Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Difference

You never know when the opportunity to make a difference will suddenly crop up. Sometimes it's in very small, individual ways, like the chance to say a kind word to someone who's discouraged or to even just hold the door open for the stranger whose arms are full. But sometimes, the opportunity is just plain huge, even seemingly overwelmingly so.

CrossWorld has been in the midst of just such a huge difference-opportunity ever since the Haiti quake took the lives of over 200,000 people and brought a city of 3 million to a standstill. You see, CrossWorld is involved in the work of a seminary in the Port-au-Prince area and after the quake, the campus there became something of a refuge as over 5,000 people lived on the grounds because no one wanted to be indoors anywhere for long. These aren't 5,000 seminary students or personnel, but 5,000 quake refugees from the surrounding neighborhoods. Imagine this many people suddenly showing up in your backyard one day. It's staggering.

We've heard many stories from this small segment of the Haiti crisis and some common themes emerge. The efforts of the CrossWorld personnel have been "heroic" (though they'd probably hate it that I mentioned it). The crisis will continue for a long time to come. And that a great number of people are turning to God because of this.

This morning I read the following from the president of the seminary there: "A wealthy businessman asked me to give him some pointers on what it means to live for God and not for himself. Another one who narrowly escaped death and has lost many friends and material possessions asked me if there is any sense at all in all that happened." How would you have answered these questions? Now you have some idea of how to pray for them.

Our own small, individual chance to make a difference was being asked to put together some video based on the debriefing of a crisis management expert CrossWorld had sent to Haiti. Here's what he had to say upon returning:

The obvious Shout Out of the week goes to all the relief workers in Haiti, especially those who are in for the duration. (You can subscribe to CrossWorld's email prayer list, which will carry continued updates from Haiti at

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