3 ways Christians can remember the people of Haiti
Showing generosity to a joyful people amid tragedy
Filder Hilaire was a schoolteacher before being called to something different. Born in Haiti, he has experienced much of the challenges the country offers. Filder lives as most Haitians do, without much physical provision; however not dissimilar to his fellow countrymen, he maintains a joyful spirit and a persevering work ethic which is unexplained outside of the love of Christ.
Nine years ago, Filder began work helping families adopt through Lifeline Children’s Services. Since that time, he has become an attorney and now serves our families through the legal side of their Hatian adoption journey. Over this time period, he has helped dozens of children find a family who will be theirs forever.
Filder’s spirit of hope, rooted in the gospel, has helped many Haitian and U.S. adoptive families through unspeakable hardship. Filder is not unlike so many other Haitians — living in a land where 90% of the families are consistently vulnerable to natural disasters and 60% live in abject poverty. These realities came to bear for Haitians in southwestern Haiti after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake killed over 2,200 people, injured 10,000 more, and destroyed 50,000 homes earlier this month. These hardships and emotional and physical damage were immediately compounded by Tropical Storm Grace last week.
Filder and his family were not immune to the crisis as his wife’s family lost everything they had in this latest earthquake.
While much of the world’s eyes are rightly on Afghanistan and the refugee crisis that has resulted, we must not overlook the immediate suffering in Haiti — a people with an indestructible spirit but who have experienced tragedy upon tragedy as of late and over their turbulent history.
We can’t forget the devastation in Haiti in the midst of the continued spread of COVID-19, the global supply chain crisis, the heat waves and wildfires, and the ever-growing food and housing insecurity ravaging countless poor nations. To all of these areas which Haitians face, there seems no end.
We must remember that Haiti is not beyond the notice of God. His reach is long to heal and help a people who are kind and joyful, even in the most difficult of circumstances. They are endearing and resilient even as they fight disease, unemployment, violence, lack of healthcare, and all other sorts of grave challenges; however, many Haitians lack the greater hope which Filder has because of the gospel.
Showing generosity to the people of Haiti
Lifeline Children’s Services has facilitated more than 60 adoptions in Haiti — it is a nation that we love dearly and that we want to impact with both immediate help and the enduring hope of the gospel. International adoption is the most appropriate way to live out God’s heart for the sanctity of life and human dignity for some children, but we also must be involved with addressing the root issues that lead to family displacement.
I want to be like my brother Filder —marked by a joyful spirit and a persevering work ethic flowing from Christ’s presence in his life. We have much to learn from him and many others in Haiti. But for now, we also must help them.
Like the early church, we want to be people who give sacrificially of all God has given to us: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 2:32). Whether in a local context or as part of the global body of Christ, our call is bent toward generosity.
What does this look like?
- Financial generosity. Thousands of people in Haiti now lack basic needs of food and home supplies. They are facing insecurities on a level not seen in years. There are wonderful Christian charities who are on the front lines of meeting financial and nutrition needs like our friends at SEND Relief, World Vision, Compassion, and Samaritan’s Purse.
- Emotional and spiritual generosity. Haiti may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from many of us, but we are one church body suffering under the realities of a hurting world. Spend time reading about the crisis and the people of Haiti as a way to open your heart to a people of both joy and sorrow. Spend time lamenting with our brothers and sisters, but also fervently praying for them and with them. Remember them in your prayers and ask God for his grace and mercy to be shown to those in Haiti.
- Relational generosity. There are Haitian immigrants all around us in America. Consider how you can develop relationships to support those who may have extended family and friends impacted by the latest crises.
At Lifeline, we have also established a fund to help those in Haiti who have lost everything. We are partnering with organizations on the ground to help those impacted by the recent disasters, providing necessary items to those in need.
Our omniscient God’s eyes are on Afghanistan and Haiti at the same time. And his eyes are on you and me to offer what he would like to give — joy-filled hope. Filder and countless others in Haiti will continue to show us what it means to work hard and work joyfully even during times of tragedy. But how much better it would be if we showed them that they weren’t alone even as other eyes are turned elsewhere?