“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, December 23, 2021


In his 2012 book Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives,[1] pope emeritus Benedict XVI explained the significance of Jesus name— prefigured in the Old Testament—first announced by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would bear a son.

“. . .[W]e encounter the name the name “Jesus,” which the Angel assigns to the promised child both in Luke (1:31) and in Matthew 1:(21). concealed within the name of Jesus is the tetragrammation, the mysterious name from Mount Horeb, here expanded into the statement: God saves. The, as it were, “incomplete” name from Sinai is finally spoken. The God who is, is the saving God, now present. The revelation of God's name, which began in the burning Bush, comes to completion in Jesus (cf. Jn 17:26).” 


In Jesus, everything is completed, including time, including all creation seen and unseen, including you and me. The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote:


“…long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many in various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son whom he appointed heir to all things through whom He created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and exact imprint of God's very being, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.”[2]


From the beginning of everything, including time, Jesus was with God and was God. He is the Word.[3] In Him is all glory. Again, Pope Benedict:


“the “glory” of God is real, God is glorious, and this is truly the reason for joy: there is truth, there is goodness, there isbeauty. It is there—in God—indestructibilitly.”


God loved us unto existence. Human creativity is evidence of the image and likeness of God within every man and woman. The created touches the hem of the Creator when he brings forth beauty out of his imagination. The wellspring of beauty is heaven. Johann Sebastian Bach understood this; he had so often been transfixed by divine beauty and transposed it to music. I believe Bach must have felt the breath of the Holy Spirit within him. How else can we explain Saint Matthew’s Passion, Saint John Passion, or Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring?  Even his secular works carry a hint of the divine. Bach knew his music began from far beyond him. His last words were: “Don’t cry for me. For I go to where music is born.”  And yet as inspired as the music the great man composed is, it still falls short of the glory of God, its goodness, its beauty, its truth. 


I have seen that whisper of the divine in nature and in the eyes of a new-born baby. I have felt the whisper of the divine when praying the rosary.  God is the divine idea, inexplicable, intangible yet the ultimate reality. Truth. Love. Beauty. Goodness. People will fight for them and die for them, giving up temporal reality for eternal reality—and we have seen this in young soldiers prepared to lay down their lives for an idea like democracy and freedom, and martyrs prepared to die rather than deny Christ. 

The true joy of Christmas is, at its foundation, a sacred and divine idea expressed in physical terms. The Creator of everything, desiring the return of the only creatures that He gave His Image and likeness—providing a way back to Him when they/we had gone astray. Yes, humanity has become estranged from His love, out of which flows beauty, goodness, and joy. He gave His ultimate gift desiring that we might love Him in return. The incarnation. God made man. Jesus would become the sacrificial lamb that would take away the sins of the world for all those who wanted to be reconciled to God. 


To love and be freely loved in return. In the incarnation, God took the terrible risk of love: the possibility of rejection. In Jesus being whipped at the pillar, nails being driven through his wrists into the cross were the rejection of the divine love of God. But wait! In apparent defeat was victory. Millions upon millions of people through the past 2,000 years have believed in God’s Christmas gift and the price Jesus would willingly pay on the cross: victory over sin and its vice-like grip that held/holds people in bondage.  Freedom! Love returned!


I pray that this Christmas you will reciprocate to God’s love offered to you by choosing to love Him in return. He offered you the best gift of all. Accept it. Offer God your best gift of all: yourself.



[1] Joseph Ratzinger Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, JESUS OF NAZARETH: The Infancy Narratives (New York: Image, 2012) p. 30.

[2] Hebrews 1:1-3a.

[3] John 1:1-4.

Friday, December 10, 2021


 I read a Christmas Day sermon by early Christian church father, Saint Leo the Great (400-461): 


“… In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.” 

“… Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because of His great love for us He took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins He brought us to life with Christ, so that in Him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off the old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.”


That is the whole point of Christmas! This is where the real joy of Christmas lies for all humanity. This is the real reason to rejoice. Christ is the Christian’s Joie de vivre. 

