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April 2010

Living a Psalm: Luther Seminary Students Experience Deep Faith of Haitian People

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, four Luther Seminary students found themselves in the midst of the earthquake that devastated Haiti. Along with nine others on a cross-cultural experience, they had traveled to the small, impoverished island nation with the goal of understanding the Haitian culture and how the Haitian people experience God and the gospel.

Also on the trip were students from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Wartburg Seminary, and a host from Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Littleton, Colo., a congregation that has worked closely with Haiti and the seminaries' cross-cultural education programs.

The group landed in Haiti just 30 hours before the magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit. When they arrived, they were greeted by people enthusiastic about their presence. And, in the aftermath of the tragedy, that love was extended even further.

"'Love first, ask questions later' is just the way that the Haitian people are," said Katie Emery, M.Div. middler, noting that people greeted them with hugs before even asking for their names.

In the midst of devastation, the four students saw the Haitians' deep love for God and neighbor. In the moments following the earthquake, the people of Haiti responded by giving praise to God. Quickly the streets went from a sense of mass devastation to being filled with people singing gospel and praise songs, which went on throughout the night and into the following days.

"The hope of (the Haitians) was immediate," said Emery.

"It was like living a Psalm," added Rusty Brace, M.Div. junior. "It went right from anguish and crying to praising God."

While the time the four Luther Seminary students spent in Haiti was short, they say it was deeply enhanced in the aftermath of tragedy. "We had a tour and a transformation," said Brace. "The earthquake just sort of facilitated it. It just brought what we were going to be immersed in into much sharper focus."

Read the full article along with a reflection told in the students' own words about their Haiti experience in Global Vision Online.

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