I know so many of us are riveted to the news, to our emails, to Facebook, or wherever else we can scrap together some information about the Haiti earthquake. Many of us are wishing there was something more we could do to help, some way to respond to the unimaginable things we are seeing.

There is one vital action that is always open to us: Prayer.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” – Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

If you’re trying to find someway to respond, consider calling together a prayer group. Spend the night praying for Haiti and make one of the most traditional Haitian dishes, Soup Joumou, which they use to celebrate the new year.

Things to Pray:

  • For the safety and rescue of David Hames and for peace and encouragement for his family
  • For those still trapped in the rubble
  • For those working to rescue people
  • That roads would be passable to get in water, food, medicine, and other aid
  • For our staff, church partners, and children
  • That reliable communication channels can be established
  • For efficient and strategic responses to the crisis
  • For God’s will to be done
  • For God to get all the glory

Ask your friends to each bring $5 or $10 to help pay for the soup and give the rest of the money to relief or rebuilding efforts. You can cook the soup together and use it as a time to build relationships, share prayer requests, and support one another.

Soup Joumou (Pumpkin Soup)

4 cloves garlic
1 t thyme
¼ t black pepper
1 t salt
1 c sliced green onions
1 pound of stew meat
3 quarts water
1 whole scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
1 pound pumpkin (or winter squash such as butternut), peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium turnips, cubed
4 potatoes, cubed
1 pound cabbage, finely chopped
4 ounces vermicelli pasta (or any thin pasta), broken in half
2 limes, juiced
salt and pepper

Combine the first five ingredients in a large plastic bag. Add the stew meat and shake to coat the meat. Leave in the bag for an hour. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and add the meat and chili pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the meat and set aside. Remove the pepper and discard.

Add the pumpkin and carrots, and cook covered until very tender, about 20 minutes. Puree the pumpkin and carrots in the broth, using an immersion blender. Or puree in a standard blender and pour back into the pot. (You may need to do this in several batches.) Add the meat back to the pot.

Add the celery, onion, turnips, and potato to the soup, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Thin the broth with as much water as needed—it should not be too thick. Add cabbage and cook 15 more minutes. Add the vermicelli and cook until it is tender. Thin again with water as needed. Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.


Recipe reprinted from Passport to Prayer: A Journey of Compassion by Michael and Amber Van Schooneveld with permission from the publisher.

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  1. Stephanie Adams
    Jan 19, 2010
    at 1:32 pm

    How many does it serve? I would like our youth group to do this.

  2. Amber Van Schooneveld
    Jan 19, 2010
    at 1:45 pm

    Hi Stephanie, I approximate that it should serve about 20.

  3. Jan 19, 2010
    at 1:50 pm

    Stephanie,

    Amber says that this is one of those recipes that a Haitian would just make a big pot of and then invite all the family to enjoy. She says that it’ll serve 20 easily.

  4. Sara Benson
    Jan 19, 2010
    at 2:18 pm

    This sounds like a great idea! There are 12 families in Colorado Springs who are in the process of adopting kids from Haiti. Because of the earthquake there is a good chance that they may be getting their kids within the next week. This meal would be perfect to give as a frozen meal with instructions on how to add water and reheat. Thank you Amber!!

  5. Jan 19, 2010
    at 6:48 pm

    I just love this idea…creative, yet very practical! Thanks Amber.

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  7. Jan 20, 2010
    at 1:01 pm

    thanks for the ideas

  8. Becky
    Jan 26, 2010
    at 6:40 pm

    what a wonderful idea to do with my youth group! trhank you for sharing the recipe.

  9. Mary P.
    Jan 30, 2010
    at 6:14 pm

    Hi Amber,
    I wanted to let you know that I just bought you new book. Thank you again for all your insights and help in understanding what we can do to help others. I really like the prayer cards and receipes from each country.

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