(photo credit: images.mirror.co.uk)
Sadly, though, January 2010 has brought disaster upon the nation of Haiti. I believe the word "disaster" may be too light to describe the situation there. Having watched news coverage, followed tweets of people who are there and witnessed a personal friend leave and return from the devastation, I would have to say that Haiti, in its current condition is hell-on-earth.
With the 7.0 earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks day-after-day, the death totals are being estimated at 100,000 people plus. What breaks my heart is the reports of those with minor injuries who could have been saved but have died because of lack of doctors, medical supplies, medicine, hospitals, food, water, shelter... what the media is now calling "stupid deaths."
Stupid deaths? Stupid deaths are unacceptable, but how can help get to this ravaged nation with no airport, no port, no roads and no plan for distribution? Here we are a week from the date of the earthquake, and supplies, while at the airport, are only now making it to some of the far-reaching areas hit by the quake, some of the most devastated areas.
If you have children, like I do, it's impossible to explain why such a tragedy has occurred. There is no explanation except that we live in a fallen world with natural disasters, man-made disasters, and danger facing every person every day -- some of us in more danger than others; however, because accidents and death occur on our planet, there is no one who is immune.
We have talked with our children about the earthquake in Haiti, the deaths, the needs, and the devastation. To try to explain "why" remains virtually impossible; however, as Christians, the Good News is that Earth is not our home. We are not destined for a fallen, hurtful world. As children of God, saved by the blood of the Lamb, we are destined for heaven where there is no death, no sorrow, no hunger, no earthquakes, no tsunamis, no hurricanes or tornados... nothing fearful or bad. The promise of heaven is our comfort, our hope.
Finding comfort in heaven and in the God who saves us is evident in men and women across the globe and radiating in the people of Haiti. The media has shown us images and video of the Haitian people calling out in prayer and song to God, walking the streets in chorus, asking God, "why" but surviving in the promise of eternity.
(photo credit: airamerica.com/ breakingnews/22702/)
The 69 year old woman pulled from the rubble yesterday was actually in the home of the Catholic Archbishop. The woman, Ena Zizi, after being saved from 6 days without food or water, said "I talked only to my boss, God. I didn't need any more humans." Obviously, a woman of faith, in peace and relying on God alone... powerful.
These stories and more have touched the heart of my family and those around the world; however, most pressing on our family's heart has been the condition of the orphans in Haiti... "the least of these." We have friends who have been directly affected because of their own adoption-in-process of Tia, a 5 year old Haitian girl.
Tia's father, Mike Wilson, rushed to Haiti the day after the quake to find his 21 year old daughter, Katie, there as a missionary, and his soon-to-be-adopted daughter, Tia. Mike left with the knowledge that they were alive. He just had to find them. Mike and Tia's story, along with the stories of many orphans, have been all over the networks, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc. Mike found the girls and the orphans, was able to move the orphans to safety, was able to get Katie home but refused to leave without Tia. Sadly, all of the Haitian adoptions papers had been destroyed when the five-story building where they were housed collapsed into a 5 ft. pile of rubble.
The next 5 days proved to be an adrenaline loaded rush to get Mike and Tia home safely, and, if possible, all 47 orphans. The Brent Gambrell Ministry worked tirelessly day and night with little sleep, if any, to get their loved ones home. Our family was pulled in to help along the way. So, our mission became an extension to donating money, buying and packing supplies. It became a mission of helping to save lives.
To God be the glory... He used the hands and feet of his servants to accomplish what seemed to be an insurmountable task at times, and He delivered Mike and Tia and one other orphan home on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. God took crazy moving parts, philanthropic people, information, government red tape and more and used it to accomplish His purposes.
On any given day, most of us would not have considered asking for the donation of a private jet, much less receive it. On any given day, we would not have expected an adoption in Haiti that takes years to complete to happen within a matter of days. On any given day, the Red Cross and UNICEF could not have expected to receive upwards of $7 million in donations in ONE evening. On any given day, we would not have expected to hear reports of a 69 year old woman surviving 6 days without food and water.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 was not any given day. It was the day that the Lord put people into action to save the hurting, the broken, the lost, the buried, the injured, the most destitute of nations in the world (even before the earthquake). January 12, 2010 was a day that God's hand of miracles became undeniable -- from sea-to-shining-sea.
With miracles happening all around, needs being met in extraordinary ways and people in the midst of unimaginable crisis, our children have been able to witness the fact that every little bit helps -- every penny, every drop of medicine, every water purification packet, every pair of shoes, every act of kindness and relief and EVERY PRAYER. They are witnessing God responding to the cries of the brokenhearted, the broken in spirit and those with broken bodies.
To that end, my 9-year-old daughter Eliza raised her hand to help. On Monday afternoon, after she had witnessed the miracle of securing a plane to bring Tia and Mike home, she came home, asked me for her money jar (which I keep hidden at her request) and began counting her bills and coins. I didn't know why other than the fact that she had asked me if she could exchange 3 dollars worth of quarters for 3 dollar bills.
While I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, Eliza tapped me on the arm. I turned to look at her. She looked at me with her saucer round blue eyes and handed me a Ziploc baggie full of bills and coins... on the outside of the baggie was written in Sharpie, "$182.64 Money for Haiti." This money was her life savings. I leaned over and gave Eliza a big hug and said, "Eliza this is wonderful. You are so generous." Then I asked her, "Are you sure you want to give it all?!" Eliza, with tears in her eyes, said, "What do I need it for? I don't need it for anything. I want to give it ALL." She cried. I cried.
I looked at Eliza and thought, "she gets it." She wants to give it all... not most, not some, not a little -- ALL. Eliza wanted to help bring Tia home to her new family -- DONE! She wants to bring all of the orphans of Haiti safely to adoptive families. She believes that she can help with her $182.64. She's right...