A “Touched by Haiti” Story Contest Entry
by Dan Schauer
I had the opportunity to go to Haiti from Monday, November 26 to Friday, November 30th on a senior pastor trip hosted by “World Wide Village.” My time in Haiti was spent with six other pastors from various parts of our nation. While we were there, we toured the ministries that World Wide Village is involved in, consulted with Haitian pastors, school administrators, and WWV staff, and got a taste of what Haiti is like, both the beautiful and the ugly. One of the goals of the trip is to see how our church could partner with WWV to make an impact on Haiti. WWV and Randy Mortenson were awesome hosts and I had a great experience!
Let’s look at some facts about Haiti:
- Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea.
- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and among the poorest in the world.
- The official languages of Haiti are Creole and French.
- Haiti’s population is about 10 million people.
- Roughly 70% of the working age population is unemployed.
- Illiteracy rates are close to 50%.
- In January of 2010 a 7.0 earthquake devastated the country.
- Close to 500,000 people still live in tent cities where basic needs such as food, water and sanitation are seriously lacking.
- 90% of Haiti’s children suffer from waterborne diseases and intestinal parasites. Many adults suffer from cholera.
- People die daily from illnesses like the flu and diarrhea.
- Haiti is 80% Catholic, 16% Protestant however over 50% of Haitians also practice voodoo.
I learned some valuable lessons on this trip. 1) Haiti is an incredibly complex nation with no easy answers. Generations of poverty, corruption and greed have made solutions elusive. 2) Helping can be hurtful. When we Americans go to places like Haiti and help by doing a free medical clinic or building a home, we take jobs away from Haitians who need the money they would receive from doing such projects themselves to provide for their families. 3) I learned the Haitian people are awesome. They have a contentment and joy, even with their poverty, that many Americans lack. I especially enjoyed meeting the children at the various schools we visited and hearing their joyful songs sung to us with passion. 4) Haiti transformed my heart and gave me a new appreciation for God’s blessings in my life. I hope I never complain again about what I don’t have after seeing Haiti! 5) There is hope. With God there is always hope! The church in Haiti is growing fast and with God all things are possible!
What is my response to my experience in Haiti? 1) Jesus said “Go” not stay in our comfort zones. God wants me to go too! If not Haiti, God wants to challenge me to go somewhere to spread the Gospel to others. 2) Haiti and organizations like WWV need our financial help. Our church is considering how we can financially help WWV. 3) I need to be committed to pray regularly for Haiti. This nation needs our prayers for God’s intervention.
Go to Haiti! It will change your life and heart.