Our home life changed on January 12. The earthquake—7.0-magnitude, that devastated Haiti hit our house as well. In the past year or so, my wife Loni and I had been to Port-au-Prince a few times through a small, plucky nonprofit organization, working in schools and orphanages.

So much changed that day. When you’ve begun to make personal connections, a tragedy such as this is not about “that poor country” or “those unfortunate families.” No, it is about Gertrude and Rosie, TiJean and Frentz, Kelencia and Wilbertson, Michelange and Patrick, and on and on and on. God knows them all by name.

Calvin alumni were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, being about (as they are in so many corners of the kingdom) “God’s work in God’s world.” Others were immediately connected to the disaster because they were making peace where there was little peace through scores of creative ministries. Some were in the adoption process. Phanuelle Duchatelier, a Calvin sophomore and Heyns Hall R.A., prayed for the safety of her parents.

We’re collecting their stories for the next edition of Spark. If you know a story, tell us at spark@calvin.edu. Please keep praying for Haiti, just a 90-minute plane ride from Miami, but a world away. May the distance decrease.