Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Helping in Haiti

As we prepare to send our 20-member team to Haiti on Saturday to provide medical and spiritual care there, Associates from across the CHRISTUS system have asked how they can help, or if we will be sending additional teams to Haiti to serve.

It is clear that many, many members of our CHRISTUS family have the skills and expertise necessary to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Unfortunately, we were limited to a 20-member team on this trip, and were asked to fill a specific list of providers by our partner on the ground in Haiti. At this time, we are unsure if we will plan another trip to Haiti, but CHRISTUS’ Task Force on Haitian Relief is working hard to identify additional opportunities. At the very least, we should be able to provide interested Associates with a list of other trusted nonprofits that are transporting medical professionals to Haiti to provide care. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the needs in Haiti will exist for many months and probably years to come, which means that our services will be needed far into the future.

But what if you are unable to make a trip to Haiti because of family or other obligations? What if you are looking for a group to travel with but haven’t found one yet? What if you do not possess the medical skills that allow you to perform surgeries or administer anesthesia?

You can still play a vital role in many ways, including:

Encourage. The team members traveling to Haiti on Saturday come from almost every region within CHRISTUS. If you know them or work with them, feel free to send an encouraging word or offer to lend a hand while they are away. We will try to post some biographies of our team members here so you can get to know them better as we serve in Haiti.

Pray. It is difficult for people of compassion to hear news reports detailing the death toll of over 215,000 and estimated 1.2 million people who remain without permanent shelter in Haiti following the massive earthquake in January. It can make many of us feel helpless as we search for ways to provide relief. It has been said that in dark times, we must give off light. So if you feel comfortable doing so, please take a few moments to “give off light” by offering the prayer below on behalf of the people of Haiti and our CHRISTUS team.

Prayer for the People of Haiti and our CHRISTUS Team
God of calling and compassion, we stand together at this sacred moment mindful of the deep and expansive needs of the people of Haiti. We pray for them as they respond to the effects of the earthquake in their own lives. We also remember all of those serving in the relief efforts already begun and that will continue. And we pray today for our CHRISTUS brothers and sisters who have courageously responded to the call to leave the safety and comfort of their lives and step into the uncertainty and chaotic world of those in dire need. We pray, O Lord that you will bless their willingness, creativity, and ingenuity. Protect them in their service. Give them strength each day and each night to do all they can to meet the needs that will be encountered. This is our prayer in the name on the One who call us and sustains us in our ministry. Amen.

Next Monday through Friday, the Mission and Ethics leaders in our regions may be offering prayers on behalf of our team in Haiti. Feel free to join in these prayers and offer your own.

Give. If you’re able, you can make a financial contribution to support the team’s work in Haiti by sending a check to the CHRISTUS Health Foundation, P.O. Box 840973, Dallas, Texas 75284-0973. (Mark your checks “For Haiti Relief.”) According to the Haitian Accelerated Deduction Law, taxpayers can claim qualifying contributions to charitable organizations made between Jan. 11 and March 1, 2010 on their 2009 tax returns.

But more than money can be useful, and Associates across the CHRISTUS family have been incredibly generous and found innovative ways to support relief in Haiti, including donating old cell phones through the Phones for Haiti program. Feel free to get creative!

Volunteer. While the needs in Haiti are still very real and graphically shocking, we will never have to look far to find brothers and sisters who are hurting or in need. In fact, many people in our own regions are lonely, sick, or suffering. If you can’t make the trip to Haiti, please consider extending our healing ministry outside the walls of the building you work in by volunteering your time with a reputable non-profit. We at CHRISTUS are so blessed by our own volunteers that I think it is clear to all of us how volunteers can be truly vital to an organization’s success.

I feel honored and incredibly blessed to be able to call myself the team leader of CHRISTUS. It is clear that we have so many Associates across our international ministry who embody our mission each and every day, committing themselves to our core values and fulfilling our call to extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

No comments: