Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Word on the Ground in Haiti

We went to Leogane to do food distribution today, I was hurt by seeing the broken buildings but was hurt me the most was seeing the people living life refugees on their own land. Knowing Haiti, I have a feeling that this is what it will look like for the next decade or more. Unless the government has a concrete plan of transiting these people from these camping or tenting grounds to communities where they will work, Haiti will end up having millions of little Cite Soleil. Now relief is feeding the people regularly although many are unreached, but I wonder what the plan is when they run out of relief food in the next 3 to 6 months. Miss Valerie, my heart grieves for what the future may look like for Haiti.

Any ways, the roads are open up from DR to Jacmel and to Mizak right now. Take care.
Ricot Leon
Joining God at Work in Haiti
Les Cayes, Haiti

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Medical Team Arrives in Mizak Haiti

Friends,

Paul Prevost confirmed that Ron Bush's medical team arrived safely in Jacmel yesterday (1/22). They joined another medical team in Jacmel and immediately went into service. They are staying for two nights in Jacmel at Hotel Cyvadier. Current plans are for the team to come up to Mizak on Sunday afternoon.

Paul expressed his appreciation for the donations towards food that arrived with Ron. Supply is still difficult in part because stored supplies have been looted in the cities. However, he felt they could still find food. Prices, of course, have escalated. The staff is meeting tomorrow after church to finalize their plan for distribution.

Paul projects that prices will decrease after a couple weeks, as international intervention stablizes the looting, stores resume business, and supplies begin flowing through the country.

Housing is a huge, huge issue. Paul asked about tents or earthbag homes for immediate relief. He said everyone is now in fear of concrete structures. I have emailed Church World Service about their tents and blankets initiative and I have begun to receive other suggestions such as www.shelterboxusa.org.

I've also emailed Concrete Technology to begin learning about the techniques that are used to build concrete housing in US, as well as the possiblities for ferrocement or similar applications. Obviously, those are longer term possibilities.

I will have updates on the food distribution soon, as well as specific requests related to housing. For those who have raised the question of shipping, we may need to contact Missionary Flights International, Air Mobile or other charter services to request cargo space.

Closely related to the housing need is the ongoing need for medical attention. The 'second wave' of medical need is hitting the ground. Lots of "fever" spreading among those living outside, as you've also heard on the news. In the rural areas, we have an advantage of space to spread folks out, if we could secure tents or earthbag housing.

The needs related to emotional trauma are surely as significant as the physical. I have asked Paul to have the staff resume Peace Pals as quickly as possible to help the children process what they are experiencing and to have some 'normalcy' of routine back in their life. I have not specifically requested donations for Peace Pals, but there is a need, if we could extend this to more children in the community.

Our teams for February and March are still scheduled. We are closely monitoring the ground situation per the advisability of travel, but hopeful. They can be an important source of emotional and physical support. Emily Nieman of the March 5 team raised the possibility of the psychologist traveling with their team to offer tips to local pastors on grief and trauma counseling. Donations are important and we need those to keep coming, but so are the relationships, touch and skills delivered by teams.

Thank you for your outpouring of love and prayers!

Peace,
Valerie

Hope is on the Way

Already over $500,000 of medicine, supplies, equipment and fresh water have been delivered or are on its way to Haitian earthquake victims. Three more Pilatus flights will occur over the weekend, bringing desperately needed aid to our friends at Jimani Hospital.

CitiHope's disaster response team is working on procuring an X-ray machine to deliver this weekend, as well as enough food, dishes and utensils to feed Jimani's 800 patients for the coming two weeks.

Morphine is urgently needed for the amputations taking place, as is hospital bedding. Paul II will be briefing the CHI team and partners tomorrow with more detailed lists of needs.

This 'hosptial of record' with a normal 23-bed capacity is making a heroic effort and we want to support them as best as we possibly can.

CitiHope is still receiving requests from other sites in Haiti needing medicine, supplies and food, which Paul II will evaluate in the coming days to identify where we can best bring hope & healing.

Communities of Shalom in Haiti

Friends of Shalom:

Last week's earthquake in Haiti devastated the country.  While emergency relief is on-going, rebuilding communities will take years.

Beyond immediate disaster response efforts, Drew University and Communities of Shalom are supporting one particular project related to asset-based community and economic development:  an emerging Shalom Zone already known as Haitian Artisans for Peace International (HAPI). www.haitianartisans.com

As recovery efforts continue, support of Haitian mission projects through Drew's Disaster Response and the United Methodist Advance Fund will be crucial.

