Jul 26 2010

Redeeming Haiti

after the earthquake I think the thing I love most about God’s character is His desire for redemption. He loves creating good out of bad. Bringing life out of death. Restoring hope to completely hopeless situations. In fact, it often seems that His favorite time to redeem is at the very point where redemption seems impossible.

Do you think anyone who knew Saul would have believed he’d be one of the most outspoken Christ-followers in history?

All this thinking about God and His love of redeeming things came from reading the recent cover story for Relevant magazine on the situation in Haiti. It’s long but extremely well written and informative.

No one in their right mind would call the earthquake that hit Haiti a good thing. It was utterly devastating. And yet still there is good.

Because of the earthquake’s destruction, Haiti is now having to start with what feels like a nearly clean slate. The [corrupt and inefficient] government was toppled. The [inadequate] school system was destroyed. Proof of [unjust] land ownership is now virtually impossible. The [enormous and unbridgeable] gap in economic status was decimated, putting government officials in tents next to poor slum-dwellers.

Do you see how, along with hundreds of thousands of lives, injustice and corruption also took a hit?

Not only that, but according to the article, here’s a quick list of the good that has come of the earthquake:

  • Immediately following the earthquake, people called on the name of Jesus. Not Voodoo. Not Catholic saints. Not anything or anyone else. They called out to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • The country held a government-initiated national day of prayer.
  • More people are going to church. More people have accepted Christ in the past six months than in the previous two years.
  • The new school system that is being rebuilt is aiming to allow for free public education, something that Haiti has never had.
  • The government and leadership in Haiti have the opportunity to install leaders with integrity.
  • A devastated and poorly functioning capital city was demolished and can now be rebuilt and decentralized.
  • The Church in Haiti has the opportunity to prove itself.

It makes me supremely happy to think about how what Satan intended for destruction, God is using for good. When is the dumb devil going to get the fact that it’s over? It was over at the cross.

The devil lost.

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  1. Teresa
    Jul 26, 2010
    at 6:15 am

    As in most cases these days, what we hear in the news / mainstream media are the “bad news” stories. The stories of continued corruption in the government, and their inadequacies in dealing with the many crisis there. It was nice to see an ariticle that portrays the vision that not all is lost! I’m curious though – is the Compassion staff in Haiti seeing real change in the government? Are they seeing new leaders that want their country to be run with integrity? I’d be curious to hear their stories of people that are in place to effectively make change today. We know there is good news with the difference Compassion is making in the lives of many children, and that will develop strong Christian leaders for the future of Haiti.

  2. Jul 26, 2010
    at 8:17 am

    I love redeeming things – taking what was meant for evil and finding something good out of it. Compassion has helped me do that with March 15, 2004. On that day, as I was doing humanitarian work in Baghdad, Iraq, 4 of my friends and co-workers were killed in an attack on their vehicle (with another seriously injured). Today, our family sponsors Millie from Uganda. Born on March 15, 2004. I can think of no better tribute to my friends, and love that it is just one more way that God has been glorified through their deaths!

  3. Clinton
    Jul 26, 2010
    at 9:08 am

    Another good thing: thousands of American believers are learning from Haitian believers how to respond with joy and perseverance in the face of calamity. It’s just a matter of time before we face our own earthquake… Economic or otherwise.

  4. Jul 26, 2010
    at 11:06 am

    I am a bit concerned about connecting Catholic saints with voodoo. What would be wrong about praying to Catholic saints?

    • Terese
      Jul 26, 2010
      at 11:17 am

      I share that sentiment, Bev. I have actually been a little disturbed all morning after reading that earlier. I understand that CI partners with Evangelical churches rather than Catholic churches. But the Catholic church is definitely Christian, and I know many sponsors who are Catholic. If they are willing to accept the doctrinal differences between the two churches, it seems like CI might take greater care to not offend another branch of the Christian faith. Still rolling this one around in my head…

      • Jul 26, 2010
        at 1:38 pm

        Hi Bev and Terese, I don’t claim to know a whole lot about the Haitian culture — but I was reading about something called Haitian Vodou. The people who practice it have created a religion in which they have hodge-podged voodoo, Arawakian (good/evil spirits, shamans), and Roman Catholic Christianity. (For example both the recitation of the Hail Mary and calling upon spirits is done within their vodou ceremonies.)

        Perhaps this is what was being referred to in the blog post and why there is a reference to both voodoo and saints in the same thought.

        Here’s an interesting link on it. Read the section on “Liturgy and Practice” and you can really see how they’ve mish-mashed the two:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Vodou

        • Jul 26, 2010
          at 1:57 pm

          I wanted to add this bit of info that I came across from another website:

          Vodou continues to be practiced by many Haitians to this day. They consider themselves Christian, but retain their family traditions which identify Catholic saints with African loas.

