This is the Day: Remembering Haiti

35 seconds can change your life. 

In a mere 35 seconds, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Haitians were changed. The earthquake that shook and shocked the island nation of Haiti on this day, already one year ago, lasted only 35 seconds. 

35 seconds. 

I sit in silence and prayerfully count to myself. One, two, three...thirty-five. I slowly open my eyes and know that I am still here, breathing, listening, seeing. I am alive. The pure white snow of this cold, midwestern winter day could easily trick me into believing that the rest of the world looks and feels just as calm, peaceful, and beautiful as where I am. But I know better. I know that it took only 35 seconds for 300,000 lives to end and more than 1.5 million lives to be displaced and wounded in every way. And so my mind and my heart are in Haiti, especially, today, just as they have been each and every day in the last year. 

Thanks to you and your compassion, your gifts, your generosity, and your commitment, Week of Compassion responded immediately to the overwhelming needs resulting from this most devastating earthquake. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our partner organizations on the ground in Haiti, we are making a difference. 

Yes, we are making a difference in Haiti!

Week of Compassion-supported food co-operatives, through our partners CWS, Foods Resource Bank, and the Christian Center for Integrated Development, are in the northern Haitian regions of the Northwest and Artibonite. They are currently facing challenges after this past hurricane season. But they’re also meeting the challenge of providing food for their members and their families. “It means life to us,” Elvius St. Fulis (pictured here) a member of one of the co-ops, said earlier this week.Despite the frequent discouraging reports of the mainstream media from Haiti in the last year, we, as Church, are making a difference in thousands of Haitian lives because of the way we work together with local communities and partners—accompanying and empowering them to support themselves. We are a critical partner in the rebuilding of a nation-wide health system for Haiti through our partnership with IMA World Health. We are accompanying farmers in 13 agricultural cooperatives through our partnership with Foods Resource Bank. We are working with peasant organizations to create more livelihood opportunities through our partnership with Agricultural Missions, Inc. We are providing trauma care and training to pastors and other caregivers in Haiti through our partnership with Eastern Mennonite University’s STAR Program. We are a part of the ACT Alliance, working round-the-clock to rebuild Haiti. 

For a closer look at how we are doing so and how your gifts are at work through our implementing partner, Church World Service, take just a few moments to watch this video, Haiti: One Year Later.

We are, indeed, participants and witnesses to the amazing steps all of our partners are taking in Haiti. And we are not going anywhere! Your gifts, given out of love and commitment to the people and the sustainable development of Haiti, will be at work for years to come. For the latest reports from Global Ministries on the recovery progress of our partners CONASPEH and FOPJ (the House of Hope), whose ministries are supported by Week of Compassion, please visit here.

I invite you to take 35 seconds out of your day today to sit in silence and prayerfully count to 35, honoring all those who lost their lives one year ago today and all those rebuilding their lives in Haiti today. I invite you to imagine how your life could change in a mere 35 seconds. Might you consider a recurring gift to Week of Compassion, in the amount of $35? Might you make it possible for Week of Compassion to continue our decades-long legacy of immediate, efficient, effective, and accountable response? 35 seconds. $35 a month. Lives changed. 

I know that my life has been forever changed because of this incredible ministry of compassion that we share. As sad as I feel today, remembering all that happened in our beloved Haiti on this day last year, I have hope. I have never lost hope, thanks to you, and thanks to our Sustainer and Redeemer, the One who brings joy in the morning, even though weeping may have endured all night long. And thanks to the Haitians themselves, whose invincible spirit of faith and hope model for me what it means to sing praises to our God, no matter what.

For even this day, this tragic day in history, is a day that our ever-faithful God has made. 

I’m glad to be back from my sabbatical to continue making a difference alongside you. 

-Amy Gopp

For more information on Week of Compassion’s response in Haiti:


An overview of the ACT Alliance’s work in Haiti over the past year

Some of the key facts and figures relating to ACT’s work in Haiti over the past year

Photography: Camp life

Photography: Back to school

Story: Give us our land