United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
Indian Run UMC, Dublin, Ohio
Front row: Brett Bohl, Cheryl Worley, Darlene Pape, Howard Baulch, Pastor Brian Gath.
Back row: Pastor Jim Lillibridge, Tod Powers, Larry Hutchison, Bill Davis, David Throndsen.
Read the Dublin Villager news article published November 17, 2010.
Click on a date below to see the photos from that day. Click on any thumbnail to see a larger view of a photo.
- 12/3/2010 - Team members took an early morning flight from Columbus, Ohio to Port-au-Prince via JFK and were taken to the Methodist Guest House in Pétionville (southeast of Port-au-Prince) for the night.
- 12/4/2010 - Our project location was Mellier, a community near Leogane. We left Petionville after breakfast and arrived in Mellier late in the morning, met some of the community, school and church leaders, set up our living quarters, and began our assistance by moving concrete block from the front of the compound to the rear where a new latrine was being dug. That night none of us could believe how many stars shown in the sky!
- 12/5/2010 - We enjoyed worship at the local Methodist church in Mellier with 193 in attendance. It was heartwarming to share our love for our Lord with our Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Jim Lillibridge led the congregation with a familiar response done at Indian Run United Methodist Church (but in Haitian Creole): "Bondye bon ... Tout tan! Tout tan ... Bondye se bon!" (God is good ... All the time! All the time ... God is good!) In the afternoon we had lunch at Antonine's in Léogane, toured some of the destruction in the area, and later began a nightly ritual of playing soccer (foutbòl) with the Mellier children.
- 12/6/2010 - Foundation plans for the new church in Mellier were delayed on Monday, so we spent the morning moving full and partial concrete block from the school demolition to the rear of the compound, cutting rebar off existing columns, and dismantling rebar wire cages. In the early afternoon we sorted donated vitamins for later distribution. Once the Haitian workers were ready for the latrine's foundation footing concrete pour, we had an exhausting, but incredibly fun time in a bucket brigade with our fellow Haitian workers. Nurse Darlene saw about a dozen patients today complaining of various aches and pains. Darlene and Cheryl also shared a faith bracelet craft with some of the children in school today.
- 12/7/2010 - The plans arrived on Tuesday, so work began by laying out the foundation lines. We fell and hauled away three palm trees and then began digging the footings for the new church foundation with pick axes, sledge hammers and shovels. The Haiti Methodist Church district superintendent visited this afternoon and was surprised to learn that the new church plans only accommodates 224 places. Darlene and Cheryl share a faith bracelet craft with the remaining children in school today, and vitamins were passed out to every child in school today. It is still very hot during the day in December (low nineties), but the cooler nights (upper sixties to low seventies) made it very comfortable and allowed us to recharge our batteries.
- 12/8/2010 - On Wednesday not only did we learn that the local Methodist District Superintendent wanted to change the plans for the church for a larger capacity, but we also learned that demonstrations have become more severe throughout the country, due to the announced election results for the new Haiti president. Our project work was halted, and the school was closed. (In fact, the school remained closed all week.) I should note that despite what we heard about what was going on elsewhere in Haiti, we never once worried about our safety in Mellier. This gave us an opportunity to take a long tour of the Mellier community, meeting local residents and learning of their plight from the earthquake. Many people are still living in tents, but some are now living in more substantial temporary housing supplied by USAID. We heard many stories from local Haitians regarding how the earthquake has increased their faith in God, because they were delivered from the devastation and have hope for the future.
- 12/9/2010 - It rained almost all day Thursday, limiting our ability to do very much. We repaired some church pews, school desks and tables with what few materials we could find. We did crafts with some of the Haitians and watched "The Passion of the Christ" on a laptop in the afternoon. Word came from the Methodist Guest House staff in Petionville that they could not leave their compound most of the day due to barricades that were set up by protesters. That night we learned that our American Airlines return flight for Saturday was canceled, and we made new reservations for a Monday/Tuesday return to the States.
- 12/10/2010 - On Friday the staff at the Methodist Guest House did an incredible job of keeping us updated on the demonstrations and situation in Petionville and the roads from there to Mellier. They were to have picked us up in Mellier today, but that was no longer possible. We got word that the "boss" for the project needed us to move the rubble from the school demolition to the side of the property behind the temporary church. We worked on that all day, and it kept our minds on the task versus our travel inconvenience. On Friday evening we learned that our Monday/Tuesday flight schedule was canceled, and we were rescheduled to a Wednesday/Thursday flight schedule. American Airlines had not flown since Wednesday, and they planned no flights until Tuesday. On the positive side, the staff at the Methodist Guest House had arranged for a police escort and were optimistic that they would be able to pick us up and return us to the guest house in Petionville on Saturday.
