Monday, February 8, 2010

The Bell Tolls In Haiti and America

My heart is broken.

Last week I received some photos taken by our very own team of aid workers who were in Haiti on the day of the earthquake. When I opened the photos, I was not prepared for what I would see.

My hands reflexively flew up in the air - I gasped – I bowed my head and I shook it back and forth and shouted “no” – before I even knew what I was doing.

Then came tears.

What could I do, as one person?

Like many, I was stunned on January 12, the day of the earthquake, especially since I knew we had aid workers/missionaries working in the field in the area of Port-Au-Prince. I had been leading an effort, Haiti Initiative, since May of 2009. A few months before the quake, I founded Musicians 4 Missions, a concert for the children of Haiti.

But I thought to myself...what can I really do, as one person? What can I or anyone else do to make up for the loss of so many children's lives? No amount of money can make right what has happened.

But seeing the photos made me resolve to take what I had planned to raise and multiply it 4 fold – for the children. Knowing that there may well be a "generation of amputees," when the children of Haiti were already so disadvantaged - seemed and does seem more than is fair for a country in such poor condition.

We need a “Feed the 5000” fish/loaf miracle of Biblical proportion to help the children in Haiti. But we can all help, domestically and abroad - we can and must help all children.

Many Americans claim we should not help Haiti, we should instead help our own people. However, the devastation in Haiti requires help of the immediate and long term kind - children are dying from infected limb loss, women are still giving birth - and in worse conditions than before - Haiti had the highest infant and mortality rate before the earthquake - and now? What about this generation of amputees? There were no sanitation or building codes prior to the quake...

Haiti is a country devastated - and as 16th century poet John Donne' wrote "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in not send to know for whom the bell tolls, the bell tolls for thee." Do not think we are not affected by Haiti's loss. Indeed we are more affected than we know.

What is your service to the children of this world - today?

*Pictured is the response by missionaries and fellow neighbors, after a building collapsed on several children, none of which survived. Families were able to identify and claim all but one child's body. No one claimed the remaining child, so the missionaries named him Joseph and saw that he was laid to rest, at least, in a handmade box. A funeral is expensive by Haiti's standards, costing $300. When the average person barely clears $750 a year, families cannot afford to bury their own dead, much less an unclaimed child crushed by the rubble from a falling building.

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