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Posts Tagged ‘Haiti earthquake’

Haiti’s Heroes

In Non Profit on January 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm

“Never stop being courageous.”

These were the last words I wrote to my sponsored child, Anne-Cherley Amilcar, in a letter I composed after hearing about the earthquake in Haiti. Anne-Cherely is Haitian and although she lives nearly 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, we continue to wait with bated breath for word of her safety. The entire country, already in peril from abject poverty, has been hurled even further into a miserable horror that threatens every human being within its boundaries. Though all are vulnerable to great suffering, the greatest vulnerability belongs to the Haitian children. Prior to the earthquake, the number of orphaned children in Haiti was estimated at nearly 450,000. It is unconscionable to even try to comtemplate an increase in such a number, but the post-quake increase is certain.

Fortunately, there are heroic organizations, such as Compassion International, who have been attempting to assist the needs of Haiti’s impoverished children over the course of many years and have done so with much success. It was through C.I. that we found our Anne-Cherley and it is through them that we will continue to offer our support. They are going to need it. There will be childhood development centers that will need to be rebuilt and sadly, staff and volunteer positions that will need to be refilled. For those who are longing to offer some kind of support to Haiti, this is definitely a trustworthy and nobel organization to consider.

Of equal standing as a highly effective and reputable outreach to Haitian orphans is a non-profit called Danita’s Children. The organization began over ten years ago when Danita Estrella spontaneously traveled to Haiti with nothing more than a strong sense that she was supposed to go there to offer help. She had no idea how to implement her desire but she knew she was purposed to go. After a year of wandering from volunteer position to volunteer position, she was still unsettled. There was a haunting sense that she was not walking out the level of service that was rooted in her heart.

But the ambiguity of her journey vanished on a day emblazened in her memory forever.

As the story goes, she was sitting at a café table eating her food when she suddenly felt the imploring stare of an underfed boy fall upon her. She looked over and lifted her hand to signal that she saw his need and wanted him to wait for her. Her intent was to order him food and then take it to him, however, there was a man who saw this interchange and became enraged at the boy. He took a whip and began to strike the child. Danita, busy ordering the food, heard his screams and instincively shot up from the table and ran to the child’s rescue. She grabbed the brutal man by his collar and shook him with all her might and then ran to the boy, picked him up, comforted him and bought him food to eat. It was then that she knew her purpose. She decided right then and there that she would open an orphanage for abandoned children.

What began with a small plate of food for a hungry frightened child has developed into three homes that house 75 orphans, a school that provides education to nearly 600 children and a meal program that feeds 17,000 each month. As glorious as all that is, Danita has refused to rest. Right now, her organization is in the midst of building their very first children’s medical center. It is without a doubt that when that mission is completed, Danita will continue to create even more paths of provision for Haiti’s children.

Danita is my hero and it is because of people like her, those who have committed themselves to serving the needs of Haiti’s most vulnerable regardless of personal cost, it is because of such people that I was able to write words of strength to Anne-Cherley. Heroes have great courage and I pray for our little girl to hold onto hers.

The courageous will find each other.


Because I Said So

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

How many times have these words been uttered by a parent to a child?

Before I was a parent myself, I vowed never to dismiss any question and to explain carefully and thoroughly everything I expected my children to do. I promised I would never resort to the famous “because I said so” that was the answer I received so many times as a child when I questioned “why?”

I did not want to be the parent who would not acknowledge my child. One day, after explaining something to my child several times with the repeated reply, “But why”, I declared with absolute exasperation, “Because I said so.” My daughter looked at me, with complete trust and understanding and said, “Oh, okay.”

I do not even remember what that question was or why I just stopped trying to explain, but I remember that moment of clarity. Children do not need adult explanations for everything that happens. Children need to trust their parents and understand reason is not always theirs to know. That illuminating moment as a parent has stood out to me not only as a parenting issue, but also as a Christian. It is the core of my faith for the most difficult questions I have.

When religious leaders such as Pat Robertson attempt to explain the earthquake disaster in Haiti as part of a pact with Satan, he insults all of Christianity. The self-importance he spews to attempt to explain natural disasters in the framework of God’s will is horrifying. Like a know it all, petulant brat with all the answers, he forgets the words of Jesus, “Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” (Mark 10:15).

By attempting to mystify the laws of nature under the umbrella of God’s will, Robertson denies what we know about physics and arrogantly assumes that man controls nature via actions rather than accept nature and man as side by side pieces of creation. Earthquakes happen on a daily basis as tectonic plates shift beneath the oceans. In the past 30 days, there have been 388 earthquakes worldwide over a magnitude of four. Does God only control the ones that result in human loss?

The indicator of true faith is the ability to accept that which cannot be explained or proven. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus calls us to be children of God. As 1 John 3:1 reminds us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

I accept humbly that I will not understand everything and in many ways, it is truly liberating. To believe that, yes, there is an answer, but just one I do not need to know, at least not today, eases my mind. It affords me the freedom to focus on that which I do understand and embrace. I am to love my neighbor.

To walk in humility with trust is not an easy walk. I have questions daily and when I see what I perceive as unfair or unjust, I wonder “Why, why, why?” However, like my own child, just a few years ago, when God says, “Because I said so”, I find comfort, not frustration, in my faith.