Haiti: one year later

Like most of you one year ago I was glued to the TV in both shock and awe at the massive wide-spread devastation that rocked the small country of Haiti.  Tears welled up in my eyes and both sadness and anger in my heart.  How could such a thing happen to a country already plagued by such pain, suffering, and death.

My emotional state was also due to the fact that I had just returned from Haiti…the day before!

We lost all communication with the ministries we were with only hours before.

The orphaned children now had even greater needs.

The number of orphans grew exponentially.

We now have 2 Haitians in our youth group because their home and lives were taken away.

We lost friends and loved ones in the earthquake a year ago.

Over 250,000 precious lives were lost one year ago.

Lives continue to be lost today in Haiti because of malnutrition and the cholera epidemic.

I was originally encouraged by the global rally of support and resources flooding into Haiti.  Our nation contributed so much in terms of supplies, personal, and millions of individuals giving what they could. Even TV celebrities and rock stars got involved.  Many Christian-based organizations and churches offered support as well.  My own church raised $36,000 for Samaritans Purse relief efforts and our college mission team began the process of raising funds to build an orphanage. I went back within  two weeks to help organize and coordinate helicopter relief and rescue missions in and out of Haiti with Air Calvary

A year ago, I was personally overwhelmed with hope at the outpouring of support and promises made.  I had been going yearly to Haiti since 1999 and even though the problems and needs had always been glaringly obvious and pressing to me, it seemed the world simply did not take notice.

That all changed a year go. The world had noticed.  The world and our churches had cared.  Youth groups and students cared.

Do we still care one year later?

A year ago, my three biggest concerns were these:

1) This would be a trendy fad for the mass media to be involved with

2)  Long-term support would not last from churches, NPO’s, and individuals

3) *Haiti would not have the leadership to use these resources wisely and in a timely fashion

I believe my concerns were valid and it is hard to know how to adequately reflect and process these today.

So here we are, one year later.  I remained glued to the TV today watching old footage from last year and also seeing live images and videos of the “progress” that has been made.  Unfortunately, most of the country remains the same.

I believe the nation is still in crisis mode, as are most of the NPO’s working there.  So many lives were lost and there is still a medical crisis at hand.  So much of the efforts and money has gone (rightfully so) to saving lives and keeping people alive.

Would I like to see images of new shiny buildings, streets of gold, and green parks?  Of course.

However, the basic necessities of life: food, water, shelter are still greatly in need in Haiti.

I hope and pray that the rebuilding and restructuring of Haiti will take place, but it will take more time.

I know that many people have been frustrated with the slow pace of the relief efforts.  Our own mission team had planned to already have made multiple trips down there and to have a physical structure for an orphanage in place.  We are all learning the importance of patience, prayer, and partnerships.

Today I challenge myself to keep Haiti in my heart and mind and to persevere.  Actions made a year ago made a huge difference.  Actions made a year from now may in fact mean more.

I have listed a few links to organizations I continue to partner with and really believe in. Please comment any involvement you may have in Haiti and include links to other organizations.   Let’s all stay united, focused, and hopeful in helping Haiti regain its hope and healing.

Tree of Life Orphanage

Samaritans Purse- Haiti

Jesus In Haiti Ministries

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