It’s Time to Start Over in Haiti

UPDATED: Jan. 22, 2010Listen to Tim interviewed by Rodney Olsen on Australia’s 98.5 Sonshine FM.

You can see the photos and video footage on your television or computer, but they don’t do the devastation in Haiti justice.

Building after building has collapsed. I’ve seen dozens of multistory buildings that have collapsed into a stack of pancaked floors. Looking at the sheer tonnage of cement, I’m amazed anyone survived.

people standing near debris from earthquake

Hospitals, schools, churches and businesses all flattened. As if this country didn’t already struggle to provide those services to those who need it. That is the great irony right now. The number of people who need medical attention has increased dramatically as the result of this disaster, but the number of medical clinics and hospitals decreased. It seems so unjust.

Communication and transportation are terrible. I’d love to be able to show you some of the videos that I’ve shot, but I can’t get a strong enough Internet connection to last long enough to upload. At this point, my best connection provides 8kb per second. Terribly slow. And it lasts only a few minutes at a time.

This morning, I witnessed a relief truck get overtaken by a crowd of people in the streets. The people climbed the big rig by the dozens, forcing open the back doors and tossing out bags of rice … all while the truck was driving.

Help Families Affected BY COVID-19

Families in poverty have no safety net in times of crisis. Help provide food, medical care and support during this pandemic.

People are desperate for food. All over town, there are makeshift signs (mostly sheets with painted words on them) saying, “We Need Help” or “Please — We Need Food and Water.”

At the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, I saw a couple of relief supply trucks that had been turned into makeshift storefronts. People were trying to sell the food, water and clothing inside. Another example of how important it is for you to make sure you partner with an organization that has established distribution channels.

Many organizations can get stuff here, but don’t know how to distribute it. Parking a truck on the side of the road can cause mayhem.

We don’t know exactly how many of our kids are affected. Getting to them all is terribly difficult. Many families fled when the quake hit. Many are sleeping on the streets. Rounding them up is tough.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen is our Haiti staff here. Keep in mind, many of them lost everything in the quake. They lost homes, possessions and sadly, some of them lost loved ones. Yet here they are, working at our makeshift camp every day, trying to help others. Serving in the midst of their pain. Amazing!

Please continue to pray for them. They are heroes of the faith.

Compassion partners with established local churches in Haiti. We have for more than 40 years. They know us. We know them. And shouldn’t the church be the distribution channel for relief in times of hurt anyway?

You are providing for tons of supplies to make it into Haiti. Our first planeload is expected to arrive Friday in the Dominican Republic. It will be transported into Haiti on Saturday. We’ll be able to provide two weeks’ worth of basic necessities to more than 77,000 people.

Two weeks later, we’ll be able to give them another two-week kit. It’s a start. But it’s a drop in the bucket of need. We need more. Help our relief efforts by making a donation to our Disaster Relief Fund.

Thankfully, Compassion has a long-term solution to poverty, too. It’s our program. Child Survival, Child Sponsorship, Leadership Development. Holistic Child Development. That’s how you change a country like Haiti, from the inside out. Because, let’s be honest, as much as this is a natural disaster, its reach is far more exponential as a result of the dire poverty here.

Haitians had little to begin with. This quake took that little away. It’s time to start over. And starting over begins with hope. And thankfully, that’s something Compassion specializes in.

11 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Jeanne Hochstetler January 23, 2010

    We are praying and will continue to pray. God is with you all and I have to agree God will take this devastating, heartbreaking event and turn it in to something beautiful.

  2. Avatar
    Gillian January 22, 2010

    Haitians had little to begin with. This quake took that little away. It’s time to start over. And starting over begins with hope. And thankfully, that’s something Compassion specializes in. <~~~ AGREED!!

    Thank you for your positive outlook and posting of the situation in Haiti. Since the earthquake hit we have been seriously concerned for our sponsored child and heart broken that he has to go through this. Then during devotions one night I was struck with this verse: Genesis 50:20 and part of 21 ~ But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”

    God will use this terrible devastating situation to make something exceptional! God is Love!

    Be blessed!!! G

  3. Avatar
    Becky January 21, 2010

    Thank you for the update! I can’t imagine how much dedication it takes to blog from there and even include a photo with such intermittent internet access. Praying now and always for those in Haiti and others affected by this disaster.

  4. Avatar
    Linda January 21, 2010

    Thank you so much to all of you for your prayers, your hard work, your money, your love, and your thoughts. I have to girls in Haiti that I’ve not yet heard if they are ok or not, but I know that they are in the Lords hands, and God Is STILL in CONTROL. Compassion International is an awesome organization, and I’m blessed to be apart of it.

  5. Avatar
    Lucy January 21, 2010

    I am Roman Catholic and have a sponsored child through Compassion. This opportunity has brought me closer to the importance of sharing with all our brothers and sisters… I have a hope that w Catholic Relief Services providing emergency relief in a critical event and working side by site with Compassion will draw us intimately, face to face with the lives we sponsor and will bring us all universally close to Jesus.

  6. Avatar
    Cam January 21, 2010

    Romans 5:1-11…(Peace and Joy)…

  7. Avatar
    Bill van Steenis January 21, 2010

    Have you seen Ephraim Lindor? He is my dear friend. I have received text messages but I am still concerned about him. The man is like no other I have ever met. No complaints, no whining just rock steady.
    I wrote a blog post about this awful disaster and this extraordinary man. If you are interested you may find my post, Overcoming Adversity, Lessons from Haiti. at the following address
    We continue to pray for all of the people of Haiti but especially our friends and the children sponsored through Compassion.

  8. Avatar
    Mary Fidlin January 21, 2010

    Thank you so much for this update and a look inside at what you are experiencing. I was just thinking about how little the people of Haiti had, and now that is taken from them. But through our donations and all of your efforts, there is HOPE. I thank our loving Heavenly Father for this hope you are bringing to our sponsored children. I will continue praying for you all.

  9. Avatar
    T. Clarke January 21, 2010

    Since the Compassion staff have also suffered losses, is there a fund where we may donate to specifically help them and be an encouragement to them?

  10. Avatar
    Erin K. January 21, 2010

    Thank you for the update, and especially for the information about how our donations are being spent. It’s amazing to think that, with the combination of our donations and Compassion’s network, we are able to give 77,000 people what they need for two weeks. It also underscores the importance of continuing to contribute, which I will definitely be discussing with my husband tonight.

    My prayers continue to go out to the people of Haiti, and specifically to the Haiti Compassion staff. They certainly are heroes! May God give you all strength as you continue to be his hands and feet in this situation.

  11. Avatar
    Trina Reynolds January 21, 2010

    Thanks so much for this peek inside what is happening in Haiti right now. My heart is so heavy with all the needs there. And my prayers are with you and all the Compassion staff…my husband works for Compassion too – so you are near and dear to our hearts. Thank you!

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.