The earthquake that has devastated the already impoverished nation of Haiti has drawn unprecedented calls for relief through a previously unusual source – social networking. There are individuals and organizations that are making, and encouraging, donations to alleviate the suffering of Haitians via Facebook, Twitter, and even through text messaging. The widespread use of the Internet really has made the world a much smaller place.
This has its pros and cons, of course, but in this particular case it seems to be a very positive thing. While something like Google’s Streetview has arguably taken a bite out of privacy, the lightening-speed online spreading of news has enabled disaster relief to come much more quickly than even for the tsunamis that hit parts of Asia a few years ago.
And it’s great to see that in many places, followers of Jesus are on the forefront of this wave of information-sharing and aid-giving.
Haiti is, statistically, the poorest country in the Americas – and that was true before this disaster struck. How appropriate, then, that people who follow the One who said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6.20, NIV) are leading the charge to bring relief to a shattered people.
Christian organizations, like World Vision, are already on the ground in Haiti. Denominational relief and development agencies (such as Presbyterian World Service & Development) are likewise partnering with the government’s matching program to provide aid dollars to the country. Individual Christ-followers are seeking to have an impact through social networking and other means.
And this is how it should be.
If God’s people want to show the world God’s love, they need to act. So many aid organizations in the world have been created because of the impetus of God’s love. In one way or another, all of us can support the relief of the Haitian people – if not financially, then prayerfully.
Just think: how you respond to this crisis half a continent away could be a step toward helping your neighbour come to know Jesus. By sharing God’s love in a tangible way, there are no losers.