haiti news item

Fear Makes You Stupid

Yesterday morning I woke up to the news of a massive earthquake in Chile. The world seemed to hold its breath and wonder how bad the damage would be. “If a 7.0 earthquake killed 200,000+ people and flattened Port-au-Prince, Haiti– what would an earthquake 500 times stronger do?

Those fears and concerns were legitimate.

Fortunately, as news reports flooded in, we later learned that while there is widespread damage and hundreds of thousands displaced– Chile was well prepared for such an emergency. In fact, it appears that Chile may be able to handle the relief efforts largely on their own. The New York Times is reporting, “Although the United States had offered aid, Chile’s government had not yet requested assistance. All international relief groups were on standby, and the International Federation of Red Crosses and Red Crescents said the Chilean Red Cross indicated that it did not need external assistance at this point.

Chile’s disaster was not equal to Haiti’s disaster– and as those fears began to ease and you could see the media looking for a story to scare people.

Later in the morning, the media attention shifted from the earthquake in Chile to a tsunami the earthquake spawned. This is when the full on fear mongering went nuts.

  • Fact: 750,000 people in greater Port-au-Prince are starving and homeless while billions of dollars of aid sits on tarmacs because NGOs and governments are paralyzed.
  • Fact: The president of Haiti has said it will take 1,000 trucks 1,000 days to clear the rubble from Port-au-Prince. The muscle part of recovery hasn’t even begun.
  • Fact: 46 days after the earthquake in Haiti, starvation and disease are happening just 2 hours south of Miami by plane. Thousands of orphans are undocumented and at risk of being trafficked. Widows and elderly have no protection.
  • Fact: 2 million people in Chile were displaced as their homes were destroyed.

And twelve hours after the Chile quake all of the news media’s attention shifted from actual news stories to a potential tsunami in Hawaii.

Fact: Tsunami warnings had gone out for more than 4 hours all over Hawaii. There was no danger to life.

Fact: A potential tsunami is not equal to an actual tsunami. A potential tsunami was used to cover up the real story in Haiti. (The real story is that the church is meeting people’s needs while the NGOs and governments have meetings at the airport.)

Fact: The news was reporting on lines at Costco/Wal*Mart/Safeway, showing live video of a camera pointed at a computer screen of a feed, and anchors desperately trying to convince experts that although scientific instruments were saying the tsunami was only creating a 2-3 foot wave– the wave must really be 30-50 feet.

Fact: This was worse than Geraldo opening Al Capone’s secret vault.

And yet every news agency was showing live video from all over the state, showing sunshine and waves, interviewing tourists on vacation– all for a natural disaster that had not even happened yet! One reporter asked a tourist, “What is the situation like up at Diamond Head?” The tourist, confused, looked at the reporter and told the truth. “It’s a party up there.They couldn’t go to commercial fast enough.

Something is wrong with us. The fear of a natural disaster outweighs an actual natural disaster? The fear of damaged vacation property outweighs the reality of millions of people’s homes in Chile and Haiti? The fear that a tsunami might hit outweighs the reality that a significant disaster has actually happened.

Fear makes us stupid.

When will we recognize that fear is our god? When will we stop living in fear? When will we be motivated by compassion that overcomes fear?


It’s your turn to go to Haiti

My trip to Haiti was two-fold.

  1. To serve the Haitian church. Each day of our trip was spent meeting with local pastors, meeting their people, and assessing/serving their needs. As I wrote about on the YS blog, “Jesus is the one feeding the people in Haiti.” As I documented over and over again, I was able to help be the hands and feet of Jesus– even though I have no special skills for disaster relief. God used my inability to show off his abilities.
  2. To mobilize you. Let’s face it, now that the film crews are rolling out of Port-au-Prince you are starting to forget about the need. While the disaster of January 12th fades into your memory banks, distracted by the Winter Olympics and testimony of Toyota’s president— 750,000 people are living in the open with no shelter, no regular source of food, and no clean water. They desperately need people like you to come to their aid.

You witnessed my trip. I laid bare my anxieties and fears as I prepared. I documented my every day of the journey. And you’ve seen that I’m just a regular guy who went to Haiti to be the hands and feet of Jesus– and I came back safe and sound.

I wasn’t traumatized. I wasn’t under-utilized. I wasn’t in harms way. I wasn’t in the way of “professionals.” And the place certainly isn’t crawling with American relief organizations or morbid tourists.

Am I saying that God is calling every person to go to Haiti to serve? Of course not.

But I am reminding many of my readers what they already know: If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to go, and you are finding reason not to go… you may need to toss aside those excuses and lean into what God is calling you to do!

Find an organization and go. Soon. The need is getting greater, not less.

haiti hmm... thoughts

Faith & Fear

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1

Can you imagine? 75 years old you hear from God loud and clear– leave, start a new life, leave everything behind.

Abram’s entire life was judged based on this one decision! Would his life be defined by faith or by fear?

The first thing that comes to my mind as I try to put myself in Abram’s shoes is fear:

  • How will I make the trip?
  • How will I start over?
  • My wife will kill me.
  • I’m 75 years old, the only move I’m making is to Florida

Yesterday, I was doing a little check-in on Tash’s morning radio show in Auckland. (You know, I’m huge there! Well… er, probably not.) And she asked me the one question I don’t have an answer for right now, “So Adam, what is going to change as a result of your trip to do relief work in Haiti?

It is the question I’m afraid of. I don’t really have an answer for that yet.

If I tally the faith I exhibit in my life I see a difference in the reconciliation. Fear is winning over faith.

As I talked to the Lord about it I kept coming back to that central question… right back to the defining moment in Tin CupWill your life be a life defined by radical faith, or will it be defined by an avoidance of fear?

What about you? What are ways you a living a life driven by faith and not fear? Teach me!

haiti hmm... thoughts Social Action

Ephesians 5:14 and You

A young man prays in Carrefour, the epicenter of the January 12th earthquake

“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:14

I first memorized Ephesians 5 with Kristen in 1995. We were dating and we had discovered that memorizing Scripture together was a way to channel our, um, energy for one another. It worked!

This passage of Scripture has been illuminated to me in new ways since I returned from Haiti a few days ago.

On the one hand– I need to shake the trip, to focus on the action items ahead of me, to move on with being a leader, husband, and father here in San Diego. I am needed here and there is no denying it. That much is clear.

On the other hand– everywhere I go I encounter something I cannot reconcile with what I have seen. Yesterday, I spent most of my day in a coffee shop sipping mochas and working on a freelance project for some friends. I am proud of the work I did yesterday. It turned out great. I love the opportunity it provides both for my family and the organization this work will benefit. But as I walked through my neighborhood I couldn’t help but think of the contrast to what I was doing just a week prior. Last Saturday, sounds of thousands praising Jesus and shouting prayers filled every neighborhood in Port-au-Prince and Carrefour. Even as night fell and we rested in our mission station we could hear the loud speakers in the distance… people singing and praising well into the humid darkness. Yesterday, back home in my neighborhood– nearly silence. The only sounds heard were children playing soccer in the park.

One place was awake. The other asleep.

Paul doesn’t leave me there, he continues, “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.Ephesians 5:15-17

My prayer while in Haiti were verses 15-17. I overlooked verse 14. My teammates kind of poked fun at me because I barely slept the whole week. I’d go to bed after they were asleep and they’d wake up and I’d already be up. It’s was this verse… I was doing what I could to make the most of every opportunity. I could sleep on the plane.

But it is verse 14 which stirs me now. Now I have to sort out how I can be awake to both realities.
haiti Social Action social media youth ministry

A new kind of missions trip

I’ve been on a lot of missions trips. But never one that was three dimensional before.

The three dimensions of the Haiti trip:

  1. Going and experiencing for myself.
  2. Using Twitter and Facebook to tell stories live, sharing pictures and videos with thousands around the world.
  3. Watching the experience change my friends while they participate in the trip from their living rooms, offices, and cars.

Here’s how this scenario played out over and over again.

We would load up the team van and head to a destination. Whether it was a meeting of pastors, a prayer meeting where thousands spontaneously had shown up, or walking around a devastated community and meeting people effected by the earthquake.

All of a sudden, my iPhone became a powerful ministry tool.

I would post on Twitter a simple message.

And instantly, my friends were engaged in what we were doing.

As free moments were available, often times while walking or driving from one place to another I was able to update my Facebook status or post a tweet so that people could continue to pray for what we were doing… and more importantly join in the story of what God was doing.

It’s important to note that this wasn’t a distraction from what I was doing on the ground. I was deeply engaged in the moment. But as free we walked from one place to the next or as we drove, I was able to utilize that otherwise down time as ministry time. Doing these things didn’t distract, they amplified what we were doing.

Thanks to the power of Twitter retweets and hastags, there were now hundreds of people engaged in our ministry, watching every step of our journey. People gave us advice. Sent us links. Added our efforts to databases and websites. Encouraged us. On and on. This was missions far different from what is documented in Acts, when reports from missionaries trickled in from letters!

As the need for more specific prayer arose, I was able to update these friends… who were now looking for ways to pray for our team.

Read the updates from bottom to top, in sequential order

At this point in our day, I was in hog heaven. This was the convergence of all of my favorite things. I was engaged in social action as we advocated for people. I was engaged in social media as my cloud community prayed and sought solutions for the problems I was experiencing on the ground. And I was engaged as a pastor as we prayed and worked with people in the camp.

And social media was also documenting a miracle. (and my getting punk’d by Marko!)

Little did I know that the three dimensional missions we were doing had taken on legs of its own. My friend Tash was updating her radio audience in Auckland, New Zealand with my Twitter updates so people could pray. Tons of people retweeted and added commentary . Literally, people around the world were following this story and about to see God do something amazing.

Using $2000 we had raised on Twitter the night before. We were able to go to the only supermarket in Port-au-Prince and buy nearly all of the rice, beans, and baby food they had. (The money was given one day, utilized the next!)

While hundreds of people back home participated in our journey, we were able to continue pressing into what God was doing.

I don’t think this is somehow the beginning of a new age of missions engagement, but I do know that for our team this was a powerful way to tell stories as we went and amplify/report on what God was doing.

As a fellow youth worker, I know thousands feel compelled to respond to the humanitarian need in Haiti. But the concerns of safety and appropriateness will over-power the prompting of the Holy Spirit to take a team for most. (This is a faith issue, but that’s another blog post.)

It’s my hope that this new variety of missions will embolden many more to pray for Haiti, give to NGOs doing good work on the ground, and go to Haiti to see for themselves what God is doing.


Haiti Pictures

I’m just beginning to process this trip. But here are my raw pictures from the field. All of them are available to use under a creative commons license. (Just link back to me, give me credit)


Technical Haiti Update

I’m pretty much hijacking the Youth Specialties blog for my trip to Haiti. Sure, the other bloggers may post, too.

Fair warning, this blog is going to be a little different for the next 7 days.

You can follow my day-to-day Facebook status updates and Twitter updates.

My “blog plan” is to capture little moments on social media sites, my primary daily post at Youth Specialties, and whatever else I want to post… right here on

If you’d like to leave me a verbal comment while I’m in Haiti, please click “Call Me” below and you can record a message. Thanks to AT&T I’ll have free data, voice, and text.


Meet the Team: Clint

Responding the Haiti Crisis from Adventures In Missions on Vimeo.

Meet Clint, a member of YMATH. I think this video gives a flavor for the heart of the Adventures in Missions staff I’ve met over the past 3 weeks. They are practical, passionate, and matter-of-fact. I can’t wait to watch these folks do their thing.

It amazes me to see the fragmented Kingdom of God come together to address the crisis in Haiti.


I’m just a guy

My backpack has come out of the garage. In mission trip language that means things are getting close. I’m at the point in preparation where I’m tidying things up before I go. Work stuff, family stuff, medical stuff, buying stuff, gathering stuff, and doing whatever I can to not think too much about where I will be a few days from today.

I’m not quite at the point where I have a checklist but I am starting to think that a checklist is a good idea.

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a certain pattern when people find out that I’m headed to Haiti to help with relief efforts. These are common phrases in the conversations.

  • “That is so awesome.”
  • “Are you some kind of expert?”
  • “I watch stuff on TV and wish I could help.”
  • “I’m so glad you are going.”
  • “Man, it’s really awesome that you are going.”

