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Sometimes it may seem like hope is hard to find.
Just look at the situation in Haiti. New heartbreaking stories come out every day. Current estimates on casualties range anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people. For a country that was already the poorest nation in the west, this earthquake must be the final blow, right?
Truth is, Haiti does have hope. Blake Thompson, Senior Producer of The Dave Ramsey Show, saw glimmers of hope all throughout Haiti during his visit to the devastated country last week. He saw hope in the resilient nature of the Haitian people and in the miracles he encountered while he was there.
Blake traveled to Haiti with SafeWaterNexus—a Tennessee-based nonprofit organization—to provide food to orphanages, medical supplies to tent cities, and respond to any other immediate needs they encountered.
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When the group arrived in Port au Prince, the center of the earthquake’s devastation, he was overwhelmed by what he saw. “It looked like a massive bomb blew up the city,” Blake said. “There were piles of buildings everywhere, bodies in the streets, and homeless people for miles and miles. The smell was terrible.”
One Incredible Story
While he was on the ground in Haiti, Blake provided updates to thousands of people through Dave Ramsey’s Facebook and Twitter pages. One evening, he was checking messages and stumbled across a comment from an old college friend he had not seen in nearly two decades.
“He said a Haitian family in his church was just devastated because their father and mother are preachers in a community outside of Port Au Prince. The parents had more than 100 people staying in their crumbling church, all of them without food and water for nine days. This family was begging my friend to help, but he didn’t know what to do. He said it was a long shot, but he sent me the address of the church in case we could get over there.”
That night, Blake prayed and developed a plan with the guys from SafeWaterNexus. The next morning, they hired a driver and a mini-bus. “We drove to the airport, where a lot of crisis groups and nonprofits had set up headquarters, and asked them to donate any food or water they had left over,” he said.
They loaded the mini-bus with the supplies and drove through Port au Prince trying to find the pastor’s address in the middle of all the rubble. “Some roads had been totally blocked by collapsed buildings or bodies in the streets. So we had to back up and find another way,” Blake said. “Our driver had to create roads by driving on sidewalks and on any other area he could get us through. He even drove down a steep, curvy staircase with the bus at one point.”
After an hour of navigating through a devastated Port au Prince, they finally found the pastor’s address—a battered, old wooden church. On the front gate, a sign read “Need Help.” When the group arrived, the pastor exited the building with his hands in the air, exclaiming, “God bless! God bless! God bless!”
Blake introduced himself to the pastor, who was extremely grateful. “He thanked us and told us God blessed him and his people that day,” Blake said. The group unloaded enough food, water and medical supplies for more than 150 people. Afterward, they helped make sure more supplies would be coming soon.
"We Will Be Going Back."
Not surprisingly, that story was just one of the many stories Blake experienced while in Haiti. They did a lot in a short amount of time, but they still had so much more to do. “We had an agenda, pages long, that we wanted to get to,” Blake said. “But we will be going back.”
Since returning home, Blake says everyone wants to know how to help. The answer is really simple. “Prayer and money,” he said. “Give money to an organization that is making a difference and helping people right now. SafeWaterNexus is a great place to start. That organization was on the ground in Haiti and putting donated funds to use within days.”
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Regardless of whom you donate your money to, make sure the organization has a plan for the supplies when they hit the ground. “We saw rotting food at the airport because too many people would drop the food off and have no way to get it into the city,” Blake said. “The organization needs to be physically capable of taking the food, water and supplies to the people. SafeWaterNexus, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision were some of the organizations that were organized and doing great things down there.”
Most importantly, Blake said he saw prayer work in amazing ways. “God was there. I’m still trying to comprehend that. But we’re told all through Scripture that we don’t understand some things about God. What I do understand is that we were in Haiti—and the other organizations helping out were in Haiti—because of God. We reflected God to those people.”
The challenge for us is to reflect God as well—even if we can’t volunteer on the ground. How, then, can we reflect God? The answer is simple: Give like no one else.
We can’t single-handedly restore hope to Haiti. Its resilient people will once again need to pick themselves up. But we can make a difference—a major difference—by giving like no one else.
Yes, it sounds so simple, but it’s the foundation of what Dave teaches, and it’s the reason Blake traveled to Haiti to help.
Give like no one else.
*Follow @safewaternexus on Twitter for ongoing Haiti information.
Photo credits: Esther Havens.