Looking Past Haiti’s Short-Term Needs

“First, I ask God to forgive me for my sins.”

close up of Haitian boyThat’s the answer 12-year old Robinson gave me when I asked him what he’s praying for this week.

It might sound like a sweet prayer from a 12-year old, until you realize that Robinson is living with his family in a tent city in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. And the reason for his prayer is that Robinson, like many others here in this quake-damaged country, believes the terrible disaster is the result of sin.

And he feels ashamed.

He thinks God shook the earth to destroy his poverty-stricken city, killing thousands of people—all because he did something bad; he pushed another boy on the playground. It’s heartbreaking.

This is a great example of why the help we bring to Haiti has to go beyond food, water and medicine. Yes, those things are vital. And they need them now. But if we are going to look past the short-term, to the future of Haiti, our relief efforts must include a spiritual component.

Long after the relief trucks are emptied and the search crews have gone home, Haitians will need someone who cares about more than their immediate physical needs. The number of relief organizations that will be here a year from now will seriously diminish. But we’re not going anywhere.

Compassion has been in Haiti for more than 40 years—teaching, feeding, educating, loving, mentoring, caring and perhaps most importantly, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

No one knows why this deadly earthquake hit Haiti. But it certainly wasn’t because Robinson pushed another boy on the playground. And we can help children like Robinson become leaders in this country, transforming it from devastated ruins into the country God wants it to be.

So while we’re ministering to Robinson’s physical and emotional needs in the years to come, we’re also going to be teaching him more about a merciful God who loves him. That’s the Compassion difference.

That’s what holistic child development is all about. Caring for the whole child.

6 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Chris Taylor January 25, 2010

    If men or women or children like this come to God for any reason and ask to be forgiven for their sins or the sins of their fathers then praise the Lord! Of course a person’s bad circumstances (poor, blind, lame, suffering, etc) are not determinate of their walk with God. But the Lord is a jealous God, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate [Him], but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love [Him] and keep [His] commandments.” Ex. 20:3-6

    They should be brought to understand that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 That the earth is cursed not because of one man but because of all men and that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

    Do not cheapen God’s work on a desperate people, but do not either turn a blind eye to their needs or treat them any different than those whom He loves, because they are. Pray for the Lord’s will to be done and for His work through their tragedy to be completed.

  2. Denise Bailey January 25, 2010

    Remind Robinson about Job. Job suffered great calamity–lost all his earthly possessions then lost all his children. The only reason that I can see was to bring God glory. The first thing that came to this sponsors mind was that this horrible disaster is to bring Our precious Savior glory. How we Christians respond with love and compassion (meaning as James says to help the widow and orphan) brings Our Lord glory. Also remind Robinson that death is not the end. If we are Christians we go to heaven to be with Jesus–a much better place. Is it ok to miss our loved ones and deeply grieve our loss? OF COURSE. I still miss my precious Christian mother and it has been 5 years. But I have the hope of seeing her again in Heaven. I love the beautiful, precious people of Haiti. I thank God for Compassion Int’l which enables us to be Christ’s hands and feet.

  3. Mary Fidlin January 25, 2010

    I totally agree that the spiritual needs of these precious young children must be continually met, and I want to thank Compassion for doing just that…sharing the Good News of Jesus for the past 40 years. I feel very blessed to be a sponsor for a little boy in Haiti. I haven’t heard yet how he and his family have been affected by the earthquake. Please pray with me for Abner, his family and the Compassion staff at the Papette Child Development Center in Haiti (HA-202). Thank you.

  4. Dana January 24, 2010

    How heartbreaking that this precious child thinks the earthquake is his fault. I wish I could go there, put my arms around him and tell him that God loves him so very much and that it is NOT his fault at all.

    This earthquake has made me think seriously about the future of Haiti once the media attention moves away. When the time comes to sponsor a new child, whenever that will be, I’m going to consider a Haitian child. I probably won’t be in a position to sponsor for awhile but when the time comes, I’ll be looking at Haiti.

    Wouldn’t it be something if we could get every Haitian child sponsored?

  5. Juli Jarvis January 24, 2010

    Yes, and this is what is so special about Compassion. We’re there for the long term. And helping them sort out their questions, praying that they see that God loves them as much today as a month ago, and that’s He’s present and good. He will lovingly bring (much) good out of this disaster in the days to come.

  6. Jill Foley January 24, 2010

    I’m so glad Compassion is there…has been and will continue to be. I’m also glad to be part of a ministry that cares for all the needs of a child.

    Praying for you all.

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