On the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we're honored to share several personal stories of hope and faith from some who survived and continue to work and live amidst the ruins. Thanks to Kent Annan, author of the new book After Shock: Searching For Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken, for gathering these letters from his friends and colleagues in Haiti.
As I was driving away the feeling engulfed me. What had just happened? Was that a dream or did I really brush up against something truly extraordinary? Is that what Jesus in our midst looks like? Did I just come into the center of God's will for a few minutes? Had I been part of a privileged moment?
Earlier in the afternoon a week ago, on December 31, 2010, I had driven to this downtown ghetto to spend time with a couple of gang members in the neighborhood. They were still living in tents one year after the terrible earthquake. Over the past three years I had been facilitating dialogues to promote peace between members of this poor community, including the gangs, and members of the formal business community, the well-to-do. Now, as a gesture of goodwill, I had gone down to spend some time with the guys just shooting the breeze over a couple of beers.
It was amazing. They loved that I would take the time to come and be with them without any agenda other than sitting in a plastic chair and talking about family, sports, or the events of a horrible year gone by. As afternoon grew into evening, other members of the community would drop by to say hello, marvel at my presence, and walk on. Then darkness started moving in and I knew that it was time for me to go home. I asked them if I could pray for them, half expecting to hear embarrassed laughter and crude jokes. Instead these hard men readily agreed. We formed a small circle. Some stayed out, yet we had a good group and I lifted all of us up in prayer to the Lord. It was short but sweet in the intimacy of the unlighted street.
What a joy divine. What a privileged way to end the year.
Louis-Henri Mars is director of EuraOdos.