Don't Forget about Haiti's Orphans
- 2010 23 Feb
"Where is God?" Christian or not, in times of disaster we look to heaven for answers.
Where is God when the ground moves beneath Haiti and kills 150,000 people? Where is God when Haiti's orphan population triples? When women are raped in the camps set up to protect them? When children are sold into slavery in a country that has no way to stop it.
God, where are you?
I've asked that question many times. I've also asked it on behalf of one of the members of our church, David Hames, who died in the quake at the Hotel Montana. I've prayed and wept for his wife and two children.
God, where are you?
It's been a popular question these past weeks. And it brought a range of interesting — and completely useless — answers.
Personally, I believe God asks that same question of us. "Tom, where are you?" Call me crazy, but I think God wants us to run toward the sound of the guns — to the fiercest part of the battle. He asks this of us because He has given us His spirit to do His work. God always works through His people. His blessings flow directly through us — followers of Jesus Christ — and into the people around us. Nowhere have I seen this more than in ministry to orphans.
The unfortunate truth is that Haiti's orphan population is now a lot larger -- maybe even three times larger. Anecdotally, I've heard that some orphanages have taken in 5-10 times more kids with hundreds waiting outside the gates hungry for food, shelter, and family. Predators abound. Reports of armed gangs robbing orphanages of their food are part of our regular news headlines.
Caring for Haiti's orphans is a priority for me and many others in the Christian orphan ministry movement. If you want to join us, all you have to do is learn your ABCs.
A. Always Start with Prayer
Prayer is active. Search for scripture about orphans, and pray through the promises of God. God says He is the Father to the Fatherless. God promises to "take up the case in court" against anyone who harms an orphan. God declares he will set the lonely in families and defines Himself as a "defender of orphans." Pray these promises back to God, and ask Him to show you exactly where in the battle He wants you to run. We might not all be able to go but anyone can pray.
B. Bring Relief to the Hungry & Thirsty
Jesus tells a startling parable in Matthew 25. It's surprising because it is one of those times where He lays out the criteria for the judgment day. And He says God will judge us based on how we fed the hungry, clothed naked, and gave water to the thirsty. He says when we do this non-spiritual stuff we're actually helping Jesus. Do some research, and select a group that is helping meet needs on the ground. Then give them as much money as God tells you to give.
C. Consider Going to Haiti on a Trip
Very soon the media will leave, and Haiti will try to develop some kind of normalcy in their country. Amidst the rubble, there will be thousands of short-term mission trip opportunities. Consider joining a short-term team to help Haiti out of this mess. A list of reputable organizations is listed on my blog at http://www.cthomasdavis.com
D. Develop Long-Term Relationships
The key to transformation is time. For the past 13 years I have been directly involved at Children's HopeChest, and I've seen the power of long-term relationships to create a two-way transformation. There are hundreds of ways you can establish a long-term relationship. Find a US organization with missionaries in Haiti or local Haitian pastors. Encourage these individuals with letters and emails. Consider a long-term sponsorship of a child in Haiti, or a make a large pledged gift to a Haiti charity — one that will take you years to pay down.
E. Evangelize Others to Join with You
Our world is flat and fast. Let others know what you're doing and ask them to join you. Encourage your believing friends to run toward the gunfire with you and become a light to those who would question God's goodness. Point them toward those churches and Christian organizations who are God's salt and light in the midst of this dark and uncertain tragedy.
F. Follow the Sound of the Gunfire
The loudest part of the battle is probably where you are needed most. Although I do not have any ministry projects in Haiti, right now that is where the gunfire is the loudest and most intense. Just don't expect to avoid getting hit. I've been doing this long enough to know that when you stand between the orphans and the guns, you usually take a few bullets to protect them.
Living in the Kingdom is about stepping out in faith and doing something. Let's be honest, none of us can make a real difference without God giving us the strength to do so. Most of the time, our lives are about listening to that whisper in our hearts that compels us to act. As your heart breaks for the people of Haiti, trust that still small voice. You'll find that the minute you do, the resources of heaven are at your disposal.
Haiti's road forward is daunting, and definitely impossible without your help — and the help of thousands of others. If you are wondering where God is in all of this, remember that first and foremost He is in you. And if God is in you and with you, who can stand against you as you run into the gunfire?
February 23, 2010
Tom Davis is the President of Children's HopeChest, a mission organization bringing God's hope and love to orphans around the world. Their work is focused in the countries of Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. HopeChest helps churches and corporations around the U.S. adopt an orphanage and make a real difference in the lives of orphans. For more information visit: http://www.hopechest.org/