By Lucas Endicott
In a few short weeks Missouri Methodists will gather at Annual Conference and again sing “And Are We Yet Alive.” Sisters and brothers from around the world have been singing this song to open our annual meeting since the time of John Wesley. Evaluation of the year before, expectation for the time ahead, this song reminds us that we are a pilgrim people striving to do our best in the world.
Six years ago the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The international community responded to the crisis and Missouri United Methodists engaged in important triage work. We partnered with local Methodist sisters and brothers to install and distribute water filters for home use. Six years later, this important work continues.
In these years, Missouri Methodists have distributed over 8,000 filters in homes providing clean water to tens of thousands of people. Collectively this work has ensured that work, school, and health recovery continues for the lives of many without fear of water-borne related illness. As the hymn reminds, “the Lord has brought us by His love.”
But what’s next? Six years after the earthquake, Haiti continues to face challenges: foreign aid is decreasing, displaced migrants are collecting on the Dominican Republic border, the Zika virus is spreading, and recent presidential elections proved a stalemate. Furthermore, the cholera epidemic to which Missouri Methodists first responded continues.
Yet, in the last five years we have developed relationships with communities and individuals, learned more about what it means to partner hand in hand with the people of Haiti and most of all seen transformation in the lives of people both in Missouri and Haiti.
“Mak[ing] our boast in His redeeming power” Methodists in Missouri will continue to work in Haiti as other organizations move elsewhere. Discussions began with the Haiti Summit in March will continue at Annual Conference as we consider how we might add to our continued work with water filters. Methodists both in Missouri and Haiti are praying, thinking, and talking about next best steps in this partnership.