This week has been full of breaking news from Haiti again as former presidents return, political futures are determined and some arrests are made. All in all, another week in Haiti. Eighteen years ago, the weekend I was getting married, the headlines were also about Haiti. Some things never change.
Before the current headlines broke I had something else I was going to share with friends though, that is what is really going on among people who are living and working in Haiti. And what is really going on is life and outreaches. My husband still left on schedule for some speaking engagements, schools are still open, businesses are still open, and people are still going on. Despite the seeming drama that attracts all the media, the behind the scene,s opportunities are still here as well.
Two Sundays ago I had the opportunity to hear a 73 year old woman named Lucy share with some Americans about her work with community women. She and other church women started the Dorcas ministry at Caleb's encouragement about 20 years ago. Over the years, the group has expanded to other communities. What is so special about this fellowship is that it includes women from almost every church in town and they work together meeting practical needs they see in the community. Lucy had the ladies share verses they had memorized with pride (most are illiterate); and list projects they had completed in the past year. They had replaced roofs on homes, found ways to clothe the poor, gone daily to pray with the sick at the local hospital, and prepared a local soup kitchen when they had the resources. Lucy told the Americans how she taught the ladies to find resources. "Every time they are making rice for their families, I tell them just to scrape off the top of the measuring cup, and save that portion, by the end of the week they can bring all their portions together, and we'll save it until we have enough to feed the needy in our area." Very humbling indeed to see how much these gals can do with their "leftovers". I translated for the visitors telling them that the women fed over 300 people the week before. When asked how much it would take to do the feeding more often, we were told they needed $150 USD. (let me know if you want to help, I'll get it to them)
This past Sunday, a pastor was speaking in the church I was attending. He also was encouraging the people in their second hand clothing on how to help. He said, "I want to see all of us bring clothing that we are not using, and put it together, so we can help those around us in need." Hearing this, and seeing how these folks are working together and giving out of their poverty was very encouraging to me. Why? The way people give to others, reflects much of their spiritual health. Any group which is striving to help those in need, is living and growing.
My real point though today is this: don't get caught up in the latest highlights or headlines. What is REALLY going on is that life and work is continuing for us common folk. All the productive people I know are going on with planned outreaches, finding what they can to make things work, and not paying much attention to "the big stories". One of the things I love most about God, is that so much of what He does in people and through people is behind the scenes. Please know, that I can attest to the fact, that His servants are still hard at work here in Haiti.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake. The government of Haiti has declared tomorrow a “Day of Mourning” and throughout the world Haitians will take a moment of silence to remember those 400,000 plus who died on that horrible day.
It was only this past Friday that across from the destroyed National Palace and next to the Plaza Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn) that they found and removed three more bodies from the rubble of a destroyed home. When I commented how sad that was, someone responded that there are more than 1,000 homes where you would find at least one if not ten bodies within. Sad realities but true!
Over the past twelve months it has been reported that billions of dollars have been spent in Haiti. Whether the total is accurate or not, it seems like only a Band-Aid has been applied on a huge wound. Over a million people are still living in inhumane conditions. Through the various tent cities, there are numerous reports of violence, rape and abuse of every kind that are taking place. Several thousands have died through the cholera outbreak, several dozen have died as a result of the election and everyone is asking what else that could possibly happen to our beloved country?
The outlook for Haiti may not look too bright these days but we cannot and will not lose heart. We will continue to reach out to those in need. To the less fortunate we will provide each and every one the hope that can only be found through our Savior.
Please, take some time to ray for the families that are still suffering and pray that God would continue to raise up servants that will really focus on the needs of those that are suffering. Thanks for helping us make a difference in the lives of so many in the past year.
In HIS grace, Caleb
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Each year we have the privilege to distribute gift boxes that donors across the U.S. This year we had friends from Illinois, Florida and Minnesota send shoe boxes full of gifts. Our staff prepared chicken and rice dinners for everyone and we gave out boxes to kids in our neighborhood and town. Overall, it was a great time. Caleb was touched that the song they chose to sing as a part of grace was "Great is Thy Faithfulness".
Enjoy some smiles from Haiti:
Enjoy some smiles from Haiti: