Rebuilding Haitis foundation
"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." (Isaiah 58:12)
LIFE’s mission partners captured the devastation from the earthquake. More of their photos are at www.lifetoday.org/haiti.
Our hearts break as a result of the tragic pain and suffering of the people in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake. Even as we witness the horror, we also see true expressions of Christian and human compassion. There isn’t a sensitive, caring person on this earth that would not want to relieve their pain and offer assistance.
Recently, I have been ministering from Isaiah, where God speaks very candidly to His people. There are several points in Isaiah 58:6-7 that relate directly to tragic situations like the one in Haiti:
* Share your food with the hungry
* Give shelter to the homeless
* Give clothes to those who need them
* Help those in trouble
* Set the oppressed free
If we will do this, Isaiah tells us, "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (verse 11)
This is to be the life of those who know God as father and have been spiritually born into the family of faith in Christ. It is important to note that God speaks clearly concerning the blessings for those who freely bless others. He gives comfort, protection, direction, and a sense of well-being that goes far beyond the material realm. While we should all respond to the need in Haiti, we must also be sensitive to the needs of those around us, whether they are physical or spiritual.
Those who offer help in the form of donations, time, services or goods can do so because they are able.
You cannot give what you do not have. America has prospered beyond all nations and it is no coincidence that we have been blessed because we have historically worked to alleviate suffering.
The same is true spiritually; we can only minister to others from an overflow of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our own lives.
Betty and I, our team, and the missionaries we support around the world truly love people. I well remember being in Port-au-Prince 23 years ago when our first grandchild, Lora Catherine, was born. I missed the birth because I was sharing with the people of Haiti the possibility of a spiritual new birth. Many gave their lives to Christ. We met with church leaders, encouraged them and prayed with them for positive change in their country.
In a nation weakened by corrupt government and steeped in dark religion, it is no wonder that the one who comes to "steal, kill and destroy" has left that country impoverished and riddled with corruption. The people of Haiti, as in so many impoverished nations, are very resilient, but through the years, they have been tragically misled, manipulated and dominated by damaging beliefs. There has been some improvement in recent years and I believe it is a direct result of the many ministries that have sewn the Word of God into that country.
Right now, our missionaries have asked us to help restore several water wells that were damaged by the earthquake, so we are working to accomplish that. Since clean drinking water is quickly becoming an urgent need, our work over the upcoming days is critical. As we seek to assist those who have been impacted by this crisis, we also pray that the nation arising from the rubble of natural destruction will rebuild with supernatural direction; that somehow the entire nation can be reorganized and established on a far more solid and secure foundation.
As we provide relief through our ministry, LIFE Outreach International, we have several goals in mind: We want to make certain that our objectives can actually be fulfilled. We work closely with the missionaries and committed Christians on the island who are called to share God’s love. Though we often have to work around a corrupt government, we do our best to make sure that government does not empower itself through our relief efforts and the work of our missionaries.
I clearly remember an evangelistic crusade that I led in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1977, when hundreds of people gave their lives to Christ. The building was filled to capacity nearly an hour before the service started each night. Among those changed by the power of God, David and Judy Heady experienced a "Damascus road" encounter with Christ. David was led by God to sell his successful electrical business and dedicate his life to missions.
Six years later, they moved to Haiti. I met with him during the Port-au-Prince crusade in 1986. We began encouraging and supporting them and have continued to do so today. We have been thrilled with the progress of their work. I am told that the leadership of Samaritan’s Purse is meeting with David during this crisis to help provide oversight for some of their efforts and use their base as a distribution center. Many missionaries will be effective assisting all aid organizations.
While supporting mission work all over the world, LIFE Outreach International has partnered with Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse in various relief efforts for over 20 years. I am truly thankful for all of the Christian organizations working to fulfill the mission of Isaiah 58, as well as the people that partner with us in these critical efforts. We work in crisis areas around the world in deadly and devastating circumstances.
Many of them never make the headlines. But we continue to work with those who are totally committed to the project and to the people they lovingly and compassionately seek to help.
So this is not only a great time to reach out, but also to stand up and point people to truth that makes the difference and transforms lives and nations. This is the hope of Isaiah 58 as we "restore the foundation and the walls."
I can assure you that Life Outreach will not only focus on effective ways to meet this crisis, but continue to work in Haiti long after this tragedy subsides. In every place that we work, whether feeding malnourished children in Africa, rescuing sex slaves in Asia or drilling water wells on five continents, we work to create independence and strength, not a never-ending welfare program. We want people to rebuild the walls of their lives, achieving self-sustenance so that they can then help others in need. This is the long-term plan of action in Haiti, too.
Through focused love, compassion and guidance, God makes everything possible. Thank you for standing with us and unselfishly supporting effective organizations during these catastrophic circumstances. If we will adhere to God’s word and extend His love, we can truly restore the foundations and rebuild the walls.
Along with President René Préval of Haiti, I say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." And I also thank God!
Prayer for the people of Haiti, that they may rebuild their lives on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Also pray for those who are assisting in the aid, including LIFE’s mission partners David and Judy Heady.
"Father, be with the missionaries and relief workers as they comfort the people of Haiti. Let your Holy Spirit move in power upon those people and bring a spiritual awakening to that nation."