February 2010 Newsletter

Dear Friends in Christ,

Our neighbors in Haiti cry out to us from far away. Although most of us have never been to Haiti, the images of collapsed buildings, broken landscapes, mass graves, and desperate people haunt us across the miles. The faces of little, orphaned children, left with no safe refuge, longing for food, water and security, challenge us to reach out with Christian compassion. In response to such vast human suffering, what can we do? How can we show Christ's love?

First and foremost, you and I are called to pray. Sometimes when a crisis is so great, it seems as if all we can do is pray. Prayer, however, should not be viewed as a last resort but rather as our greatest resource. Times such as these invite us to "pray without ceasing." Pray for the injured. Pray for those who mourn. Pray for families who are separated and living with uncertainty. Pray for basic resources like water, food, and medical supplies to reach those who are in desperate need. Pray for the rescue workers and those who will be engaged in relief and recovery efforts for years to come. Pray that the global community will continue to reach out with committed concern. Pray for the leaders of Haiti to act wisely and productively to serve the people and rebuild their nation. Pray for the church in Haiti that it might be an instrument of comfort and healing, touching lives with Christ's love. Pray for God's grace and loving power to blanket this hurting land with hope in the midst of suffering and grant vision for a new tomorrow.

You and I are also called to give. When disaster strikes, the United Methodist Committee on Relief works tirelessly to bring help and hope to people across the globe. Already our local congregation has raised $1335.93 to support the recovery effort in Haiti. Additional gifts are always welcome. Checks can be made out to Fishkill United Methodist Church with "Haiti Emergency: UMCOR Advance #418325" in the memo line. We are also urged to donate items for emergency health kits. Donation instructions are in this newsletter.

Finally, the New York Annual Conference (of which we are a part) will be organizing Volunteer In Mission teams to go to Haiti in the near future. Clergy and lay people from our conference have been engaged in mission outreach in Haiti for many years. We hope to keep that connection strong as we join hands with our Haitian brothers and sisters to clear debris and rebuild homes, lives, and communities. I invite you to prayerfully consider whether you have the calling from God and the necessary gifts to be a part of this vital, on-going mission effort.

The psalmist writes, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) In this time of trouble, may we turn to God in faith believing that our God is the author of life, the source of all love, the deliverer of his people, and the giver of every new beginning.

God bless you with holy peace and love,

Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff