Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti.....

Many of you may remember our former Stake President, Steven Studdert. He has a very distinguished past in public service. Recently, he headed the Utah Hospital Task Force which was comprised of Medical, Construction, and Translation volunteers who were primarily members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They went to Haiti shortly after the devastating Earthquake to provide assistance. They also saw that they needs are tremendous. He has authored the following article that was originally printed in the Meridian Magazine and was published this morning. Here are his words and vision for helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti. To donate to this great cause, you can go directly to

Finding direction in the scriptures both ancient and latter-day, and heeding the words of God’s prophet, a team of 125 selfless volunteers recently formed the largest non-military emergency aid task force to Haiti. What was accomplished has been richly covered in this space.

We were accompanied by Maurine and Scot Proctor, editors extraordinaire of Meridian Magazine. Because they were such an integral part of the team, and because their words of encouragement constantly lifted our weary spirits, we today announce THE NEXT STEP in helping our dearly struggling brothers and sisters in Haiti. Our responsibility to give succor is far from finished.

For over two hundred years, much has been written worldwide about the American Spirit. It is not found in government but in America’s people. That’s you and me. The freedoms with which we are blessed in this divinely inspired nation allow you and me to make a difference, to act independently, to give our ourselves and our money, to bless the lives of total strangers.

For many, religious faith is central. For others, it may be the inherent goodness that has come to be a hallmark of America’s people.

Today we announce an extraordinary nationwide citizen initiative – citizens, not government – to build the American Hospital of Haiti.

Today we announce the formation of a new non-profit IRS 501(c) 3 tax-exempt charitable organization called Americans Helping Haiti – and a new website where starting tomorrow (Saturday) you can contribute.

No contribution is too small; no contribution is too large. But each of us has a little we can give. Tomorrow please go to and become part of this great American effort. Email or text or Twitter your friends, contact your Facebook pals, and invite them as citizens to also give. Imagine if each of us had 50 friends give 50 dollars – we will be able to begin construction on time!

$50 dollars or more – that’s not very much to save lives. No amount is too small, no amount too kind.

Think about Bela, a 14-year old girl I met. Her mother, her father, her five siblings were all killed in the earthquake. The family home was destroyed. She has no food. We met Bela as she lay in a hospital bed, her left foot and right hand amputated. The last time we saw Bela was as she was wheeled to the curb and discharged from the hospital – set on the street to fend for herself. Not yet healed, no crutches, no family, no shelter – Bela left to find her own way.

For Bela and well over a million others like her, we must do this. We MUST – because we have been given much.

Funds will be used to construct and operate a desperately needed new hospital in Haiti. We anticipate construction will begin in June – that’s just three short months away – and we are working to open the hospital to patient care on January 12, 2011, the one year anniversary of the most destructive earthquake in modern history. So we must move very expeditiously – we have no time to spare.

Together – as citizens – and maybe with a few of our generous Canadian friends too – we will build the AMERICAN HOSPITAL OF HAITI. Tomorrow go to and get this ball rolling!

Our brothers and sisters in Haiti are experiencing incomprehensible suffering in what one U.N. official termed the worst human catastrophe in recorded history. Though the earthquake terror is now mostly over, the awful fear, the horrifying memories, and a future marked by acute unemployment, homelessness, and disease lie ahead. With determination, compassion, unity, and a respect for the dignity of every Haitian, through our personal generosity and by enlisting your friends – we together will bless those in Haiti who are hurt, homeless, sick, and hungry.

Our abundance, born of the American can-do spirit in our free society, made it possible. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little." Hopefully we added something to those in Haiti who have so very little.

Reading the scriptures helped me to know what we must do.

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." [Matthew 25:40]

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." [John 13:34]

"Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees." [D&C 81:5]

Won’t you – first thing tomorrow morning – go to and help build a shiny new hospital as a place of safety and medical treatment to replace collapsed hospitals and makeshift clinics in camps often with 50,000 or more homeless and sick Haitians.

I cannot say enough about the goodness of those on our recent Haiti emergency team, as they constantly found themselves living what King Benjamin taught: "When you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." [Mosiah 2:17]

I invite you to now join them, no matter where you live, no matter your circumstances, and help make the American Hospital of Haiti become a reality. Saturday, go to and be one of those unseen ministering angels, one of those generous American citizens, who will work wonders in Haiti.

In coming editions of Meridian Magazine, we will keep you posted on progress.

God bless you!


Stephen M. Studdert, a former stake president, mission president, and senior White House advisor, recently headed the Utah Hospital Task Force to Haiti.

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