When I wrote the post about the Haiti earthquake last week, I admitted that I’m not really watching the news coverage. I still haven’t been, but they have still been on my heart and in my thoughts and prayers.
Nine days after the earthquake, the news coverage is starting to fade. The problems for those who survive in Haiti are just beginning.
Hunger, contaminated water, unsafe dwellings, no government or transportation infrastructure — those are all things that they will be dealing with for months and months to come. Long after the news crews have moved on to the next big story, and other relief organizations have come and gone, Compassion International will still be there.
This morning, I was on a conference call with Wess Stafford, Compassion’s president, and Edouard Lassegue, Vice President of the Latin American Region for Compassion International. Edouard Lassegue is from Haiti, and like so many of those who work with Compassion who I met on trip to the Dominican Republic, he is using his gifts and his U.S. college education to continue to further the work of Compassion in reaching the people’s needs in his own country.
He’s there now, and he was on the conference call sharing what he was witnessing as he arrived yesterday: “I felt deep deep sadness. To see places that I knew and buildings that represented so much, collapsed. . . . There’s a total lack of order. It’s impossible to get around. Communication a huge challenge. Shock and fear. Most people are sleeping in tents because of fear of their buildings’ safety.”
The Compassion office building is not structurally sound so the staff is meeting in the parking lot.
Wess Stafford thanked Edouard for the descriptions of what he saw, but asked him to share what was in his heart:
“I want to commend the courage of the staff in the Haiti (pictured above) and DR offices. We’ve called on them to be available and they’ve responded. They are facing trauma themselves but they are willing to extend their hand of help to those in need.”
Compassion International is in a unique situation to offer relief from the Haiti earthquake right now. They’ve been actively partnering with 230 local churches in Haiti for 40 years. Because they also have a strong staff in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti, they are able to use those staff members to help as well. People and physical goods can arrive in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and be transported over the border, thus bypassing the bottlenecking of supplies that have been delivered into the airport in Haiti.
Maybe you gave once. Maybe you wonder what else you can do. If you are planning to give, or haven’t yet contributed and want to, I stand behind the work that Compassion is doing there right now with their staffs in Haiti and the Dominican Republic — along with their strong commitment to the ongoing outreach and restoration of the basic needs of children and family in that country.
The physical needs that require money to meet are obviously grave at this point. The priority is on food acquisition and distribution. But when Edouard was asked how people could best support the relief effort there, he said, “Our greatest need is the need for prayer, which supports our staff and to the church in Haiti. I’m not trying to be trite or cute as if it’s the proper thing to say. The sense of this prayer support is very important to those working there.
“This tragedy is not going to be gone through alone. We need to stand next to the church in Haiti – not only to jump in and help, but communicate that we support and pray, along with giving the resources that they need, to produce long-lasting results in the lives children and others in Haiti.”
So if you have a few dollars to share, please give to the Compassion International Haitian relief fund. If you don’t have a few dollars to spare, do you have a few minutes to spare — right now? Can you look at that picture above and pray for the relief workers and those who have been injured and lost family members and homes and businesses?