There is a mystery we see in a baby’s smile, yet unsullied by life’s disappointments and sin; they are still close enough to their mother’s womb and the presence of God they experienced there, even before they took on form.[1]  


I am an old man now, but bells of Christmas still call me back to my own simple early childlike joy. So many frosty Canadian Christmas mornings throughout adulthood I awoke to see my wheelchair beside my bed. The cold steel could not steal joy from my soul at the very real presence of the Holy Spirit deep within me (the same Spirit that has warmed the hearts of small children and Christians through the centuries). 


Twinkling lights of a Christmas tree greeted me when I whirred in the living room in my electric wheelchair. The violence occurring to my brain could not extinguish the peace in my mind. Christmas joy shone bright deep within me.  For more than three decades, my body slowly became more and more like a corpse with multiple sclerosis, but my soul hummed knowing God has loved me since before I was formed in my mother’s womb. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.[2] He came to reconcile with God the likes of sinful people like me.[3]


This was the message of Leo the Great’s homily. As he finished his sermon he said: 

“Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. … Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.” 


The star of Bethlehem shone through the darkness of night. It gave witness to the Light of the world being born in a dank lowly manger, come to take away the sins of the world, for all who believe in Him. The road from Bethlehem led inexorably to Golgotha. From cradle to cross, Jesus brought a light to mankind. 


Another cold Canadian Christmas season is holy and warms my heart. Frigid northern winter night air whispers of hope, forgiveness, and joy to all who will listen with their soul rather than their ears. They will see with their heart rather than their eyes the love of God all around them now and throughout the year. 


Beneath a mountain of blankets, I turn in my bed. The wheelchair is gone. My legs are alive once again.  Sleep comes easy in the abiding peace of Christ. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight. — Mark 

[1] Psalm 139:13-16.

[2] Romans 8:38-39.

[3] John 3:16-21; Romans5:8-9.

Saturday, November 13, 2021


Palliative care should not be about dying; it should be about the last phase of living. With modern pain control methods, medications and techniques, all physical pain can be eliminated, without leaving the patient in a drugged stupor. Dying time can be good time with proper palliative care. The dying process can have the effect of stripping away all things extraneous to life, leaving only that which is essential. It is a time when we can love our own, or reconcile with estranged friends or family. It is a time to show love and care toward an abandoned or unloved person we may not even know. In doing so, the living and dying enrich expressed love. That is beauty.

I know this first hand: Like the boy in the photo above, a quarter of a century ago, my son walked his great-grandfather through his final days. Great-grandpa was blind, he had Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and finally a stroke. He was dying. He knew it and we knew it. He could not be cured so we cared. My son was able to show his great-grandfather he loved him. He expressed his love through little things: he shaved his great-grandfather, washed him, turned him in his bed, and just kept him company. The intimate beauty of those hours and days were beyond description—not only for great-grandpa but my son, and those of us who watched.  My son and his great-grandfather were able to say their last quiet goodbyes. Something beautiful happened in that hospital. Did my son grieve his great-grandfather's death? Yes he did but is was healthy grieving.

Canada made a dreadful mistake when it legalized assisted suicide under the guise of a law it euphemistically called "medical assistance in dying." That is not what Canada actually legalized. What we got was medical killing by lethal injection of the disabled, sick and dying. 

For the sake of assisting a defeated person kill themselves, we killed so much more. We broke an ancient moral code not to murder. In doing so we killed a precious quality of a civilized society and interdependent community that holds up the intrinsic value and worth of every human being—even if they have ceased to believe in their own innate natural dignity. We killed individual's consciences. We killed the taboo never help someone commit suicide. We killed physician/patient trust. And it killed individual responsibility to the greater society.

I have had multiple sclerosis for 37 years. At some points, it became so serious that my physician doubted I would live more than a few years. Even when I hung over the abyss of potential quadriplegia, my grief did not absolve my responsibility to others, or posterity. I had a responsible not only to the sanctity of my own life but every other life. My agony did not diminish that sacred ideal or my obligation to it. I had to look beyond my own predicament, my own pain and fears. Although I was suffering, I still had a duty not to leave this world poorer because of my decisions or actions. 

