Friday, January 22, 2010

Help and Hope for Haiti

It is good to provide help for hurting Haiti. But perhaps it is better to provide help and hope? World governments, aid agencies, the Red Cross, and many, many organizations are pouring help in the form of relief supplies and personnel into the disaster area. It is inspiring to see the world rushing to the aid of these stricken people, among the world's poorest.

For myself, I am sending aid to the church in Haiti. My money to a large international aid organization would be a good thing, but I am expecting with my money to contribute to a great thing!

I'm not so concerned that church buildings be rebuilt, although that will be helpful in the long run. My interest is that the churches, God's people, be strengthened and enabled to help those around them, and that leaders be trained and sent out across the nation. In addition to immediate needs, it is the hope of the Good News of Jesus that Haiti will need for the weeks, months and years ahead as people rebuild lives and communities. It is Christianity that can be the foundation for a stronger and more economically viable Haitian society.

I talked by phone yesterday to Darrell Damron, Vice President of Haiti Arise. Damron told me that the first priority for the organization is to provide immediate aid and medical care for those around them, and then rebuilding of the structures they are using for educating and training. Haiti Arise also sponsors a Bible School and for the third year year this year, sponsored a large conference of Haitian pastors.

A team from Ministers Fellowship International (MFI) had just returned to the USA from the 2010 conference at Haiti Arise when the quake struck. Hundreds of pastors had been together at Haiti Arise in Grand Goave for days of teaching and encouragement. MFI is the relational body of church leaders of which my community, Anchorage City Church, is a part.

MFI churches are being asked to support Haiti Arise because of this relational connection and because of its work to build the church in Haiti. Founders Marc and Lisa Honorat are MFI members.

Pastors Marc Driscoll (Mars Hill Church) and James McDonald (Harvest Bible Chapel) have established another great way to send hope to Haiti through a new organization, Churches Helping Churches. Driscoll and McDonald traveled to Haiti to better understand the situation and are asking their church families to contribute to rebuilding the church through this new organization.

McDonald puts it this way:

The waves of humanitarian aid are washing ashore in Haiti and beginning to meet this massive need but I can’t escape my sense that little if any of this medicine will soothe the sores of the suffering church. The country will be rebuilt in time, but so little of that aid will go to my brothers and sisters and I feel I must do what I can to help them. But I really have no idea what that help would or should entail.

Galatians 6:10 says, “and let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Without question the priority of the ‘church helping the church’ is commanded by Paul in scripture and modeled by Paul in his crisis care for the Corinthians and the church in Jerusalem. If Paul were alive today there is no doubt his first concern as a church planter and leader in the body of Christ would be for the family of God in Haiti. How can the priority Paul lived and taught not be mine as a Bible believing Christian?
Please join me and others sending help and hope to the hurting Haitian church, so it can offer the great hope of Jesus to the hurting nation all around it.