Haitian Artisans for Peace International is one of 12 Advance projects related to the United Methodist Church directly related to health care, housing, and hunger alleviation.  Human and financial support of these efforts will be a substantial part of rebuilding Haiti.






I urge you to support HAPI through The Advance Fund (where 100% of your dollars contributed go directly to the designated mission project):
http://new.gbgm-umc.org/Advance/projects/search/index.cfm?action=details&id=3020490


Project Information:  Haitian Artisans for Peace International
www.haitianartisans.com

Securing health, education, and hope through economic opportunities to build a community of peace
Advance # : 3020490
Location: Haiti

Living in a community of peace is the ultimate vision for HAPI. For the HAPI artisans, peace means living without daily fear. Their mission is securing health, education, dignity and hope through economic opportunities… for their purpose of providing for basic needs such as food, healthcare and education…to enhance spiritual and civic growth…and to expand the creative abilities that God has given to all. Outcomes of achieving HAPIs vision, mission and purpose will be to raise the sense of self-worth of all partners and to increase the respect given within the artisans homes and communities….build awareness and support from communities in the US….provide a viable alternative to emigration from their rural community to other areas.

For project details or to make a donation to the GBGM Advance Fund for Haiti, click here:

http://new.gbgm-umc.org/Advance/projects/search/index.cfm?action=details&id=3020490

Updates will be posted at www.communitiesofshalom.org

and on my personal blog: http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hope for Haiti Mission Update


Here's an brief update from Paul S. Moore, President of CitiHope, about this weekend's medical airlifts:


Hope for Haiti Mission:  Saturday/Sunday

  • On Saturday, 5 Pilatus flights left our Saint Simons Island staging location and hanger, 1 from Huntsville, Al. coordinated by Josie Dittrich, and supported by Mike and Peggy DiBenedtto. (who drove the U-Haul truck south) Pilots are contemporary heroes, with servant hearts all.
  • One more flight will be loaded this afternoon and  another tomorrow (Sunday) for a total to date of 8 relief flights
  • Paul Jr. and his team are excelling in every way. They have full access at the Barahona Airport, and the Jimani Hospital ranks CHI as it's best partner from a critical care/focused response point of view. We have established an on-site warehouse, and continue to provide "dial tone" access to us here for further targeted procurement.
  • Yesterday Paul organized the construction of 2 X-Ray exam tables, and delivered to Jimani an autoclave, 4 sets of walkie talkies with 5 mile range, and other critically needed supplies, rushed from airplane to hospital in a matter of hours. For more detail, go to CHI's web site  www.citihope.org 
  • Thank you for what you've done as a BOD, staff and partners to raise funds, contribute personally and through your circles. It's a great encouragement.
Now, the new challenge, most urgent: We have been asked to supply FOOD SECURITY for the 800+ patients and dependants on the compound. While there are many heroic doctors and nurses caring for the Haitian wounded, as of yet, no other agency including USAID, has responded with food aid. Paul Jr. is organizing the construction of an outdoor kitchen, locating cooking ware, and staff here are looking for individual reusable serving bowls and eating utensils. Yesterday, CHI located 5,000 lbs of dehydrated soup mix from Stop Hunger Now in Richmond, Va.--a perfect solution for the need at hand.

The challenge is to a) find transportation to get it from Richmond to the DR ASAP, and b) raise funds to administer this feeding program we don't have, nor planned on caring for as a part of our response when we started out 10 days ago.

If you know a church group or agency that could sponsor food relief for 800 Hatian patients being treated in the DR, please put us in touch.  PSM

Friday, January 22, 2010

Second Medical Delivery Arrives for Haitian Earthquake Victims



CitiHope's VP and Chief Operating Officer Paul Moore II arrived in Dominican Republic this morning with the second relief shipment of medicine and supplies. Met by Tim Tuccelli, CHI's DR Representative, he immediately left for Jimani Hospital on the Haitian border to deliver the medicine and supplies.

Paul reports, "Jimani Hospital has over 800 patients today, with more arriving via military helicoptor every day. The hospital itself only has 23 beds, so they have emptied their Chapel and converted their orphanage (see photo below left) to place patients. They still do not have enough room, and many patients with varying levels of need are outside on the ground. Some have beds, most do not have bedding. They desperately need clean water and food, because malnourishment is rapidly becoming an issue. Food aid simply has not made its way to our location yet."

