Local mission team helps Haitians

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

Members of the mission team worked alongside Haitian residents of Jacmel to rebuild the church that was destroyed in last year’s earthquake. | Courtesy photo

Eight local men recently traveled to the earthquake-ravaged Haitian town, Jacmel, to work on a special kind of building – a church.

Traveling with the team were the Rev. Wendell Ray, the Rev. Roy Mooneyham, Mike Barringer, Lowe Dillard, Darrin O’Neal, Shawn O’Neal, Jimmy Miller and Greg White.

White said the trip to Haiti was the third made by a Covington County team this year, and the 29th from the Alabama Southern Baptist since the earthquake in January 2010.

The group left Sat., April 30, and returned on Sat., May 7.

“We were told that approximately 300,000 lives were lost because of the earthquake, and many are still dying from diseases such as Cholera, and more than 1.5 million were left homeless,” White said. “Our mission was to help with construction of a permanent church building for a church in Jacmel.”

White said as the group drove from the airport thru Port au Prince, they were “shocked.”

“Most buildings were damaged. Many had been completely destroyed. The presidential palace had been a beautiful government bldg, and it is now unusable.”

He said it took more than four hours to travel to Jacmel.

“And we saw destruction the entire distance,” he said. “However, even in these dire circumstances, and with many seeming to be at the edge of despair, most people appeared to be resilient. They were selling wares and produce, hurrying to jobs, walking to school, and otherwise carrying on the day-to-day routine of life.”

“Having a church provides a sense of stability to the community, and support for the families that will be important during the rebuilding process,” he said.

White said church services were held each night in various churches around town, where the two ministers from Covington County, as well as a different team member, shared a testimony each night.

“We found the Haitians to be industrious, hard-working and very easy to love,” White said. “Their country was devastated by the earthquake, and it will take many years to re-build. But, our time spend with the Haitian people was probably more meaningful to us than we were to them.”