Haiti

HAITI – Republic of Haiti

Haiti; the western third of the island of Hispaniola in Caribbean; shared with the Dominican Republic. One of the most-densely populated countries in the Americas with the geographical area of 27,400sq. km. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have fled/ emigrated. The population before the earthquake in January and the subsequent emigration was 10,188,175 inhabitant. The capital is Port-au-Prince.
Official language is French but only10% of population speak it. The most common languages are Haitian Creole, English and Spanish is increasingly used as a second language. The poorest state in the Western Hemisphere, aggravated by overpopulation, deforestation (only 2% of original forests remain), soil erosion, pollution and hurricanes. Around 75% live on less than $2/day, and two-thirds are under- or unemployed. Political instability and violence prevent proper aid distribution and long-term investment. The 2010 earthquake devastated much of what little economic infrastructure did exist. After this disaster, it will take billions of dollars and many years of stability, coupled with sustained redevelopment, to see any long-term economic progress. Major sources of income include remittances from expatriate Haitians and, now, aid, relief and development funds earmarked for earthquake recovery.

Challenges for Prayer

The earthquake of 2010 was a disaster on many levels. But it also offers hope out of tragedy. It is believed that 230,000 lost their lives, 300,000 were injured and over one million were rendered homeless. Hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings were also destroyed, including some major government buildings. Aid arrived from around the world, but coordination was difficult in the aftermath of the earthquake, and assistance will be needed for a long time to come. For a host of reasons, Haiti struggled as a nation from its very inception. This shattering disaster could be an opportunity to reshape not just the physical infrastructure of the nation, but the cultural, economic, political and societal infrastructures as well. Some points to cover in prayer include:
The rebuilding efforts will take years. Haiti’s infrastructure was never good, and Port-au- Prince’s was especially weak due to rapid urbanisation from poorer rural areas. Countless homes will need to be rebuilt or restored; the sheer scale of money and manpower needed is staggering for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. Pray for the best long-term development for the city and nation, rather than quick fixes. Pray for generous assistance from wealthier neighbours and nations and agencies from further abroad.
The human suffering was immense in the immediate aftermath and will continue for years. The shared emotional trauma of the events, the massive loss of life and the long-term injuries will all leave major scars on the Haitian population. Healing from such hurts needs time, care and the love of God.
Haiti was a financial and social mess even before the earthquake. Repairing all the damage, however, will not create a healthy economy. Haiti must rebuild beyond its previous state and develop long-term plans and policies that are shaped with wisdom and justice.

Haiti must find release from the bondages of its past.The Spanish genocide against the indigenous Arawaks, and the cruel slavery instituted and maintained by the Spanish and then the French, form a tragic background.The tyrannies, cruelties and use of voodoo as a means of control have fostered a spirit of fear that permeates every level of society. More recent interventions by foreign powers have not banished the endemic problems. Pray that the powerful spirits underlying voodooism might be bound in the name of Jesus. Pray that the ubiquitous influence and enduring legacy of voodoo might be made subordinate to the authority of Christ – especially in the lives of Christians.

Haiti needs godly leaders who will prioritise the good of the nation and address its massive problems.Two centuries of misrule, tyranny and recent flawed democratic attempts have brought hopelessness and despair. Corruption is rampant, and robberies and kidnappings commonplace. The economic plight of most Haitians deepens each year, exacerbated by the events of 2010. Many seek to escape, some physically by fleeing the country in unsafe and leaky boats, others emotionally through taking drugs. Pray that men and women may be raised up who will reverse these trends and establish justice, righteousness and long-term stability. Pray for the leadership in the Body of Christ, for pastors who have a little training. Pray for Haitian leaders to be men of faith and spiritual authority, who are not diverted by material inducements.

The spiritual outpouring of faith in God in the aftermath of the earthquake also shook the nation and moved the entire world. When the president called for three days of prayer and fasting during Mardi Gras – traditionally a time of partying and excess – no one expected one million people to turn out.Throughout the country, churches were filled to overflowing and services were held amid rubble and in the ruined streets. Pray that this spiritual shaking would not merely be an expression of grief, fear and desperation, but would shape itself into an unprecedented turning to God that redefines the spiritual life of Haiti. Numerous traditions allege that Haiti was dedicated to Satan through its voodoo past; pray that today it might be known as a nation wholly dedicated to the Lord Jesus.

Haitians overwhelmingly identify themselves as “Christian”, but it is referred also as “90% Catholic and 100%Voodoo” country. The credibility and impact of the Catholic Church are sorely compromised. Pray for renewal, reformation and the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit to sweep through this massive and influential denomination.

The steady growth of Protestant churches is no surprise – no other faith offers the spiritual hope and practical help available to evangelicals.Yet there are many areas to prayer for such as the rural poor, who are the most responsive. Illiteracy, marginalization in society and lack of adequate teaching have all reduced the Church’s potential impact. But evangelicals are doing a great job of addressing these challenges via radio, children’s education and pastoral and lay training. Pray for the denominational fragmentation on issues of personality, charismatic growth and liberation theology confuse and divide Christians. Recently, those who practice voodoo have been more outspoken, especially through the media, about their animosity toward Protestants. Pray for spiritual purity and for the love and power of Christ to shine through believers.

Pray that every expression of Christian concern might have long-term redemptive impact and draw people to the Saviour.

Particularly pray for needy or strategic groups such as the Mulatto elite which is wealthy, French-oriented group isolated from the majority. Only few of them realise their need for a personal faith.

The youth. Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and constant turmoil that disrupts the education system all make for a difficult context for Haitian youth. Guns and gangs are the paths many take to cope. Pray for the protection of few churches which have active programmes designed for young people and that even more will be established.

Refugees. The Haitian diaspora numbers in the millions – in the USA, Cuba, Bahamas and elsewhere.Their destitution and need make them spiritually receptive. A number of missions seek to minister to them. Pray for more workers called to reach the Haitian diaspora.

The restaveks (from the Creole – “stay-withs”) are effectively child slaves, numbering 300,000 to 400,000 – or 10% of all children in Haiti.They are easily available to be bought or sold.They are usually orphans, runaways or poor rural children whose parents can’t afford to care for them.These children labour endlessly; they have no education and no health care. Pray for God to raise up people and organisations dedicated to showing compassion and love to the restaveks.

Missions plays a valuable supportive role to the national Church. Upheavals and violence have forced most missionaries out of the country at one time or another; many never return. Pray for these servants of the Lord, for their testimony and service, and that they may contribute to the maturing of the Haitian Church. Pray also for all the Christians Ministries.

OUR PROJECTS IN HAITI

contact Zuzana

LIST OF USED LINKS AND BOOKS

Jason Mandryk; Operation World, The definitive prayer guide to every nations; Printed in the United States of America; 2010; 978p.