It’s not often that we can look back one year on a random day and remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt, but January 12, 2010 changed all that for everyone. I remember exactly where I was. I was sitting at my favorite little cafe on the Mekong river front in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have sat in that spot many time before with good friends like Lars Rood and Wade Pallister talking about theology, family, Jesus and life. I have good memories of sitting in that cafe watching the rain fall on the river and even laughing as random elephants walked by on the main road back to their homes. I also remember one year ago sitting in that cafe in poverty stricken Cambodia looking up at the television and seeing Haiti, another poverty stricken country laying there in ruins.
I remember crying, crying in disbelief and wonder. I remember sitting there contemplating how long it would take me to get over to Haiti. I was so far away and I had just got to Cambodia, should I just get up and leave? I remember so much confusion and questioning mixed with disbelief that something so horrible was going on at that exact same time on the other side of the planet. “What could I do? What is my response supposed to be? Is prayer enough? Why do I want to go? Is it to be a hero, is it to see with my own eyes, is it because that is where God wants me to be? All these questions were raging in my head.
Then I looked out onto the side walk beside the cafe and saw children begging for money, massage parlors that were most likely fronts for brothels, beggars living in extreme poverty and perverted white people looking for their next girl to rape for only $5. It was then that I said to myself that I would do both. I would stay in Cambodia and serve this broken, beautiful country and I would go to Haiti when I got back home. I promised to not forget you Haiti, and I give you the same promise now, I will not forget you. The days after were filled with thoughts and prayers for Haiti. They were filled with a longing to go back, and a conviction that God has called us to do something, to respond somehow.
I am asking the same question from you. Where were you on January 12, 2010? What do you remember? What were your thoughts, prayers and feelings? And most importantly how did you respond? Did you just move on to the next thing or did you respond in another way? I look forward to reading your comments. For more info on Hait 1 year later check out ODW and PIH.