Whenever you really look hard enough – you can always find beauty in the midst of tragedy. As thousands and thousands of refugees make their way north (we are the 2nd largest zone to receive refugees) the churches here are swelling. People are looking for answers to this tragedy and so they’re coming to the church to find them. We have such a huge obligation and burden before us. People who might not ever step inside a church have found a pew and now is the time for us to reach them while they’re still searching.
I had 12 pastors from the churches downtown come and ask me how we can help feed their congregations. I guess word got out that I met with them because all day long I’ve had people lined outside the office – people with sick children needing medications and people with children who are hungry. They bring the children with them when they ask me for food – so I can see for myself how bad their kids look. I’ve remained teary-eyed nearly all day long. All of them have stories. Today alone – I used all my benevolent ministry money for the month.
I wouldn’t say that the northwest zone is OUT of food – but I would say that we’re really low. All those relief supplies are fixed for the PAP area. BUT we heard they are headed our way – we just haven’t seen them yet.
I have been slow to give out a lot of information about what all the mission is doing because my brother has spent the last several days laying out the mission’s response and actions we will take. I think everyone will receive the news better coming from him so I am trying to be slow to speak!! (HA – those who know me know how difficult that is!)
I will share about a few things we’ve already done as opposed to all that we WILL do. We have given money to the mayor to help house refugees and to refund any money they spent to get here. We sent a medical team to PAP immediately after the quake happened and cleared out our surgical center’s supplies so we could use it there. We have flown in two surgery teams that have been working on several crushed bones from the earthquake. We’ve done emergency c-sections as well as other life-saving operations just for people from the St. Louis area. We are waiting for several containers of food that are in PAP to arrive here. In the meantime – we have given away pallets of food to help the surrounding areas.
We have set up several collection sites all over the states. We have 2 large Shrimp boats that will be headed our way in about 10 days or so. Those collection sites will be sending their supplies to the shrimp boats. We will be bringing in 10,000 gallons of diesel as well as food, medical supplies, toiletry items, baby formula, etc. We have been receiving plane loads of supplies from Canada and Florida. Those supplies we’ve used here or have donated to other hospitals so that we can meet the demand of our growing population.
So those are things we’ve done and we’ve only just begun. There has to be a long-term goal – something sustainable – or we’ve done it all for nothing. It’s the whole story of – do you feed people fish for 3 months – or teach them how to fish so they can eat forever? God has laid a huge burden on our shoulders and we want to glorify Him n all we do. Things we were going to do last week are not the same things we want to do this week. Haiti has a rapidly changing environment and so we are constantly re-writing our plans. So if you feel like you haven’t heard what all we’re doing – it’s simply because we are constantly meeting the demands of the ever-changing environment.
I do want to put a plea out to groups. Several are getting nervous about coming into Haiti. Just as I said that so many people are showing up at church looking for answers – we have so many new youth and children looking to be loved. We need Vacation Bible Schools so that these refugees can hear about Jesus. We need huge Youth conferences – we need revivals – we need people to just hold and love on babies – we need someone to pray with our granmoun – we need someone to play soccer with the kids. We need to make our refugees as well as there rest of the population here who is nervous and scared – – feel like there is HOPE. We need to be the face of Jesus to all these new faces. More so now than before – THIS IS THE TIME to have hundreds of people come to Haiti and be the light.
I’m reminded of the story Mother Theresa shared about the nuns who were cleaning the houses of elderly patients in India. A lady was going to clean an old oil lantern for an older gentleman. As she was getting ready to wipe it down the old man said – No. Just leave it. The nun asked him why? He said to her – No one comes to visit me. Who am I going to light my lamp for?
The Haitian people sit around in darkness. Do they even know what that light represents? Do they even know that there is a way out of darkness through the light of Christ? My question to you is – Who are they going to light their lamp for?