'Love A Child' Ministry Builds Homes for Haitians

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FOND PARISIEN, Haiti -- On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, the worst earthquake in 200 years toppled much of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and the surrounding communities.

The 7.0 quake killed hundreds of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands more homeless.

Since the earthquake, the Haitian government has struggled to address its homeless crisis. But CBN News found one missionary and humanitarian organization is giving homes to thousands of people and it may have a model for others to follow.

Tent cities are a striking reminder of the loss Haitian people suffered when the 7.0 earthquake hit their country.

"There were about 12 people in my house. Only three survive -- myself, my wife and my daughter," said Jean Pierre, an earthquake survivor.

A tiny tent in a tent city was the Pierre family's home for nearly a year. But it has now been replaced with a home on the expanded grounds of the Love A Child orphanage.

"They say that they are going to build some house for us. They were saying that, but I think that was a dream. Now, the dream come true," Pierre said.

The "they" Pierre mentioned are Bob and Sherry Burnette, who started the children's orphanage and clinic several years ago.

"These people who are now in that tent city would have come out of that field hospital. They were given discharge papers from the field hospital but really had no place to go. They had no home," Love A Child Orphanage's Jesse Ostrander explained.

The organization helped to give temporary tents to hundreds of families.

"Living in a tent in storm in some of the conditions here is deplorable," Ostrander said.

Construction teams have been hard at work building hurricane-reinforced houses to replace the tents.

Once the concrete slab is poured, builders can complete a home in as little as a day to a day and a half. And the ministry's mission is for 500 homes to be built on its 60 acres. It is phase one of the project.

"In this area, there are 50 families - all of which have an amputee that would have come out of the Love A Child field hospital after the earthquake," Ostrander explained.

Pierre and his wife are among the first to move in to a new home. He's the village mayor, charged with making sure the community's rules are followed -- and the neighborhood is kept clean.

"I keep saying thank you to God, and I will never stop saying thank you to God," Pierre told CBN News.

"When they found out that we were building homes for them, physically seeing the homes were going up, they come out here 4 o'clock in the morning and praise God all the way up to 8 o'clock in the morning," said the Love A Child ministry's Carlos Silvestre.

Meanwhild, crews are clearing land so builders can get to work on more homes, a park and a school.

CBN's Operation Blessing International has also provided wells for the entire project.

"Everybody that moves into a home will have to put some work ethic into building that home, and that helps them take ownership of the home. Then we pass the key over to them, " Ostrander said.

Residents chose the name Miracle Village for their community.

"You go into the tents and every face has a story. For them, it is a miracle for them to be alive today," Silvestre said.

You can help bring life-giving water to Haiti.  Click to help Operation Blessing International. 

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.