Almost two years ago, a devastating earthquake shook shook the small country of Haiti and killed over 300,000 people, injured another 300,000, and left over 1 million people homeless and lacking basic necessities such as food and water.
Through Churches Helping Churches, a charity I co-founded with Pastor James MacDonald, I was on the ground in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, days after the devastation. It was heartbreaking to see an already impoverished country suffering from such unspeakable pain and suffering as bodies were still unburied in the streets, nearly half of the city’s buildings were collapsed, and people were literally starving from lack of supplies.
A year later, I returned to the city, and sadly, conditions had not improved much. In reflection on that trip, I wrote the following last year:
The city remains in ruins. The parks are filled with tent cities where people sleep under tarps without even the most basic of supplies. Estimates are that over a million people are living in tents around Port-au-Prince. Since I was there a year ago, little visible progress can be seen. Rubble has been cleared from the roads and bodies that were easily accessible have been collected while the rest remain untouched under collapsed buildings. There is virtually no reconstruction underway anywhere and no sense of urgency. Without much of a functional government or military and only the most minimal of police forces, combined with the fact that the average person has only a third-grade education, any cultural renewal in Haiti will be painfully slow. Destruction has simply become the new normal in Port-au-Prince.
Thankfully, the people of Haiti have been sustained by an enormous output of international aid for medicine, food, and reconstruction, of which Churches Helping Churches was blessed to be a part, having taken in special offerings totaling over $2.7 million to deliver $1.7 million in medical aid, hold dozens of retreats for Haitian pastors to serve and build them up so they are healthy and able to go serve their communities, and rebuild over 50 churches in Haiti.
My trips to Haiti were sobering, as I saw first hand the pain and suffering associated with starvation and malnutrition. Obviously, most of us have it good in America, and it’s rare that we see such want and need as I witnessed in Haiti. Seeing that kind of need makes it easy to understand the very basic and simple call of Jesus to feed those who are hungry (Matthew 25:35).
Sadly, there is still much work to be done in Haiti. Even sadder, Haiti is just one of scores of countries around the world where there is a dire need for food and medicine.
Thankfully, there is a way you can help.
Support Food for the Hungry
One organization that my family has partnered with to help relieve the problem of hunger and malnutrition around the wold is Food for the Hungry, who are also generous sponsors of the Real Marriage tour starting in 2012.
This year, my family will be picking families to sponsor as a project for the holidays. As a dad whose primary pastoral duty is to my family, I find doing activities like this to be immensely important as I want to teach my children to be thankful for God’s blessings to be mindful of why God blesses us—so that we can be a blessing to those in need.
I especially like to do this around the Christmas holidays because it’s a good counterpoint to the prevailing message of our culture, which is to buy and consume. As Christians, we know that this season is all about giving, as it’s about the greatest gift of all—Jesus—the reason we celebrate in the first place.
This Christmas season, I encourage you to also start a tradition with your family to support a family in need through Food for the Hungry. In doing so, you’ll be pastoring your family well and providing for families around the world who are sorely in need.
Click the button below to sponsor a family through Food for the Hungry.
And please, share this post. Let’s get a get groundswell of support going for this great organization and the families it supports during the holidays.