This week I have been glued to the TV and internet watching the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. The destruction is catastrophic. The human suffering is heart-rending. But the reason I watch is not out of morbid curiosity. The reason I watch is because someone I know is there. His name is Billy Johnson, a minister at a small church on the eastern shore of Maryland.
Our relationship would be best defined as somewhere in between associates and friends. We know each other well enough to have a conversation when we meet, but "best friends" is not a term I would use to describe our relationship. But, I read his blog, interact with him on the internet, occasionally we shoot emails back and forth to each other. I know him well enough to know he was praying for this missionary trip to Haiti months ago. I know he has a heart to serve the people there. And I know he is there. So I watch the TV and watch the internet for updates from his parents. In doing this I have become aware of two things.
1) While the Haitian government is corrupt and the people are enslaved by an 80% poverty rate as well as spiritual darkness in the forms of witchcraft and voodoo, most of the Americans that I have heard of being there when the quake hit were missionaries of some sort. God's Church was there when tragedy struck. As of now Billy has delivered at least one baby, treated several wounded and comforted the grieving. Multiply that by the dozens (if not hundreds) of missionaries there who were doing the same thing, long before humanitarian efforts by worldly governments arrived. I pray that the Haitian people remember the Christ-followers who were already there to help and continued to do so.
2) My heart has become calloused. As I watch, my heart breaks for these people. Billy has told of orphanages, clinics and mission complexes being totally demolished. I can't help but think of the Tsunami that hit Indonesia several years ago, or the earthquakes in India. I was not effected by those nearly as much. I prayed for the people there, but my heart wasn't broken for the people. It took someone I know being there for God to touch my heart and say, "these are people too, made in my image. Care for them." I felt like Jonah being scolded by God over the city of Nineveh, "Should I not have compassion on... the great city in which there are 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left?" (Jonah 4:11)
I pray your heart is touched by the situation of Haiti, as well as the rest of the world whenever disaster strikes. If you would like to help monetarily I would suggest International Disaster and Emergency Services (IDES) which is a Christ-based, non-profit humanitarian relief group. For more information please check their website @ www.ides.org where 100% of your donation goes to relief efforts.
As for Billy, he is safe doing what he went there to do, to show the Gospel of Christ in action.