Haiti is about 1300 miles from where we live, which is closer than Las Vegas (about 2400 miles) where we drove last year, or Rome (about 4570 miles) where Keith and I honeymooned or Mainz (about 4140 miles), from Anja’s home area.
But all of those places seem closer, because we can picture them. We can wrap our heads around them. They fit our life experiences.
So how can we help where we can’t comprehend? How can we help where the trouble is so widespread and the needs so great?
Our family spent a little while tonight putting together two “Buckets of Hope”.
- 2 – 5-pound bags long grain enriched rice
- 1 – 48-ounce plastic bottle cooking oil
- 2 – 2-pound bags dry black beans
- 1 – 5-pound bag of all-purpose flour
- 1 – 20-ounce cylinder container of granulated white sugar (coffee service size)
- 2 – 1-pound boxes of spaghetti noodles
- 1 – 2-pound 8-ounce (40 oz) plastic jar of smooth peanut butter
- 1 – 2-gallon plastic ziplock storage bag (used to wrap the bottle of cooking oil)
Before we got started we talked to the little girls about Haiti, what an earthquake is, and that the earthquake in Haiti made a lot of buildings fall down, hurt a lot of people, and meant that a lot of little girls like them were very hungry and needed help. How do you talk about things like this to a five- and two-year-old and have them understand anything without frightening them? I just don’t know.
Then, before we put together each bucket we prayed as a family for the family that would receive the parcel of food. It was tough to fit all of that in the bucket, but we had detailed packing instructions!
Our instructions told us not to make substitutions or add anything to the bucket, but I have to admit we did add something; before we put on each lid, the girls blew kisses into the bucket for the family that would open it.
In the grand scheme of things, these two buckets aren’t much. But I’m reminded of the story of the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean. When he was told he couldn’t possibly make a difference, that there were too many starfish stranded on the beach, he threw one more starfish back in the ocean and replied “I made a difference to that one.”
Hopefully we’ll make a difference to one Haitian family. Or maybe the difference we made will be seen in our own hearts, or the hearts of our children.