Flights of Faith

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti and the Power of Small Communities

God, send your healing and restorative power to the nation of Haiti. They need you and we need you. You are our God and we are your people. We claim that truth even when blood, dust, and death cover them and cover us. Help us, Jesus. Be with us, Lord.

This will catch you up on what's happening in Haiti if you haven't been following the events and aftermath of the 7.3 earthquake. My response has been a strange one. Why do I expect natural disasters like these? The images are always shocking, but nature beating down on us is just expected these days of crazy earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis. But there are ways that we begin to feel compassion. For me, it has been the reality of Haitian friends who are concerned about their family and a place that represents a place of belonging and home. I think there's also an inner tug and pull through our capacity to do something - not to become a savior; instead, to act appropriately as a human belonging to a bigger family. We are feeling a force pulling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have the capacity to give and to pray and to truly let the lives lost and the lives who still breathe affect our heart. This isn't about effort, to me. We shouldn't struggle to do this. I don't think that will help. We need to allow ourselves to do it. Let's open up a space.

Yesterday, I saw a report of an organization, Hope for the Children of Haiti, who lost no one in the earthquake. Praise! I thought to myself that that's what a certain type of praise is: excitement, rejoice, understanding the potential costs and worshipping victory over death. It's the heroic cheer. It's worship as mourning that I need to understand more. Is it coming alongside those whose memories of the dead are still alive? Is it mourning and praying for the dead? Is it joining a good God who is also shedding tears at the loss of His children? Maybe, it's just about us being faithful. Faithful through the good, the bad, and what we don't understand. Will we let tragedy separate us from the love of God...even when we don't understand how that love uses or doesn't use its power? Let us remain with the God who is comfortable with our questions. Let's keep talking with the God who has given us answers earlier in our path with Him.

Another way to show our faithfulness is to commit to action. I'm too prone to going this route in an effort to avoid all of the feeling I need to embody. All of the feeling I need to release. The feelings I need to give to God. But action is still important and necessary. While individually acting is powerful and effective, there is something about mobilizing small communities that has a dynamism to it.

Most of us belong to some small community: family, team, class, group celebrating aspect of a culture or identity, church small group. Let's covenant to talking about the relief efforts among them and suggesting our groups to corporately give money to the relief efforts, especially if that hasn't been done individually. If your community believes in the power of prayer or some other embodied act of witness that will be felt deeply, this is also something to suggest.

I think one of the reasons mobilizing small groups is powerful because if they remain still, they also remain silent. And while no one is actively harming anyone, all of a sudden that small group community becomes a place where "those things" don't happen or a place of separation from the "real world" and, thus, real pain. They become places of normalcy as opposed to places of peculiarity. Each group needs someone with a voice, someone who will be willing to speak for those who have yelled. Someone who will break the silence for someone who has cried. We have that choice. Let's be a witness.

Please share your reactions, thoughts or prayers, or other ways to help out this effort. I'm gonna post the most accurate and detailed I know of organizations ready to turn money into aid in the comments section.


Blogger Joshua said...

"a) Most reliable organizations seemingly best able to provide immediate assistance

These top 4 have people already on the ground & already tending to victims :

i. Having spoken to people on the ground, these two above are serving as a shelter for impacted survivors, providing food & water, but their reserves (normally for several hundred orphans & staff) will not last very long:
Go Free Ministries ( - Click on 'donate' to give by Paypal or credit card - Mail: Go Free Ministries Intl. PO BOX 163108, Fort Worth, TX 76161-3108. - Email inquiries to: (you can direct it to go specifically to Hurricane relief efforts)
or Hope Foundation International Ministries, Inc. 2822 54th Ave. South #229, St. Petersburg, FL 33712 or

ii. Partners in Health or mail Partners In Health, P.O. Box 845578, Boston, MA 02284-5578

iii. Doctors Without Borders, or toll-free at 1-888-392-0392 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
USA Headquarters 333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001-5004.

b) Good for longer term support

i. Food for the Poor:

ii. The Lambi Fund:

iii. World Vision:

c) Unsure of time-table to get aid on the ground

i. YeleHaiti (Wyclef's org)

ii. Red Cross (although unclear how to direct the funds to specifically Haiti):

iii. For more complete lists of options, see:
d) Clothing Donations

e) Donate Relief Goods

2) What actions can I take

a) Contact your Congresspeople (to get your Senator & Representative's number to MAKE A QUICK CALL, visit to support IMMEDIATE RESCUE EFFORTS to Haiti; and

b) to request TPS for Haitians, not just "halting deportations"

The Obama administration should grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is regularly granted to the people of other countries who've suffered much less disasters than Haiti; by DHS's own definition, even with the hurricanes preceding this earthquake, Haiti is overqualified.

c) and if you want to help & go the extra mile, please WRITE in to media outlets like your local newspaper, and/or newstation's website.


i. Plans are coming together for a trip of Matador volunteers to go to Haiti to assist in earthquake recovery and relief. ; NOAH is also gearing up to head to Haiti.

ii. Hope for Haiti is looking for medical personnel & donations:

iii. So is: "

10:38 AM  
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