January 12, 2010 is a date I will never forget, along with millions of other image bearers in this country we have called home. It is a date that changed everything for all who were lost in Haiti’s earthquake and the families that still mourn. It is a date that changed nearly nothing regarding the development and advancement of this country and its needs. In many ways, it feels as if the dust still hasn’t settled. There are plenty of other articles going around commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake, and most continue to lament the lack of overall progress to date and failure of the international aid system to work effectively in dealing with the disaster. While I understand and have witnessed and shared those frustrations first-hand, I’m choosing to use my energy and time to reflect on all the good that has taken place and the real progress and changes we’ve experienced directly at Heartline Ministries. We say it often around here – at Heartline, we choose hope. I believe holding on to hope has been at the core of our ability to sustain and even expand our ministry throughout some of Haiti’s most difficult times. Hope in God, hope in the people of Haiti, and hope for a better future have kept us going.
Lyrics: ‘Beauty Will Rise’ – Steven Curtis Chapman
The earthquake was a major catalyst in changing our programs from orphan care to fully focusing on orphan prevention and family preservation. The days that followed deepened our relationships and commitment to the communities and people we work with and love. I am thankful for those positive aftershocks of the quake, as well as many other things that have shifted over the last decade. Looking at all that has changed and improved for Heartline, our employees, and the thousands of families that have been impacted by our programs is reason sfor incredible gratitude and hope. This reflection by a friend resonated with me and sums up the general attitude upon this anniversary:
“It would feel like a hopeless situation, but who are we – people with walls and roofs over our heads – to give up hope? If the anniversary of the earthquake has you feeling discouraged, remember you are in very good company. Here in Haiti, we don’t have to look back a whole decade to feel the brutal repercussions of the quake, because we still live with them everyday. The protests and lockdowns of 2019 – driven by calls for accountability for billions in stolen aid money over the last decade – brought morale in the country to the lowest it has been since 2010. Dekouraje is the national mood. But I remember the candles, six months after the earthquake, placed in the debris of collapsed buildings and along the roads. Small, brave flames that marked the places where loved ones had been buried. I had dreams about the darkness and those candles for years, the sparks of hope that burn on, fueled by the spirits of ancestors and loved ones, lost from this world.” – Melinda Miles
Thank you all for helping us fan the sparks of hope, and praying with us that they turn into flames. We’ll keep holding on to hope at Heartline. ~ Troy Livesay