Since the earthquake on January 12th, 2010, Haiti has had a ton of aid brought in from many different countries, a ton of news reporters from all over the world, and a ton of mission teams and other humanitarian aid groups. Even though the population decreased because of the many deaths, it seems like the population has increased from all of these other people coming into this country.
I am thankful that these groups have come. Haiti needs aid BIG TIME. Haiti needs the press to relay the stories back to the people around the world so that they are made aware of the situation…the real situation. Haiti needs short-term mission groups and other humanitarian groups to come here and help give out aid, care for the wounded, and bring encouragement to the people who have been devastated.
But what Haiti needs most are those that are ready to run the marathon, not just run the 100 yard sprint. And here is what I have already personally seen.
There are very few, if any, news reporters flying into Jacmel or other places to get the story of what is going on now…the real story, not just the spectacle of buildings crashed, the dead piled up, and the chaotic cries of the people. What about the need now to tell the personal stories of people who have lost loved ones and homes, but are now just trying to rebuild and need some help? Those stories certainly don’t get great press attention, but they definitely get my attention. And those are the people we want to come along side of and help get resources their way.
Our blog hits spiked to the thousands during the week of the quake. Everybody wanted to follow the spectacular. But now that the spectacular is over, our blog hits are coming back to the normal, well still slightly above (perhaps we have found some marathon runners among us).
Haiti has certainly dropped out of the prime spot in the news. I know this is completely normal. It just shows though that the press just try to get the story that brings the most spectacle, and Haiti now is, in a sense, old news. That is just so sad though because this earthquake only happened a few weeks ago. It’s not like we can look at the situation and say, “Oh, Haiti is doing well now, so we can move on to other things.” No, Haiti is not doing well. Yes, Haitians are trying to move on. They are trying to put the broken pieces back together. They are a strong people, the most resilient people I have ever known. But they still need our help, now more than ever.
Don’t get me wrong. I am so thankful to have seen so many people, churches, groups, etc. come to Haiti within weeks of her biggest tragedy ever. I know that this made a huge difference to so many Haitian people. It showed them that people care and want to help.
But to truly help Haiti, it will require many people, churches, countries, and groups to go the distance. We need people who are willing to step up with commitments that will be measured in years rather than days. We need churches to adopt Haiti as a mission focus for an extended period of time rather than just one mission trip that often just gives a glimpse of the spectacle, but doesn’t allow the time to really get to know Haiti and her people. We need those that are willing to run the marathon. I’m not a runner, but I do know that the sprint itself is a spectacle from start to finish. It happens so fast that the whole race is full of excitement. A sprint also just requires full exertion from start to finish. A sprinter puts all of his or her energy into a race that only lasts seconds. Once those seconds are over, the sprinter goes home. But a marathon requires setting a pace that enables the person to run for a long period of time. A marathon runner cannot put all of their energy into the first seconds of the race otherwise he or she would burn out and never be able to finish. A marathon runner has to be patient and know when to make a move to get to the front of the pack as well as know when to just keep a steady pace with the rest of the pack. Also, a marathon, I would imagine, has many moments without spectacle. It has many moments where the runner feels alone. It has periods of strenuous uphill climbs. It has periods of fatigue and exhaustion. It may have moments even of boredom. And it certainly has moments of great challenge, and the only thing that propels that runner forward is the commitment to cross the finish line.
I certainly admire marathoners, but truthfully I would rather watch a sprint than a marathon. And I would imagine that I am not the only one.
Haiti has had many sprinters in these last few weeks. There has been much excitement, much spectacle, and also many incredible stories of lives being impacted. I am thankful for every person that has come down here to help.
But now that Haiti is not in the spectacle spotlight so much, yet she lies in ruins in so many places, we need those that are ready to run the marathon with us. It will be challenging. It will be painful. It will be frustrating. It will require so much patience. It will require wisdom of knowing when to make a big move to get ahead and when to just keep a slow and steady pace. It might even be boring at times. But it will be a most rewarding moment when we can all cross the finish line together and say, “By the grace of God, we did it!”.
Who’s ready to run this marathon with us? – Cody