Haiti—6 Months In

Today marks the six month anniversary of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake.   Aside from the small uptick of coverage surrounding the 6-month milestone, the eyes of the world havelargely  turned elsewhere:  to oil leaks, soccer matches and November elections.   Of course, this was all but inevitable.  The 24-hour news cycle is fueled by “new,” and a tale of ongoing struggle, grinding poverty, and a less-than-hoped-for rebuilding is anything but new.

There’s certainly a place for frustration at the reality that guides news programmers:  most consumers of news can sustain concern for tragedy for no more than a few months at most.  But, of course, that is the world we live in, as much a testimony to the Fall as the earthquake itself.  Equally significant, if we tried to sustain concern for every tragedy we’ve ever seen, we’d likely break down in paralyzed sorrow.

So what do we do with that?   Here are just a few thoughts:

1)       Do what we can. Prayer requires no news cameras, and it is a commitment any believer can make to a tragedy—for months, years and even more.

2)      Support the ongoing work. Many Christian Alliance for Orphans member organizations served in Haiti long before the earthquake and are now as hard at work as ever.  Buck the give-when-an-issue-is-fresh trend and support their ongoing work.

3)      Be reminded. As news outlets mark the six month anniversary with stories on Haiti, take a moment to renew concern with a window into what is happening now: from The Independent’s story of Wideleine Fils Amie, to CNN’s report on an adopted Haitian orphan to ABC News coverage from this weekend.

4)      Focus on your calling. Feeling obligated to address every need we’ve seen can paralyze us, finally dissolving into a blend of apathy and low-grade guilt.    I’m pretty sure that’s not how God would have us respond.  Rather, in each moment He invites us to focus on a single task He’s set before us:  the broken individual we encounter on the Jericho road.  Yes, we often can give prayers and financial support to a broad range of needs.  But ultimately, to truly love our neighbor requires focus on particular needs in particular places.   If that’s Haiti for you, pour yourself into it with abandon, joining with others who share your calling.  But if you sense it’s elsewhere, let Haiti remind you that there is a higher calling for our abilities than just feathering our own nests.  Our gifts, our strengths, our money, our time, our creativity, our passion are needed for Kingdom work.