Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Absolute anarchy. That is what all of Haiti will be for weeks, perhaps months. Even after the chaos and choking cement dust has settled and the bodies have been cleared, the country of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" will never be the same.

I visited Haiti in 2006 and if you have not been there I don't know if I can describe the sense of darkness and hopelessness that smothers the country. There is very little infrastructure and much of the leadership there have become corrupt so the people are extremely distrustful of one another. It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, AIDS has ravaged the country, the average Haitian eats 3-5 times a week, and mothers frequently make mud pies to feed their children just to fill their bellies for a little while. The capital city of any country is usually the richest and most beautiful a country has to offer, but Port-au-Prince would be described as "desperate" at best. That was before the earthquake that hit January 12th, 2010.

You may remember that two schools collapsed due to shoddy construction in Haiti in 2008 killing at least 93 children and injuring another 150+. After the first school disintegrated, the government assessed the housing and estimated that 60% or more of the structures in Haiti were in danger of the same type of collapse. The schools that came down, fell on still, quiet days. One collapsed was accredited in part to, "some students (that) were jumping and dancing in a musical." Dancing brought down the school.

The 7.0 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince was the worst on record for Haiti and it is estimated to be the strongest earthquake that has hit the area in over 200 years. They have had over twenty-three, earthquake sized, aftershocks as I am writing this.

The earthquake destroyed everything from corrugated tin shanties and cement block buildings to the National Palace, which crumbled in on it's self, to the headquarters for the U.N. and at least one embassy.

Haiti is a country of 9 million people used to disaster in one form or another, but this is unprecedented and according to all reports, the loss of life is vast. People are wandering the streets injured, pleading for doctors in a country where there are few emergency services and the hospitals themselves are either collapsing or overcrowded.

One missionary who was in Port-au-Prince called CNN and said that, "All power is down, Port-au-Prince is in blackness and cries for help can be heard coming from the dark." I talked with a contact at ABC NEWS Tuesday night and the little information that they are receiving is heart wrenching.

This will not be the end. In the past, even the smallest glitch or political disagreement has left my aunt and uncle with out food to feed the orphans at Haiti Mercy Mission for days ( I fear for their safety and health in the coming months as dead bodies pile up and disease sweeps the country. Looting and robbery is common at the best of times and anarchy is not something that takes long to develop in Haiti.

PLEASE PRAY that what seems like a tragedy will be used of God to break the bonds of Vodou that are so entrenched in the lives of the people of Haiti and that in their desperation, people will turn to the only God who can save, both from present circumstances and from an eternity infinitely worse than anyone can imagine. Even in Haiti. One spent eternaly apart from Christ.

Quick Facts from my aunt & uncle (Jeanette and Frank McLaughlin) in Haiti:

Dr. Acene Jean Pierre and his wife Anne are the Haitian nationals that run the orphanage in Pignon, Haiti. The orphanage is up in the mountains, but they felt the earthquake.

Anne Jean Pierre and one of the oldest orphans Saisette (who is in nursing school in Port-au-Prince) were both IN Port-au-Prince at the time of the earthquake. We have not heard from them yet and are praying for their safety.

My aunt and uncle, who are at the orphanage now, spoke with my cousin and his wife via SKYPE and they are fine right now but are experiencing many strong aftershocks.

If you feel so led, you can donate to Haiti Mercy Mission at "ChipIn". ALL donations go towards aid and are tax-deductible!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tavia Pitkanen


Saturday, December 26, 2009


We all know the famous commercialized Santa Claus, a big jolly man with a white beard, velvet red suit who comes on Christmas Eve to adorn the Christmas tree with presents.

Do you remember as a child when you found out that he wasn't real, how upset you were? I remember figuring it out...and being a little upset with my parents.

I laugh now when I look back, but still have fond memories of looking out the window late into Christmas Eve looking for the reindeer to come and land on our roof! Haha I can admit was mysterious, exciting and FUN.

Of course the REAL reason of Christmas is Jesus birthday, we all know this.

