By Cheyanne Lent
You are walking back to your dorm after a long day of classes and all of a sudden the ground starts to tremble under you.
You hear an earth-shattering rumble that turns into loud cracking and popping. You hear screams throughout campus as buildings begin to crumble and chaos ensues.
On Jan. 12, a 7.0 earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti where millions of people instantly became homeless. Thousands of children lost their mothers and fathers.
If this tragedy ever happened here in West Palm Beach, it would be heartbreaking, but we would pick up the pieces and be back on our feet in no time.
However, what is despairing in Haiti’s case is that the places Haitians once called homes were barely held together by straw and tin roofs.
I’ve been there, and have a firsthand account of the spirited nation from my PBA mission trip last spring break.
Here in America, we have numerous resources that would be available should this ever happen in one of our states.
Even in these hard economic times, money would still find its way to help fund the many cranes, bulldozers, construction crews, electricians and humanitarian workers that would get us back on our feet again.
However, for the already impoverished people of Haiti, their new reality is like the worst dream anyone could ever imagine.
From my experience with the Haitian people, I know that the best is honestly yet to come for them.
Through this huge trial, I firmly believe it will make them a stronger, more courageous people.
When our mission team was driving around, we would wave to every passing Haitian and each would greet us with a wide grin.
Even at the orphanage in which we stayed — which is run by former orphans who were raised by the missionaries with whom we traveled — constant joy was felt throughout the walls despite the poverty they were experiencing.
Every day, the children would wake up, do their chores and walk two and a half miles on an unpaved road to school. In the evening, after time devoted to play with my team, every child would take part in the preparing and serving of the “family meal.”
Before they slipped into their bunk beds at night, the children would take a shower and praise God for the gift of water, even though the temperature was likely below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
After this earthquake, by the grace of God, the orphanage still stands. I have been told by the missionary, who is currently in the country serving in the relief efforts, that it did suffer some external damage so the children and staff have been sleeping outside in tents.
However, he also has said that this tragedy has brought the children and their community together.
Their hope still remains alive.
But what will this tragedy do for us? Sure, many people will give money and support organizations across the world providing immediate aid to Haiti. But what about farther down the line?
When Haitians are still picking up the pieces to mend their broken lives, will we too be forever changed in the way we live?
I urge each of you, not as a reporter or as a student, but as a Christian, to let this disaster in Haiti continue to remind you how sovereign God is and that He has called us to love one another.
In John 13: 34-35, Christ tells us that the most important rule in life is to love each other as He loves us.
He didn’t say love each other when you feel like it or when it’s convenient. Christ didn’t command us to love only the people that look and act like us.
We must be the change we wish to see, and if we show the Haitians the love of God through our love for them, it may just be the greatest relief effort possible.
Christ came for everyone, and if we are to be the true Church here on Earth, we need to die to ourselves and let Christ live through us by daily submitting to Him and loving everyone we come in contact with.
This was and always will be Christ’s call to love.