For Haiti's 2007 Christmas celebration.
Haiti (MNN) – Haiti is not only the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere but also one of the most unequal.
A handful of families are extremely wealthy, while in stark contrast, an estimated 80 percent of Haitians live in absolute poverty. Food, or the lack of it, is a main focus of survival throughout the region.
As a result, very little attention can be given to the trappings of the celebration of Christmas. But For Haiti with Love is working hard not only to provide a respite from the harsh reality, but also to share the hope that comes from Christ.
Between five and six hundred children will be celebrating Christmas this year in Haiti as For Haiti with Love adorns them with food and gifts, and most importantly, with the love of Christ.
For Haiti with Love’s Eva DeHart says the party includes a full meal for every child, as well as cookies, coloring books and, of course, new toys.
“We’d like to give them something that they want instead of something that they absolutely need,” says DeHart. “[It will be] a happy day for children who are surrounded by gloom and doom right now.”
The mechanism is well in place, but the meaning is what keeps it growing. In the past, DeHart has said that, "It's a special celebration of Messiah's birth for and with the poor of Cap Haitien." These kinds of parties are typically for the wealthy, and exclude the poor. Since this party is targeted specifically to the poorest in northern Haiti, it has come to be regarded as the 'social event' of the year.
There are further evangelical implications within the celebration as well. Coloring books include the full nativity story along with some Christmas songs in Creole, which provide good sources of truth for children and their parents who may or may not know it. The Christmas party has become one more opportunity to share the love of Christ with Haitians “in action and in truth.”
“We basically are a ministry that shows them what the scriptures mean,” explains DeHart. She says that For Haiti with Love is being Christ in a tangible way, demonstrating his gift with gifts of their own.
In order for For Haiti with Love to continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in such graspable ways, the Lord’s provision through funding is necessary. There is a continual need of finances for cargo and for burn cream, which cannot be donated in and of itself. DeHart acknowledges economic stress in the United States, but does not ask for much. “If we just get a lot of people sending a little bit, it all goes together to make a real difference down there.”
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