prayers for Haiti

Some of you have probably already read what I wrote about the current situation in Haiti a few days ago, but it’s not good. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just google “Haiti” and then click News and read any of the recent articles.) Haiti is already an unstable and impoverished country, but lately food prices have gotten completely out of hand to the point where people who were already poor and hungry are no longer able to afford any food, and unfortunately some of them are now turning to violence out of frustration. Many people are aiming their frustration at the government (as made clear when mobs of people attempted to storm the presidential palace a few days ago). The Haitian president made a statement yesterday that seems to have only calmed people down temporarily, so people are now waiting to see what happens; expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Not to justify any of the violence and destruction that is happening in Haiti right now, but it’s worth noting that the average “working” Haitian only makes about $2 US per day (and very few have full-time employment), so you can imagine what it’s like trying to feed a family when food costs go up by 50% (and you couldn’t really afford food to begin with).

I’m not someone who gets into politics, I’m not an activist by any measure and I rarely even watch the news, so honestly, if it weren’t for my involvement in Haiti over the past three or four years, I probably wouldn’t even know what’s going on there right now, but I have witnessed the reality of life in Haiti with my own eyes and I have several friends who live in Haiti who I know are being effected by all that’s going on right now. It simply doesn’t seem fair that me and everyone I know has so much, yet the people in Haiti have literally nothing. I don’t expect everything to get fixed overnight, but I do wonder how it got this bad and I feel led to be involved in efforts to make things better, even if it’s just getting better for one person at a time.

What’s happening right now is a/effecting me even more than usual because I was planning to go to Haiti with 14 others this Saturday. We are having an emergency board meeting tonight to make a final decision about our trip, but based on all the conversations and emails we’ve had with the various people we know who are in Haiti right now, along with the news reports, images and videos we’ve seen, it doesn’t look like it would be safe enough for us to go right now…and that really sucks.

I was excited to see my friend Tijean, a Haitian teenager who has the same birthday as me (and it just so happens that “our” birthday is this Monday, so we were going to have a party together). I sponsor a boy from Haiti named Jean who I have been able to hang out with each time I’ve been there (and I was going to see him again on Wednesday). The man who drives us around in Haiti is named Leonard and he is the most joyful man I have ever known (he responds to our every request with the words “that’s no problem”). I could tell you about Gertrude who runs the guest house where we stay or her daughter Rosie who sits on our laps and gives us hugs, about Patrick who is one of the guards at the guest house who makes sure we’re safe or Karen and Randy who are missionaries from Canada and run a Christian school, about Pastor Louie at the Lutheran church where we worship or all the children in the orphanages we visit who touch our hearts in ways we never could have imagined. More than the thrill of experiencing life in a different culture, getting away from the crummy Minnesota weather or even deepening my understanding of what it means to be one of God’s people in God’s world, more than all those things I am sad that I won’t get to see my friends. It’s about people and relationships and I was excited to see my friends.

Please pray for the leaders and people of influence in Haiti, that they will find ways to restore peace and meet the basic needs of the people who are suffering right now. Pray for my friends in Haiti who are involved with movements that are making positive changes. Selfishly, if you could also pray for me and my friends who were hoping to go and get our hands dirty trying to make a difference, but are now forced to watch from a distance, feeling even more helpless than when we are there. Thanks for reading this and thank you for your prayers.

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“it is not fair”

Here is a portion of an email I got late last night from one of my good friends who is part of the group that was planning to go to Haiti on Saturday. I asked her permission to share this with you because I think her words describe how many of us are feeling today…
I have tried about 3 times to turn out my lights and go to sleep. I am so restless, the tears keep creeping up on me and streaming down my cheeks, and I feel a dull headache behind my eyes. This is so minimal to how so many people in Haiti feel right now. I know I will never understand it all and I am trying so hard to lean on God in these moments. I can’t help but think of TiJean, Rosie, Jean, Danica, Charwens. Why? Why does life need to be so hard? I will say it a million more times I am sure but “it is not fair.”
I am laying in my bed and I am haunted by the silence. I hear nothing but the hum of my ceiling fan keeping me comfortable as I try to fall asleep. I hear no roosters, dogs, sweeping, chanting, yelling, crying kids from Notre Maison or worse yet gun shots. How blessed am I? I am not out to change the world but how can God use me/us in this crummy situation. I have to trust and believe that something incredible is going to come of this whole situation. I can honestly say that my heart physically hurts right now.