Thursday, January 28, 2010
Streets of Santiago -- Reflections Rev. Carlos Hernandez
Although we are back in the United States now, with teams preparing to leave for Haiti again, we still have some reflections from our time in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Rev. Carlos Hernandez wrote the piece below while still in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy.
REFLECTIONS by Rev. Carlos Hernandez, Director, Districts and Congregations, LCMS World Relief and Human Care
"The renewing, restoring Gospel for EQ victims, Caregivers, the Team and on the streets of Santiago!"
Santiago, Dominican Republic, January 24, 2010 - Our Assessment/Pastoral care team reunited at early evening at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Jimani and arrived here in two passemger vans late last night from the Haitian/Dominican border after a grueling seven hour trek by our drivers, Pastors Ryes and Krey.
The intensity of the work of the last several days - the Pastoral care work of the team that stayed behind with Haitian Earthquake victims, who on one day were jumping off the second story floor of Hospital wards after two Earthquake tremors and, the the on-site assessment of the team that went deep into Haiti seeing "things no human beings should ever have to see" (words of Rev. Glenn Merritt) has extracted an emotional, spiritual and physical toll on our team.
However, our constant source of renewing strength has been our steady and clear focus on the Gospel, proclaimed in our daily devotions by team pastors, and in private confidential Pastoral care conversations by which the Holy restores and renews both proclaimer and hearer.
What powerful words Luther writes in explaining the Third Article: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but that the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlighten me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the one true faith..." (Luther's Small Catechism, explanation, Third Article).
So in all of our de-briefings in these trying and exhausting days of Haitian Earthquake
Assessment, and of providing access to Pastoral care to earthquake victims and caregivers, the Gospel is front and center!
Even as we fanned out this morning after breakfast to relax and see a bit of historic, downtown Santiago, the sweet, renewing and restoring words of the Gospel were on our lips and in our hearts as a young "shoe shine" boy (They are everywhere!) - Jesus Imael Fante - noticed our clerical collars and asked,
"Son Padres?" (Are you Priests?)
This open a converation in which the Spirit moves me to ask,
"Creyes en Jesucristo?" (Do you believe in Jesus?) After sharing my faith with him - the forgiveness, life and salvation Jesus won for us through his suffering, death and resurrection, he asked me to bless him.
"Bendigame!" (Bless me!)
I placed my hand on his head and said, "En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espiritu Santo, Amen." (In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen) He crossed himself and went his way to continue his work.
And both Gospel proclaimer and hearer were renewed, restored and strengthen!
Pastor Hernandez may be reached by cell phone (314-956-2005) or by email, even while in the Dominican Republic)