"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you."
-Philippians 4:9

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's a Personal Thing

The situation in Haiti has become of personal interest to Dan and I because of relationships with his co-workers. Some of you may not be aware, but Disney World is run with a large population of Haitian workers. It is so great a population that all employment documents are printed in 3 languages: English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. The effect of this earthquake - it's devastation to entire families - is heart-wrenching. Disney has effectively offered amnesty to any Haitian nationals for days off of work; they are calling in daily and there are no reprimands at all as they try to spend their time tracking down family. Communications have been difficult at best.

One of Dan's coworkers has heard nothing about her family, but chooses to come in to work anyway rather than sit idly in her apartment worrying. Another has had her uncle call in for her every day since the tragedy because she is so distraught; her friend in Haiti was able to send her news that she has likely lost her *entire* family. Their apartment building collapsed and they can find none of them. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, brothers, sisters - all shared 3 apartments in the same building and none can be found. To her knowledge, her only remaining family is the uncle with whom she moved to the United States. Hers is not an isolated incident. Those who have lost family have lost great numbers of family.

And the effects do not end there. Port-Au-Prince is the supply center for the entire nation. As its infrastructure has collapsed, the outlying areas find attaining food and fuel - basic necessities - to be near impossible. My friends, I find myself wondering what one person can do in this mess. Will the monetary donations make it into the right hands? If supplies are purchased, can they be delivered? What can be done?? And what difference will it make? I don't honestly know. I find myself remembering the words of another missionary in Kenya, Johnny Brooks. He says that he went there with big visions of ending poverty, changing the world. And over time, he realized that he could only touch one life at a time.

Can we fix it all? Can we make it all better? No. We can't. Not for everyone. But we *can* use the connections that we personally have, the resources that we personally have, and we can use them to help in the small place to which we have access. It won't fix everything. But it will minister Christ's love in the place He can use us. It may seem small. But think about the times when someone who could touch you helped in a seemingly small way. It made a difference *to you* didn't it? Maybe that's what it's about. Not one person tackling the whole big world of problems, but one person reaching one other person.

On that note, let me introduce you to the small place to which *I* have access:

Good Shepherd Ministries is led by a family - the Youngers - that I knew from my teen years on. I babysat their kids (and their pit bull who was such a teddy bear!), watched them train them up in the love of the Lord, and, along with them, heard many presentations from the organization they now lead in Haiti during my growing-up years. After I had married and moved away, they chose to become full-time missionaries in Haiti with the missions group that had presented so many times in our church. Good Shepherd has been operating in Haiti since the 1970's, providing schools, orphan care, medicinal care, and living the love of Christ. The Youngers were not in-country at the time of the earthquake, but you can read of their ongoing work there, ways that you can help, and the people that they already have on the ground at this time. There are far-reaching consequences to the entire country from this earthquake, and Good Shepherd is uniquely positioned to help even in out-lying areas of Haiti beyond the Port-au-Prince area.

Please be praying for the Youngers, their staffers, and their families. Take a look at their website and decide if maybe theirs is a ministry that you are led to support. Find the small thing you can do to touch the other life you can touch.

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