Thursday, January 21, 2010


A Heart for Haiti

Before last week's earthquake, I can't say I spent a lot of time thinking about Haiti. I knew that Haiti was a very needy country, and that many people in our church went there regularly on medical and other missions. The heart-wrenching news, the devastation there, has been weighing heavily on my heart. When I learned that a Wartburg Seminary student, Ben Larson, died there, the disaster became even more real to me. Colleagues and friends of mine who knew Ben are grieving, and I grieve with them.

Haiti is our neighbor. They are now a neighbor in even more profound need than before the earthquake. I have been very proud these past couple of days because of our congregation and its heart for Haiti. First of all, people were very generous this past Sunday in their donations for disaster relief.

Then, I started getting messages from some of our high school and middle school students asking if they could do special fund-raising or projects for the people of Haiti. In the coming weeks, you can anticipate that our youth will take up a special collection for Haiti, and you can look forward to some kind of pancake breakfast raising money for Haiti. I am simply so proud of our youth for being interested in mission support for Haiti, and I hope you'll come out in large numbers to support them.

The ELCA news brief on Haiti says, "The ELCA, through the Lutheran World Federation, is already responding to the critical needs of survivors in Haiti. Thankfully, the LWF offices and staff on the island were spared in the earthquake, making it possible for work to begin immediately. Staff there will focus their immediate efforts on issues of water safety and sanitation, assisting with medical triage, and providing emergency sheltering for the many who are now homeless. The ELCA has long-standing relationships in Haiti through several organizations and the Lutheran Church in Haiti.
In anticipation of your generous gifts, ELCA Disaster Response has authorized $250,000 for immediate relief assistance in Haiti, with the possibility for an additional $500,000 as the full scope of this disaster continues to become clear. Your gifts are needed now to make this type of rapid response possible."
On God's Mission with you,

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