I have vivid memories of Hurricane Opal.
It was October and I was 15 years old. I huddled with my family in my parents’ bedroom all night, listening to the storm rage and wondering when the walls were going to give way. At some point, the wind lifted a small building off the ground and slammed it against the eastern wall of my house. Electricity was severed. Homes were destroyed. Trees fell. Floods raged. And people died.
It was an awful storm.
It’s October and another category 4 hurricane is headed toward a people I love and a place I adore. All the live long day I’ve been checking weather reports and scouring the latest projections and praying fervently for God to protect Haiti.
I’ve seen that vulnerable little country and I’m well aware of how massively unprepared they are. I’m worried sick and in my mind’s eye, I constantly see what I cannot shake:
I see little brown village children chasing bubbles next to shanty houses and piles of debris. I see Mama’s with babies on hips, stirring food over an open fire in the only pot they own. I see the total of a family’s belongings hanging on clothes lines and lining the earthen floor of their tent. I see houses made of tin, and tarp, and cardboard, and sticks. I see half naked children playing in front of makeshift shelters leaning precariously on gravel hillsides.
But what I can’t see is how any of that has a chance against 130mph winds.
Barring God’s divine intervention, many will suffer tremendously at the hands of Hurricane Matthew. And I’m grieving it already.
I know for certain I’m not the only one. All day I’ve been fielding comments and messages from many of you who are burdened for the people of Haiti.
I want to hug your necks.
I’ve wished more than once that we could all gather in one place to nervously fret and watch the news unfold together. Partly because I was raised to deal with the hard stuff as a “we” and not as a “me.” In my way of thinking, we should see this thing through packed in living rooms sitting on the arms of couches as we worry about the worst and root for the best together.
But also because I think people who feel the same about something fuel each other to act for good. When we circle the wagons around a common catastrophe, the vulnerable find protection, the harmed find help, and the devastated find hope.
Dear one who’s worried sick about the Haitian people. let me remind us in light of the impending devastation that we were created to accomplish enormous good. It’s time to allow your compassion be the catalyst to gather your people and find a way to help. This is your moment, tender hearts! Leverage that empathy you feel plus the people you know and the resources you have to help the masses.
We are God’s plan for offering mercy and compassion and love to the hurting. There is no plan B.
As the needs become evident in the days to come, let’s not leave the people of Haiti hanging. I just can’t see that happening.
People will be hungry. Let’s feed them. Many will be injured. Let’s care for them. Homes will need to be rebuilt. Let’s build them. Churches and schools will be destroyed. Let’s raise them up again.
This is no time to sit on the sidelines, friends. Begin praying now about how God would have you help.
Disciples’ Village, the ministry in Haiti I am honored to work for is on the ground and ready to meet needs as soon as the storm passes. If you feel led to give, they will be on the front lines of relief efforts and are worthy of your trust with funds. Every dime given will go straight to hurricane victims. I fly in to Haiti, myself, on October 16.