"The hospital's director says there has not been a human catastrophy like in his lifetime - today alone they performed over 90 orpthopedic surgeries without a scanner or X-ray equipment. He has never seen anything like it."

"The surgeons are doing hundreds of amputations, and without proper disposals have resorted to burning the limbs 500 yards away from the hospital - I viewed a large pile and the burning myself today."
"I met a gentleman (photo below right) who is an electrical company technician. He was at the electric company when the earthquake it, and a wall fell on his leg. He was trapped there for 3 days. When rescuers finally freed him, blood rushed directly to the dead tissue and bloated his leg - it had to be immediately amputated."

"Jimani Hospital's director and all of the doctors here are incredibly grateful for the medicine, supplies and equipment we're bringing. There is such a dramatic level of need here, and so much more help is needed. I am glad to be representing CitiHope and our partners and donors here during one of the worst human crises of my generation."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The View From the Ground

From CitiHope's Paul Moore II in the DR:


The view from ‘the ground’ is staggering. Incredible need, pain and loss. But our local partners are doing amazing work, and are overwhelmed with gratitude for our assistance. They are ‘the real deal’ as my father would say, and I am grateful we can help them. This really is one of the worst crises I have seen (and I’ve seen a fair share) especially due to the complete lack of infrastructure – even in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami there were other areas of the country that were unharmed that could respond and assist quickly. For Haiti, the Dominican Republic is really the closest ‘help’ and the DR isn’t much better off than Haiti was to begin with. Here in the north the food relief that has been sent to PAP simply hasn’t made it here yet. Malnutrition is a great risk now, a week later. Our DR rep, Tim Tuccelli actually used to be a mason, so we’re beginning to construct open-air fire pits/ovens for cooking the food that will come. There are an abundance of well-intentioned volunteers here without medical training available to cook, prepare meals and help with patient feeding. From what I’ve been able to see today Jimani Hospital seems relatively secure, but there is no significant military or police presence in the region.

Medical Airlift arrives this morning at Jimani Hospital in DR


 Here’s a local news report and video clip about the CitiHope medical airlifts into Dominican Republic for Jimani hospital treating injured Haitians.  Paul Moore Jr. arrived in the DR this morning and the team is unloading the medical supplies for the doctors doing triage.




Article & Video Link: http://www.wbng.com/news/local/82194582.html

Let's keep working together.  

Michael J. Christensen

WorldHope Corps     
11 Ardsleigh Drive
Madison, NJ 07940

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One Week After the Earthquake in Haiti

Here’s an update on the CitiHope medical relief effort for Haiti:

Life-saving medicine, medical supplies and equipment are on their way to Samaritan Hospital in Jimani, DR, which has been receiving large numbers of patients from Haiti in the aftermath of last week’s earthquake.

The first relief flight landed at 9 AM today in Barahona, Dominican Republic, with water purification systems, satellite telecom sets, medicines, casting materials, two medical doctors, and supplies.

The second medical shipment is staged at Saint Simons Island, GA, ready to be loaded on the next flight which leaves tomorrow morning at 5am for the airport nearest Jimani, DR, just eight miles from the Haitian border.   Paul Moore II, Vice President of CitiHope International, will accompany this shipment and ensure its delivery directly to the medical volunteers treating patients brought in from Haiti.

Among the doctors on-site to treat the injured is an ER Surgeon from Harvard/Operational Medical Team and ten other docs, nurses, and pharmacists. I’m told they did 45 amputations yesterday, more today. They had to proceed without adequate anesthesia…
Josie Dietrich, our colleague on Saint Simons Island, has been amazing in finding the pilots/planes, and  coordinating all the landing/take offs.  She was able to get a dedicated hanger for storage, refueling provisions, and accommodations for flight crews (donated) at the Hampton Inn on site.

CitiHope has raised close to $100,000, not all in yet, but pledged. We need another $50 -$60,000 if we want to keep this going for another few weeks.  Online donations can be made directly to CitiHopeInternational   www.citihope.org 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti Relief Shipment Leaves CitiHope Warehouse

Here's a Hope Update from Paul S. Moore, President of CitiHope International--our partner in the Haiti Relief Mission:



CitiHope International successfully assembled a select group of top priority trauma care medical supplies and pharmaceuticals at its Andes, New York warehouse keyed to "most needed" requested from our target hospital beneficiary caring for Haitian earthquake survivors relocated to the Dominican Republic.

