songs rising

February 14, 2010

I am daily humbled and inspired by the strong faith of Haitians all around me. Yesterday marked one month since the earthquake, and the nation honored those who died by declaring three days of mourning. As I woke up, I was greeted by singing rising up from surrounding streets. Everywhere we drove throughout the day, we saw hundreds of people clothed in white praising God outside of their churches. They were a sea of arms stretched high to the sky, eager to give thanks—and desperate to be heard.

This was not merely a formality for the holiday. It is the way people have lived, and how they now live amongst the ruins—relying entirely on God. “We are in the street, but we still worship the Lord there,” said one pastor to me, as World Relief provided tarps for the neediest in his congregation.

One of our program managers, Dr. James Vilus, told me of living through the quake. As it struck, his car was immediately surrounded by a cloud of dust from falling concrete. He said that as it settled, the first sight he saw was people all around him, dropping to their knees, praying and raising their arms. “When humans are experiencing very difficult situations in their life, they are pushed to think about someone that is greater,” he said.

I met one lady who had lost her home, those she loved, and was unsure of how she would get a next meal for those living in her yard. When asked if she still had faith in God, she looked me straight the eyes and said, “So much, so much, so much.”

“I’ve realized that in this situation, no one can save you,” said another staff member, Jeannite Ciguene. “Not your mother, not your friends. The only one who can save you is God. This has renewed my confidence in God and my hope.”

Today we visited some Haitian friends who are caring for 52 children in addition to their own son. They are all sleeping outside in two small shelters, and they have no place to use the toilet. As we arrived, they were gathered outside their cracked home singing and praying. They had been doing this since 6 a.m. and would not quit until 6 p.m. They did the same yesterday and are planning to do the same tomorrow. With their problems surrounding them in the form of furniture and mattresses strewn about the yard, the children clapped and sang powerfully. “Things are getting better, things are getting better. When the Lord is on the throne, things are getting better.” I cannot imagine many sweeter sounds in the world.

Driving home yesterday, we passed a large internally displaced persons camp. We could see a small tarp at the periphery packed with people crying out to God. I was struck to the core. In the midst of now-chaotic and uncertain lives, individuals chose to come together simply to pray.

“It is in your courage that we will find the strength to go on,” President Rene Preval told crowds of people mourning yesterday. Singing still floated through the air late last night. As I lay in bed thinking of the brave and faithful souls all around me, I had no doubt that Haiti will go on.

2 Responses to “songs rising”

  1. Agreed Says:

    Incredible post I feel like I’m there thanks for giving us a depiction of what’s going on and how we can pray…keep up the awesome work

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more.


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