Saturday, February 13, 2010


As one might expect, we suppose, senior missionaries from other areas sometimes share their experiences. We hear often from relatives serving in Thailand, for example.

Well, we recently heard from a couple serving in Haiti. They shared with the rest of us, some of the details surrounding the recent earthquakes there. We thought it was worth sharing.

- - -

Much of Haiti lies in rubble. Collapsed roofs lie at angles, smashed against the floor below them. Cinder blocks slant in heaps along the roads. Some streets in Port-au-Prince look like old pictures of bombed-out Berlin after World War II. It’s a horror, an apocalypse.

Yet, amidst the shambles of this neighborhood, stands a jewel - the Croix-des-Mission and the LDS church. And sounding through the air is a hymn, "How Firm a Foundation."

It is a particularly well-chosen song in a land whose physical foundations could not stand the earth’s tremors, but whose Latter-day Saints have proven to be remarkably resilient. They know that though all but a handful have lost their homes, their foundation is in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is firm.

Attending the 3-hour church block on Sunday felt remarkably normal to us. There were the Saints well dressed, many in crisp, white shirts that looked newly ironed. The deacons wore their white shirts and ties as they reverently passed the sacrament.

How can this be?
Without any homes left, they have been living on the street in hastily-assembled, makeshift shelters raised wherever they can find a level spot. The walls may be sheets hung over ropes or pieces of cardboard. Their beds are concrete or hard earth. Everything they owned — and that already wasn’t much — has been stripped from them by an initial quake that lasted about 45 seconds and then after shocks that continued for days.

Haiti, right now and for the foreseeable future, is a land 'sleeping out'. People fill the church’s courtyards at night, but instead of woe, they laugh and talk. And remember, their homes are shanties on the median strip between two lanes of riotous traffic.

We asked member after member, how can you be so beautifully groomed on Sunday, given what you have been through? Their answer? Yes, most everyone is now living in the street, and, yes, they are indeed dirty during the week, plagued by all the ills that befall a newly-made street person. But, they added, though they had no water clean enough to drink, they did have water clean enough to wash their clothes.

So, there they were singing about what really is their 'firm foundation' and looking like any other LDS congregation across the world — except that these saints are homeless.

Maybe someone forgot to tell them how miserable they are supposed to be.

More next time.


The Fendleys said...

I can not even imagine what they are going through, it is so sad. It does sound like they all have a lot of faith, which is exactly what they need at a time like this. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them all.

Bressler Bunch said...

What an incredible story. I had heard that churches were being used as shelters so I figured meetings weren't being held. My heart has ached for our brothers and sisters over there. How awesome to see them stand so strong in the middle of all that destruction when so many around them do nothing but complain and riot and fight.

REBYRYAN said...

Wow! That brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing!

Marcia said...

I don't even know what to say. I am so grateful for all the blessings I have. Between the calamities of the world today and the history of the Saints of yesterday, I can't begin to express the gratitude for all I have been given. Thanks for sharing.

sharibug said...

I am so touched by your stories of a faithful people that I copied your story for my personal journal for my children and grand children and so on to read one day. A story of faith, a strong foundation, the gospel, a testimony knowing that there is a God and that Jesus is their savior and that through His atonement they might all be saved and return unto their Heavenly Father is a strong message for us all. I did give you the credit for the story and I hope you do not mind my sharing it in my journal.
I felt the testimony of the people and the faith that they have to continue on in spite of all their adversity. It speaks volumes of their character and faith.
May the Lord continue to bless them with all that they stand in need of and that their" foundation remain firm."