More than two dozen staff and volunteers worked over the weekend to pack the supplies and send our first truck on its way yesterday at 3:30pm, driven by Mike and Peggy DiBenedetto, volunteers and field representatives from CitiHope's response to Hurricane Katrina. They will arrive at Saint Simons Island, GA this afternoon with CHI's initial primary response aid, and will coordinate loading our planes as they arrive and depart for Barahona over the coming days.

The Le Bon Samaritan Hospital in Jimani, Dominican Republic, and chief administrator Dr. Marc Pinard is preparing to receive CHI's deliveries in support of the overwhelming needs he and his dedicated staff, supplemented by 60 + volunteer physicians and caregivers from the USA and abroad.

Chris Keylon, Executive Director of the Chadasha Foundation, is coordinating CitiHope's initial deliveries at the hospital site, while CHI's Dominican Republic Representative Tim Tuccelli manages the Barahona Airport, offloads supplies as they arrive, and secures them for forwarding on to Jimani.


CitiHope has obtained the service of 4 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft with   volunteer pilots to airlift our supplies over the next four days to Barahona. Our first flight left Huntsville, Alabama this morning with two partners from Chadasha Foundation, carrying 4 GATR Deployable Satellite Telecom Systems, 10 water purifier systems, and selection of essential medicines including anesthesia, antibiotics, casting materials, etc. Touchdown in Barahona is projected for 4 PM today.

Josie Dittrich, CHI's flight logistics coordinator has arranged for two airport hangers, and landing/take off privileges on Saint Simons Island, GA. She has lined up 3 additional Pilatus PC-12 aircraft for the next 3 days, to carry in 6,000lbs. of CHI commodity to Barahona, DR. These planes are the best possible for getting into and out of challenging landing sites carrying up to 2,000lbs. (one ton) of cargo.

Paul Moore II, CHI's Senior VP and Chief Operations Officer will be on Wednesday's flight to DR, and will be based in Jimani, performing border assessment visits to Haiti (just 8 miles away) also. By week's end we will have $500,000 in emergency medical aid in the hands of doctors in Jimani. After receiving Paul's assessment feedback, we will coordinate another $500,000 in aid keyed to an updated priority list from the field. CitiHope will ensure what we send will make the greatest impact for those suffering and in need of continuing medical care.

We believe it was God's providence that led CitiHope to choose delivering our humanitarian assistance through the DR corridor, given the chaos and confusion in Port-au-Prince, lack of roads, ensuing security concerns and the viable opportunity to work with the Jimani Hospital. There, 500 plus patients have been arriving daily from PAP/Haiti, many by US military helicopter. This is clearly a site where our aid holds promise to make the greatest near-term impact.

Please check back on  the CitiHope website for daily updates and for stewardship reports to you and all those who have made this rapid, compassionate response possible. Your prayers and continued support for the people of Haiti so traumatized by this disaster are appreciated.   www.citihope.org

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hope for Haiti Medical Mission Launched


Many have asked how WorldHope Corps is responding to the crisis in Haiti.   We joined CitiHope International as a partner in delivering medical aid to Le Bon Samaritan Hospital in Jimani, Dominican Republic, just across the border from Haiti, that is ramping up to serve those in need of emergency care.

CitiHope International is an NGO
I know quite well, used to work for and still partner with from time to time for special projects.  When Paul Moore,  , President of CitiHope and my friend for 30 years, called to ask my help during Katrina, I volunteered to take medical supplies to the Gulf Coast and bring separated minors back from the Astrodome to family members in the northeast.  When he called last week to inivte my involvement in CitiHope's Haiti Relief Mission, I offered to help through WorldHope Corps and Communties of Shalom.
  
CitiHope's mission is to procure needed medicine and supplies and take them by plain to Jimani, Dominican Republic, just 8 miles from Haiti.  There's a hospital there that is already receiving patients from Haiti.


According to Paul Moore, “Le Bon Samaitain is a Christian mission hospital where 30 + docs have arrived, aid workers, etc., with 100's of new patients arriving by the hour and are being triaged by US military helicopter airlifts. They are "in need of everything" and have run out of triage supplies, meds, etc. There is a 4,000 ft air strip nearby which we're trying to get Angel flights into, staged out of W. Palm Beach. Plan now is to truck supplies south to Florida, as we get them and confirm they are on the most needed list. We have our DR team ready to roll into Jimani, establish a beachhead, and then as Haiti's in-country situation opens up, move on in to other devastated areas.”  

