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|Rebuilding Haiti's Foundation||01/15/2010|
Our hearts break as a result of the tragic pain and suffering of the people in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake. Even as we witness the horror, we also see true expressions of Christian and human compassion. There isn't a sensitive, caring person on this earth that would not want to relieve their pain and offer assistance.
Recently, I have been ministering from Isaiah 58, where God speaks very candidly to His people. There are several points that relate directly to tragic situations like the one in Haiti:
Obedience to these commands, God says, results in us becoming "like a well-watered garden and an ever-flowing spring." This is to be the life of those who know God as father and have been spiritually born into the family of faith in Christ.
It is also the practice of people around the world who respond to a crisis not only with supernatural concern but also with a natural interest in others. I think it is important to note that God speaks clearly concerning the blessings for those who freely bless others. He gives comfort, protection, direction, and a sense of well-being that goes far beyond the material realm. While we should all respond to the need in Haiti, we must also be sensitive to the needs of those around us, whether they are physical or spiritual.
It is important to keep in mind that those who offer help in the form of donations, time, services or goods are doing so because they are able. You cannot give what you do not have. America has prospered beyond all nations and it is no coincidence that we have been blessed because we have historically worked to alleviate suffering.
Betty and I, our team, and the missionaries we support around the world truly love people. I well remember being in Port-au-Prince 23 years ago when our first grandchild, Lora Catherine, was born. I missed the birth because I was sharing with the people of Haiti the possibility of a spiritual new birth. Many gave their lives to Christ. We met with church leaders, encouraged them and prayed with them for positive change in their country. The people of Haiti, as in so many impoverished nations, are very resilient, but through the years, they have been tragically misled, manipulated and dominated by damaging beliefs. There has been some improvement in recent years.
As we seek to assist those who have been impacted by this crisis, we also pray that the nation arising from the rubble of natural destruction will rebuild with supernatural direction; that somehow the entire nation can be reorganized and established on a far more solid and secure foundation. As we provide relief through our ministry, LIFE Outreach International, we have several goals in mind: We want to make certain that our objectives can actually be fulfilled. We work closely with the missionaries and committed Christians from the island who are called to share God's love. Though we often have to work around a corrupt government, we do our best to make sure the corrupt government does not empower itself through our relief efforts and the work of our missionaries.
I clearly remember an evangelistic crusade that I led in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1977, when hundreds of people gave their lives to Christ. The building was filled to capacity nearly an hour before the service started each night. Among those changed by the power of God, David and Judy Heady experienced a "Damascus road" encounter with Christ. David was led by God to sell his successful electrical business and dedicate his life to missions. Six years later, they moved to Haiti. I met with him during the Port-au-Prince crusade in 1986. We began encouraging and supporting them and have continued to do so today. We have been thrilled with the progress of their work. I am told that the leadership of Samaritan's Purse is meeting with David during this crisis to help provide oversight for some of their efforts and use their base as a distribution center. Many missionaries will be effective assisting all aid organizations.
LIFE Outreach International has partnered with Franklin Graham and Samaritan's Purse in various relief efforts for over 20 years. I am truly thankful for all of the Christian organizations working to fulfill the mission of Isaiah 58, as well as the people that partner with us in these critical efforts. We work in crisis areas around the world in deadly and devastating circumstances. Many of them never make the headlines. But we continue to work with those who are totally committed to the project and to the people they lovingly and compassionately seek to help.
It is important to notice that the humanitarian aid comes from major corporations, small businesses and individuals who are capable of helping. Businesses cannot give unless they make a profit. Individuals cannot give if they have nothing. I make this point to emphasize something that we seem to be forgetting in our country: You cannot give what you have not gained. Government only has what it receives from the people. Federal aid and assistance has arrived in Haiti only because the people of various countries provided it. It is important that we not give credit to something rather than the someones who make it possible. It is also important to notice how well people from all backgrounds, faiths, and political persuasions can work effectively together when truly focusing on the problem. Real aid can only be given when people genuinely seek sensible solutions without arguing or protecting their personal position or political base.
In Isaiah 58, God warns against "pointing fingers" and spreading "vicious rumors." In other words, we must stop the character assassination and nullifying the possibility of anyone bringing something positive to the table, despite their "label."
America is in a great position to assist because of our strength and proximity to the crisis. Our armed services have taken control of operations in and out of the airport, as well as disbursing the aid. Effective non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are rapidly moving into place. Like LIFE Outreach, many were already operating in Haiti before the earthquake struck.
Hopefully, no one will be criticizing or arguing about why the American military is in charge. We are the strongest, best-qualified, and best-equipped nation in the world. We need to be there! Because our strength, we are in a position to help. God deliver us from those who foolishly seek to weaken us!
As we offer aid, let's pray for wisdom from above so those in leadership will stop bickering, engage in meaningful dialogue, and develop effective solutions not only in Haiti, but here at home, too. We need wise leadership, not foolish nonsense that violates personal freedom and inhibits the potential for the productivity that creates the ability to give and help those in need.
We may want to also pray that no one criticizes two of the largest relief organizations - the Red Cross and the Salvation Army - because the logo of one is a cross and the other mentions the salvation, which is offered through Jesus Christ. I know it may seem odd to mention these seemingly trivial points while fighting such a meaningful battle, but the reality is that such attacks can deplete resources and harm the ability to respond to human suffering. A radical element in the United States, and throughout the world, fiercely opposes everything remotely related to Jesus Christ, God and the Bible. So this is not only a great time to reach out, but also to stand up and point people to truth that makes the difference and transforms lives and nations. This is the hope of Isaiah 58 as we "restore the foundation and the walls."
I can assure you that Life Outreach will not only focus on effective ways to meet this crisis, but continue to work in Haiti long after this tragedy subsides. In every place that we work, whether feeding malnourished children in Africa, rescuing sex slaves in Asia or drilling water wells in Central and South America, we work to create independence and strength, not a never-ending welfare program. We want people to establish a solid life of their own, achieving self-sustenance so that they can then help others in need. This is the long-term plan of action in Haiti, too. Through focused love, compassion and guidance, God makes everything possible.
Thank you for standing with us and unselfishly supporting effective organizations during these catastrophic circumstances. If we will adhere to God's word and extend His love, we can truly restore the foundations and rebuild the walls. Along with President René Préval of Haiti, I say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." And I also thank God!
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 1484
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and His wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.