Neighbors in Crisis: Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Let’s not forget our neighbors — Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Both countries are in a major state of emergency right now. Let me ask you a simple question. If you were sitting out a hurricane, which house would you rather sit it out in?

Housing in Greenville, NC

Housing in Greenville, NC

Housing in the Dominican Republic

Housing in the Dominican Republic

Housing in Charleston, SC

Housing in Charleston, SC

Housing in Haiti

Housing in Haiti
















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:

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.


10 thoughts on “Neighbors in Crisis: Haiti and the Dominican Republic

  1. Juli Jarvis says:

    Lizabeth — I don’t know about other organizations, but I do know that when you sponsor a child through Compassion International, you can give family gifts and designate that they buy a particular gift for them. The boy I sponsor in Haiti buys a goat each time I send a few dollars for birthday and Christmas. I know that Compassion will purchase anything you designate, whether it be books, a soccer ball, a doll, a goat or sheep. Compassion has a partnership with projects in North America, and you can call them to get details about how it works: 1-800-336-7676.

  2. Lizabeth says:

    The absence of sheep is astonishing. Why are we so focused on cows and pigs? We are to take care of the flock. The lost sheep.
    It is NOT just symbolic. It is as real as Jesus is. Why are we Americans hurting ourselves so much?
    Ok. The reason for this e-mail is: donation of shares of sheep. Many, including our family, are not able to donate a full sheep, let alone a pair that would be necessary for the families in need to breed to use for milk, meat, clothing and the whole process involved in husbandry. Samaritan’s Purse said they can not guarentee that only sheep would be donated in their dairy donation program. World Compassion has goats available.
    Do you have a way or know of an organization that follows Christ Jesus( = kosher) that we could get sheep to the families in need, including ones in America?

  3. Sarah says:

    Sadly, the situation in Haiti has not improved. An estimated 500,000 Haitians have been left with NO food since the hurricanes struck in mid September. The destrcution of homes and crops was near total.

    The Lambi Fund of Haiti is a wonderful organization that focuses on grassroots led sustainable development and women’s rights.

    Also, Dominican Crossroads in the Dominican Republic has worked for years building homes for the poorest of the poor, they have provided opportunities to educate their children and developed a highly successful fair-trade co op.

    Please check either of these groups working hard on the Island of Hispanolia to make a difference.

  4. Shaun Groves says:

    Awesome. Fantastic writing and solid information. Thank you for using your on-line voice to speak for the poor and Compassion International.

    Please let me know if you ever need a thing from Compassion. I’m always available to help you help children in the developing world.

    If anyone reading is a blogger and would like to post on behalf of Compassion International, they can go to and sign up for monthly blog “assignments” under “Blog For Compassion.”

    Thanks again.

    -Shaun Groves
    Blogger Relations

  5. Juli Jarvis says:

    Thank you Jill — wow, this is amazing. I suppose you understand well the point I’m trying to make here!

  6. Jill says:

    This is a great post! The first thing that caught my eye was the house in Greenville…I lived there for 4 years and I think I remember driving by that specific house on our way to church!!! Maybe not…so many look alike these days!

    Anyway, thanks for the great post. Have you seen the dolls Abbie is making (with the proceeds going to the Global Food Crisis)? I have a link to her from my site…

    I think I’m going to go link to you right now…

  7. Thank you Juli for truly making a difference by letting others know what they can do to help children and their families in need.

  8. Juli Jarvis says:

    Beverly — Thanks for the comment. You certainly may link to it, gladly. We need to get the word out that our neighbors need help. See this link to find out what you can do to help:

  9. Beverly says:

    Hi, Juli,
    Thanks for posting this. I would like to link to it on my blog. I came here from Vicki’s blogg.

  10. ian says:

    I appreciate all the ways you “speak up,” Juli! It’s inspiring. The Lord is good.

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