Helping Haiti

You truly can’t imagine the poverty.

Inside Port-au-Prince, buildings seem to be stacked upon buildings, all of them almost architectural marvels as you wonder how they stay standing. People flood the streets, begging for change, trying everything they can for a dollar, a quarter, anything.

Just minutes outside the airport in Port-au-Prince, the world completely changes, with the city life becoming replaced with desolation. It looked like someone took the city of Phoenix, surrounded it with the Smoky Mountains, then leveled it all with a bomb.

That was in the good part of the country.

And this was long before last week’s earthquake.

One question that immediately came up following this disaster was “How can we help?” Honestly, that’s the easiest part – do what you can. You can give money. You can give support. You can go on a mission trip to provide first-hand assistance. And, of course, you can pray.

The bigger question, to many, is “Why should we help?”

Today, Haiti lies in ruins. The destruction is unfathomable. The death toll could reach half a million.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to wrap our minds around this.

It helps when you stop picturing Haiti as a country, just a place on a map highlighted by CNN. Think of Haiti as a collection of its people.

Think of Rosalind, a girl I met while on a mission trip to Haiti last May. Rosalind, at best, gets one meal a day and often chooses to save that meal to take home to share with other members of her family, even though her own body desperately needs the nourishment. Rosalind is 13 years old. She weighs 51 pounds. Despite her own needs, she still thinks of her family.

Think of Gustave, a villager who assisted at the mission. He sat with me after I gave him a pair of pants and a shirt, and through an interpreter he told me of the blessings the missionaries had provided for the entire area. “You are here from God,” he told me. “I prayed for you to arrive, and you arrived.”

Think of Paster Millien, a man who oversees 275 kids at a school high atop a mountain, far removed from any easy assistance from outsiders. Most of the kids at his school can’t afford the annual fee, which is less than $4 in U.S. money. Many of them cry daily because they’re hungry, and even worse, they know there’s no end in sight.

“I wish there was a word to thank you for what you’ve done today,” he told us. “I wish there was something bigger than ‘thank you.’ To do what you’ve done today, to walk up the mountain, I wish there was some way to pay you, but I have nothing I can give. All I have are my prayers for you. May God bless you.”

Haiti, then and now, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The country is broken, but the people are strong.

You truly can’t imagine the poverty.

You truly can’t imagine the love.

Another Look
To see my first-hand account of Haiti, visit Secret Haitian Man.

How to Help
On my mission trip, I worked with Children’s International Lifeline, and I can vouch that the money provided is put to amazing use in Haiti.

Bapitst World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, is coordinating Baptist response and relief efforts to victims of the earthquake. BWAid made an initial pledge of $20,000 to two conventions and unions in the Haiti and is accepting donations from Baptists from throughout the world on the BWA website, www.bwanet.org.

Donations may also be sent to:
Baptist World Aid
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

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3 thoughts on “Helping Haiti

  1. It is all too easy to speak the Christian word without feeling a responsibility to follow Christ’s example of healing the sick, feeding the poor, and giving our money to the people of Haiti. As we view the pain and suffering, let’s all feel enough compassion to give over the coming months, again, and again, and again. Every time we receive a pay check, let’s designate a portion to rebuild Haiti in a way that helps them to create the life they chose.

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