Called Up

Unbelievable to me how things come together.

I have this huge heaviness in my heart for Haiti.
Our church donates thousands of dollars for earthquake relief, all of which we sent to Haiti via the Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Fund.
Today, my dear, awesome and amazing friend Jackie texts me with some incredible news about Haiti.

“Guess what? As part of the disaster relief team, I have been called up for Haiti. As long as I can get my flight money together, I leave Feb 22.”

I feel like I’m part of something amazing.
Not that this is all about me, but what other perspective do I have?
All I know is that everywhere I look – under, over, sideways – I see grace. The grace of purpose and redemption, healing and hope, forgiveness and future.
And people who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

You can help. Contact me to find out how.

Don’t Forget

The Haitian government estimates approximately 230,000 died in the quake

It estimates a further 300,000 people have sustained injuries

An unknown number of others have died from untreated sepsis, illness, and injury

One million remain homeless

Fifty thousand families have received tent-type emergency shelters

Tents donated by the Cirque du Soleil might soon house the Haitian government

More than 500,000 children are orphans

More than 20,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished

The Miami-Dade School District has enrolled 1,000 Haitian children

Most of Port-au-Prince’s schools are planning to reopen

Doctors have treated more than 100,000 people, performing 2,000 to 4,000 amputations

More than 7,000 babies have been born

Eighty percent of Port-au-Prince remains without power

One thousand planes are waiting for permission to land at Port-au-Prince’s airport

Haiti’s airport, under the direction of the U.S. Air Force, is landing 100 airplanes a day; prior to the earthquake, it handled three to five

Cruise ships continue to dock in gated zones in northern Haiti

The drive from the Dominican Republic, which formerly took six hours, now takes 18

Economists estimate the earthquake impacted half of Haiti’s GDP

International donors have committed at least $3 billion to the rebuilding effort

The United Nations Development Program has started an initiative to pay Haitians $3 a day to clear rubble and help rebuild, to infuse cash into the economy

Nearly half of American families have donated to Haitian disaster relief organizations

The United States has caught the first ship of 78 Haitians attempting to immigrate into the United States illegally — it sent them back

The United States might cut non-Haiti disaster programs by 40 percent, possibly leading to smaller programs for Congo and Sudan.

The rainy season has just started, soaking Port-au-Prince, collapsing many temporary homes, and increasing risks from water and sewage-borne illnesses

Help Haiti – Rejoice!

Yeah, I know. Haiti, Haiti, Haiti.

But life goes on there. Life and death.
If you haven’t seen this on the news yet, please watch. Over seven days, buried in rubble, and yet the human spirit perseveres.
Your heart will quake – in a good way.
Have you ever seen such a smile?

One At A Time

Over a week later, Haitians are still struggling.

Don’t forget about them.
Please continue to pray. Contribute funds. Stay informed. Read this post to catch a glimpse of how God’s people continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are in desperate need.
My prayer is that God would pour showers of grace over Haiti. It’s hard to know what else to pray for; the need is so great. I heard an interview on NPR this morning; an aid worker said the key to helping in Haiti is to realize that you can’t save Haiti – but you can help people, one at a time.
Don’t forget.
Add your contribution to that of the PCC family through our website; click the “Online Giving” tab and 100% of your donation will go directly to Haiti Earthquake Disaster relief. Click here to help.

Helping Haiti!

I am thrilled to share an exciting bit of news with you regarding the generosity of the PCC community. During Sunday services we provided an opportunity to assist the Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Team as they offer aid to the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. At the end of the service, we invited folks to participate in a special offering by bringing their gift to baskets on the stage.

As of today, the total amount headed to Haiti is
over $6,500!
If you were not able to give on Sunday, mark your offering with ‘Haiti’ in the memo line or in an envelope marked ‘Haiti’ and drop it in the offering basket this Sunday. You can also bring a donation to the office (4480 Anderson Highway) or drop it in the mail (P.O. Box 834). You can also donate online through the PCC website.
Your generosity is stunning. We are overwhelmed and extremely grateful!

Photo by Getty images, originally found here.

Pay Attention. Get A Life. Cut The Crap.

Still compelled to search out stories of Haiti, watching CNN, talking through the news with my family. Finding that these thoughts are not only occupying my immediate concerns, but somehow connecting with a shifting sense of purpose.

