Who can ignore the needs of the people in Haiti? When news stations and other aid organizations are gone from Haiti, Compassion will remain, as it has for four decades. The church exists “for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).” I participated in a conference call today with various Compassion leaders & church partners. It was amazing! Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:
1. Craig Groeschel — Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv :
Prayer: ”We pray that Your church, which is unshakeable, would shine.”
2. Wess Stafford — President and CEO of Compassion International:
“This is a dark, dark time in Haiti — and a perfect time for God’s people to shine.”
3. More notes from Wess Stafford:
Every day 500 children accept Christ at the knee of their Pastor; it’s time for the church to come alongside the pastors and churches in Haiti. Tens of thousands of people in Haiti are also formerly sponsored kids, since we’ve been there four decades. Pray for these church leaders. We have been born “for such a time as this.”
The church is being the church today; not waiting for outside aid. While aid & relief is getting snarled up at the airport and at the ports, the Haitian church is already inside and working actively, even out of their own sorrow & grief. Many staff members have lost family members; one in particular has lost all five children. But they have come out of the rubble and out of their own grief and gathered at a parking lot at the site of our former office. A number of graduates have also gathered with them to be of help. The Dominican Republic command post is on the border and their truck convoys ARE getting through.
“This is time for Haiti to have a rebirth.”
“Our job now is to get to them quickly, and encourage them.”
“The Church is God’s “Plan A,” and there is no “Plan B. This is time for the church to BE the church.”
4. Bill Hybels — Pastor of Willow Creek Church:
Within 24 hours, in the face of their own grief, the Haitian church had given away what they have, and were out on the streets to minister. Now, my job is to make sure that Willow Creek is being the church it’s supposed to be. We need to rise up — not to collect blankets or supplies (for that would only clog the collection ports further) — but simply, to give money. We need to keep this vision in front of our people long after the CNN crews leave — let’s keep replenishing this war chest.
“We need to keep a determination to stay in it until the local church is rebuilt in the Port-au-Prince area. Let the military rebuild the streets & the power grid; let’s route our money instead to the local pastors, working on the street levels.”
5. Edouard Lassegue — Vice President of Compassion’s Caribbean & Latin American area (and former Compassion Haiti Director):
Our staff is going from project to project to assess the needs.
30-50 projects are affected; we need to mobilize resources there.
200 others are not affected; we need to help them mobilize to start activities again as soon as possible.
Condition of the church in Haiti:
- a church under shock
- destruction is everywhere (if churches are not damaged; people are still afraid to go in them
- people are coming to worship near the churches
- fear and confusion (more aftershocks coming?)
- intense sadness
- questioning God
- a sense of generosity — collecting pennies to help others
- overwhelmed by the needs coming to their churches
- movement to mobilize & coordinate efforts with our other church partners — Compassion is one organization that has those contacts, networks, & credibility already in place
- last week’s sermon from a Haitian pastor — “If you have a potato, cut it in half and give it to someone who has none.”
- Note: Edouard is going to Haiti tomorrow to encourage the leaders — He will challenge them to show courage and leadership in this time
Needs of the Haitian church:
- financial support — you can give here
- the Haitians need to feel they are not alone, not abandoned — churches giving support need to stay with it over the long haul
- leadership needs to come from within — and lead with integrity, service, responsibility, etc.
- construction — not only buildings, but rebuilding the lives of people especially
6. David Dahlin — Executive Vice President of Compassion International:
“My prayer is that Haiti get rebuilt in a way that it becomes better than before — that something new will come out of all this.” [by the way, this prayer came from his son, who recently made a commitment to Christ]
“CNN, NBC, BBC, and all the “C’s” will be leaving soon, but this will be a long-term effort. The “Big C” that remains is Compassion, the Church and Christ. We have the opportunity to shine a bright light in this dark hour.”
7. Andy Stanley — Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church:
“Give us Your eyes to see this nation as you see it…Lord, this is not too difficult for You, but it is WAY too difficult for us.”
8. To see how your church can be involved, click this link:
As you can see, it was an amazing and inspirational conference call. Compassion has been in Haiti for four decades, and will continue to serve the church and the poor for years to come. It is a company you can trust to operate in ways of integrity, responsibility and sensitivity. Please share this information with your pastors and see what your church can do to support the relief efforts. Keep in mind that it needs to be a sustained, continuing effort, for many months and years to come, until we see the Haitian churches and projects rebuilt and serving the needs of the children again for God’s glory.
Please — give and pray today.