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Searching for Faith Amidst the Ruins: An Interview with Haiti Partners Founder Kent Annan
It seems like we—and I include myself—so often focus on what is wrong with the country or the church, or we focus on our own ambitions and what we want out of life. To go to church in Haiti even before the earthquake, when people are making less than $2 a day, and then to go to church now, next to a crumbled building, and to see people not naïve about how hard life is at all, and yet they are overflowing with gratitude to their Creator—it's truly humbling, and something that we as Americans should think about.
Then there is the point that we should consider what Jesus says about helping those in poverty. Haiti is only ninety minutes away from America. Haitians are our neighbors, and they are facing life and death needs. We have to consider what our responsibility is as churches. How should we respond to this disaster in light of the gospel, which makes radical claims when it comes to these matters?
Has your view of God been challenged by the earthquake?
In these past five weeks, my faith and my prayers have definitely resembled the Psalms more than anything. I don't understand the answers, but I am crying out to God. One prayer that kept coming to mind after the earthquake is, "How long, O Lord, how long?" This refrain is repeated throughout the Psalms. How long the people of Haiti have suffered already—and now this?
Another verse that comes to mind is "Come, Lord Jesus, Come." These basic refrains are full of faith because they're full of longing, not because they're full of answers and understanding.
Then, on the other side, in spite of how unbelievably awful this is, our faith has to be open-eyed. We should not be caught off-guard that we live in a world that can be brutal. We should not have a faith that is in denial about the kind of world we live in.
Where do you find Jesus?
In addition to the traditional ways, Jesus says in Matthew 25, "When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, did you give me to drink?" That's a part of my answer to the question of what it means to ministry "in the trenches."
Maybe we find God and we find Jesus in a really nice church building in the United States on Sunday morning. But if we listen to Jesus, then we'd better also be seeking Jesus among the rubble, among the ruins. And we better go not just as saviors, but to seek the Savior together.
Please visit the Haiti Partners website for more information on the organization, visit the blog, or go to make a contribution to their earthquake relief efforts. Also, Kent Annan's two books on Haiti, including the new release, After Shock, can be purchased below. All proceeds from the book go to support the ministry in Haiti.
Visit the Patheos Book Club for more resources and reflections on After Shock: Searching For Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken.