All posts in "Causes"

How bad is the Pakistan flooding?


According to a Red Cross disaster relief worker, the situation is both similar and different to the Haiti earthquake: I was in Haiti as part of the relief efforts in February of this year, and I do find some differences and I find also some similarities. What is similar, for instance, is that both the natural disasters [are] affecting extremely poor populations. In Pakistan when you go to the countryside, those people are extremely poor. If we speak about the regions away from the urban areas, those people really have nothing to live with. And then on top of it, if you put the flood; it’s really hard to imagine the people who have survived, whether they were poor like this before the flood or as a consequence of the flood. As in Haiti, the effect on the population is even worse because those people had nothing to begin with and therefore an even less position to really respond to the disaster or even be prepared for this kind of thing. If your worship team or choir would like to help support efforts like these, please contact me and ask about how to present a song for the poor.


Read More

Homeless bringing revival to Nashville?


Southern Gospel singer Candy Christmas thinks so, according to CT: In November 2004, Christmas founded The Bridge Ministry—named for its location under the Jefferson Bridge near the riverbank—after taking a pot of jambalaya to a group of homeless people on a visit with a local pastor. The Bridge is now a thriving ministry which includes a weekly church service on Tuesday nights to feed and preach to up to 500 attendees. Other local churches and ministries (including the Salvation Army) also reach out to these homeless. Some of those organizations use the Bridge’s 20,000 square-foot warehouse—a resource hub for nonprofits—which is stocked with dry goods, toiletries, and coats to pass out for the winter. Here’s where the revival part enters: Their desire to give back to the community may be the most inspiring effect of The Bridge Ministry, convincing Christmas and many others of the revival they could lead. Their lack of resources is no hindrance.  That spirit was exemplified one night last year when Christmas shared about her other ministry—the Candy House, a school for orphans in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She recalls, still in awe, how she told the Bridge crowd about her 2009 trip to Haiti, noting that it’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. “They started getting up, bringing their quarters and their dollars,” she says. Though Christmas tried to stop them—she simply wanted to raise awareness, not funds—they kept coming. “That night we took up $42.53. So now I’ve got homeless people that are trying to get their passports to go to Port-Au-Prince to build this orphanage.” Christmas shares how serving the poor helped cure her of depression here. I remember Smitty mentioned this ministry a while back, but did not know that Candy was the one primarily used to get it going & flourishing. God apparently uses the things that our world considers weak and despised to show His glory (1 Cor 1).


Read More

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him


Here is a powerful example (stream audio) of God’s Kingdom breaking out…this time in the midst of incredible suffering from the Haiti earthquake. Here’s the description from the Miami NPR station’s website: This piece reconstructs an inspiring moment amid tragedy and pain, at a makeshift hospital tent in Port-au-Prince.  In it, four medical professionals from South Florida recount their experience landing in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake, and struggling to meet a desperate need for medical help. One describes the situation as “a war zone.” Another describes a feeling of worthlessness, given the scale of the catastrophe. But then something happens that surprises them: a man begins to play a guitar in the corner of the tent, and patients begin to sing.  Soon every Haitian in the tent is singing or clapping or dancing.  The song: “Jesus, thank you for loving us.” Stay with the story to get the full impact. Project Medishare is one of the efforts Cross International assist post-earthquake, but all the glory goes to God here.


Read More

The concerns of child sponsorship


Good input from Chris Horst of Hope International on the pluses and minuses of sponsoring children overseas. Since you are reading this, I’m assuming you know the positives. Here are some concerns: Child sponsorship can undermine the role of parents. Child sponsorship can have the same impacts of a bad welfare system. Child sponsorship can inadvertently send the wrong message and yield an unhealthy relationship. Many of these programs are wrought with fraud. These programs can foster jealousy and encourage dependency. The points are fleshed out more here. Full disclosure:  Cross International does NOT have a child sponsorship program.


Read More

Island Time – This American Life


Island Time is one of the best radio pieces to illustrate what is going on in Haiti and worth 60 minutes of your time (especially if you like good radio). Here’s the promo blurb: Unprecedented amounts of money have been pledged to Haitian relief in the last few months. American households have given over $1 billion and in March, 120 countries pledged over $9 billion(!) to rebuild. The only problem is that – historically – blanketing a country in aid and money has never really worked so well. Is there a chance this time things could be different?


Read More

Harriet Tubman’s hymnal


From the Washington Post: On a blue-covered table in a Capitol Hill hearing room, an ordinary hymnal was raised to the status of a historical object with the simple signature of its owner, Harriet Tubman Davis. The book of gospel hymns was among an extraordinary trove of Tubman artifacts given Wednesday to the National Museum of African American History and Culture… Lonnie G. Bunch, the founding director of the museum, described the November meeting in Philadelphia when Blockson, who lives there, first showed the staff the 39 objects he is donating. “Each object in this collection humbled us, excited us and moved us to tears. And then, Dr. Blockson uncovered Harriet Tubman’s personal hymnal, and I think many of us lost it,” Bunch said. Harriet Tubman, of course, was the 19-century leader in the Underground Railroad and an emancipation leader, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. The hymnal, titled “Gospel Hymns No. 2,” was by Philip Bliss (“It Is Well With My Soul”) and Ira Sankey (“The Ninety and Nine” and D.L. Moody’s songleader) can be seen here, including Tubman’s autograph. Interesting to note the ceremony concluded with everyone singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The truth sets you free indeed…


Read More

Haiti benefit concert – North Florida


Celebration Baptist of Macclenney, FL is holding a benefit concert for Haiti on Saturday, February 13. The Celebration Worship Team will perform along with bluegrass artists Southern Reign. Celebration Baptist is 30 miles west of Jacksonville, just off I-10.  For a map, click here. Thanks to Chet and Rosina Gray of Celebration Baptist for putting this together. If your church would like to hold a benefit concert, contact me @ 1-800-391-8545 ext. 174 or via email.


Read More

Good report on Haiti by Mark Driscoll


Good overview below and here by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church/Seattle on the damage done by the Haitian earthquake. He and pastor James McDonald from Chicago spent 32 hours after the quake on-the-ground. This provides a good, broad historical background on Haiti for those not familiar with Haiti.  He describes not only how devastating this earthquake was to the people, but also how and why the work of churches is essential to the recovery and rebuilding of Haiti. If you’re looking for a fairly short (about an hour) overview of the Haiti earthquake and how the church is responding and why this response is essential, this is excellent. Please share broadly. View on YouTube here.


Read More

Adoption caution, part 2: More than good intentions


Here’s a follow-up from an earlier post, illustrating that compassion and good intentions are not sufficient elements in helping the poor: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A group of 10 American Baptists were being held in the Haitian capital Sunday after trying to take 33 children out of Haiti. The church group, most of them from Idaho, allegedly lacked the proper documents when they were arrested Friday night in a bus along with children from 2 months to 12 years old who had survived the catastrophic earthquake. The group say they were setting up an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic. Full AP story (via OneNewsNow) here. Cross International has many years of ministry experience in Haiti, and works with churches and missions (and orphanages) already on-the-ground. For more about our efforts, go here.


Read More