by Kim Plummer Krull
One year after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, more than 1 million people remain homeless, and the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country has struggled with a cholera epidemic. But amid huge challenges, LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s (WR-HC) Rev. Glenn F. Merritt says that the Synod’s mercy ministry, with the help of partners and donors, is making positive steps to assist suffering Haitians.
LW: Jan. 12 marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed some 230,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. How do you describe Haiti today?
GM: Haiti is a country filled with complex challenges for today and unique opportunities for tomorrow. The majority of Haitians are resilient and determined to survive day to day without any real hope for improvement in the future. The entire nation staggers under the enormity of the burdens it must bear, yet there is a real eagerness for the Gospel.
LW: Haiti’s problems sound overwhelming. How do you know that the LCMS is making a difference?
GM: When you see the faces of men, women and children who have just received medical care, a home, food or heard the Gospel, we know that we are making a difference, one person at a time. With our partners, we have helped clean up debris, built homes, provided nutritional meals and clean water and shared Christ’s love. We are making a difference, and, by God’s grace, we will continue to do so. Compassion and mercy are the call of the church, not optional activities.
LW: When you see such suffering, what does it mean to you to be a Lutheran?
GM: As a Lutheran Christian, I understand that the theology of the cross ultimately points me to Christ’s suffering when I am faced with the tragedy of a suffering world. In the cross, we find the courage to encourage others, the presence to persevere and the mercy to be merciful to the helpless and hurting of our world.
> Learn more about “Building Homes and Hope for Haiti” at www.lcms.org/bhhh.
About the Author: Kim Plummer Krull is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.