Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remembering the 2nd Anniversary of Haiti's earthquake: $2 can help rebuild communities

I remember the moment. An email from a former editor friend popped up in my Inbox just about this time in the afternoon. He simply said there was an earthquake in Haiti. My fingers raced over the keyboard in search of more information. Soon after that I was lost in a sea of eyewitness videos, news reports and even phone calls from friends and news stations about the quake.

Haiti was suddenly on the world map. Our family was shaken into action as we scrambled to assemble support and connect resources for our dear friends.

Reports today confirm that the 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 people, destroyed 80 percent of the capital city of Port-au-Prince and left more than a million Haitians homeless.

That was two years ago today.

In many ways, the world audience has forgotten Haiti. People donated money and have moved on. Other tragedies usurp this one. The nosedive in the U.S. economy has caused many Americans to focus back on themselves. Wars in other lands, politics in our own take center stage.

The news reports are remembering the two-year anniversary by talking about how little progress there has been in rebuilding Haiti in the last two years. Sure, there may be 500,000 Haitians still living in tents. More than half of the rubble may still line the streets of Port-Au-Prince but this is not the only way to mark progress. This is not a reason we should turn our backs on Haiti again.

We want to remember.

We remember where God had us last year. We were just beginning this journey of pursuing full-time ministry in Haiti. We had no idea what obstacles were before us, where the road would bend and twist as we worked to raise support and move our family across the ocean to follow God's call. Today we see Haiti from a new vantage point.

Today our family remembers a Haiti we have come to love. We remember the forgotten people of Haiti - the homeless, the jobless, the poor, the widows, the orphans - who still need help. After a three-month stint living in Haiti in 2011 (with plans to return in May 2012), we have seen the need. We have walked among the garbage heaps. We have seen the hollow look in the eyes of malnourished children.

We have also seen beauty rise from ashes. We have heard the stories of Haitians opening their homes to house relatives and friends who were left with nothing. We have helped unload the supplies sent by generous churches and individuals in the United States. We have listened to testimonies from young people attending school in Port Au Prince who miraculously survived the quake. We have talked through long-term needs with Haitian leaders. We have worked with Haitian women rolling beads to make jewelry to sell and provide for their families.

We have also experienced that the grass-roots, non-government organizations are the ones making real progress in Haiti.

And the task before us is somewhat daunting, but we remain hopeful because we are not in charge.

Our greatest desire through Christian Friendship Ministries is to continue the task of rebuilding communities and sharing Christ with Haitians. We have seen that one way to do that is to help create jobs so Haitians can help themselves and their own people out of poverty.

And we believe you can help in two ways:

1) Pray for Haiti.
2) Donate $2.

Two things for this two-year anniversary of the earthquake. Seems simple. It could make a difference. I think about the possibilities if the 903 friends I have on Facebook just gave $2 to our Solar Power Project for Pignon. Solar power could mean 24-hour electricity for an orphanage, a school, a church, a health clinic and mission house. It could mean new jobs. It could mean clean water and internet communication. That's just one project. We have many more in the works.

We remember Haiti. Will you?

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