God in our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult, we will not fear. – Psalm 46
On Tuesday, January 12, just after 5pm, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the southern part of the country of Haiti. The international media is reporting that conditions in the country are extremely critical and most communication and travel to and from Haiti have ceased. Please pray for the Haitian people and those on the ground in Haiti.
“I do not have the words to express the great pain and sadness I feel for the people of Haiti,” said Bishop Edward R. Benoway, Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA. “Many congregations here in the Florida-Bahamas Synod share a special relationship with the people of Haiti through fundraising and mission trips. At this time, there are various groups from our synod and from around the ELCA serving in Haiti. Please also keep them and their families back home in prayer during this time of uncertainty. Our close partnership with the leaders and people of Haiti is now more important than ever.”
The Lutheran Church in Haiti is one of five Companion Synods with the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Our Synod Global Mission Team works continually with the people of Haiti to build churches, schools, and relationships. Mary Delasin, World Hunger and Advocacy Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas Synod, reports that Pastor Joseph Livenson Lauvanus of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti (The Lutheran Church in Haiti) was in the United States when the earthquake occurred. He was just starting a trip around the Florida-Bahamas Synod to visit with congregations, raising awareness of the needs and work we are doing in Haiti.
“We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the powerful earthquake,” said Mary Delasin. “With most avenues of communication destroyed, Pastor Lauvanus has not been able to contact anyone in Haiti yet. We are all praying for their safety and care.”
According to Ms Delasin, the epicenter of the quake was located in Carrefour, the location of the first Lutheran congregation established in Haiti. Many of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti’s congregations were within the area affected by the earthquake.
ELCA Disaster Response has already begun work coordinating efforts through Lutheran World Federation and other relief partners and government agencies. To donate to the relief effort or to learn more about what ELCA Disaster Response is doing, go to www.elca.org/disaster and click on the “Haiti Earthquake” link. 100% of your donations go directly to the needs of this disaster. A downloadable bulletin insert about the disaster will be available on their website soon.
“Our synod is committed to the continued partnership we share with the Lutheran Church in Haiti, especially in the aftermath of this disaster,” said Bishop Benoway. “I call on the people of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, and of the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to offer prayers and financial resources to assist the people of Haiti in their immediate needs.”