Society must provide every support to the disabled, sick and dying. It must never give in to misplaced compassion and kill a person who asks for it.  We have a responsibility to moral integrity—developed across centuries—not only for the safety of society but to our own consciences (regardless of how seared or cynical they may become). 

We all have a responsibility to uphold the sacredness of every human life now, and those yet to be born. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2021


“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But you have not so learned Christ,  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17-24.)

I have come to a point in my life where I no longer give the same credence to the views and opinions of secular people as I do people with a Christian mindset, and who place their first loyalty with Jesus Christ. It’s a crap-shoot if non-Christians or lapsed Christians or anti-Christians will get moral issues right, and they always get things wrong when it comes to spiritual matters. Non-Christians tend to align their moral views with whatever clever sounding catchphrase or fashionable thinking is dominant at any given time.  

To identify as Christian on a census form is not enough either. That may be good for statisticians and government planners, but it means nothing to God.  Cultural Christianity is not Christian.  God wants a personal relationship with people. A living faith in Christ, and trust in His Word. He is the word. He has always been with God. Jesus Christ is God.[1]

Not only is Jesus Christ God, His unfathomable love for humanity is the reason He took on human form.[2]Imagine that! The creator of all things, seen and unseen, entered the world that He created and became part of our temporary reality so that we might become part of His eternal reality.

God is more concerned with your inner self than your outer self. Your physical self is continually aging. Through Christ your inner self can continually renew.[3] God speaks to your heart and mine. His law is written on our hearts.[4] The Holy Spirit witnesses and teaches God’s truth to us.[5]  Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to God’s children (sons of God)[6] The world that has rejected Christ is ignorant of the Holy Spirit;[7] for this reason it cannot receive the Holy Spirit (the 3rd member of the Trinity).  Faith in Christ comes first.[8] He is the 2nd member of the Trinity. God is the 1st member. There is no other way to God except through Christ.[9]

The Holy Spirt Christ dwells in the heart of the believer  This is not some airy-fairy concept. In Luke 11.13, Jesus said God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask. It really happens! I know this from personal experience.  Someone reading this post may think to themselves: “Poor chap, the MS has affected Mark’s mind.” Even if that be true, how would that cynic explain the countless millions upon millions of people now — and throughout the past 2,000 years — who have experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? 

To bring a small contemporary example to mind, how do they explain the twenty-one Coptic Christians willing to die rather than deny Jesus Christ. They were beheaded on a Lybian beach in 2015. With ISIS knifes at their throats, they called to Christ and committed their spirits to Him.[10] (I bet you didn’t see that part on liberal western media.) 

Can anyone realistically say those twenty-one men did not know Christ or hear His voice? The Holy Spirit was with them, and in them, as they were martyred and entered the Kingdom of God. 

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who before you.” – Jesus[11]

Somebody else reading this post might scoffingly say, “Are you saying you hear voices?” — to draw similarities to something akin to schizophrenia or infer some other mental illness. To make my claim sound like fiction, they make up their own.  Yes, I am saying I communicate each day with Christ and He with me, and so do hundreds of millions of other Christians! 

This is why genuine Christianity is not about religion: It is about a personal relationship with Christ. It is my experience that He sends the Holy Spirit to guide me in matters of faith, morality and conduct; the Holy Spirit has comforted me in the terrors of serious neurological disease, and cancer, and when I have been excluded or falsely accused. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts me of sin and calls me to repentance, and back to God through Christ. Anti-Christian atheists just don’t get it. Why would they? How could they? They have rejected Christ.

Christians must be careful. There is a need to discern which spiritual voices are from God or the evil one? Satan can masquerade as an angel of light.[12] The Apostle John instructed us how to discern what is of God and what is not.

“… [D]o not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. ...[13]

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”[14]

Any spirit that contradicts the Word of God is not of God. We who have met Christ and have given our lives to Him must always pray for more discerning discernment. The world is increasingly wily, cunning, and seductive in making evil seem good and good seem evil.  Be on guard. Put on the full armour of God.[15] Surrender your whole life to Him and let the Holy Spirit reign in you. 


[1] John 1.1.

