Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: It Just Hurts

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.

21 Comments |Add a comment

  1. maddie January 12, 2011

    Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Our hearts are broken, but God will amke a way for us!

  2. Debbie Rollins February 7, 2010

    Thank you for taking the time to write a first hand account of the good that is going on in Haiti right now, in spite of the devastation. It brings hope to those of us who have sponsored children who live in one of the areas that was devastated by the earthquake. I will not let those who are connected with me forget about Haiti while you do such meaningful work. Your message also reminds me that when the day comes again–how important it would be to sponsor a child ready to embark upon becoming a LDP student. Thank you and God Bless you and all who work to bring hope to Haiti. Debbie

  3. Vinnette Allen February 4, 2010

    As I patiently wait to hear news about Wislande, I am hopeful that she and her family are alive and well. As sad as the reports are, it’s good to hear first hand what Compassion volunteer teams are doing and seeing. It helps me in my prayer time how to intercede specifically for everyone. I am hopeful that God is going to do awesome things and bring about a brighter future for the people of Haiti. May God keep all volunteers safe and renew their strength daily to continue to help and heal the hurting.

  4. Lil Green February 4, 2010

    Oh, thank the Lord for you! I really never heard of Compassion Inter’l. till I listened last week on Moody Bible to you. My heart was so moved! You’re in my prayers and thoughts every day. Ånd this blog is an answer to my prayer. I’ve been searching for more news about the children/people of Haiti, and God led me here. Praise Jesus! My heart is with 3rd world countries, but the glory is God’s. Our basement church has been sponsoring Haitian kids since 1999 – and this event caused us much concern. We’re a small group who seek to emulate Jesus’ love for the poor, the orphans, the widows and the stranger – God’s beloved ones. My heart aches, just yearning to hear more and more of what’s going on. I’m going to share this web-blog with others I know. There is a poem God gave me for those affected by the ’05 Katrina, which I also sent to our Haitian orphans, asking them to share it with whoever they felt led. May God keep blessing you, strengthening and inspiring you and those with you that share Christ’s heart, is my prayer. Staying up this long, searching for news was worth it! God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you…. (Numbers 6:24-26). Love and prayers to all of you there and to each commenter above. I’m so elated. Maybe now, I can fall asleep. I love you so much!

  5. Jill Foley February 3, 2010

    This is so well written. That is so cool that you got to sit and talk with LDP students…just yesterday I got a call that the LDP student I was on the verge of sponsoring when the earthquake hit is alive! Praise the Lord! I’m wondering she was one you met with.

    It is my hope and prayer that this devastation in Haiti will serve as a wake-up call for those of called to advocacy. The needs never go away and we must stop praying and speaking up.

  6. daniel February 2, 2010

    my life changd after the earthquake i felt really bad
    so i felt like donating for haiti

  7. Vicki Small February 2, 2010

    Someone in my past used to add this sentence at the end of his prayer at meals: “Keep us ever mindful of the wants and needs of others.”

    Dear Lord, keep us ever mindful of the needs of the desperately poor. Encourage and guide our leaders in Compassion, giving them wisdom and foresight; those staff and others who are on the ground in Haiti; the LDP students who no longer have schools, professors and classmates; and help us find Your way to keep the dreams alive in the children and young adults in Haiti. Comfort the hearts of those whose losses threaten to overwhelm them–and Father, there are so very many of them! Bind up broken hearts and broken lives and turn every eye to You, we ask in Jesus’ name.

  8. Gillian February 2, 2010

    Be encouraged that those of us who are patiently waiting to hear about our sponsor children (praying hard for their safety) will not let the people around us forget about Haiti and that means our church! So, while the mainstream news may have shifted their focus, the Body of Christ may still be active! Thank you all for the work you are doing in Haiti! God bless you!

  9. meganshuang February 2, 2010

    just want to thank you for sharing this touching story… we will pray for them, for there fast
    recovery.. hope we still help them by donating that may help them to recover…
    please contribute to the relief effort in Haiti

  10. Suzanne February 2, 2010

    I have not lost interest in Haiti. I am still riveted–this time to my computer–for any scrap of news. I specifically asked to sponsor a child from Haiti five years ago because I knew then that Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I learned last week that my child lives in an area not significantly affected by the earthquake but I am still praying for all the children and adults who have lost so much. I wish that I could do more and give more. Please know that I am praying.

  11. Jane Gillis February 1, 2010

    I really agree with your words Scott and the thoughts in Wendy’s note. Compassion Advocates are the voice of the poor to a world that can’t see beyond their own discomfort. I am still reminded of the thought “those with one potato should cut it in half and give half to someone in need.” We may not be able to change the world for all the children but we can still change the world one child at a time. I’m praying and sharing and will continue to do so.

  12. Linda February 1, 2010

    Hi: I for one am devastated by the eartthquake in Hatai. Being a child advocate for compassion is very dear to me. Personally, I plan to work through my mission Kids on a mission 4 good to help these children and their families. We are doing concerts, writing music and performing to help these children. Its what we are called to do for our brothers and sisters. For the children, Linda

  13. Beth February 1, 2010

    Thank you for all you are doing. I’m reminded to pray for you for specifics, for children for access to physical needs and safety…

  14. Wendy February 1, 2010

    thanks for sharing this. When I was speaking to some youth in a high school, we talked about the same, the headlines in the newspapers that don’t show anything about the disaster that is going on every day…

    I’m so glad that with Compassion we DO have a voice, we do have Jesus – the one that spoke for us first, we do have each other, we do support over 1 million children and their families, we do have lots of volunteers, we do work with lots of churches – and it’s going to grow and we’ll let the world know!

    May you and the team in Haiti be blessed by His promises, by His timing, by His answers, by His miracles, His goodness and His presence…

    Love, in Him,

  15. Juli Jarvis February 1, 2010

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have also been saddened to see so much of the world continuing on as if nothing happened. Not a moment of the day goes by that I’m not still thinking and praying for our friends in Haiti. And you’re right — it was a poverty issue. My prayer is for a new, brighter Haiti and that God will raise up these LDP students to lead the nation with integrity, character and servanthood. I won’t stop praying for Haiti!

  16. Kathy Porter February 1, 2010

    It is so heartbreaking and I feel a calling to do something more than send money, as does my husband. Will there be a need for teachers to come and work in Haiti? I am praying of course for all of the folks every day. There is no way that people should be forgetting about these people already. Thank you so much for all the love and compassion you share in the name of Jesus Christ.

  17. Kiki Cherry February 1, 2010

    Well said. Thank you!

  18. Amy Wallace February 1, 2010

    I’m not going to let people forget Haiti.

  19. Teri February 1, 2010

    I hadn’t even thought that far ahead yet. Is Compassion working on a plan for these young people?

  20. Kathy Roberts February 1, 2010

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I will do my part in keeping the needs alive within my circles of contacts and influence. I am continuing to pray about a connection to get a group of rehabilitation therapists over there soon.
    I am back to ground zero but will continue working hard to find an organization to work through.
    Thank you for giving so much. Kathy

  21. Barbara Collins February 1, 2010

    I wrote this exact thing to Foxnews and Bill O’Reiley how my heart was broken with the absence of any mention of Haiti other than the fine print on the front page of their homepage. I was glad to see the efforts made at the Grammys with everyone wearing the Red Cross pins….for months we all wore American flag pins, had yellow ribbons and magnets for our cars….we can not lose the momentum for relief efforts and awareness of what is needed. Thanks for the update.
    Barbara Collins†

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