Harrison back from Haiti, interviewed on St. Louis radio, TV (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

January 28th, 2010 Post by

Rev. Matthew Harrison, Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, has returned from Haiti and, along with medical team coordinator Jacob Fiene, was interviewed Wednesday on St. Louis radio and TV. Click here to hear the KMOX radio interview. Click here to see the KTVI television report. Here is a transcript of the TV report:

Kirkwood Relief Team Returns From Haiti With Chilling Stories
Lutheran Group Treated Patients, Distributed Food, and Prayed

By Chris Regnier FOX2now.com
January 27, 2010

KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) – They helped save lives in Haiti. Now, a relief team from the Kirkwood based Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is just back from Haiti. And they are telling incredible stories of what they witnessed. The team did everything from treating patients in hospitals to handing out food to praying with desperate people.

“I’ve never seen anything like this- personal trauma and injury in one place,” said Pastor Matthew Harrison of the Synod. “It was mass pandemonium,” added Harrison.

Harrison heads up the world Relief and Human Care Department at the Synod. He was one of about 20 people on the team that just returned from a week in the earthquake zone. Many of the team members were medical professionals. Among them- doctors, nurses and paramedics.

They spent much of their time at the Good Samaritan Hospital about 40 miles from Port -Au-Prince. All kinds of injured people were brought there. Jacob Fiene coordinated the medical team.

“At first it was a bit overwhelming especially when I was able to grasp the volume of the patients,” explained Fiene.

He added, “It was non-stop. The first three days most people were getting three to fours of sleep at night.”

Harrison prayed with a lot of people. He told us about his experience with one little girl who was hurt.

“She was just grabbing and holding onto my cross. I didnt speak Creole and finally somebody came by who could speak the language. I said what shes saying. He said she wants you to take her away from here,” explained Harrison.

Harrison says the need in Haiti will continue for a long time. And his teams will be there. He said, I just know its our duty to help and to love people in need.

Of the 20 or so members who were on the team, close to half of them are from the St. Louis area.

The Synod is preparing to send another team to Haiti this weekend.






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  1. Miles Whitener
    January 28th, 2010 at 16:51 | #1

    “… that life is changed forever because of mercy and Christ …”

    the Word goes out, on KMOX.

  2. helen
    January 28th, 2010 at 16:57 | #2

    Thanks to all the medical/pastoral teams going to Haiti for us!

  3. January 28th, 2010 at 18:07 | #3

    A previous post on Pastor Harrison’s trip ended with the story of a little girl asking if he had
    “some way to take her and her mother away from here.” (http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=8940)

    Those kinds of stories really pull at heart strings — but is it much consolation merely to say that her life was spared while the lives of many others were not? Under such circumstances might not some people wish rather that their lives had not been spared?

    I can’t help thinking, however, of this little girl’s request in light of the disciples staring into the clouds as the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven.

    “Lord, can’t you take us away from here?”

    Jesus was leaving them in this vale of tears. Jesus was leaving them to face scurrilous enemies. Nearly every single one of them would die a martyr’s death. Did it break Jesus’ heart to leave them behind? Or did He rather know something more for which He had prepared them by His Word?

    “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:33-34)

    Why shouldn’t we bring all the Haitians to the United States? Why shouldn’t we invite them into our homes and share our meals? Why shouldn’t their children be enrolled in our schools? Why shouldn’t their aged be cared for in our nursing homes?

    Pietism has no answer for such questions. With blushing silence, it shrinks away, mumbling some excuse or rationale. Pietism has no answer for the cross being borne. Pietism picks and chooses its own crosses, imagining that in overcoming the sufferings it has chosen for itself to endure, it somehow has accomplished something as it makes its way from the anxious bench to the easy chair and a tub of popcorn to watch the evening news in dismay.

    Pietists will tell you that you can’t throw a drowning man a Bible. Pietists think it useless to carry on a proclamation like this: “Dear child, I am going home so that I can help not only you but also your neighbors. You are sad now, but you will rejoice — and it will be a joy greater than the sorrow you have no. One day, you will be rescued not merely from Haiti, but from this world to a place which Jesus has prepared for you. He has suffered, too. He died so that you will live and be taken to a place He has prepared for you. For now look for the Haitian Lutheran pastor. Listen to what the Bible says… Let’s have a prayer to Jesus.”

    We cannot rationalize about suffering and grief. It is vain and foolish. We have a different kind of foolishness — the wisdom of the Christ crucified.

    Can we not point to Christ even if we cannot provide immediate relief to pain and hunger? To be sure, let us be extremely generous and gracious! May the Lord move our hearts and help us grant relief to hunger and suffering. But God grant us all the more so to know the Gospel in such a way that it may be proclaimed and believed even in the face of sadness and suffering, for worldly suffering and sorrow are temporary but the gift of life in Christ is eternal.

  4. January 28th, 2010 at 18:10 | #4

    And I was assuming that the child had been baptized, but if not . . .

  5. January 28th, 2010 at 18:15 | #5

    . . . and the post wasn’t meant to be critical of the work that is being done and the Gospel that is being proclaimed. By no means. I am a miserable armchair quarterback. I whole-heartedly commend the work of Pastor Harrison because I know him and I am certain that he is bringing the Gospel to Haiti, taking children up in his arms and putting his hand to the plow. And I pray the Lord God to bless the work of the relief teams, to give them strength and wisdom and words in the face of such hardship.

  6. PPPadre
    January 29th, 2010 at 10:27 | #6

    Two things impressed/jumped out at me about the KTVI story -

    1.) Either the cameraman gets it or Pastor Harrison convinced the camera man to shoot in a way that seems like he got it: the entire effort was literally “under the cross.”

    2.) In the visual depictions of the professionals at work, all of the professionals were in their respective uniforms – the doctors were dressed like doctors, the nurses were dressed like nurses and the pastors were dressed like pastors. One elder pastor in our district reminded us young guys “society has always placed its servants in uniform.” Even in the midst of disaster, we serve and we confess our service by dressing as the servants that we are.

    The PPPadre

  7. Smalltown Lutheran
  8. Helen
    January 30th, 2010 at 13:29 | #8

    @Smalltown Lutheran #7

    Thanks to “Smalltown Lutheran” for publishing the PBS video!

  9. Smalltown Lutheran
    January 30th, 2010 at 14:29 | #9

    @Helen #8
    You are welcome.

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