October 14 -What to Do When the Roof Falls In

Hurricane Matthew was last week’s news. We’ve moved on to leaked emails and tawdry behavior in the presidential campaign.  Hurricane Matthew is old news as we surf the 24-hour news channels. But if you live Haiti, chances are that you’re not yet back to sitting in the recliner watching cable news.

One of LPC’s less well known mission partners is the Medical Benevolence Fund, an independent mission agency serving the world primarily through Presbyterians in the PC(USA), the EPC, and ECO. MBF supports medical missions around the world, and one of the reasons LPC supports MBF is its reach to so many places where needs arise.

One of the projects MBF, and LPC through MBF, supports is Hôpital Sainte Croix (HSC) in Haiti. Several hospital buildings were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, but were rebuilt or repaired by generous giving from MBF and others.  One of the areas still waiting for repair was the leaky roof over the hospital operating room.  As Matthew rumbled through the area two weeks ago, that roof was further damaged. After the wind came the flood. The nearby River Rouyonne overflowed its banks. MBF reports “mud and debris flowed into the ground floor of Hôpital Sainte Croix destroying equipment and supplies.”

With repairs and clean-up just beginning, HSC now faces “a dramatic increase in patients. Not only are they treating the injured from the storm and its aftermath, they are expecting to see an increase in Cholera cases…Working with limited supplies and resources, (they) will be trying to meet the expanded needs of their already impoverished communities.”

One of the most important line items in our LPC Mission Budget is what we call “The Mission Opportunity Fund.”  After we have designated our annual giving to PLM in Guatemala, HPCA in North Philadelphia, John and Jess Cropsey in Burundi, Abundant Life Ministries at the Bucks County Jail, CCO Campus Outreach across the region, our growing relationship with Igreja Presbiteriana in Jardim America, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and others, we set aside money to be used as needs arise.

Shortly after Hurricane Matthew moved north away from Haiti, LPC responded to the destruction left in its wake by sending a $2,000 donation from the Mission Opportunity Fund to Samaritan’s Purse, one of the world’s most effective aid agencies and a consistent witness to the Gospel wherever it serves. Then we heard from MBF. We sent $1,000 from the Mission Opportunity Fund.

$3,000 is not much with all that Haiti faces. If you would like to add to our giving, please do.

MBF estimates that the repairs to the HSC buildings will cost around $90,000. Money goes a long way in Haiti. If 90 like-minded Presbyterian congregations, PC(USA), EPC, ECO – it doesn’t matter, were to respond quickly, the repair work would be done and the real work of mending lives would continue.

A quick look at the LPC mission budget shows where we focus our resources and energy: PLM in Guatemala, Kibuye Hope in Burundi, HPCA in North Philadelphia. A deeper look shows the “above and beyond” generosity of LPC people. Hundreds of thousands of dollars leave LPC for a world of need each year. We have been part of building schools in Burundi and Guatemala; we are reaching into an urban favela in Brazil and into one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous neighborhoods. We touch the lives of prisoners and college students in Bucks County. It’s not just money that leaves LPC for a needy world. It is our people, as well.

Through that little line item called “The Mission Opportunity Fund” we are in Haiti helping restore life in a desperate place that for many of us is just an occasional blip on the 24-hour news screen.

When boasting means bragging and bragging means lifting up self, we need to avoid boasting. But when boasting means giving credit where credit is due, praise where praise is due, then let’s boast away. “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord,” Paul tells the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:17).

So, LPC, I will boast. Not in what we are, but in who God is and how God uses us. I am proud of LPC and our work around the world, but lest we rest before we’ve earned our rest, let’s redouble our efforts. Give generously so that our Mission Opportunity Fund never runs dry. Pray without ceasing for our mission partners – their requests are listed in each Sunday’s bulletin. Enter the mission field – there’s still time to apply for February’s Guatemala trip, visit HPCA on November 5, care in Christ’s name for your neighbors and co-workers and friends and family members.

What do we do when the roof falls in? We’re LPC. We get to work!

See you Sunday