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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: It Just Hurts

life in Haiti Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Saturday, Jan. 30 – We had the chance to meet eight leadership students today. We sat in a circle in the parking lot listening to their stories as ashes drifted like snow upon us and the smell of burning plastics scorched the air.

They spoke of how important Compassion’s work has been in their lives. Some shared with tears about being selected for the Leadership Development Program. I don’t know whether the tears flowed from joy, gratitude or something sad.

Like the dream that almost came true. They had climbed so high. From the slums to the universities. But when we asked how many went to schools which had been damaged in the earthquake all of them raised their hands.

We asked how many had lost friends or loved ones and all raised their hands again.

At one school 90 percent (180 out of 200) of the students were killed. With buildings collapsed, professors and administrators dead, its hard to imagine how those dreams can come true now.

May God have mercy on us if we fail to find a way forward for them. They are Haiti’s future.

I’ve been saying that this disaster is not about the earthquake. It’s about poverty. Most of those who died would have lived if their nation was not too poor to afford rebar in their concrete, too poor to have heavy equipment to rescue the many who were trapped, too poor to provide the needed health care.

And as tragic as this disaster is, an even greater tragedy looms. The tragedy of the American media getting bored, Haiti leaving the front pages and the world forgetting – the American Christian forgetting – this country and her people. Again.

It’s already happening. Mid-week I saw the headlines. No Haiti.

What replaced it as “news”? A controversial gay kiss in a television ad.

That would normally make me angry, but I was hurting too much to be angry. It just hurts.

We must awaken the sleeping giant of the American church. Awaken her to her God-given mission. Her calling.

That she would radiate light in her good works and that rivers of justice would flow from her for the sake of the poor and oppressed.

That she would not be trapped and anesthetized any longer by our culture of… call it what you will… lusts and self-satisfaction.

If the energy with which we pursue our own entertainment and appetites were deployed on behalf of the poor instead, then the world could be a much better place and we would find the life Jesus promised.