January 2010 Linn County Leader Column – “What Would YOU Do?”

February 3, 2010

NOTE: This column ran a week late, on February 3, 2010.

How would you react during a crisis of epic proportions? Whether it be major flooding, or a devastating tsunami, or what we’ve been first-person witnesses to this past week…a country-wide earthquake that has taken countless lives in Haiti; when disaster strikes, can any of us really be prepared for the aftermath?

That question has reverberated throughout the world as video and print media have descended on the impoverished land of Haiti to give us gut-wrenching stories of loss; of miraculous rescues; of the utter demolition of hundreds of thousands of lives. We have heard over and over again of the entire loss of families, businesses, schools, etc. The list goes on with no end in sight. Our hearts ache as we ask, “Why?”

And yet, my friends, there is much work to be done as the search and rescue operations cease and the real cleanup begins. An entire country will need to be rebuilt from the ground up, with no infrastructure in place as a foundation. From the rubble of despair, hope will be born anew.

So what can we do to help? Sure, we can pray, send financial aid, supplies, and more….but that is only a small part of the bigger picture. Soon, physical labor will be required, and many projects means many hands to help.

Jeannie and I have discussed at length what we can do to help in this dire situation; and after seeking the Lord’s face, we have committed to going to Haiti on a missions/rebuilding effort as soon as teams are allowed in on an extended basis. It may be for only a week or two, but this is a country that needs our help; YOUR help; the whole WORLD’S help. They cannot do it on their own.

We are trusting in the Lord to provide the necessary funds to travel to Haiti; we are trusting that there will be safe travel; we are also trusting that we will be able to make a small difference in the lives of people who desperately need a helping hand.

Yes, I know that there are people here in the U.S. who need our help as well; we have high unemployment, high rural poverty, an escalating teen mothers pregnancy issue….and many, many other things. However, America has the infrastructure in place to help alleviate these problems somewhat, while the people of Haiti have absolutely nothing.

And folks, as God says, we are all made in His image; whether we are Caucasian, or Hispanic, or Asian, or African-American, or any other ethnicity…we are ONE human race, created by a loving Lord who wants us to love Him, love each other and love our neighbor as ourselves…whether that neighbor is across the street, or across the world. That is the greatest commandment of all, and something that in today’s self-centered society we too oftentimes forget.

The question is out there: what can we do to help? What can YOU do to help?

If a disaster like this one affected our country…we would probably hope that others would help us, too.

Think about it. And then help as you can.

Richard is a monthly columnist for the Linn County Leader, and a local United Methodist pastor. He can be reached at sliceofhome@gmail.com or via his online blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com.