Liberty University’s first convocation of the Spring 2010 semester began with prayer for the current tragedy in Haiti.
Even oceans away, the impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake hits Liberty on a personal level.
“Liberty has 17 students here on Haitian visas, we have dozens more that are of Haitian descent,” said Johnnie Moore, Liberty’s vice president for Executive Projects and Media Relations. “We have people in our family who have lost loved ones; we have four Liberty students who are still out of the country — three of those are stuck in Port-au-Prince.”
The university announced this week that it is awarding more than $24,000 in one-time emergency aid to its current Haitian students.
Moore said his office, which works closely with Liberty’s mission teams, has been flooded by emails from students asking what Liberty is doing for Haiti.
“First, we’re encouraging all of you to support organizations that specialize in first response, like Gleaning for the World, WorldHelp, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, Compassion International. … The best thing you can do is give to those organizations and pray intently for those people,” Moore told students.
He said in the last week, Liberty has loaded up a tractor-trailer full of bedding and furniture that will be sent to Haiti through Food for the Poor. He also announced that a team of Liberty students is planning to travel there in the late spring, the summer, and maybe next fall “after we adopt a particular project so that we can get our hands on the ground and assist when much of the world is starting to turn their attention away from that country.”
The main convocation speaker was the Rev. Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Falwell said the convocation theme had become one of prayer — a focus the leaders of Liberty and its related ministries had chosen for the new year.
“Little did we know when we made that decision, we would hear of the tragedies occurring around the world now,” he said.
In opening, Falwell drew upon a much-used saying of his father, Liberty University founder Dr. Jerry Falwell: “Nothing of eternal significance is ever accomplished apart from prayer.”
His talk focused on the necessity of prayer, as he pointed out that we can “only experience miracles through prayer,” “the only way to stretch faith is through prayer” and we can only “experience God’s power through prayer.”