February 23, 2010, 5:00 p.m.: “Voodoo practitioners attacked at ceremony for Haiti earthquake victims.”
Let me be clear that we have not and do not judge the need of someone we can help by the measure of their faith. Not once have we qualified a single person prior to giving them what we had, nor is this a program standard for our assistance during the crisis mode of this mission. As best we can estimate at this time, we have “touched” tens of thousands of orphans, adults, and families in some manner with supplies and / or medical attention. To date we have collected and shipped over 565,000 lbs of food, water, medical supplies, and basic needs. No doubt, these recipients are from mixed faiths. We do visit and qualify the organization or “camp” that is requesting assistance to do our best to assure that the supplies actually make it to those who are in need, and are not pilfered or re sold.
What was not included in this AP report was the essential body of my comments. I explained that our commission as ministers of the Gospel is to have compassion on whomever we can, to respond to their need with what we have. I responded to a direct question from Paisley which asked: “What would I do if I knew the person in need was a voodoo worshipper?” I responded that we would help them, but that everything we do is for the Glory of God and that we are committed to share our hearts. She then expanded her question to ask “Would I continue to help them knowing they were still practicing Voodoo?” I responded that I would show them our love by helping them and that I would hope to become their friend, and then as their friend, that our compassion and love might be the difference to lead them to Christ. She then asked “How long would we continue to supply them?” To that I answered that “I am not sure we could continue to support them in the long term because we would not want to perpetuate that process. We equate [voodoo] with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel.”
Let there be no doubt that the love of God is our driving force, and He loves everyone. Jesus taught that if we say that we have love, but do not love our neighbor, then we really do not have the love of God in us. That is why we have indiscriminately worked so hard, day and night, to help out urgently during this crisis mode for Haiti. Our mission is born and driven out of our love for God, which is the source of our compassion for those in need, and which is further fueled by our zeal for the Gospel. The Great Commission of Christ is to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15). We do not apologize for that nor do we minimize our determination.
Myself and two members of the Touchhaitinow.org team returned yesterday from Haiti to the U.S.A. to continue our efforts here to collect more food, medical supplies, tents, and support for distribution in Haiti. Our efforts are relentless to collect, ship supplies, and distribute supplies into the areas that we are introduced to that we can help.
Two other members of our team are in Haiti and continue to coordinate our efforts to remote areas that have not been receiving aid. Angela Lizote, acting as TH operations coordinator, reported today that she inspected the refugee area of Pouville, which is reporting outbreaks of typhoid and in desperate need of help. This is a priority mission for TH and Angela is working with Operation Blessing to deliver and distribute food and water to Pouville as quickly as we can. Dr. Rik Celie (founder of Doctors on a Mission)
flew in to meet me in Haiti last week and took charge to set up the first clinic two days ago at Camp De David compound in Carrefour. We were able to procure over $20,000 of medical supplies for this clinic which is serving the entire neighborhood without qualification. Dr. Rik is now working at Zion Foundation, on top of a mountain in Merge, where we were led to 400 isolated families camped in make shift tents consisting of needy people from the surrounding village. We were able to procure over $ 30,000 of medical supplies for this medical effort. Coincidentally, this specific mountain in Merge is recognized for its historically strong voodoo presence. The throng of children and adults cheered two days ago gave thanks to God and sang songs as we unloaded ten tons of baby food, rice, peanut butter, and water to them. I did not ask them who their God was and they clearly knew Who ours’ is. We did not preach to them (in all honesty we did not have the time). We opened the clinic in Carrefour at the same time and I needed to get back to insure our people were safe and secure. I only told them that we love them and that God loves them and that Jesus hears their cries. I promised that we would make our best effort to get more supplies to them as soon as we could. There were tears from all of us, many hugs and embraces, and compassion was flowing. Angela is coordinating this effort now to get another truckload of supplies to them again this week.
I met Paisley, the reporter who wrote this story, in Port au Prince by chance. I have great respect for her and accept that she is an articulate, bright, and focused professional. She asked me if I felt tension between Christians and voodoo followers. The quote she printed by me is accurate: “There’s absolutely a heightened spiritual conflict between Christianity and voodoo since the quake.” It is interesting to note that the incident reported in this AP article was instigated when voodooists interrupted a resident Haitian Christian prayer meeting.
We ask for your prayers and support as we pledge our best efforts to continue in the mission of compassion that we have been called to serve. To those of who you have written hate mail to me, please know that I do love you and forgive you and I can only hope that your judgments were premised on a lack of understanding of the full story. To the few who were wise to call and discuss this with me, I thank you that we were able to reason together and count you as my friends. To one and all, we desperately need your help for us to continue on. To God be the Glory.
In His Service,