I don’t place these photos here to make you feel sorry for these people. I place them here to make the point that these countries are in a very serious crisis right now. They have weathered not just one tropical storm, but three — Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, and Tropical Storm Hanna. Meanwhile, Hurricane Ike is on its way this weekend. In addition, the world is in a severe Global Food Crisis as well, and Haiti is one of the hardest hit areas of all.
When we were in the Dominican Republic in January, we met a family whose children had not eaten all day. What would have happened to Oscar’s family if Mindy had not sponsored him on the spot? His letters to her now tell about good meals at the project, support for the family, a tutor who works with him on his studies (this teenager had never attended school until now), and the fact that his baby brother (whom we felt would die shortly) was “doing better.”
We were also in homes and Compassion projects near the border of Haiti, and then met some unsponsored children on the street. When we asked our guides what theses children eat, we were told that when supplies are low, the mothers make mud cookies for their children. Mud cookies are made of dirt, grass, salt and water, and are one of the worst items a desperate mother can feed her children.
I can’t help but think that these are some of our neighbors that Jesus spoke about in Luke 10:27: “He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
How do we love our neighbors? By coming to their aid when they are in crisis, in suffering and in desperation. Here are several things you and I can do through the trustworthy ministry of Compassion International:
- Give to the Global Food Crisis Fund
- Donate to the Haiti Hurricane Response Fund
- Pray for the Projects and Country Office Staff in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
- Support the Unsponsored Childrens’ Fund
- Give to the Disaster Relief Fund
With that said, I do want to point out something that Ephraim Lindor (of the country staff in Haiti) said in a recent interview on the Compassion Blog. This is what he was asked: “How has the global food crisis affected children in Haiti? Which would be the most important option for sponsors who want to help – to sponsor an additional child, to send a family gift to our child, or to send a donation to Compassion specifically for the food crisis?” Here was his answer:
“The food crisis has affected most of the Haitian families especially the lower class with low income. Considering the unemployment rate (75 percent) and the lack of government capacity to respond to the crisis, we can assume that the children are the most vulnerable as many of them can no longer go to school and find food to eat as they should.
With that in mind, my personal opinion is that the best option would be to sponsor an additional child. The advantage of such a decision is that the child will have both, the opportunity to go to school and also to find food through the Compassion response to the food crisis program.”
So there you have it. The best response on our part is still to make that commitment to sponsor a child — support them financially, provide for their education, develop a relationship with them, and keep in touch through personal letters. If you haven’t sponsored a child yet, you need to begin with this crucial step. If you do sponsor children already, you might consider giving to the funds listed above, or sponsoring another child in need.
Finally, I would be glad to entertain any questions you might have about this ministry, so please let me know if you have questions. I have sponsored children since 1988, and have been a volunteer Child Advocate since 1994. I am convinced that this ministry is working with integrity, and that it works.