….hard to do when you witness your world falling down around you and as you wander the streets anxiously searching for loved ones while hearing the wailing of voices from those trapped beneath the rubble. Can’t be easy to believe your heart will stop breaking and the tears will ever cease to flow as you step over the piles of lifeless bodies, lovingly shrouded by forlorn family members with discolored blankets or tattered sheets out of respect for those who fell victim to this natural disaster. You may wish to raise your fists to the heavens because of the anger you feel at having lost everything within a city and country that is your home……but their faith is strong and as reporters noted yesterday as I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN, prayers and hymns are being sung along roadsides and amidst the darkness. Families and complete strangers huddle together, lifting their hands to God, asking for His mercy, for His strength, for His help and most importantly thanking Him for the sparing of lives and for the amazing work He will do in restoring that which nature attempted to destroy.
Hard to imagine children being in school, hands raised ready to answer the next question being posed by their teacher, then within seconds the world caves in and with it claims the lives of those who had an entire life ahead of them. Or the hospitals where patients were on the way to recovery from successful surgeries or had just been admitted for an unforeseen emergency, then as the hand moved just slightly on the clock, lives were lost as cinder blocks cracked and fell and walls gave in to the shifting ground below.
As we pray for the those who lost loved ones, for the injured, for the search and rescue teams, for those administering medical attention, for the police and military trying to keep everyone safe, for the relief agencies striving to feed, clothe and shelter victims and first responders…reflect as well on your own lives and the country you live in. So many countries, which includes Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, don’t have the modern luxuries we do such as microwaves, washers, dryers or indoor plumbing. They could go days without a meal and a warm shower and many times the clothes on their back is all they possess. Be thankful for your lives, for where you live and for the joys and the struggles. And realize that this world is large but yet we are all brothers and sisters to one another. When one hurts, we all hurt. As we see pain and suffering, we too weep for those lives lost. Let us never forget to do what we can for “Others” in this world and not wait for a disaster to take place such as the Tusnami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti…let’s be there for one another every day; find a way to serve and give back, whether it’s missions work, volunteering at a local charity, mentoring a child within an afterschool program and sitting with the elderly as they share stories of yesterday.
I thank all of you for your support of The Salvation Army year round and for your immediate call to action when disaster does strike. Your donation of time and money enables us to reach those hurting with not only supplies but emotional and spiritual care as well.
Below is an excerpt from the SalvationArmyUSA Blog:
History of The Salvation Army in Haiti / effects of earthquake on Salvation Army properties, programs.
- The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950 and currently operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children’s homes and church-related activities spread across two major facilities in Port au Prince, close to the epicenter of the earthquake and at other locations in the country.
- One of the facilities, or compounds as it is referred to, includes a home for more than 50 children; a school with a daily attendance of 1,500 children; a medical clinic caring for 150-200 people daily; and a church that on any typical Sunday welcomes nearly 1,000 people. The facility is less than 10 minutes from the National Palace and is in an area known as St. Martin that’s home to predominantly poor living in the nation’s capital.
- According to reports from Salvation Army staff in Port au Prince, no one in the compound was injured during the earthquake, but the children’s home, the clinic and church suffered major damage. Several smaller buildings, including residences, have collapsed completely. People were sleeping in the parking lot overnight, while severe aftershocks continued to affect the country.
- The second compound that houses Salvation Army administrative offices is being used as an emergency operations center; damage was slight to this compound, according to Salvation Army reports from Haiti.
- The Salvation Army hospital in Fond-des-Negres (75 miles west of Port-au-Prince) reports some minor damage, but no injuries.
The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations to assist in the effort via: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and postal mail at: The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Disaster Relief Fund, PO Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728.