In Haiti, one thing has always been certain. Through all the poverty, tragedy, and violence that has plagued the small Caribbean nation, Haitians have always celebrated Carnival.
But not this year.
The lively annual festivities, which would have begun Sunday and ended today, have been set aside, so the Haitian people can observe three days of mourning and fasting. Haitian musicians cancelled their Carnival performances and instead are raising money for earthquake relief.
It’s amazing how God can use the worst of tragedies to remind us that he is in control. We are confronted with our own helplessness, with our absolute dependence in God’s mercy and compassion. Shortly after the earthquake struck, our own staff reported seeing groups of people openly praying and worshiping God amid the ruins of Port-au-Prince. Though the church buildings were destroyed, the faith of the people remained intact.
As Cross International begins to look forward to Haiti’s long-term recovery, we consider our spiritual focus an integral, rather than peripheral, part of our mission to the poor. The people of Haiti need hope, and our mission partners are there to lead them to the only hope that lasts. Whether we are feeding orphans at the School of the Good Sower, caring for the handicapped at World Harvest Children’s Home, or helping “restavek” children get some time away from the rigors of virtual slavery, we always make sure that the gospel is preached, because that is what changes lives. A meal will sustain a child for a day, and the sturdiest rebuilt house will eventually weather away, but the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus is what sustains us forever.