A New Spirit is Rising in Haiti
Four months after the earthquake, the nation seems ripe for revival
May 12, 2010 - In the four months since a 7.0 earthquake reduced much of Haiti to rubble, not only has the landscape been altered, but its people have been forever changed.
The earthquake in Haiti was undoubtedly a tragedy on an epic scale that is almost impossible to fully comprehend.
by Janet Chismar
Rapid Response Team chaplain Pam Rhodes, who is back in Haiti on her second deployment, says, “We see a new spiritual direction. Prayer requests are more about the actual direction that a person’s life is going and not, ‘I need food.’ It’s more about ‘Can you pray for my family and my marriage?’”
According to Rhodes, Haitians have moved out of sheer survival mode into the next phase of life. “They are sincere – not desperate. They’ve actually called us into their little shelter homes and asked us to pray over their children, so they are thinking about life in a new way—about eternal life.”
Rhodes and her husband, Phil, (pictured right) were among the first chaplains who arrived in Haiti back in January. Their first deployment had a profound impact on the couple. “Initially, it was so chaotic here. To see the hungry people and have them reaching out to you put us in a position to sense an immense need for the almighty God. We knew that only His power that could heal what was wrong with this country.
”It changed us and showed us the urgency of the Gospel," she adds.
Since January, says Rapid Response Team Director Jack Munday, chaplains have prayed with more than 10,000 people; more than 660 have found new hope and freedom in Jesus Christ.
“Along with individual one-on-one ministry,” says Munday, “we’ve had the opportunity to train and equip local pastors to appropriately meet the spiritual and emotional needs of their congregations, and we’ve been able to lead Bible studies and evangelistic outreaches among those who are living in the makeshift tent communities.
”But,” Munday adds, “the physical, emotional and spiritual needs in Haiti are still great. As the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains work with churches in support of pastors, they regularly encounter people who live with fear, physical injuries and overwhelming grief.”
In addition to experiencing great loss, the life situations for the survivors remain challenging with precarious living conditions in tent cities.
”The earthquake in Haiti was undoubtedly a tragedy on an epic scale that is almost impossible to fully comprehend,” says Munday. “Hundreds of thousands died that day and in the days since, and additional hundreds of thousands continue to be displaced and are living in tent cities.
”Amid the pain and suffering, the ashes and debris,” he adds, “a new hope is rising in Haiti, and it is a revival like we have never seen before.
Rhodes would agree. “God is so present here in the midst of all that is going on,” she says. “You can just feel Him in special ways and you can sense His love and His desire to save these people. It’s pretty powerful. It’s about the people – He desires to save the people here.”
She, too, believes the nation is ripe for revival: “Right after the earthquake, we literally had crowds of people following us saying, ‘I want to know about Jesus.’ The hearts of the people here are open to the Gospel. He has prepared their hearts to hear and receive the Gospel. I think He is going to do that in huge and powerful ways.”
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Munday says, “Please continue to lift up the people of Haiti in prayer. Although life is very difficult for them, we know thousands are experiencing God's hope and comfort through Jesus Christ.
”Thank you to those who have been praying and supporting the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team as we’ve ministered in Haiti," Munday adds. "There have been many challenges to overcome, but we are so thankful to each of you and we are extremely excited and encouraged to see the way that God is blessing this work.”