Thursday July 22, 2010
Searching for Sean Penn
Sean Penn. Sean Penn is one of my favorite actors. From Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Harvey Milk in Milk, Penn always acts with immediacy, irony and a twinkle in his eyes. While I enjoy his acting, I am even more inspired by his activism. In September of 2005 Penn went to New Orleans to participate in the rescue and rebuilding of New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina. Then less than a week after the earthquake in Haiti hit, Penn co-founded J/P Haitian Relief Organization “to save lives and bring relief to the Haitian people quickly and effectively” J/P Haitian Relief Organization now manages the Petio-Ville Club Camp, the largest tent city in the country housing 50,500 Haitians.
Preaching in the Tent Cities
We turned on the four-wheel drive on our truck and the pastor jumped in the truck with us and drove down into the camp through muddy roads under an overcast sky. We rolled down the windows and saw an endless rows of tents in blue, red and gray from US AID, Oxfam, and even Walmart. With over two million Haitians living in tents, I wonder how long will these temporary towns exist?
Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
While we talked to St. Cyr, a young Haitian man named Jean who was part of the worship team, quietly played his guitar. Subtle and sonorous, his song was a small glimpse of hope amidst the great struggles of life in a tent city.
In the end we didn't meet Sean Penn. Pastor St. Cyr said he was meeting with “the General” today, after recently meeting with his friends Spike Lee and Shakira. Yet, we were able to meet with several ordinary people doing extraordinary things. That night Jean would lead the church in worship, while Pastor St. Cyr would preach, both exercising their gifts of ministry to bring healing and hope to the people of Haiti. How are we using the gifts of ministry that God has given us? Do we have the courage to step up and lead in the struggle against injustice? By sowing small seeds of justice, with time we will reap a harvest of shalom.
Director, Micah Institute