I just returned from a briefing held by World Relief (www.wr.og) hosted by Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL. The consensus of the group of churches and relief organizations present was that for too many years now we have been “helping” Haiti and in the process we have hurt this tiny island nation. We have dispensed food and aid and in the process of doing that have destroyed their economy. Even now the HUGE North American heart has given so much free medical aid in the wake of the January 12th earthquake that some hospitals are closing down in Port-au-Prince. Haitian doctors and nurses are now without a job.
So what do we do moving forward? World Relief is working out a plan that will help Haiti without hurting her. The leadership team on the ground is putting together a plan that will help Haiti stand on her own. That means rural farming development and the use of the resources the Haitian people have at their disposal before our North American church short-term teams come marching in with our matching t-shirts to help. It may mean coming with a team and building relationships and hiring Haitians to do the work we used to do when we came on trips. Us North Americans love to work, but can find it hard at times to just sit and build relationships with others.
We also need to repent of our pride at being the group that can solve most problems in this world. We have become arrogant big brothers & sisters and have now reason to be that way. One speaker shared with us the group of matching t-shirt short-termers he saw in the Miami airport. Their t-shirts read, “God so loved Haiti, He sent me!” How arrogant! Remember the church in North America and Western Europe is in decline. The church that is growing and making a real difference in the world is in Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and Southern China.
There’s lots to do, but we have to move forward carefully guarding the dignity of the Haitian people and our brothers and sisters in Christ there.
That’s this leader’s view.