Posted by: Andrea Mullins | 15 January, 2010

Our Response to Human Suffering

The tally of lives lost is rising. An understanding of the extent of the damage is growing. The massiveness of the need is becoming more evident. How can we help? New Hope Publisher’s author, Jimmy Dorrell, has been ministering in Haiti for years. He offers the following guidelines for our response at this time.

Haiti…what can you do?

by Jimmy Dorrell, executive director, Mission Waco

(We have heard from our Haitian friends that they are safe, though they have not yet heard if some of their relatives in Port au Prince are alive and well.)

In the last 48 hours, I have received numerous calls and emails asking what caring response to Haiti’s disastrous earthquake is best right now. Thank you so much for asking and your willingness to enter this incredible suffering with help and hope. Here are some of my suggestions:

1. Don’t go. The reality is that, as one missionary put it, “unless you are a trained medical professional or speak Creole,” don’t come!  The chaos from such a depleted infrastructure means that first responders who are trained in such horrific disasters are the only ones who should go right now. There will be plenty of need and time to go and use your gifts and talents after the initial crisis has some order.

2. Pray. That may seem empty in the midst of such human need, but if God’s people really take seriously this intercession, I am convinced the eventual outcomes will be more productive than knee-jerk efforts. Pray. Really pray.

3. From those we are talking with in Haiti, it seems that medical supplies and clean water will be the most important immediate needs. We are trying to get supplies from the Dominican Republic that our team in the northeastern portion of Haiti can take to Port au Prince. Mission Waco already has a “Haiti Benevolence” line item for our work there, so if you want to give, simple go online to and use the “Donate” button. Under “comments,” please put “Haiti.”

4. Go later this year. We have been taking short term trips to Haiti for over twenty years and have a solid group of Haitian Christians who we work among. Our ministry (Mission Waco/Cross Culture Experiences) will have two trips this Spring (March and May) when we will take in two medical teams, drill clean water wells, and visit with the 160 children we sponsor for school. This year we will be doubling the size of the tiny church-based clinic we help in Ferrier, Haiti. I am unsure at this point if we will change our site to Port for one of those trips or add a trip or some other alternative. If you want to go, please go online to under “Training” and “Mission/Exposure Trips” and and complete the application and deposit information.

5. Give. If you want to do donate toward practical relief or development that we are and will be involved in, consider: A. Help us with the cost of medical supplies and water filters; B. Help us drill another well…cost is $2500 for each clean water well that can serve a whole village in some cases; C. Sponsor a child- it costs $16.25/month ($195/yr) for a child to go to school, get a uniform, books, and one meal a day. We’ll get you the name of the child and keep you posted. D. Leadership Development- we work in and through the churches and many of the pastors have no income (or very little). Funds that provide additional support or training for training for leaders is critical for their future. E. Agricultural Development- World Hunger Relief (Waco) is a sponsoring agricultural projects in Haiti.

Haiti’s poverty is overwhelming. As the poorest city in the Western hemisphere, hunger and need is everywhere. This crisis only makes what was bad even worse. In 1984, Janet and I and our two oldest children (then ages 4 and 2) lived in Haiti for four months for training with a hunger organization. Since then, we have continue to go back each year and do Christian community development.

In the days ahead, our work will hopefully expand with micro-enterprise (women’s co-ops) and micro-loans.  Janet (my wife) just returned from Haiti in mid-December to help create a chlorination system for the water supply and help purify the “bad” wells. We are committed to Haiti and will be there for years to come. Your involvement may be the best thing that comes out of this horrible natural disaster.

Thanks again for caring! May God’s comfort and healing reign down on the Haitian people!

Equip your church to understand and be moved to respond to people in poverty using Plunge2Poverty: An Intensive Poverty Simulation Experience by Jimmy Dorrell. Learn more about this book and purchase it at any bookstore, or other online book retail sites.



  1. These are awesome tips. I want to share them with everyone I know especially my church. We all want to help, but don’t know how. Keep us posted on the times that it would be appropriate for “regular” folks to go. I do think it’s critical to have some traing. Jimmy, can you tell us how to apply for your training? Can we do this training online? Any other books to read. I’ve read Plunge2Poverty. I am trained with disaster relief for feeding programs, but I think that has expired. Also do you know any way for us to get to the orphans and how we can them. What about adoptions? Foster care?

  2. Rhonda,
    We will keep you updated. I pray you do get to go and touch lives.


  3. The recommendation to go later this year–with a legitimate organization such as this–is one I will share with my fellow Christians and their ministries. Thanks for this enlightening blog posting.

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