile since 1992, and is very grateful to be doing so again,” says Tipton. “It has always been a great partnership, and has grown into a very productive one for building the Kingdom. We work extensively in Haiti together, and Jan Crouch has always been there for us.”
TBN has also lent stand-alone support to Friend Ship missions over the years. Paul Crouch, senior—founder of TBN—personally, donated a Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter to the humanitarian organization.
Along with the JetRanger and several rough and tumble military-style trucks, the Integrity is shipping tons of heavy-duty material to Haiti for building temporary shelters, and tilt-up housing will be delivered on a subsequent trip. Eight super clinics—also sponsored by Smile of a Child Ministry and TBN—will be delivered next week. Twenty-foot shipping containers that have been converted into medical clinics, once driven off the Integrity they are hooked up to a generator and water source, becoming completely functional medical clinics.
Other organizations involved in this mission are Jentezen Franklin Media Ministries and Samaritan’s Purse.
The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is a family of quality Christian television networks. TBN reaches every major continent via 70 satellites and over 15,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the U.S.A., TBN is available to 92 percent of households. For information about TBN, visit www.tbn.org. For the Smile of a Child Ministry, go to www.smileofachild.org. For Friend Ships, visit www.friendships.org, or call 1-337-433-5022.
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