January 14th, 2010 by Kristi Stephens
Almost 14 years ago, I stepped off of a plane in Port au Prince, Haiti. It was sweltering hot, but more than the heat assaulted my senses- the rank smell of poverty hit me for the first time in my life.
I spent a week in Port au Prince in spring of 1996. I went back again in August of the same year.
Those weeks changed my life forever. In two short weeks my teenage world was turned upside down as I held dying children in my arms, untied abandoned children from beds where they had been left to starve in the general “hospital” and carried them to safety in a Christian orphanage, shared the gospel from shack to shack and door to door, sat in a voodoo temple while we shared Truth with the witchdoctor, bathed children suffering with scabies and assisted in providing medical care, and saw the freedom that only Jesus can give set people free from bondage much greater than the poverty they lived with.
So now as I hear news accounts that estimate a death toll of over 100,000 in Port au Prince, my mind reels.
Those aren’t just numbers. Faces roll through my mind.
“There is a blanket of dust rising from the valley south of the capital,” agency officials said Ms. van de Wetering had told them. “We can hear people calling for help from every corner. The aftershocks are ongoing and making people very nervous.” -NY Times
With many poor residents living in tin-roof shacks that sit precariously on steep ravines and with much of the construction in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in the country of questionable quality, the expectation was that the quake caused major damage to buildings and significant loss of life. -NY Times
Everywhere, you heard cries from beneath the rubble,” Auza said. -CNN
“…government officials said the death toll from Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake may exceed 100,000.” -CNN
If you can help, please help.
Harvest International is the mission agency I traveled with – the founder, Dr. John Leininger, was the father of some of my classmates and accompanied us on the trips. They are requesting donations which will go straight to their missionaries in Port au Prince to help with relief efforts on a local level. You can read more about Harvest here and find the link to donate here.
But please, let’s help. Those numbers are more than numbers… I look at these pictures and wonder how many of those children – now in their late teens or early 20′s – survived.
Our world is groaning, Lord… show us how to give mercy in Your name, even from far away.