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VSU students involved in Haiti mission

Haiti

This spring break, from March 13 to March 20, a mission team from Crosspointe Baptist Church went to Haiti to aid in disaster relief. Nineteen of the 24 team members were VSU students.
According to Jason Van Nus, college pastor at Crosspointe, the group was comprised of three of teams: a medical team, a construction team and a childcare team. The group also brought supplies such as food, medicine, construction supplies, clothes, toys, toiletries and school and art supplies. After leaving from Orlando by plane, the group arrived in Santo Domingo and made the 6-hour bus trip to the Haitian border. The team had to bring all their own food and supplies. Their purpose was to bring relief for the disaster, encourage workers who were already there and to show the love of Christ to the Haitian people.
According to Tim Allred, the head of the mission team, the team spent much of their time at a compound for the Haitian Christian Ministry in Fonds Parisien, a city about 45 miles outside Port-au-Prince. Many Haitian refugees relocated here shortly after the earthquake. For 35 years, this compound has been a haven for those needing assistance; its numbers significantly increased after the earthquake. The compound also houses approximately 25 refugee families, five in tents and about 20 in rooms that were previously classrooms. It contains a church and a hospital that includes an operating room and an ob-gyn practitioner.
During their stay, some students from the group helped Debbie Reagan, a nurse practitioner at the Student Health Center, deliver five babies. Other members also helped clean up the OR and organize shelves of medical supplies previously in bad condition.
At the airport at Port-au-Prince, the team spent time with the 823 fighting Jesters from the U.S. Air Force. They brought the troops, some of whom had been there since the beginning of the earthquake, a taste of home with Starbucks coffee.
The group worked at a church of the Haitian Christian Ministry in Port-au-Prince that had been damaged in the earthquake. They painted the church and spent time with the preacher of the church.
The group also held a camp for the children at the compound, some orphans and some from refugee families. They played games and did arts and crafts with the children, and performed a play of the story of Genesis.
“Frequently medical teams will come and work in the clinic,” said Allred. “They (the children) see a lot of North Americans but don’t really interact with them because they are doing medical relief. Our team actually got to go out and spend time with those kids and those refugees and pour into their lives and remind them that even though they are in a difficult situation and a tough time, they’re not forgotten about.”
The team also did some construction, laying concrete for sidewalks and putting in plumbing. They also helped out at the compound church by singing and speaking there.
During their mission, the team met some interesting people, one of them being a man named Johnny. Johnny had previously been an English teacher in Port-au-Prince, but the earthquake had destroyed the school at which he worked, as well as his home. He came to the compound to find work and ended up being the team’s translator. Johnny wanted to earn 100 Haitian dollars, about 12 American dollars, to pay back a friend from whom he had borrowed some things that had gotten destroyed in his house during the earthquake. The team paid him $60 for his services.
According to Allred, the VSU students that went on the mission went above and beyond.
“They blew my mind,” said Allred.
The students who went felt deeply for the people of Haiti and a call to serve in the country.
“God broke my heart for the people there,” Erika Faulkner, senior early childhood major, said. “I just couldn’t stay here. I had to go.”
Currently, World Care, a ministry of Crosspointe, is working on plans to bring Habitat for Humanity teams to Haiti. There are about six families in Fonds Parisien that own land, but don’t have the money or resources to build. Many are living in tents and are trying to find alternatives for the next three months before hurricane season is upon them. It costs $12,000-$13,000 to build a house and it can be done in seven days. Allred wants to challenge the community at VSU to help raise funds to get the families in houses before the hurricane season.
“Then Valdosta State University is taking ownership in this community and they are part of that community being rebuilt…if we’re able to get six families back in a house, then we’ve done something,” Allred said. “Our little community has helped rebuild another community and we’ve got a church plan started right there.”
Crosspointe’s World Care ministry is planning another trip in May and wants to plan further trips when it is convenient for its partners in Haiti. For more information about this and further missions, go to www.worldcarenow.com and click on “Haiti,” or check the Facebook group “Team Haiti” for more pictures.
Also, go to our website, www.vsuspectator.com, to view a slideshow about the trip.

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