Pastor: Haiti still needs Christian help

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2014

Plane crashes, typhoons and any number of other disastrous situations grip the attention of the public each year. But, for Haitian Francky Jeune, his mind is still set firmly on a day more than four years ago when his country was literally shaken to its core.

“I was in Port-au-Prince when it happened,” Leune said. “In 25 seconds, 300,000 people were dead.”

Andalusia’s Darrin O’Neal visited Haiti in 2011 as part of mission team from the Alabama Baptist Association. While there he met the man he calls pastor Francky, and the two have been friends since.

“Shortly after the earthquake, the Alabama Baptist Association started sending mission teams over there,” O’Neal said. “Several of us from here were part of the first trips over there.”

Today, Leune is in the middle of his second trip to the United States. His goal: spreading the word that help is still needed in Haiti.

“There is still just so much devastation,” O’Neal said. “Four and half years later, they are still rebuilding. Pastor Francky is the missions coordinator for us and our connection.

Leune said chaos following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake was unlike anything his generation had ever seen.

“Buildings collapsed,” he said. “ I saw big walls on each side of the road falling on people; cars running over people. It was very catastrophic; something we don’t even have a name for.”

And while the initial danger of the quake subsided less than a minute after it began, the problems left in its wake remain, Leune said.

“People are living in tents with raw sewage running through the streets,” he said. “We have a Baptist Association in Haiti. This how they connected myself with the Alabama Baptist. I’ve become a project coordinator for the Alabama Baptist.”

O’Neal said the partnership has produced great results that include medical and dental care and food for Haitians still suffering in the country’s post-earthquake landscape. More needs to be done, he added.

“We went down and we’ve had several of our members who have gone many times,” O’Neal said. “We’ve developed relationships. We consider them to be friends, so we still go. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Leune said the situation remains so dire that there are still 10 families in his congregation that don’t have roofs over their heads. For that reason, Leune travels to the U.S. to help drum up support for programs like “Homes for Haiti,” which supplies basic structures to give people shelter from the elements.

“I was here two years ago,” Leune said. “I’m here to speak to the church and invite them to come and help, because the need is still there.”

O’Neal said Leune’s current, 10-day trip to the states will conclude early next week, but not before he speaks to local church congregations this weekend.

“Last weekend he spoke at First Baptist Church in Andalusia,” O’Neal said. “Sunday, he’s going to be speaking at Hopewell Baptist Church in the morning and at Southside Baptist Church that night at 6.”

O’Neal said he hopes to again travel to Haiti as soon as February. He said anyone interested in joining a mission trip or making a donation may contact him at 334-208-7816 or Greg White at 334-222-2907 or via email at