Semi – update: I never published this, I wrote it 2 years ago. I’ve been meaning to, it’s something I feel very strongly about. We must support children in these developing nations, especially in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Help us Lord!
We received a semi-annual update letter from Friends of Haiti Organization (FOHO) recently. Lowell B. Yoder writes and tells us that things are worse now in Haiti than they were 47 years ago when he first started ministering there. Let me briefly take his letter and put it into terms of “Praises” that he sent, since that is how we, as Christians, and as Westerners, must view this situation in light of the fact that we live in the richest country in the world and we are so blessed.
- Lowell and his wife Marilyn are celebrating 60 years of marriage this year, in honor of that, they will match any $60 contributions to FOHO – Praise God!
- Lowell turns 80 this year, and in honor of that he is matching all $80 contributions to FOHO – Praise God!
- FOHO delivered a 3rd 40′ container to Haiti this year with food, medicine, tents, and most importantly solar ovens for cooking – Praise God!
- 16 of our Free Methodist churches, and 16 of our schools were destroyed by the Earthquake of January 12, and many people were killed, but The Lord’s work goes on, and plans are being made not only to rebuild those churches, but to expand the Free Methodist Church in Haiti and open a “University” for teaching and training new Pastors – Praise God!
- All of FOHO’s vehicles in Haiti were destroyed in the earthquake, have since been replaced with new vehicles – Praise God!
- Those who were injured in the earthquake, Jack Munos and Katie Zook are well on the road to recovery. Those killed in the earthquake, Gene Dufour, Merle West and Jeanne Atchison-Munos are all buried on site at the destroyed FOHO Guest House building in Port Au Prince. Work continues to tear down the destroyed building and plans are being made to rebuild – Praise God!
- A new drilling rig was donated for the work of drilling fresh water wells in Haiti. Hassles with customs and importation of the rig which are usually so troublesome in Haiti were minimized to help get the rig up and working as quickly as possible. The rig is now drilling fresh water wells for tent cities – Praise God!
Hurricane Tomas dealt a glancing blow to Haiti in early November, many tents were destroyed and / or flooded out, and those living in tent cities were sent seeking shelter from disaster again. Our prayer must be that they seek the solace and comfort of the One who can give them true rest – our Lord Jesus. At the same time, we must continue to give them practical help in the form of food, medicine, clean water and shelter. As I reported earlier this year, and Lowell confirms, the United Nations has gone through and constructed some massive tent cities. The U.N., however, apparently is not building adequate sanitation facilities, rather is relying on “Porta-potties” or “Andy Gumps.” While those facilities are adequate for a few days, there are no facilities in place in Haiti for cleaning and reusing those types of temporary facilities or making them suitable for long term use.
This has led to the outbreak of Cholera on the island and dealt a further blow to people who are already suffering unimaginable horror following the loss of loved ones, friends, homes and all their personal belongings. So again, I say we must view all this as opportunity for us to minister to those less fortunate than ourselves.
I want us all, everyone who reads this, and anyone who can – to contribute to FOHO and the work they are doing in Haiti. Cheryl and I are going to forgo Christmas this year and instead make a contribution to FOHO to purchase a solar oven. Those ovens cost $200 for a family oven, and $12,000 for a village oven. This is truly one of the great inventions of this century, and could go a long ways towards helping these people who are living with little food and inadequate cooking facilities to even boil water to make it sanitary. You may also make contributions through Free Methodist World Missions, the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund, the Bishop’s Famine Relief Fund, or through International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), all of which have online donation capability.
In honor of the song that came out a few years back about whether there will be Christmas in Africa this year, I’d like to write a poem about Christmas in Haiti.
Christmas in Haiti came again,
Children didn’t know that Santa had been,
As they still had a hollow feeling inside,
and in their ragged cities where they abide,
nothing had changed, nor been rearranged.
How can you celebrate the coming to earth,
of our dear Savior, when there’s such a dearth?
Of presents, or feasting, or holiday cheer,
All you know, and have seen is death and despair,
but children are hopeful, in spite of it all.
Those children lost parents, and brothers and sisters,
friends and possessions in this year’s disasters,
How can you be hopeful in spite of all this?
You do what you can, and you imagine sweet bliss.
They think about joy, every girl and boy.
It’s all up to us, who have so much.
We must give up, our stuff and our rush,
We must make a sacrifice in order to see,
How little is our difficulty, it really can’t be,
as bad as we see them, we must help free them.
So Christmas in Haiti came again this year,
There wasn’t much hope, or light or cheer,
But maybe a little light can be given there,
Because some of us here, decided to care.
We have gratitude and so send them food.
The change in our hearts might help ignite,
A wildfire of passion for our Savior’s light,
His coming to earth as a small baby boy,
Who didn’t have much either, just hope and joy,
The gift that He gave, we now use to save.
We share in our excess, our wealth and our time,
Whatever we have, we must give for their crime,
Is just being born, in a place not like this,
We have so much and we moan and we hiss,
Our troubles are small, they’re nothing at all.
Our loaves and our fishes,
Can help with the wishes,
Of some poor kids in that place which is near,
Yes Haiti is closer, than you might fear,
And so is the darkness, so let’s not be careless.
Our task is simple, yet so awesome in scope,
Cause God will take our little and turn it to hope.
God can take despair and turn it to wonder,
He’s the only one who can turn suffering asunder,
This is the mystery, and Christmas’ true history.