Haiti, Afghanistan, and Student Action
By Sean Hunley
October 12, 2021
When the human toll of devastating natural disasters compounded by a political crisis in Haiti reaches our awareness; when the heartache and desperation of displaced Haitian families fills our newsfeed and begins to overwhelm our hearts; when we stare in shock at images of Afghani nationals fleeing as their world is turned upside down…what can we possibly do? As Christians — and as people safely housed and well nourished — how can we even begin to react to crises of this magnitude?
Through their actions, our students are providing an answer: keep your eyes open, keep your heart open, pray, and respond.
Corie, an SSCA senior and president of our National Honors Society chapter, kept her eyes and heart open to the plight of Haiti and Haitian refugees, and wanted to help us all to do the same. She coordinated with Mr. Webb to devote the prayer component of our recent “Read, Pray, Sing” chapel to this cause. Then, she and NHS organized a Jeans Day fundraiser for Hope for Haiti, working with Ms. Mendonza to coordinate awareness efforts on campus.
Meanwhile, Shelby, another SSCA senior, was struck by the harrowing journey of thousands of Afghan refugees, 400 of whom are resettling in our own state. She organized an SSCA drive for essential items to be donated through the Welcoming Alliance for Refugee Ministry, which is ongoing.
I am so encouraged by the ways our students are modeling for all of us God’s call to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with Him (Micah 6:8). In fact, I know of at least two other students who have proposed ongoing clubs or initiatives organized specifically to identify needs in our larger community and to respond with acts of service and generosity.
Part of our role as Christian educators is to help students to internalize the idea that our work, now and in the future, is not merely transactional, but rather restorative: that the Lord is restoring His beautiful creation, and we are His instruments of that work. That means, in part, keeping our eyes and hearts open. Our fourth graders are opening their eyes and hearts to the migrant’s journey. Students in Mrs. White’s class read Susan Applegate’s Home of the Brave, a novel about a young character’s journey from Sudan to America. Then, they met two special guests: two SSCA parents who made similarly harrowing journeys — one from Haiti and one from Iran — at the very same age as our fourth graders! These are human stories, and they are closer to us than we may realize.
Another part of our role as Christian educators is to make room for students to lead. In doing so, they remind all of us to keep our eyes open, to keep our hearts open, to pray, and to respond.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 10:18-19