Meanderings of a Minister


Haiti Mission Trip Update
June 30, 2010, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Articles

Sorry that I haven’t been able to post in awhile, but we just returned from Haiti and a mission trip.  Below is a newspaper article written on the trip.  Other than misspelling my name, it is a good description of what we accomplished.

Children in Haiti see the lights

By Laura Eastes
Jun 28, 2010, 10:30

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First Southern Baptist Church members went into a third summer mission trip to a Haitian school and orphanage this month. Senior Pastor Jack Jacobs said the reason the church continues the partnership is because of the children. At the school and orphanage, children receive an education, are healthy, are taught the Bible and are the future of Haiti. Photo Submitted

 

Church Member Wayne Melanson works to set up electricity for the Christian Light Ministries Orphanage outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo Submitted
Local church members help wire Haitian school

That same Tuesday was a rough day for Senior Pastor Jack Jacobs and his congregation of First Southern Baptist Church of Liberal. They had no way to communicate with their friends at the Christian Light School and Orphanage right outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

For the past two summers, Jacobs and members of his congregation have made mission trips to help the school and orphanage. They have helped build the orphanage, have spent time in the classroom, played soccer with the children and built a partnership of support.

The earthquake had brought down the walls of the school building and a life was lost, but Jacobs said it did not bring down the hope and smiles of the 306 Haitian children of Christian Light Ministries.

Jacobs and 10 other members of his congregation returned to Haiti this June. They arrived with a job to do, earthquake or not.

With the school building down, the orphanage building became home to the classrooms and the sleeping quarters. Church member Wayne Melanson had determined the next trip should include installing solar panels to provide electricity.

The collection of solar energy would connect to a battery generator. The school has had unreliable electricity in the past, and the building had not been wired for lighting or ceiling fans. Lighting would allow the school to stay in the classroom longer in the evenings, and the fans would help with air circulation.

“They have a problem with electricity even before the earthquake,” said Jacobs. “They would only get electricity for maybe 4-to-6 hours a day … We made the classrooms and the school more livable.”

First Southern Baptist Church raised $30,000 to cover the cost of materials and supplies for the project. Liberal’s Cottonwood Intermediate School raised $614 to help. The school money helped purchase the light bulbs, ceiling fans and soccer balls, said Jacobs. Church members were responsible for covering their own travel costs.

The materials and supplies were shipped to Haiti. However, the mission team feared they would not see many of the packages. Many aid packages have flooded Haiti since the earthquake and packages are known to be held up in Haitian customs.

Throughout the 10 day trip, packages continued to arrive allowing for the project to come to fruition. On the last day of the trip, the lights came on.

“Once we turned on all the lights, some of the kids had to go into the classroom and were saying ‘look,’ and they thought it was so neat,” said Melanson. “One of the things about going down there is not all about the work but to spend time with the kids and the people there. They enjoy that just as much as us.”

Jacobs said the mission team played with the children as much as possible between the long days of work. On the last day of the trip, Jacobs planned a birthday party and soccer match. The Haitians beat the Americans.

“They smoked us,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said part of the mission work is for the Haitian orphans to become educated, be healthy and be prepared for their next walk of life.

“Our goal is that the kids will accept Christ in that environment,” said Jacobs. “They will remain in Haiti, become Pastors, leaders and educated people that will change the culture. The people that go on these trips really go with that goal in mind.”

First Southern Baptist Church has plans to send another group to Haiti later this summer or early fall to finish up the electrical work for the building.

“There is a lot more we can do for the electrical aspect of the building,” said Melanson. “We have taken on this challenge and there is still more to complete. I want to go back.”

Jacobs said the partnership and mission work have inspired all members of his congregation to reach out with mission work in the Liberal community.

“I hope other churches hear our story,”said Jacobs. “You don’t have to be a big mega church to do mission work. We are an average sized church at 200 to 300 people. This has brought more insight for us in helping people and doing mission work within our community.”
© 2008 Southwest Times

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