WorldHope Corps gave an initial $2,500 toward the need.  We will try to raise more.   At least $50,000 is needed in the next few days to co-sponsor $500,000 worth of needed medicine and medical supplies.

Online donations for the CitiHope medical mission can be made through WorldHope Corps at www.worldhopecorps.org   Just designate it for Haiti Mission  if you want to support this urgent mission!

For Haiti Relief project Hope Updates, go directly to www.citihope.org

Together, let's do what we can to turn this crisis into an opportunity for good.

mjc



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crisis and Opportunity in Haiti



In Chinese calligraphy, the characters for Crisis contain the characters for Opportunity.  In every crisis there is an opportunity for committed action and amazing results.

Wednesday Morning, January 13.  Like most Americans, I am focused on the horrifying images streaming in on the News network as the full magnitude of the Earthquake in Haiti becomes apparent.   What do to in a crisis like this?  How to help?  Who to turn to? What can be done at this point?  Is there anything, anything at all you can do beyond sending a cash donation to your favorites charities?

First, you 'let your heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.'  That’s the compassion we all feel.   A ten year old girl gets pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince, and she could have lived, but there was no doctor to treat her injuries. So she has to die. Horrific.   Breaks your heart, as it breaks God’s heart.  Compassion.

Then, you pray.  You ask God to something.  "If you, God, are All Good and All Powerful, then why did you allow this to happen, and why don’t you do something to change the situation?  But then you realze that the way God responds to crisis situations like this is by sending his angels—both extra-terrestrial and human—to the scene for search and rescue, medical aid, humanitarian assistance, trauma relief, prayer and spiritual support, and the ministry of presence.   All this is set in motion and empowered by prayer, so you pray.  Prayer.

Then what?  You make yourself available: “Here am I, Lord, send me.  I’m ready to do something, willing to go to Haiti, if needed, ready to respond to whatever You are asking of me.  You sent me into other global crises over the years--Famine in Haiti 1979, AIDS pandemic in the 1980’s, Children of Chernobyl projects in the 1990’s, Refugees from Kosovo in 1999,  Hurricane Katrina 2003, Orphan Care in Malawi beginning in 2005, Communities of Shalom beginning in 2008.  As I’ve done before, I’m ready to respond again to a clear call.  I’m available.  Patiently waiting and available.  Availability.

Okay, time for action.  With my Contact List and Blackberry at the ready, I scroll down and prayerfully ask myself—Who do I know in Haiti, who might have family and friends in Haiti, who like me has been to Haiti, and who most likely is already responding to the crisis in Haiti?   Committed Action.

I left a voice message for my friend, Chuck Watson, with whom I traveled to Haiti way back in 1979 when we monitored food distributions with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries during a drought and famine on LaGonave Island. He continues to do mission in Haiti, and I knew he would have a current mission which I could support. Awaiting his return call….

11:30am.  Incoming email from my friend Paul S. Moore, founder and president of CitiHope International, updating his board, staff, colleagues and friends on the state of their mission projects in neighboring Dominican Republic.   Paul’s wife, Tamara, he said, was en route to Port-au-Prince on a mission with World Vision.  After six hours, he finally was able to confirm that she was safe, together with other World Vision US staff on mission there, having gathered as a group in a hotel lobby for the night, not in rooms for fear of aftershocks.

I responded to Paul with an offer to help, both personally, and for WorldHope Corps to co-sponsor a medical airlift for Haiti.  CitiHope does good work in Domican Republic, so they are well positioned to offer humanitarian assistance to their neighbor in Haiti.    www.citihope.org

I scrolled down into my Pending Shalom File to find the email of someone who had contacted me last May about starting a new shalom zone in Haiti.  I remember responding to her at the time that I thought we needed to wait until after the National Shalom Summit in the Fall of 09, and then revisit the possibility in the Spring of 10. I found and re-read the email from Valerie Mossman-Celestin, not knowing if she was still in Haiti or somewhere in the States.  Quickly, I emailed Valerie and asked her, “First of all, are you okay, is your family safe?  Are you connected to help and hope?  And second, are you there still interested in starting a community of Shalom?”

Valerie’s response:
Thank you so much for remembering! I am here in Grand Rapids. Last night was a very long night, as my husband (Haitian) attempted to reach family members. This morning, he reached the siblings in Port-au-Prince.  Part of the house was down, but they are okay. We have so many other loved ones that we have been unable to connect to.  Mizak, location of HAPI, was also hit hard. We have one American on the ground who made it through for about a minute to say that most of the homes were destroyed, including his. So, Yes, there is still interest in Shalom! And this would bring a message of hope and encouragement.