There’s an inference that is it cool that I am going. Though body language would tell me that in the conversation my friends are often thinking, “I wonder if I should go.” Then there is an emphasis on “you.” This internal self-talk continues as I re-assure them that I’m not an expert, I’m not special, I’m not rich, I’m just a guy.

Anyone who has met me knows that I’m an ordinary guy. I’m not a doctor. I’m not specially trained in advanced rescue methods. I’m not physically fit. I’m not prone to do dangerous things. And I’m especially not the type of person who sees people needing help, pulls over the car, and does something right there.

Truth be told: I am a pretty boring friend to have. I tend to dream of nerdy ways to change the world I live in.

What’s extraordinary about my trip to Haiti is that someone asked me to go. It’s not extraordinary that I am going. I kind of think anyone asked to go, would go. That’s why I’ve been saying, “First me, then you.

So I invite you to follow my story as i go. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you already know I’m ordinary. If you haven’t yet met me face-to-face and are new to the blog, just trust everyone else… I’m just a guy.

3 Ways You Can Get Involved

  1. Follow my story here on my blog and at
  2. Follow the teams stories on Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Join our prayer email list to get daily updates and specific things you can pray for. (see below)

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Church Leadership haiti

Preparing for Haiti

I chose to be just crazy enough. More importantly, I want to encourage others to be crazy enough to recognize that they can change the world. — Adam McLane, August 28th 2009

In moments like this I feel like there is little I can do. While I would love to hop on a plane and “go help” the truth is I don’t have any skills that are actually useful. (I doubt they need a blogger) I will do the next best thing. I will give what I can and commit to joining the people of Haiti who stretch out their arms and call out Jesus’ name. — Adam McLane, January 13th 2010

It’s now been a couple weeks that I’ve known I was headed to Haiti to help in relief efforts. In the course of that time I’ve been all over the place emotionally. I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m worried, I want to just jump on the plane, I pretend like it’s 10 years away, I shop for stuff I think I may need, I change the subject when people bring it up, I watch more CNN than humanly necessary.

Back on January 13th I had no idea I would be heading to Haiti less than one month later.

But it is true. On February 11th I will land in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and begin an overland journey to earthquake stricken areas of Haiti. In my mind I keep hearing reporters say, “Haiti is a dangerous place on a good day, and certainly this is no good day for Haiti.” (While I am not an expert in rapid response relief, I’m happy to be traveling with a team who is!)

And yet I hear the voice of Jesus over that. “Love your neighbor as yourself.

On top of the obvious, there are a couple other elements that have me excited for this trip.

  1. The team assembled by Adventures in Missions for this trip is crazy diverse! The first time I talked to Marko about the trip he joked that when talking to a couple other bloggers one of them said, “We’d all just have to get together and hug it out.” We come from different denominations, liberal/conservative stripes, theological heritages, ministry-types, and even ministry companies who compete against one another. And yet, the need in Haiti is way more important than anything that should/could potentially divide us.
  2. The team is calling you to Haiti. As soon as I told others that I was going they asked me, “How can I go too?” This is one of the secondary purposes of the Advance Team. We are going first, we are exploring what you can do, we are answering your questions, and we are imploring (begging?) you to come to Haiti with a team soon. That resonates strongly to how I encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I long to see Jesus not just regenerate the hearts of the people we encounter but also the places we go and even the institutions which seem beyond renewal.

Soon the world’s cameras will leave Haiti. We will not have daily updates from Port-au-Prince. What will remain when the spotlight leaves is the hard work of rebuilding a country brought to its knees. This will be done by the Haitian people, NGOs, and the church.

I am going to Haiti because God’s people in Haiti cried out in Jesus’ name for help. I am one little tiny part of that very big response from Jesus to those cries in the darkness on January 12th, 2010.

And it is my hope that this little diverse team of people who is laying aside their differences for the sake of the churches response to the crisis will begin an amazing opportunity for Jesus’ people to change the world’s mind about believers.

What would happen if tens of thousands of God’s people laid aside their differences and came together in one response to change on country forever?

What would happen? I don’t really know. But I do know that it’s going to start with you.