Haiti: An Opportunity to Respond

Like many of you, my heart has been so heavy this past week for the people of Haiti.  Ever since the terrible 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere on January 12th, killing at least 150,000 people, I have been watching the news reports coming out of Port-au-Prince with sadness, horror, and sometimes joy.  I rejoiced with the rescuers as they pulled survivors out of the rubble, even up to 7 days after the quake.  I grieved for the families who were unable to locate family members, not knowing whether they lived or died, and I was horrified by the aftermath of that terrible event.

But, I’ve also wondered what I could do to help? God’s Word is clear on our responsibility as Christians to help those who are in need.  “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)  “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.  Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” (Isaiah 58:6-7) “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27)  As we respond to situations like this, we are fulfilling God’s desire for us as believers. I would even say that as we respond to the needs of those around us, it is an act of worship. As I’ve mentioned before, worship is far more than just an hour on Sunday.  We need to put our faith into action.

I would like to suggest three ways we can respond as Christians: Pray, Give, Go.

Pray
  • Pray for those who have been affected by Haiti’s earthquake — people who homeless, those who are hungry, injured, traumatized. 
  • Pray for victims’ loved ones, both in Haiti and in other parts of the world, who are mourning or anxiously awaiting word about their loved ones. 
  • Pray for all those who are involved in the relief effort, that the Lord would give them strength to deal with the awful conditions they are facing. Pray for those who are trying to organize people and resources to assist with the relief efforts. Pray that God would stir up His people to respond with the love of Christ to help people in desperate need.
Give
  • On January 24th and 31st, Bethel took a special offering to go to the relief efforts.  But, it’s not too late to give!
  • Bethel teamed up with our national Baptist General Conference organization, Converge Worldwide. You can go to their website, which is www.convergeworldwide.org and donate online.
  • I’ve also been very impressed with an organization called Churches Helping Churches. Pastor Mark Driscoll and Pastor James MacDonald recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where they saw firsthand many churches that were destroyed or badly damaged.  Their mission is to help the immediate and long term needs of those churches.  You can see pictures and videos from their trip, as well as support their mission at www.churcheshelpingchurches.com.  
Go
  • It may be that God is calling you to put some of the skills and gifts He has given you to use in Haiti. Again, you can go the Converge Worldwide website to get details on how you can become personally involved in a short-term ministry team.

Sometimes a song can put things into words that mere words cannot. We’re learning a new song in church that reminds us of what God is asking us to do. It’s called “God of Justice”, by Tim Hughes.  As you read the words to this song, please take some time to pray, and seek how God would like you to be involved in this terrible tragedy.


“God Of Justice”

Verse 1
God of justice Savior to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Chose to serve and not be served

Pre-Chorus
Jesus You have called us
Freely we’ve received
Now freely we will give

Chorus
We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward
Keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

Verse 2
To act justly every day
Loving mercy in every way
Walking humbly before You God

Pre-Chorus
You have shown us what You require
Freely we’ve received
Now freely we will give

Chorus
We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward
Keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

Bridge
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out Lord

Words and music by Tim Hughes. ©2004 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI Song No. 4447128.

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