A magnitude-7 earthquake struck Haiti, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, on Jan. 12. With a population of just under 10 million residents, the possibility for a horrific outcome looms large.
According to the United Nations, 80 percent of residents live in absolute poverty. Therefore, already battling against extreme poverty, terrible health issues and instability within the country, this earthquake produces a devastating insult on top of an already injured society.
T Thomas, a member of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Okla., and director of the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma, traveled to Haiti last year to distribute mosquito nets through his organization, His Nets. I asked him about this current tragedy.
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Thomas, a career missionary who has served in some of the remotest parts of the world, replied, “When I traveled to Haiti, I was not prepared for the level of poverty I encountered outside the city. The kind of poverty seen in Haiti is really unimaginable. This situation will have long-term effects because of the state that already exists. Thus, any help that can be provided will go a long way towards assisting the people.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a call for the international community to assist in the aid of their fellow humans. People of faith are already mobilizing to begin the process of offering aid. Alongside other faith communities, NorthHaven Church is asking all those with ears to hear. Our fellow brothers and sisters need us.
The time to live out the words of Jesus has come upon us once again. Our neighbor is crying out; may we listen with compassion and generosity.
NorthHaven has a strong partnership with Baptist World Aid, an offshoot of the Baptist World Alliance. The BWA has already committed $20,000 to the rescue and relief effort. The money you give toward this effort will be directed to Baptist World Aid and immediately used for those currently working within Haiti in rescue and relief efforts.
Mitch Randall is pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Okla. He is featured in EthicsDaily.com’s new documentary, “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims.”