After Quake, Haiti Missionaries Ask: 'Why (Not) Me?'
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
(RNS) Having survived a devastating earthquake during a 10-day mission trip to Haiti, Freedom Gassoway now savors every minute she spends at home with her family in Beaverton, Ore.
But for this 33-year-old mother of two, some of life has also lost its sweetness.
Meals no longer taste good, she said, since she's always thinking about the thousands of homeless and hungry people in Haiti. Her closet seems to have "too many clothes," she said, and she feels a duty -- by virtue of her survival -- to share Haiti's suffering with other Americans.
"I didn't even know where Haiti was before this trip," Gassoway said. "But now I feel like I have a responsibility for Haiti and helping people be aware of how they can be involved."
As the dust settles from Haiti's devastating quake, mission workers of all types are pondering the deeper meanings of their survival.
They're wondering why they survived, why others didn't and what they're supposed to do with their new leases on life.
"As long as you've got something to occupy your mind, you can keep it off the horror of what's just happened" in the field, said Randy Strash, strategy director for emergency response at World Vision, a massive Christian relief agency with almost 800 aid workers in Haiti.
"But once that (urgency recedes), I think you'll find that many of them are really struggling -- in their families, in their personal lives, in their health and in their theology."
While theological interpretations vary, missionaries who survived the quake are consistently professing a heightened sense of calling.
They speak of feeling new "responsibility," both to God and to the Haitian people, because they've been blessed to live another day...