The Gospel Tract Society, a nonprofit Christian ministry that has been in Independence since 1926, has run churches and schools in Haiti since 1964. The society’s main building is in the Fontamara District in Carrefour, about 10 miles from Port-au-Prince.



Though the pastors who work in the society’s churches all survived, Buttram said the buildings were not as lucky.

When Tom Buttram left Kansas City for the island nation of Haiti last week, he was not quite prepared for what he would see when he stepped off the airplane.

“Everywhere I look, there is damage,” said the president of the Gospel Tract Society in Independence via e-mail Tuesday. “Even the walls and several crypts of the cemeteries have been shaken to dust. Our first look at Port-au-Prince was heartbreaking to me.”

On Jan. 12, Port-au-Prince was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Since then, more damage has been caused from smaller, but still violent aftershocks.

The Gospel Tract Society, a nonprofit Christian ministry that has been in Independence since 1926, has run churches and schools in Haiti since 1964. The society’s main building is in the Fontamara District in Carrefour, about 10 miles from Port-au-Prince.

Though the pastors who work in the society’s churches all survived, Buttram said the buildings were not as lucky.

“All have some damage, as does every building in Haiti,” said Buttram, who last visited Haiti in November. “But since they have thus survived 7.0 and 6.1 earthquakes as well as more than 40 tremors, I think they will be as safe as anything now. I have told the pastors how to clean and repair the damage and how to organize the people to prepare to care for the recovering injured.”

Buttram said shortly after leaving the airport, he and a friend found a farmhouse to stay at for their duration in Haiti. He said upon entering the city of Port-au-Prince, the first thing he noticed was the incredible stench and devastation.

“The pastors with me gasped and groaned at the smells when the wind shifted,” he said. “Since I live on the farm, I am more accustomed to the smell of dead livestock, and it is the same. But somehow, we were able to penetrate the line of disaster-relief camps to offer our services and help.”

What is next for Buttram and the Gospel Tract Society is simple – use what is left of their buildings and resources to help those in need.

“With our money, we are taking the initial steps to prepare the facilities (for the injured),” he said. “Even at that, what we do will be a drop in the bucket against the overwhelming need, except to those we are able to help. For them, it could be the matter of life or death.”





Want to help?

If you would like to help with the Gospel Tract Society’s Haiti relief effort, visit the Society’s Web site at www.gospeltractsociety.org or call 816-461-6086.