HAITI – Of all the places I have ever been, I’ve never seen greater suffering than in a country only 90 minutes by air from Miami. Haiti is a place where the average person is poorer and more vulnerable to disease and crime than anyplace in our hemisphere. But in spite of torturous challenges, most Haitians are cheerful, peaceful believers who work hard every day.
When even a mild natural disaster strikes Haiti, its effects are catastrophic; there are no public safety nets. Most Haitians must depend on each other and a network of small churches led by heroic pastors on shoestring budgets. By working with and through local pastors, we can most effectively reduce suffering and make real, sustainable changes.
Recently, a remote mountainous area suffered a drought; it didn’t rain for about five months. A pastor called and asked for help. We sent tanker trucks filled with chlorinated water and provided a lifeline to 10 villages for several weeks until rains came. Our efforts were fruitful because we worked through local pastors who organized orderly water distributions that ensured free, equal and fair distribution.
While there, we discovered a deeper problem: Almost half of the children were dying before reaching age five. There’s no safe water available in the region. Parents have no choice but to let their children drink contaminated water, so disease runs rampant. We are now training several lead pastors and community health workers, equipping them with chlorine-producing equipment that will enable them to disinfect drinking water so their ministries can become hubs of healing and prevent waterborne disease and death.
Many people think that Haiti is hopeless. Don’t believe that for a minute! Haiti is full of God-loving people who are brimming with promise. Significant progress is being made and we can do much more. Please continue to help us help places like Haiti.