          Many loas can be traced all the way back to African gods: Ogoun the warrior/blacksmith god, Erzulie the goddess of love. Other loas are ancestor spirits, spirits of the dead (although really, even African gods like Ogoun are primordial ancestor spirits). Traditional loas like Ogoun and Erzulie are often represented as Catholic saints more for their visual attributes than spiritual similarities. So Damballah the snake god is associated with St. Patrick (depicted treading on a snake), while Erzulie is represented as the Virgin Mary.

      • Becky Giovagnoni
        Jul 26, 2010
        at 3:32 pm

        Bev and Terese,

        I understand that what I wrote left you with a bad impression of Compassion. I did not intend to suggest that I equate praying to Catholic saints as being the same as practicing voodoo.

        I also did not intend to make any judgment at all about praying to Catholic saints. I was only trying to communicate that during this time of crisis, many of the historical and preferred spiritual avenues Haitians have chosen to pursue for comfort in the past were abandoned in the aftermath of the earthquake.

        My intent was to convey that after the earthquake people prayed directly to their Savior, which I believe is a blessing.

        I see that how I originally wrote the bullet caused confusion. I apologize for this. I should have written it more carefully. I have changed it so it better reflects the point I want to make.

  5. Jul 26, 2010
    at 12:20 pm

    Yes, God does bring good out of these things. I don’t think I would have considered sponsoring in Haiti, had it not been for the earthquake, but in June I started sponsoring a 12-year-old Haitian boy. Love him dearly, even though still waiting for a first letter.

  6. Terese
    Jul 26, 2010
    at 4:01 pm

    Thank you, Bev, Becky, and Lisa: I really appreciate the added info and the clarification. I feel much better now! Great article, by the way.

  7. Claire S.
    Jul 26, 2010
    at 7:38 pm

    I sponsor a child with Compassion, because of the emphasis it places on Christ. However, I am Catholic and I find the implied comparison between Catholic saints and voodoo extremely offensive.

    • Terese
      Jul 27, 2010
      at 5:44 am

      Claire: I know – that reference really caught me off guard yesterday. I am choosing to believe that it is a reference to Haitian Voudou, as Lisa explained in her posts. When Becky said that she changed the post, I thought she meant she had omitted the reference to Catholic saints. It is still there, however, and I agree that Catholics will definitely be offended by that. I am still very much bothered by that.

  8. Jul 26, 2010
    at 7:53 pm

    A gal from my church goes down to Haiti regularly to do work as a physical therapist, (very much in need as people recuperate from crush injuries, amputations, etc.) Every time she comes back she talks about how much she loves the Haitian people and how they encourage her in her own life. While they’ve lost so much, they continue to thank God and praise and worship Him for what was left.

    She talked about meeting a young mother who was in a house that collapsed. This woman lay for two days under the rubble just close enough to the body of her one-year old son to see him, but unable to reach him as her spinal cord was damaged. She was the only one in her family who survived. But she continues to go on — loving life, praising God, making things better for her and her country — that’s courage.

    I’m so glad to hear about good things coming to the people of Haiti! Thank you Becky for sharing this encouraging news.

  9. Nelson
    Jul 27, 2010
    at 7:59 am

    This is a God Style Miracle… He is the only one who will do the good and the better. Let´s wait in Him now and for ever…Haiti will be a new country with new leaders and new believers.

  10. Jul 27, 2010
    at 10:10 am

    We love the Haitian people. Upon meeting them on a Compassion visit in 2005 (the last visit made by Compassion with sponsors) we saw firsthand that they have an indomitable spirt and strength. Haiti is being redeemed indeed.

    You have hit it right on. What Satan has meant for bad, God intends for good. We pray for Haiti to raise up a Christina nation that all will see and praise the name of Jesus.

  11. Jul 28, 2010
    at 8:03 am

    I pray The Lord changes Haiti forever.
    The US of A may not be here as such when He returns. Maybe the work that we do in Haiti in the Lord’s name will build a country that will welcome Him at His coming. (Don’t hold me to my escatology there :o)).
    What I KNOW is that Jesus offers them to “come buy bread without money” because of His free gift of salvation. He did this because He created us for an intimate relationship with Him, but we could never ever get there through any of our own works.

    So Lord, please move your Holy Spirit across Haiti, move the souls of your children that they will embrace you fully, accepting the fullness of your love. And then send them out in love for you and in your love for the people of Haiti to spread your very love to every, EVERY soul who will receive you.
    In Jesus’ Incomparably Holy Name

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