[2] John 1.14. John 3.16.

[3] 2Corinthians 4.16.

[4] Jeremiah 31.33, Hebrews 10.16.

[5] Jeremiah 31.15, John 14.26 & 16.13, 1Corinthians 2.13.

[6] John 1.12-14, Ephesians 1.5, Romans 8.15.

[7] John 14.17a, 1Corinthians 2.11-14., Ephesians 1.5.

[8] John 3.5-7, Acts 2.38., Ephesians

[9] John 14.6, Acts 4.12

[10] See “Widow’s joy: He Didn’t Deny Christ When Beheaded” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD16TqLaZe0  

[11] Matthew 5.11-12.

[12] 2Corinthians 11.14.

[13] 1John 4.1-3.

[14] 1John 4.4-5.

[15] Ephesians 6.10-18. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021


Over the years, I have noticed that Christians who are losing their faith (or have lost it) stop talking about Christ and start speaking about "religion"—usually in a negative way. The word 'religion' has a generic quality that allows a person who has lost their faith to use a shotgun approach in their attacks against Christianity. They attack the sins of Christians, or people posing as Christians, past and present. If they were once Christians, they should know that Christianity is not about religion. It is about Christ. It is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The ex-Christian, or ant-Christian, talks much about sins of the church and little about forgiveness found in Christ — experienced by hundreds-of-millions of people throughout the last 2,000 years! Genuine Christianity is about Christ, so why don’t they attack Christ? 


There are anti-Christians who DO attack Jesus Christ, but again they
often base their attacks on the failures and sins of Christians. There is also a set of darker people whose wicked hearts hate Christ because He is God. He is the Word. He is Truth. Jesus Christ is the source of all that exists, visible and invisible. He is the only source of salvation.


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being.”[2]  


Anti-Christians and people who have lost their faith and turned away from Christ, choose darkness rather than light.


“What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”[3]


Some people have lost their faith because they are disappointed or angry with God. Their lives did not go as they planned or wanted. They are disappointed or angry because disease, disability, divorce, or the loss of a loved one, or loved ones. Perhaps their bitterness is rooted in being betrayed, abandoned or rejected by those they love most. Their hearts are broken and they blame God. 


Other people hate Christ because His light shines into their darkness and exposes their sin. They like their sin and want to continue. They prefer darkness of the soul.  Still others execrate Christ because they are anti-Christian, they are anti-Christ. They have given themselves over to the prince of darkness. 

Do not dismiss the idea of the diabolical at work in the world. All you have to do is watch the Hollywood’s movies about demons, witches, possession, and celebrating all forms of evil and sin. Look and the number of books with demonic themes, witches and wicca. Can’t you see the spirit of the age? 


Jesus spoke of Satan as a real being.[4] He spoke to Satan and Satan spoke to him.[5]  Jesus spoke about hell as being a real place.[6] Sceptics may say that references to fire and brimstone and gnashing of teeth are not meant to be taken literally. How do they know? 

Mike Livingstone wrote:


The images of fire (Matt. 25:41), darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30), the weeping and gnashing of teeth ” (Matt. 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28), and being cut into pieces speak of the horror of hell.”

“Are these vivid images of hell literal or figurative? If they are meant to be figurative, then the imagery is pointing beyond what human language can convey. In other words, hell—if not a literal fire and literal darkness—is immeasurably worse than those images and inexpressibly worse than we can even imagine or describe. As heaven is more wonderful than our finite minds can comprehend, hell is more horrible than we can comprehend.” (see footnote 5.)

Jesus also spoke of heaven as a place that is perfect, a place of joy, rewards and treasures. Shari Abbott wrote: “What Did Jesus Say About Heaven?” (https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/what-did-jesus-say-heaven-hell/). Heaven is a place where Christ is: I want to be with Him. I want to see the face of the One who has loved me and been with me throughout a life of trial, pain, disease and disability. I want to finally know why. I want to know as I am known.[7] And I want you to be there too.

