Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Relief

On Tuesday, January 12, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake. There is extensive damage to structures in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Hundreds of thousands were killed and millions are without homes. The conditions in Haiti were terrible. Now they are even worse. In terms of natural disasters, this is the worst case scenario. I've been to Haiti and seen the need, so I'm compelled to help in the relief and recovery effort and call others to do the same. Here's how.

Emergency Response

Pray. Let all the media coverage on Haiti inform what you pray about in the morning, at breakfast, during lunch, at the dinner table with your family, as you sit in your living room in the evening, and as you drift off to sleep. Let the gospel shape how you pray. Pray with great confidence that the God who has come to us in Jesus has not forgotten us or the people of Haiti.

Pray as a family. Pray as a small group. Pray as a church. Pray.

Give. Donate money to reputable organizations that are already on the ground in Haiti. This is the most tangible act you can do for the people of Haiti right now. They are in desperate need of water, food, and medical supplies. Donating money is currently the best way to meet those needs. Who can you give to? I'm glad you asked. Here is a list of reliable organizations who are helping in Haiti now.

Advocate. The Joint Council on International Children’s Services is leading the way in advocating for Humanitarian Parole. Check their Haiti page often for updates and for information on what you and your church can do to advocate for Haiti’s orphaned and vulnerable children. Educate yourselves and advocate for Haiti’s children.

Plan. I encourage you to begin thinking about how you (and your church) can serve Haiti in the weeks and months and years ahead. Begin considering how you (and your church) might serve a Haitian church when the time comes. For example, begin thinking through the following questions:

What can we do over the next several weeks so that we don’t forget about the people of Haiti?

What will our church be able to do if/when Humanitarian Parole is granted for Haiti’s orphans?

Where in Haiti can we send our people to serve on short-term trips come summer?

How many people can our church send?

Long-term Engagement

After the media coverage and the celebrity fund-drives, there will be the ongoing work of recovery and rebuilding. The problems in Haiti are not going away for a very long time. We need to be thinking through strategies for long-term engagement with the people of Haiti. My hope is that many individuals and churches will begin thinking about how this crisis in Haiti might change their life goals and ministry trajectory for years to come.