January 13, 2010

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is the fourth poorest nation in the world. All of the hospitals are destroyed or abandoned. A penitentiary collapsed and dangerous criminals are loose on the streets. Dead bodies are being piled up. Cries are coming from piles of rubble everywhere as victims are still trapped.

I’ve watched the news off and on all day today, and I have heard everything in the above paragraph over and over again. I’m following @RAMhaiti on twitter–he’s one of the band members of RAM, a voudou rock band that plays in Port Au Prince regularly. He’s tweeting practically non stop from the streets of Port Au Prince. I’m feeling just so sad for this island nation.

Natural disasters like this are overwhelming. The devastation, the heartache, the realization that every person that I see in the news footage is a person, created in God’s image and loved and known by God and others.

This afternoon, the moderator of the PC(USA), Bruce Reyes-Chow shared a prayer that went out over twitter, facebook, and on the denominational website. Here it is:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the eyes of the world turn to Haiti, let us join our hearts in prayer:

God of compassion
Please watch over the people of Haiti,
And weave out of these terrible happenings
wonders of goodness and grace.
Surround those who have been affected by tragedy
With a sense of your present love,
And hold them in faith.
Though they are lost in grief,
May they find you and be comforted;
Guide us as a church
To find ways of providing assistance
that heals wounds and provides hope
Help us to remember that when one of your children suffer
We all suffer
Through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives
and rules this world with you. Amen.
(Adapted from Book of Common Worship)

-Bruce Reyes-Chow, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine

We need to pray for the Haitian people, for missionary teams and missionaries serving in Haiti, for family members in the United States who do not know whether their loved ones are alive or safe. Pray especially for Lindsay Strock, a family friend of our minister and a missionary living in Port Au Prince. Her family has not heard from her yet. Update: Rev. John called and said that Lindsay was able to call her family for a few seconds to let them know that she was alive. Her house is gone and she has no food or water. She still needs prayer, but many are thankful for her survival.

We also need to realize that a nation like Haiti isn’t going to be able to recover from this without lots of help. There are many reputable aid organizations who are accepting aid (and please be careful about scams–because you know there will be a lot of scams). Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Red Cross, World Vision and Compassion International are some good ones.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Psalm 46:1-3

I am overwhelmed, but I know that God is not.

2 responses to Overwhelmed

  1. I am praying. It breaks my heart. I have been watching the news on and off all day.
    I plan to donate to a charity, and it makes me furious that scammers will use this tragedy to make a buck.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful reflection and willingness to publicly struggle through all of this. The whole situation is heart wrenching. Peace – Bruce