I’m at this place where I know that things are changing, shifting. It feels like a pivot point of sorts.
It’s tied to this book, which I just finished Saturday night. I intend to write a more detailed review later, but for now, I’ll just say the tale of this guy’s most recent journey deeply affected my view of the world and the people in it. And myself.
And I have felt so compelled by the stories coming out of Haiti – not the CNN blurbs and the news stories, but by the people who are there, blogging about their experiences here and here. I’m thinking about organizations like this one and this one that have poured their resources into walking beside the people of Haiti not just because an earthquake has devastated the country, but because they were called – years ago – to invest their lives into something that matters.
After my pastor’s message yesterday about stewardship and using our resources and talents and money to do something that matters, I am overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions and something more deeply spiritual.
Some sort of calling.
If I have learned anything in these twenty-odd years of walking purposefully with Jesus, it is that these things grow and smolder and mature only with time. So I’m not rushing, not jumping, not moving too quickly.
I am waiting, with expectancy. And I am provoked to move even deeper into some self-examination by a post by photographer/pastor Mark Beeson, which you can read in its entirety here. Here’s an excerpt from the post that caught my attention; Beeson was pondering the helplessness we sometimes feel in tandem with a desire to help, to fly to Haiti, to simply do something.

*Get a life. Make a plan worthy of your existence.
*Pay attention. Start listening to those doing what you’d like to do.
*Practice. Want to do something great? Start building your talent, strength and stamina – one step at a time.
*Cut the crap. Read a good book…memorize 2 Peter 1:2-12 and fuel up.
*Get in gear. Gravity hates you. Intercept your entropy and start moving.
*You’re going to die. There. Now that we’ve got that settled, what’s to fear? Go ahead and live.
*Say, “No.” Stop spending more than you have, or you’ll have nothing to offer. Manage your money, time and energy so you have something to give others. Get yourself in position to help. – Mark Beeson

The Vastness Of Sorrow

Stumbled upon this blog tonight while doing some reading.

The Livesay family works and lives in Haiti; they work with Heartline Ministries and World Wide Village. They lived through the earthquake. Now they are working through the aftermath.
They are on the front lines of this tragedy, and they are sharing what they see and experience via their blog.
It brings it home.
I’ve posted several times this week about Haiti, and I am reminded that my own years in the Dominican Republic embedded some deep and permanent affection for the island of Hispaniola. I lived and taught school there for three years in the mid-eighties. The impact of Haitian culture and people was clearly felt in the DR; this week, the impact has resonated with part of my own history. I find myself so moved, and so compelled to help. And so reminded of our helplessness.
For me, safely wrapped in cotton pajamas sitting by the gentle spray of a low-wattage light bulb, it is sobering. And almost ridiculous, to know of the vastness – the incredibly overwhelming sheer amount of death and loss and sorrow and pain – and to sit here and read about it. It feels…wrong, somehow…
We’re all paying attention now; the world is looking, and seeing the sorrow, the inadequacy, the lack of structure, the way much of the world lives. The way hundreds of thousands of people do life every day. We see the pictures and catch just a glimpse – maybe – of the impact of the earthquake, an event that has illuminated a country whose people live lives so far removed from what we perceive to be “normal”.
The street outside the morgue in Port au Prince is stacked five-deep with bodies. Dead bodies. People. Brothers, sisters, wives, sons, mothers, daughters. Babies. I saw a photograph, bodies littered all over the street, stacked up, limbs splayed, bloodied. It was grotesque and disturbing. I forced myself to look, to see those bodies, to try to grasp somehow that each was a person, a soul, a life surprisingly cut short.
It is horrific.
I was at a party tonight. We ate fresh shrimp and dip; chips and brownies. The punch bowl was refilled several times with full cartons of sherbet and fresh bottles of ginger ale.
I spent my evening surrounded by fresh shrimp and Ghiradelli brownies and pleasant conversation.
Haiti is surrounded by death and destruction, confusion and chaos.
I am struggling tonight with this dichotomy, how life can be so safe, sterile and sanitary on one hand, and so completely devastated on the other.
I cannot fully grasp the depth of this human experience. I cannot discern the line that separates us.
I pray that God hears the cries of the people of Haiti. I pray that he heals and restores. I pray that he redeems all that has been broken.
I pray, and I send more money, and I pray.

Help Haiti

If you haven’t already supported one of the many aid organizations sending financial help to Haiti, or if you’d like to pool your offering with that of your church family, we will give you a chance to do just that this Sunday at PCC. At the end of Sunday’s service we will have a focused time of prayer and an opportunity to help.

PCC is partnering with the Disaster Relief Program of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board to send 100% of your contribution to the recovery work in Haiti. The Disaster Relief Team works in partnership with the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and several other national and international agencies to offer assistance.
Write checks with “Haiti” in the memo line to donate on Sunday.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…I needed clothes and you clothed me….I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. – Matthew 25