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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3 thoughts on “prayers for Haiti

  1. You failed to mention their current diet of “cookies” made of dirt, vegetable oil and salt, and the hunger pangs that feel like they have been drinking bleach.

    I am going to Compassion International right now to sponsor a child in Haiti; I feel it’s the least I can do given everything going on. I wish I could do more.

  2. Andy,

    This is the first time I’ve read your site. I don’t know why I haven’t been here before. You cannot believe how glad I am to read your words. Last night, as I still couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I’m staying here while people are suffering, I felt alone. I live in a place where few understand the call to mission, few understand my obsession with serving Haiti and God’s people, and few understand world issues at all…let alone have a clue as to what’s happening in Haiti. In fact people have unknowingly hurt me the past few days by making snide remarks about the riots and saying “now don’t go jump in the middle of any fights Rachel, we know how you can be.” It trivialized the whole thing. I know they meant nothing by it, but in this moment it makes a whole mess of emotions well up inside me. I read the news again last night, as has become my habit and again felt paralyzed by my inability to help in the current situation. I wrote a somewhat manic blog. But I’ve slept since then, and today reading your words and seeing pictures of our friends gave a sense of calm…and helped me to know that our time in Haiti will come, and indeed…we will meet God there.

    Thanks

    Sara…congratulations on the sponsorship! What a great response to a horrible situation.

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