Reflections on Haiti . . . One Year Later

The following post is written by Laura Gonzalez de Chavez. 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3).

These verses immediately came to my mind a year ago today when our world shook. Sitting in our office in the Dominican Republic, my co-workers and I had no idea of the magnitude of the earthquake in Haiti, our neighbor just a few miles away.

Within a couple of weeks, at least 52 strong aftershocks had been recorded. An estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured, and 1 million had become homeless. All communication and vital infrastructure was severely damaged or destroyed, hampering the aid that was being rushed in from around the world.

During the nights following the earthquake–and still today–many people in Haiti slept in the streets. Gripping stories of wailing orphans and sick people trapped in collapsed buildings were the only topic of conversation. While all this tragedy was happening next door to us, the question lingering in our heads was, “Why not us?”

Lamentations 3:22 says: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

As women who have received His great love, we are called to carry His compassion and mercy to others.

Our pastor’s sermon on the Sunday after the earthquake was sobering. A year later, some thoughts still haunt me:

 

 

1. Why do I need a tragedy to open my eyes to the pain and suffering that surrounds me? Why am I so prone to forget the urgency of the call as soon as my emotions subside?

2. What am I doing as a Christian woman to alleviate the pain of the daily tragedies that surround me? Some are heart wrenching:

  • Every 3.5 seconds a child dies of hunger; 16,000 per day. 
  • Every 24 hours, 5,760 children are orphaned in Africa; that’s one new orphan every 15 seconds.
  • Approximately 5,500 people die of AIDS every day.

We live in a fallen world plagued by sin, many dying without Christ and without hope. This is the worst of all tragedies. Have I really grasped the urgency of the call?

Am I being intentional in sharing the life-giving message of Christ with others? Are you?

May He find us faithful!

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