This post was written by Ryan Shlangen who works with STEM Ministries here on the BCOM campus. He and a few other members of STEM took a scouting trip to Haiti to see how they could minister to the Haitians with future mission trips.
Dates: January 31 – February 5, 2010. 3 weeks after the earthquake hit.
Haiti. Where to begin? I have been on a number of mission trips and it seems as though more people want to know how this one went than any of the others in the past. However, it also seems as though this is the hardest to give an accurate description of. How do you put into words the biggest natural disaster (per capita) that the world has ever seen? How do you accurately portray the stench of death that lingered nearly everywhere we went? What words can be used to describe the look in the eyes of so many who have lost everything that they had ever known or loved? It is a very tough situation down in Haiti and it will likely get hit with mass disease before it gets better.
But that is where the teams come in. That is where the hope comes in that it can get better! Already there has been a massive outpouring of people from (literally) all over the world bringing relief, financial and material aid, and bringing the important ingredient of hope. Teams are already hard at work distributing food, caring for orphaned kids and widowed adults, providing medical assistance to those who otherwise wouldn’t receive it, and providing a needed shoulder to lean on while the Haitians are at their weakest. Many lives have been saved, infections and diseases have been slowed or even stopped, and people have found the strength to continue on because of the efforts of so many from around the world.
Yet the work is so far from done. We are coming up on the three month anniversary of the disaster and I can already see the trend begin to happen. CNN has started to shift its focus back onto America and other things happening around the world, and for so many Americans the burden for Haiti is shifting with it. Within the first month we received over 150 inquiries of people wanting to take a team down to Haiti to help. Within the last month that number has dwindled to 20. I don’t expect to have 120 organizations contact us every month for the next year wanting to go, but my prayer is a simple one. My prayer is that the Body of Christ will rise up and respond, not just to what they can see on their television screen, but to what they can recognize in the heart of God! The outpouring of financial and material support, and even of willing hands and feet, has been tremendous, but will it continue until the job is done? Will we finish the race that we have started?