Haiti Five Years Later

School children

Five years ago, the nation of Haiti was rocked by a 7.2 earthquake.    Many of the news reports around this anniversary speak of the billions of dollars in aid and the fact that there is still so much to be done.  

I have visited Haiti three times since the quake.   Each time one could see significant improvements that are being made.   Rubble was being cleared, damaged buildings torn down, and roads were being paved.  

Arriving at the airport when I first went down meant walking across the tarmac and going through a large pole bard to claim your luggage and go through customs.   Now, the airport has been improved and new areas built.  There is air conditioning, a luggage area and duty free stores!

Five years ago, tent cities were everywhere around Port au Prince.   Estimates say more than 1.5 million people were living in tent cities.   Many of those tent cities are gone, and yet reports suggest more than 85,000 people still are living in tents.

My visits have shown me the great disparities in wealth.   There are many who are doing quite well in Haiti, but the vast majority of people live very simply and in great poverty.

I cannot speak to where all the money went or why more has not been done.  One can other accounts about that.

What I can speak about is the great faith and love of the people I have met in Haiti and the tremendous work of the Christian church in Haiti.

My 14 year old son traveled with our family and a group from our church last spring.  He commented many times about how friendly the Haitian people are and how they are always smiling.   We were warmly welcomed and made many new friends.     The hope and the faith of the people about their situation and about their country was amazing.  There is great pride, great love and a resilience  that was powerful.    Rather than be angry, they were hopeful and determined.

I admit to being biased, being a pastor and having been on three mission trips with other Christians.   But, seeing the work of churches in Haiti 0 and especially the work of the Haitian church, I am very proud.   It is the local churches that are making a huge impact on the people.   They are the ones providing education, clinics, hope and more.    They are planting trees, providing jobs and helping the people.    In partnership with churches from around the world, they are making a difference.

We speak of service projects in our communities, but the Haitian church is doing service and ministry, every day.

Yes, Haiti has a long way to go.   People still feel the pain from the earthquake five years ago – and what was lost in terms of loved ones and security is great.    Still, there is hope and faith, there is sharing and there is giving.    There is love and friendship and a belief that God is good.    For these reasons, I hope to make a fourth trip to Haiti.

Remembering this nation and the good people I have met there.  Blessings be with you all.

 

Jeffrey