By Josh Anderson, Samaritan’s Purse staff writer
A little over two years have passed since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti. Estimates of the devastation vary, but at last count 230,000 people lost their lives and over 100,000 lost their homes.
I recently joined a group of Samaritan’s Purse donors on a visit to this fragile nation. Before going, I did my research. Little did I know about Haiti’s history and the role voodoo has played in its volatile past. I was surprised to find out many Haitians still worship a demonic spirit world.
At that point it would have been easier for me to retreat back to the safe confines of my cubicle. But I knew God wanted to break my heart for what breaks His. In my mind I was willing, but would I be able?
We landed in Port-Au-Prince on Friday. If the death grip I had on my carry-on didn’t scream sheltered American, then my saucer-sized eyes certainly did. And this was just the airport.
After enduring customs and a few “officials” offering to carry my luggage, we emerged into the sweltering heat and welcoming arms of Nancy Smith, the Samaritan’s Purse Deputy Director for Haiti. She helped us through the crowds to our van.
Sweat was pouring down my back. Tears were welling up in my soul. I was only a few hours into this four-day trip, and already my heart had burst wide open. How was I going to make it through? Fortunately, God’s words gave me some reassurance: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
There was no turning back now. The only way was forward (although with Haiti traffic that’s easier said than done). We had a packed schedule, and I was determined to jam in as much as I could learn about the healing efforts of Samaritan’s Purse.
The trip didn’t disappoint. Since the earthquake, Samaritan’s Purse has reached at least 1 million people, a full 10 percent of the country’s total population. While other relief organizations have experienced declining interest, resources, and financial support, we continue to introduce new programs that will help Haiti and its long-term rebuilding efforts.
Our work includes water, sanitation, and hygiene, medical care, recycling, maternal child health, livelihood programs, even road construction. Our emergency response two years ago was just the beginning of our ongoing commitment to this troubled nation.
That’s not to say it’s been easy. Like other organizations, we encounter tough working conditions and dark forces. Yet even under the toughest circumstances, when shortcomings in faith and fortitude cause us doubt, we are blessed to know that it’s in the gaps where God shows up in amazing ways.
From what I saw, Haiti has moved from grieving to healing. And I’m excited to part of a ministry that’s all about Jesus—first, last, and always.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5, NIV).