There are so many traps, deceptions, temptations, addictions, and practices that seem harmless yet can draw believers away from Christ. Do not be drawn into them. If you are a Christian, your relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in all your life. As Saint Paul said, put on the Whole Armor of God.[8] Fellow Christian! Summon all your spiritual resources! Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.[9]



[1] John 14:6.

[2] John 1:1-3

[3] John 1:3b-5.

[4] Matthew 13:19 & 25:41; Mark 4:15; Luke 10:18, 11:18, 22:31-32; John 12:31, 14:30; 16:11.

[5] Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13.

[6] Matthew 5:29-30, 10:28, 15:33, 25:41; Luke 15:15; 16:23.

[7] 1Corinthians 13:12.

[8] Ephesians 6:10-18.

[9] James 4:7.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Saint Augustine said:


Endures in adversity

It shows prudence in prosperity

It is strong in suffering

It rejoices in good deeds

It is safe in temptation

It is generous in hospitality

Cheerful among true brothers

Patient with the faithless

It is the soul of the Scriptures

The virtue in prophecy

The salvation of the mysteries

It is the strength of knowledge

The bounty of faith

It is wealth for the poor

Life for the dying

Love, is everything.


I have suffered with disease and creeping disability most of my adult life. Diagnosed with aggressive multiple sclerosis at thirty, I endured a muriate of frightening neurological symptoms for decades. I am an old man now. Looking back, I’ve come to the same conclusion: Love is everything. Even when the body fails, love remains.  Love is the only possession we can take from this life. 


Saint Paul wrote about love. He said that even if we were to possess all knowledge and have profound spiritual gifts, and have faith that can move mountains, if we do not have love, we are nothing. 


Loveless faith is harsh, unbending, legalistic. Loveless faith lacks the love of Christ. Real love has certain characteristics. Augustine spoke of them in the passage above.  Paul said:


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

My life has been a journey toward love—at times halting and uncertain, jealous and envious, often miserly in its expression. But God has been slowly teaching, wooing, chastening then blessing.   

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Again, Saint Paul’s words. Saint Augustine understood. No doubt, he drew much of his understanding on love from the 13th Chapter of 1Corinthians. It has blessed and inspired humanity, and read at countless weddings.

For me, it was a passage of the holy Scriptures I kept in mind and close to my heart during my worst attacks of multiple sclerosis. And they were bad, so bad that my doctor did not think I would live more than a few years after being diagnosed. The best doctors could do nothing to stop the savage attacks and slow degeneration. My wife had to watch it all ! She was convinced she would be widowed as a young mother with two children.  That’s how bad things got during the 1980s and ‘90s.

American author, lawyer and senior Fellow for the Discovery Institute’s Center for Human Exceptionalism met me. He described what he saw:

“I met Mark in the early 1990s and we became good friends. When I met him, he could barely walk using two canes because of his progressive MS. Over time, I observed his physical condition worsen, to the point he became triplegic, that is, was only able to use his left arm. He had no use of his legs whatsoever.”

In 2006, the MS also began to affect my left arm. My neurologist had exhausted all his treatment options. He resorted to administering the chemotherapy drug mitoxantrone (at that time still an experimental treatment for MS). It had some ugly side-effects and was discontinued. 

During those dark days, the knowledge that I was loved, and had always been loved, became magnified—it was my comfort and my consolation. One night I was lying awake on my bed in the middle of the night, gazing at the shadowy hoist hovering above me (used to help get me out of bed). I thought about what I'd lost over the years: My career, my health, use of my body, many friends and family. The words of Job came to me:

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19.25-27)


Throughout the ages, a great sea of heavy-hearted humanity have identified with Job's words, the words of a man who lost everything: his health, his children, his wealth. His "friends" Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar taunted him under the guise of comfort. Even Job’s wife taunted him: “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die.” (2.9).  And yet, even in his deepest sorrow and discouragement, Job cursed the day he was born, but not God. 


Those of us who have passed through that great sea of heavy-hearted humanity, can learn much from Job. Even if we die having lost everything in this world, through faith in Jesus Christ, we will have everything in the next world. Job reminds us that although our flesh will be destroyed, we shall see God. 


The love we take from this life will be perfected as we enter God's perfect love. All things will be made new for us who believe in His Son! 




