1/17/2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief: For Such a Time as This

Few events have rattled the world like the Haiti earthquake and relief effort. Hope and heartbreak are intermingled with the tears of the grieving. News reports tell of chaos and destruction. People shake their heads in dazed confusion and wonder where God is in the middle of this disaster. Then another person is pulled alive from the rubble and we know. He is there in the midst working to save and strengthen. His love is a balm to our grief, struggle and disbelief.

Aid workers were already on the ground. As the poorest nation in this hemisphere Haiti was a nation in need of assistance before the earthquake leveled buildings. The United Methodist Committee on Relief , UN Peacekeepers and mission teams from around the globe were already working to make lives better for the people in Haiti. Now, those same aid workers are working hard to save lives.

Supporting the various faith organizations are churches of all denominations and people of all religions. When crisis strikes there is not time for argument. Lifesaving efforts are paramount to denominational or religious differences.

For such a time as this, the church has the opportunity to be an alive and vibrant people in the face of great hardship. Those of us who are not in Haiti cannot imagine the horrors that the are being faced. Reports try to convey the suffering. The lessons from Katrina, Rita, California wildfires and other disasters tell us that those who are not there cannot fully understand.

What we can understand is the desire to help. I am a United Methodist. My spirit is bolstered by knowing that there is a structure that allows for the collection of funds and the distribution of goods. Those who wish can volunteer to load trucks, hold bake sales, collect supplies and organize the local efforts that are being undertaken by the church. Other denominations have similar networks.

Those networks are in place for such a time as this. There has been no better time for the church to stand up and be The Church. We cannot (and should not) all be in Haiti. But we can all be a part of the Haiti relief effort.

Here's how:

  • Praying is easy. It takes very little time and no money. 
  • Giving money is the next step. Just think what would be done if everyone in the US gave $1 each? 
  • Buying supplies is something most of us can do. Toothbrushes and combs are not expensive. A single person can purchase items for a kit or a few people can go in together. More information is online.
  • Volunteer. Ask your pastor how you can be a part of your church relief effort.
  • Maximize your effectiveness by getting training in advance. No matter how much we rebel against it disasters are a part of life. We must plan and respond. Maximize your effectiveness by getting trained and being prepared in case a disaster strikes near you. 
Hopefully, there won't be another Haiti earthquake. For all disasters, we must remember that God brings good from bad by preparing his people to respond, for such a time as this, and other disasters.


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