Since the tragic earthquake that devastated the Port-au-Prince, Haiti area five years ago, attention in the media has slowly died off, but churches and nongovernmental organizations have continued to aid a country slowly patching itself back together.
Green Pines Baptist Church in Knightdale is one of the U.S. churches that will visit Leogane, Haiti, outside Port-au-Prince to help construct an orphanage and lead a soccer camp for its orphans from July 14-21.
“Orphans there (include) some kids without parents, but needs are so great that many children are just kicked out, if there’s not enough food,” said Emory York, chair of the mission strategy committee at the church. “These children just survive on their own. That just breaks my heart to think about that.”
The trip will be the church’s second to Haiti, although the church, which averages 250 weekly attendees, has sent out five missionary couples in developing countries.
“Green Pines is very missions-minded,” York said. He has led teams for about 20 years. They support one to three short-term trips annually to destinations including Mexico, Canada, Nepal, East Asia, the Middle East, India, Belarus and Dearborn, Mich.
But, why Haiti now, five years later?
A year ago, a missionary from Haiti spoke to their church, bringing a tug to his heart, he said.
“I really believe, maybe it’s God’s timing,” York said. “We didn’t take seriously the need until it was brought to our attention by the news media...We know there’s a need, but you don’t really realize it until you’re brought face-to-face with it.”
In Haiti, the nearly two-dozen church members will work with Hope Rising Children’s Home, to build an orphanage that provides a safe Christ-like environment for abandoned children to live.
The facility is unique in its construction – instead of one large building, the orphanage will consist of “pods” – units that house 10 children and a “house parent” couple to oversee the children. The campus also includes a church building and large bunkhouse that have already been built.
The group will also organize a soccer camp and a children’s Bible school around the same theme as the church’s summer vacation Bible school.
In the midst of construction and physical labor, as well as little opportunity to explore after work due to dangerous neighborhoods, the crew will face extreme temperatures and maybe even tarantulas. But it will be worthwhile, the trip’s participants say.
“As a Christian, I feel called to help others,” Lisa Best, a first-time mission trip participant, said. “It’s something I want to do, to bring that love to the children.”
“It makes us feel good to be involved,” he said.
Green Pines pastor Jarrod Scott said that it would be good for the group to experience a different culture.
“As Americans we live in a bubble of comfort,” he said. “This will be different.”
Church participants include Liz Boykin, Allan Semmont, Chris Best, Lisa Best, Hunter Best, Brady Best, Guy Blough, Trey Fussell, Rich Holt, Ashley Holt, Ripken Holt, Koy Holt and TrishaJean Holt, Josh Korth, Jarrod Scott, Karissa Scott, Molly Scott, Steve Walker and York.
To donate to the Haitian children’s home, contact Green Pines Baptist Church (SBC) at (919)-266-1613, www.greenpines.org or mail checks to 1498 Hodge Road, Knightdale with the subject line “Hope Rising Haiti Mission Trip.”