But did any of us KNOW what started many of our fascination/following of the famous bearded man in the white suit?

He was a REAL man, YES REAL, and considered by many a SAINT.

St. Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6, is considered the patron of seafarers, scholars, bankers, pawnbrokers, jurists, brewers, coopers, travelers, perfumers, unmarried girls, brides, and - robbers. He is also the very special saint of children.

St. Nicholas was quite young when his parents died of the plague leaving him the sole heir of their vast possessions. He determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity.

BUT what intrigued me YEARS ago when I read that St. Nick, AKA, SANTA CLAUS saved some women from HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING...I was floored!

A most popular legend concerns the three unwed daughters of an impoverished nobleman who lived in a small town on the coast of Turkey. The maidens could not attract husbands because their father could not afford to provide dowries for them. So late one night the holy Nicholas dropped a small bag of gold in the maidens' window so that the eldest girl could be married. Some time later he dropped in a second bag of gold, then a third. On one of the nights, the gold landed in a stocking hung up to dry, and the tradition of leaving gifts in stockings was born. The nobleman had become so poor that he had contemplated allowing his daughters to become sold into prostitution until they were rescued by St. Nicholas. Nicholas was thereafter honored as patron saint of unwed maidens. Thus, God rewarded St. Nicholas and gave him permission to walk the streets on the eve of his feast, bringing gifts to all good children. This particular story was told for so many generations until the theme of the three bags of gold, or gold balls was adopted as a symbol by bankers and moneylenders.

YES it is true. St. Nicolas cared about girls that were almost sold into sex slavery. And I am sure of it that there were many more instances that were un-reported, where he was used to help keep/set many other girls free.

Can I be honest with you? When I became a real Christian again years ago, I was a little angry at the following of Santa Claus. After all, HE wasn't the REAL meaning of Christmas, was he? I didn't like the fact that our parents had to lie to us to make Christmas more "fun".

I am a curious person by nature, so I decided to investigate this "Santa Claus". And I am very pleased to write that I am so glad that I did.

He was a man that followed what the bible teaches, what Jesus "go about and do good".

And, Nick's mother and father were devote Christians who taught him about Jesus.

"God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit with power who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:38

So what is "doing good.?"

I can tell you what it's NOT!

It's NOT going to and emotional church service and promising change in your life but not doing anything. Most people walk out of a service like this and live like HELL the rest of the week!

It's NOT staying at home, praying for the world to change, praying for a miracle to happen for you.

It's NOT pointing the finger at the negative things in the world just SAYING that's got to change.'s DOING something about it.

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:26-27 Message

Do you read this? Reaching OUT to the homeless-the LOVELESS in their plight!

Most Christians don't "get" this. They simply come to church, quote scriptures, or make excuses they are too busy, or not "called."

That is not love.

Real love DOES something. It BECOMES the change it wants to see.

I believe and see that St. Nick did exactly this. In other words, he put his money where his mouth was...went about doing GOOD.

This Christmas is so different for me. I don't know about you, but as a Christian I refuse to get angry at how Santa is "pushed" in our face commercially everywhere we go during the season.

St. Nick LOVED. He fed and clothed the children, he helped those who might have been considered "unlovely". The poor girls that were about to be sold into prostitution. His life was a life truly lived with charity, like JESUS.

I know it may sound funny to some of you...and even some of you will get mad at me for giving St. Nick any credit.

St. Nick is now an inspiration to me. I cannot help have huge admiration and love for a person that does what he knows is right/good out of the love of his heart.

I hope this year that you too, have a new appreciation for good old Santa Claus.

May this year the true love of Jesus come alive for you, and may you be found going about doing good!

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for all of your continued support as we rescue girls/teens/women that most would consider unlovely out of human sex trafficking.


Annie Lobert

President, Hookers For Jesus


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    GDS Theme Passage

    "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus
    Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for
    Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine
    out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give
    the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
    the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure
    in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power
    belongs to God and not to us."
    - 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

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