In 1984 and in 1985, I did mission work in Haiti. I loved my time there and have always wanted to go back, but other missional callings, such as my work in Cuba, have kept me from returning.
For me, Haiti is a land of sharp contrasts. The people are dirt poor but they they are not poor in spirit (I am not speaking in the biblical sense). It was difficult to be around all the need, and yet I loved being with the people and their humor, while witnessing their resourcefulness in simply meeting their daily needs. The buildings are in need of major repair, but the countryside is beautiful with poinsettias growing wild in the mountains along with stately tropical foliage. The Christians are quite plentiful, but the island still exists under the strong influence of voodoo practice. Haiti has a terrible history of corrupt government under dictatorial regimes, and yet the people love freedom. The Haitians who have come to the United States have flourished without government intrusion. Haitian cuisine is wonderful but most Haitians eat so little of it each day.
When one looks at the history of Haiti, one might think it is a snake bit country. The people have had to endure corrupt governments that are far beneath their nobility. They have suffered from hurricanes and now a devastating earthquake. Most Haitians walk around hungry every day with little opportunity to improve their lot in life. But the Haitians do not deserve their tragedies, and anyone who suggests otherwise needs a lesson in rudimentary theology. If there is such a thing as "dumb luck," the people of Haiti have had more than their fair share of it, and it is long past time for them to get some relief.
As the next few days and weeks unfold, the extent of the calamity will become truly known. But one of the great things that will come out it all this is that people from all over the world will reach out and offer relief. Yes, over time it will come out that there has been some waste, fraud, and abuse, but we will also witness the best that humanity has to offer to other human beings in need. We are cracked images of God, but we are images nonetheless.
Please pray for the people of Haiti, and pray for all those involved in rescue and relief efforts; it is after all risky business to go into such a setting. May God bless them in their work.