Friday, July 30, 2021


Sustainability and self-sufficiency are most often the keys to raising people out of poverty. Personal initiatives, small businesses, and responsible farming must be encouraged. I think of the oft quoted pearl of wisdom: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 


In the years after the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010,

many appeals were made to the world for essential things like clothing; clothes were given. The pleas kept coming; so in 2013, my wife, LaRee, packed 5 sewing machines on a plane and flew to a Haitian orphanage. She taught the older children to sew and left the sewing machines there. (My wife is a maternalistic sort of woman with an immensely practical orientation.) LaRee ascribes to the view that giving people a hand up is better than just giving them a handout. LaRee is a grandmother with an older school of thought rooted in practicality and resourcefulness. Decades before it was fashionable, she repaired and patched clothing, and reused fabric in what might be called “re-purposing” or “retro” today. She simply calls it frugality, and not being wasteful. 


[Give a child a garment and you’ve clothed him until he grows out of it. Teach him to make his clothes and you have clothed him for a lifetime. Teach him how to mend and alter clothing and you’ve given him a profession.]


That’s my LaRee. Practical. Hands-on. Never mind all the highfalutin hoity-toity international declarations. proclamations and promises of aid. As Larry the cable guy says just “Git-er-done!”


Before anything meaningful can be done for sustainability, Haiti’s chaos, rampant violence and societal disintegration must be brought under control and stopped. Haiti needs the expertise and assistance of businesspeople and their “know how.” Haiti needs community development from the ground up. Farmers need to be supported, Their farming techniques must be updated and modernized. That will take the form of on-the-ground agricultural expertise to help farmers and farm families. Corporate investments must play a role in Haiti’s economy. The UN, other nations, international and private foundations and philanthropists have a role to play. 


This has been done before in other places. Twenty-five years

ago, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown took a delegation of business executives to former Yugoslavia to explore possible business opportunities that might re-build the war-torn region and make a meaningful difference in the Balkans. Unfortunately, the delegation of 34 died in a plane crash in Dubrovnick, Croatia. But it did not stop the rebuilding and America played a significant role.


Throughout his presidency, I corresponded with Bill Clinton on a number of occasions, usually about disability issues and public policy supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a much wider context, I also encouraged the president’s administration in its efforts to rebuild the Balkans and create an economy where free enterprise could flourish and people thrive.  (I believe that the sanctity of human life and being pro-life is also concerned with how people live to reach their full potential.) After his Secretary Brown’s untimely death, I sent a letter of condolence to the President. He responded by saying, in part:


“Dear Mark: Thank you for your heartfelt message of condolence on the death of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the 34 people who accompanied him on his mission in support of peace. … Ron Brown knew the meaning of the American Dream and, as a member of my Cabinet, fought to secure it for everyone willing to work for it and believe in themselves. He and his colleagues lost their lives in their quest to bring the benefits of economic renewal to the Balkans and to strengthen the peace. …”


We can take the sentiments expressed by Bill Clinton and apply them to Haiti. Haiti needs someone to ignite a spark of a Haitian Dream that brings hope to Haiti’s people. They need to believe they can succeed. They need to embrace a vision that they can honestly achieve their dreams of prosperity, and better their communities, if they only believe in themselves. 

There is a Biblical proverb that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”[2] It is not a vision seen with the eyes, rather the heart—that internal place where dreams are born. Remember the words of the fox to the Little Prince: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”[3] 


I believe that Haiti’s primary problem is that they are a people

without hope. They have no vision. That needs to change. It can
change! Creating an environment that is conducive to economy renewal, encourages investment, restores law and order, supports local businesses and farming, and, most importantly, brings Christian hope to the people that only Jesus Christ offers. 


Imagine that dreams really can come true, then make it happen. Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe and you’re half the way there.” 


Mark Davis Pickup 

[1] Cindy Wooden, “To feed the world, start with family, pope says” Our Sunday Visitor, 26 July 2021. https://www.osvnews.com/2021/07/26/to-feed-the-world-start-with-family-farms-pope-says/


[2] Proverbs 29.18.


[3] Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince.