By Audrina Bigos

(CBS) – Hurricane Matthew is the first Category 4 storm to hit Haiti in more than a half century. The death toll is quickly rising as access and communication to the hardest hit areas are cut off.

A Chicago area pastor is desperately trying to reach Haitian colleagues he has worked with on previous humanitarian missions.

“Are they alive? Are they OK? What’s their condition? What do they need? How to I get to them?” Pastor Neil Schori of Naperville Christian Church says.

These are questions he has after seeing the devastation.

“My prayer is that I will see my friends and family in Haiti again,” Schori says.

For 11 years, U.S. mission teams with his church and New Life for Haiti have worked on the ground in the country.

They have built schools in remote villages — just miles from the hardest hit area.

“It’s been three days, and we’ve had no contact with the people we know on the ground there,” the pastor says.

“I pray that they’ve survived. I pray that they’ve been sheltered, that somehow god has protected them in the middle of a situation that is not survivable without divine intervention,” he adds.

Schori says a team of up to five people will travel to Haiti on Tuesday. They are looking for a physician to go with them to provide medical help.