Thursday, January 14, 2010

Disaster and Response to Haiti

Haiti is heavy on my heart.

This torn and desperate country is heavy on the hearts of millions around the world right now, after the 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas a few days ago.

However, unlike most modern crises, the world rose up in response to the quake and aftershocks that devastated the already struggling country. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised, hundreds of agencies and non profits have dropped everything to go help bring order into the chaos, and hundreds of millions of people have been woken up to the realities that natural disasters bring into the the cities, surrounding areas, and the governments of affected countries.

In light of such a disaster, it is easy to get overwhelmed with any number of feelings: grief, frustration, guilt, anger, etc. We must make sure that any response to this crisis in Haiti (or any other genocide or cause) through donating of time or money does not stem from these overwhelming emotions, because often they do more harm then good. Instead, any support should spring from a heart of compassion for suffering. Anger, frustration, and grief are perfectly natural initial responses, but after a little while, they just turn focus towards the past (which you cannot change). Compassion moves one to action, and actions that will take root and build hope.

So, what is to be done in the light of such an enormous disaster?

1. Donate: almost every non-profit in the world has put Haiti as their number 1 priority right now.

Red Cross, Compassion International, World Vision, PIH, itunes, "Help for Haiti Now" CD...

2. Go: If you have the resources and time, and know that you are willing to go because of a heart of compassion and not obligation, GO. Many many medical centers, orphanages, villages, and homes were destroyed and need re-building. Again, find an organization that is taking volunteers (see above).

3. Pray: definitely should not be last on the list, because for most of us, this is the all we are able to do right now. Thankfully, it will also do the most, because our prayers are "powerful and effective." This should be our natural response to those feelings I mentioned earlier, for in handing them back to the Lord, He fills us with His heart for His people, that heart of compassion.

Now you may ask, "Why should I pray/where was God in the middle of this crisis?" I choose to declare that He is in every heart full of hope for their future despite the slums they are now stuck in. He is in the 1000's of volunteers who have had a revelation of His love and respond by pouring out their time and resources to give the people of Haiti hands on help. And He is in those who choose joy, despite the losing of a beloved one, because they know they are blessed to be alive.

Go. Donate. Pray.

3 options. Let's run with them.