- 12/11/2010 - On Saturday morning we got a call from Tom Vencuss at the Methodist Guest House saying that they had received word that the roadblocks had been cleared and that they were sending a vehicle for us immediately. A police escort was not necessary. Once we arrived back in Petionville, we learned that all of the VIM teams in Haiti were either back at the Guest House or on their way back. Everyone arrived back without incident. The one team with flights on Delta Airlines flew back to the States today - if only American Airlines cared as much about THEIR customers!
- 12/12/2010 - We worshiped at the Methodist church there in Petionville. The preacher was the Rev. Gesner Paul, the president of the Eglise Méthodiste d'Haiti. It was Bible Sunday, so sixty-six people came to the altar and recited their favorite verse out of each book of the Bible. Tonight Howard's wife called to say that she got nine of us moved from the Wednesday evening flight to flights out of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
- 12/13/2010 - This morning we saw Darlene off the airport. Her husband used 70,000 frequent flyer miles to book her on a flight home on Delta Airlines. We spent most of the morning doing various odd jobs around the guest house: repairing a railing, sanding walls, and painting. In the afternoon we were treated to a tour of Grace Children's Hospital by Robenson Lucceus, the new Public Relations Director (the former director, his wife and his two children were all killed in the earthquake). Robenson is a delightful host and, when speaking of the great resources it will take to rebuild the seven of nine buildings that were destroyed by the earthquake, he remarked, "Those things, they are a small project for God!"
- 12/14/2010 - With flights out at various times today, we all headed to the airport early and awaited our flights. Three members of the team who were on a 1:30pm flight made it back to Columbus later this evening. The remaining six spent the night in Miami.
- 12/15/2010 - The last six team members returned to Columbus.
Read the Dublin Villager news article published December 22, 2010.
Read Heather Hahn's news article published on the first anniversary of the earthquake.
See and hear what our pastor had to say about this mission:
Life Interrupted: Elizabeth from Indian Run UMC on Vimeo.
Read what our team members had to say about this mission:
David Throndsen said, “God worked through me in Haiti to show others that He cares and would send help when needed.”
Bill Davis commented, “Seeing the faith in the eyes of the Haitian people when their homes have been destroyed and God has provided them ways to keep plugging along was inspiring and strengthened my faith.”
Brett Bohl remarked, “Being in Haiti stretched my faith by requiring that I come out of my comfort zone. I also realized how materialistic we Americans are. Haitians are poor in many ways but so rich in others.”
Pastor Brian stated, “I realize now that the problems facing the nation of Haiti are both extensive and complex. I saw how God used me and my teammates to make a real difference in the lives of the people we worked with. But for me, the most exciting thing about the mission are the ideas I came away with as to how we can accomplish even more for Christ’s sake in Haiti.”
Cheryl Worley said, “I believe that God wanted me to go to Haiti not only to be used for His purpose there, but to grow my own faith…I have found from past experiences that God calls me to a place that is totally out of my comfort zone and puts me in an environment where I am removed from all distractions so that I will focus on Him…My time in Haiti was a refinement of my faith…I am very inspired by the local Haitians and their faith stories.”
Darlene Pape commented, “I know God wanted me to do this mission, no question. My faith has grown because a lot of situations have been totally out of my control and I had to rely on God for what He wanted and in His time.”
Howard Baulch remarked, “As American Airlines continued to cancel rescheduled flights, I kept asking, ‘Why? Why were we being asked to stay? Why were we still here?’ My only answer at that point was the story we can tell. Even amidst the dangers, strife and stress, we were always in God’s hands and able to do His work. The world should know that progress is being made in Haiti. While it may be slow to some nations' standards, progress is being made. The people of Haiti want our help, and they need our help. We were never in danger, because they know that we are here to help them. As long as we honor their customs and share our mutual faith in our Lord, our help will be accepted with open minds and open hearts.”
Larry Hutchison stated, “Given the level of destruction and resulting living conditions, you would expect the Haitian people to feel hopeless about their future. After our mission to Mellier, they feel anything but hopeless. We could see that in their church music, pride of dress and their eagerness to rebuild. We were welcomed with open arms and felt appreciated. And from the Haitian people I learned that in the face of adversity there’s always hope—so don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Tod Powers said, “I now feel that my purpose was not to help in building a church in Mellier, but to take back to my family, friends, and any acquaintances my experiences here in Haiti. How positive these people are, how much help they need, and how even a small act can make a big difference in their lives. God’s use of me will continue as I share my experiences with others.”
And in his sermon on Sunday, December 19th, Pastor Jim concluded this section of his sermon on "Elizabeth - Life Interrupted" with this: "All in all, as a result of our experience and interruptions in Haiti, the entire mission team is able to proclaim as did Elizabeth so long ago, `Look what the Lord has done for me!’
Our lives will never be the same!"
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