Without question, the past couple of months have been very trying—if not heart-wrenching—for the people of Haiti.
From the assassination of their president, Jovenel Moise, in July, to 15 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Grace and a 7.2 Richter scale earthquake just last weekend, the events surrounding the island nation have taken their toll and left its people with a sense of devastation and hopelessness.
But there is hope in the form of Jesus, and in the form of one of Jesus' most reliable humanitarian arms, Convoy of Hope, which has had dozens of personnel on the ground in Haiti for a number of years.
The earthquake that hit Saturday has left the death toll at 2,100; the injuries at more than 12,000; the number of homes destroyed at 7,000 and the number of displaced families at 30,000, according to the latest numbers from the Associated Press.
But Convoy of Hope has made its presence felt with its humanitarian actions to help raise the spirits of the people of the ravaged country. For starters, Convoy of Hope has prepared more than 3.5 million meals that are now being distributed to the Haitian people.
"There is a lot of hopelessness there. I think what we're seeing is just a people who feel battered, and they need some relief," says Ethan Forhetz, vice president of public engagement for Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri. "They still haven't really recovered from the 7.0 earthquake in 2010. And who knows what will come next?
"They feel like, in many cases, there is no hope, but we know that there is in Jesus. Our entire mission is to provide that hope and point people to that hope, which is Jesus Christ. Our teams have been through it all and are committed to being there long-term. We have an advantage to responding to the earthquake because we have warehouses scattered throughout the country, and they're full of food and other supplies."
Upon news of the latest earthquake, Forhetz says the first thing Convoy of Hope did was to check on the safety of its own personnel and their warehouses to see if their supplies were intact. They were, although many of the organization's buildings were obviously damaged. Convoy of Hope has an ongoing children's feeding program in Haiti in which tens of thousands of children are fed meals daily.
Prior to the earthquake, Forhetz says Convoy of Hope had cargo ships on its way to Haiti with water and more supplies.
"The Lord knew what was going to happen, and He helped us really to prepare for this," Forhetz says.
Convoy of Hope also is distributing medical supplies and hygiene kits as well as water filtration systems, which Forhetz says have been severely damaged. The organization is providing tarps and sheltering supplies due to the heavy rains the island has endured over the past week, and it is giving out solar-powered lanterns as well.
"Food, water, sheltering items and medical supplies are the main things the people need right now," Forhetz says. "There were some 12,000 people injured by the quake, and some of those injuries need immediate medical attention. The hospitals are overrun at this point. So the medical supplies we give could be what someone needs to keep from getting an infection."
There have been many challenges for the organization in these outreach efforts, Forhetz says.
"We employ a lot of Haitians there, and they are running things on site, and they're doing a stellar job," Forhetz says. There's been a problem down there since the assassination of the president and now the earthquake. We have to worry about bandits on the road, taking some of our supplies. We've been working around that with some of the locals."
Forhetz says that because of Convoy of Hope's efforts and their representation of Christ's love, more and more of the Haitian people are opening their hearts to Jesus.
"We want to show the love of Jesus," Forhetz says. "And we want those people to feel the love of God through our actions as we are the hands and feet of Jesus. They have already seen that for the past 15 years. They know there is hope."
Christian Life Missions has provided an opportunity for individuals and companies to donate to provide relief for the people of Haiti. Click the donation button here to help with this dire need.
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
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