I cradle the phone between my ear and shoulder as I wash the supper dishes and wait for Ruth to answer. She picks up on the second ring.
“Hey Ruth. It’s Jennifer. How are you?”
“I’m fine,” she says. “Doin’ fine.”
“Yeah, me, too.”
Then the truth comes quickly: “No, not really. I’m not fine at all.”
“Me neither,” I say. “I’m not the least bit fine at all.”Haiti. Haiti. Haiti.
For the Earth shook, and we’re both shaking, too. Because our hearts beat like this:
She’s talking through the pain, and I keep washing pots and pans. Gallons of fresh water run free and fast over my clean dishes that were heaped with steaming food minutes ago in this house that is warm and sturdy and full and safe.
the people of Haiti shake
“When you’ve touched them and you’ve held them, it’s so hard,” Ruth says, and I can hear the lump in her throat.
I can hear her urgency, too: “I’ve got to get back there. We need to give those kids hope.”
Our little corner of Iowa is woven into the fabric of Haiti. We’ve touched toes to their dirt, held their babies, prayed for their orphans, sent our secondhand shoes to their growing babies. In our little country church — right now — we have two half-filled suitcases that our neighbors were planning to take to Haiti when they left early next month. I have sacks upon sacks of their socks and Band-aids and toothpaste in my garage.
But then the buildings tumbled, and the people cried out.
The Earth shook.
We shook, too.
And we need to shake. The whole world needs to shake. We need a bit of a spiritual earthquake to move us.
But what do we do?
What does God expect from us?
He says: MOVE.
Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
— Saint Teresa of Avila
Ruth’s son knows what it means to act on faith. His name is Levi. He’s 9.
Last year, he sent letters to people all over northwest Iowa asking us to donate. He wanted to build a homeless shelter for the poorest of the poor. He’s raised $24,836 of the $30,000 that he needs. And he planned to go to Haiti in February to watch them break ground.
Did I mention that he’s 9 years old?
Now, he won’t be able to go. But already, Levi has plans to raise $54,000 to raise enough money to provide meals for a whole month for a village leveled near the epicenter.
He can do it.
So can I.
So can you.
So can we.
This is the Multiplication of Giving: One + one + one + one.
And these are the agencies and the people that we know and trust and support. Each of these agencies has received our financial contributions and/or prayer through the years.
And they’ve also earned our trust.
Mission-Haiti — These friends in Christ from South Dakota have been the hands and feet of Jesus for many years in Haiti. Right now, they are trying to raise $12,000 to send a container of food and supplies to Haiti immediately. They are also raising funds to assist in rebuilding their orphanage in Ti-Rivier.
Mission of Hope — See that sweet photo of Matthew at the top of the post? He lives at the Mission of Hope. He is the adopted son of some very dear friends here in northwest Iowa. They found him in November covered in gnats on a dirty blanket in an orphanage. Matthew is doing fine, but the Mission where he resides needs our help. You can donate to Mission of Hope by clicking here.
Saving Ministries — Our friends, Jeaneen and Herlan, have helped found this organization with their Haitian “son” Claude, who lives with them and attends Dordt College (where I teach). Right now, Claude is on his way from Iowa to Haiti to check on his family and his village, which was leveled in the earthquake.
Other sites we support:
Feed My Starving Children
Kids Against Hunger (We are packing food for Haiti here next Thursday in Sioux Falls!)
This is not a mission for this day alone, but for the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Will we answer the call?
Haiti President Rene Preval said of his country two years ago: ”Once this first wave of humanitarian compassion is exhausted, we will be left as always, truly alone, to face new catastrophes and see restarted, as if in a ritual, the same exercises of mobilization.”
Let us not leave them alone.
Photo: Contributed graciously by the parents of sweet Matthew.