Valerie and her husband now live in Grand Rapids, and from there, run a small mission project with artisans in the rural area of Mizak, about 2 hours away from Port-au-Prince.  Haitian Artists for Peace International (HAPI) was the group of local artists who with their local church want to be trained in how to start a shalom zone in their area.

“You’re in Grand Rapids?” I replied.  “What a coincidence.  I’m heading to Grand Rapids on Thursday to attend the funeral of a friend and former staff member who died in a terrible car accident last week.  I’ll get there early, so maybe we can have dinner together and discuss whether the time is now for a shalom zone in Haiti." Our connection by email seemed providential.   Co—incidence sometimes means God-incidence.  Divine appointment.  Cyncronicity.  Kairos.

Thursday:   I met with Valerie and a dozen shalom team leaders in Grand Rapids committed to starting four new shalom zones in Grand Rapids and interested in re-activating their historic sister church relationships in Haiti through Communities of Shalom.

Friday:  I attended and spoke at the funeral of a friend (see separate post and reflection).  I could not separate the tragic death of my friend at 35 years of age from the thousands of tragic deaths in Haiti.  Truly a terrible week in the world.

Saturday: I heard that Jayda, leader of Nine Strong Women in Newark, was unable to attend ShalomZone Training at Drew because her mother, who is Haitian, lost 6 family members in the earthquake.  And that Franc, a Drew alumni from Haiti, currently in training as part of the Montclair, NJ shalom team, has a burden for mission in his homeland.  Drew President Bob Weisbuch sent out an All-Drew email message that the University will find ways to respond to the needs in Haiti this semester through our civic engagement initiative.

Once the search and rescue efforts subside, and the disaster relief phase is over, there will be years of rebuilding in Haiti.   The Opportunity in this Crisis, beyond initial heroric responses, is to help Haitians rebuild their country, not to what it was before the earthquake, but to develop sustainable communities with infrastructure for systemic change.  In the words of the charter of Communities of Shalom, the Opportunity is to boldly believe that

"From the fires of destruction, the ashes of despair, and the chaos of these times, will arise new communities of faith and hope, new communities of hope and daring, new communities of God's Shalom."--First Shalom Team, Los Angeles, 1992.

And to work toward this vision together in the face of disorder and death.

Sunday:  Tragically, I heard that first one and then two of our United Methodist colleagues died in the Earthquake.   We had received news reports on Friday that  Sam Dixon, Clint Rabb, & Jim Gulley--United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) US staff executives in Haiti---were rescued from the rubble of the collapsed Hotel Montana after 50 hours, that they needed treatment, but that they were alive. But over the weekend, we learned sadly that Sam Dixon (who I knew) and Clint Rabb, had died from injuries sustained in the aftermath of the earthquake.  Staff members at the Board of Global Ministries in New York are in shock and dismay, yet carrying out relief efforts through UMCOR on the ground.  

In many and sundry ways, God seems to be saying to me (and I believe to all of us), that there is a way to respond to this present crisis, there is a way to make a difference.  There  are prayers to be prayed, gifts to be given, time to be set aside, divine appointments to be kept, mission tasks, yet to be assigned, in the coming days, weeks, months, and years ahead in Haiti—our neighbor in time of need.  So, let us remain open and available to what God has in mind for us to do.  It starts with compassion, which leads to prayer, which makes us available, which leads to committed action—human and divine.  The key is to tap in and stay tuned to the kairos of God. 

Once you act, in some small, prayerful and committed way, other like actions and reactions occur, hidden assets are uncovered and aligned, resources mobilized, the dots start to connect, cyncronicity is evident, and divine appointments can me kept.   This is how God works in the world. Together, God and the people of God achieve great results, achieve Shalom--God's dream come true.   Let us begin it now. 


The Power of Committed Action

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise would have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. 
Begin it now."  --Attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 


How to Turn Crisis into Opportunity?
Let your heart be broken (allow yourself to feel compassion)

Pray (most neglected action)

Make yourself available (the easy part)

Wait patiently (the hardest part)

Take action with others (small, symbolic, bold, committed action)

Recognize the Kairos (right time, God's time)

Accept your divine assignment  (however small you think it is)

Expect great things and amazing results (Begin the process now)


mjc