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Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.

Feb 17
2010
Judy Hannestad

What if Haiti Happens Here? Commentary...

Posted by: Judy Hannestad

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Commentary by CEN Founder and President Mary Marr

In the teachings of Jesus, He repeatedly commanded His followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter those in need.

The Apostle Paul consistently reinforces in his epistles the importance of the Church coming together to take care of those in need.

I am not aware of any verses where apostles were told Rome was to clothe the naked or care for the destitute. Consistently, Jesus' message was the Church should do this. Following this model, Christian Emergency Network (CEN) believes Christians must look at donations flowing through the Church and Christian ministries where aid is delivered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ rather than on behalf of the “state.”

It is important that our aid is going to a Christ-centered ministry that will provide aid as well as the Gospel.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

 

  • Who are Christian relief groups and churches that are providing the biblical model of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • Can we agree on who are true Christian response agencies?
  • Who are the biblically and financially trust-worthy response organizations?
  • How can we know our gifts and helping hands are reaching the most critical needs?
  • Are the only trustworthy relief organizations those which are approved by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)? Or approved by another ministry leader? Or by a TV personality? Or approved by USAID or otherwise government-approved?
  • What is the standard to determine who is trustworthy if they are not on someone’s approved list?
  • Is it just about money management? Or about the Gospel being shared effectively?
  • Where should my volunteerism go?

We know that emergencies of any kind and scope are best managed locally. And, in the case of Haiti, those that are local repeatedly say they are the best ones to respond to their most critical needs (when possible). While they may not have all the supplies at hand, they are still the best means of distribution to avoid corruption and pillage. While there are over 10,000 relief type agencies who have prior experience in Haiti, how many are Christian? How are they led? Who shares the Gospel tangibly along with supplies? How can we know our gifts are used wisely? These are all good questions to ask ourselves when responding internationally, or even domestically.

What if something like this happens domestically? Should you give money, time and talent now to prepare ahead of time? Who is able to do this in our local area? Your local CEN Chapter works with a broad segment of local Christians who are trusted and know the greatest point of need. Your local CEN Chapter is not any one organization, relief agency, business, church or person, but a broad coalition of local Christians.   This group is able to determine the critical needs of your area before, during and after emergencies of all kinds and sizes…and can manage resources coming in and out of your own incidents. There is a place for outside help, but that kind does not usually last through recovery stages and often does not get to the most critical needs that are unique to your area.

CEN is helping local communities develop their own emergency plans, leading churches to be ready as Jesus modeled, and then training them to be ready to effectively respond. Churches are responding each day to emergencies within their own congregations. They are uniquely located and positioned to assist in larger as well as smaller and more personal crisis situations.

Through local CEN Chapters, Christians are answering the ever increasing world, national and local wake-up call - to be aware of these uncertain times, be ready, and then be there sharing Jesus! Be ready to give an answer in word and deed at home and abroad.


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