A Broken Heart Is a Better Response to the Crisis in Haiti – Part 2

In light of my previous post, I thought I’d write on the other side of how I felt. Like everyone my heart is broken for the massive loss of life in Haiti.

I remember reading in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that the worst accidents are usually the result of a series of mistakes and unfortunate circumstances that converge on a single moment. While he was referring to plane crashes, I could not help but see a correlation.

To illustrate further, one can click the quick post on The Tale of Two Earthquakes. A massive earthquake, a dense population, and many poorly constructed homes are among the many factors that contributed to a high death toll. Add the lack of social infrastructure, lack of adequate emergency services, an extremely poor energy grid, and the nightmare continues.

In all the apocalyptic disaster movies I’ve watched, I still cannot bear to imagine the pain of actually living through this. I was tempted to stop reading the NY Times piece but continued with the hope that reading about their pain would demand me to pray and give more. The mere observation of it has proved to be overwhelming and I am relieved that in all of the violence I have witnessed, I have not become decenstized enough to not care. Further, in an odd sense, I am comforted by the grief around me because it communicates that we are not numb, that we care, that we are human. So how does one respond to such a tragedy?

I must say I was encouraged by the shock and the outpouring of care. All day, emails were being exchanged trying to determine the status of missionaries that were living there. Former pastors and members emailed requesting prayer and forwarding their correspondences of connections they had from Haiti. I woke up this morning and received an email of a family that had been mentioned yesterday were alive and though homeless, they were safe. However, in a different email chain, one family has not yet reported in. Everyone is connected in some way.

Friends on Facebook and Twitter forwarded opportunities to help contribute relief funds. I’ve added links below. You could even text money from your phone through American Red Cross. This was compassion, community and technology at its best.

Passing by a television I heard a comment of someone who saw on her television a school that their she and her volunteer team had constructed this past summer. It was completely destroyed. As awful as that moment was, there was a swallow of comfort knowing that people were serving, building, and loving Haiti before this tragedy.

As we speak, there are volunteer organizations and people on the ground already doing their best to help. Many more are on the way and in the short term, we will feel encouraged by the outpouring of love from the world. But what we do next year will still matter. What we do five years from now will be of great importance.

This is exactly the reason of why our youth group is returning to New Orleans this summer. While it may be out of the spotlight, there is so much to be done. The summer after that, we hope to return to serve the AIDS camp we served at this summer. And while our church youth group will not be able to go to meet every need, there is a goodness in a keeping a broken heart. It compels us to pray to a loving God, it insists that we find ways to help, it encourages other people to get involved in their way, it helps keeps us humble, and offers us to keep perspective of what really matters.  Maybe the Lord will lead us to work with our Haitian missionary, maybe the Lord will lead you.

As we pray, grieve we can also give and here are a few safe ways we can donate:

Those in my denomination have been encouraged to give through EFCA Touch Global Fund

The American Red Cross is one of the most widely known organizations working in Haiti. They accept online donations, help volunteers arrange to give time or other support, and can accept $10 donations, charged to your cellphone bill, by texting HAITI to 90999.


Doctors Without Borders

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