What is the connection between Henderson and Haiti?Â It must be strong because for the past 20 years, most every winter, one or two teams of volunteers from the Henderson area make the long journey down there assisting in short term missionary work projects. Grace Mission, located in Henderson, is one reason for the local interest where they operate The Drop of Love School, an orphanage and the Barkman Center where native pastors and teachers receive training.
This winter was no exception with three teams from the Faith Evangelical Bible Church and the Mennonite Brethren Church making the trip to Haiti. Â The first team of volunteers originating from FEBC in Henderson just recently returned after spending a week splitting their time at the Barkman Center in Limbe, Haiti, doing repair work and in Pilote pouring concrete for the floor of a newly constructed church.Â Members on this team were Kevin Friesen, Jeff Gloystein, Troy Hiebner, Jeremy Janzen and Robbie Petersen.
This was Janzenâ€™s sixth trip to Haiti and his mechanical skills come in handy when he gets there.Â â€œI worked on fixing some generators at the Barkman Center for the first two days,â€ said Janzen.Â Others on the team built cabinets for the new senior home, repaired plumbing, and did plenty of â€œfixingâ€ while there.Â Next they traveled to Pilote, a village in northern Haiti where they mixed buckets of concrete and hauled it in for the floor of a new church.
Although the work is physically demanding, it is also very rewarding.Â Troy Hiebner said the highlight of his first trip to Haiti was meeting the 13-year old girl that he and his family sponsor through Grace Mission.Â Janzen who first went to Haiti in 2001 has seen much progress in the facilities and growth in numbers of Haitians attending church.
Another team associated with Faith Missions International (FMI) is currently in Port-au- Prince, Haiti with several volunteers from the MB Church in Henderson. They are working with FMI assisting in the building of apartments for older students. Â Those volunteers from Henderson are Brett and Laura Jost and Craig Quiring.
The third team from FEBC will leave on Tuesday, January 22, led by Eugene Enns, Grace Mission Director, with Jarod Goertzen and Ashley Quiring.Â â€œIâ€™m very excited about my first trip to Haiti and nervous because I know it will take me out of my comfort zone,â€ said Quiring who is a senior at Heartland Community School.Â She will be making a six hour mountain hike to work at a new church under construction and help with their orphanage. Â This area is so remote that all materials for the project need to be hauled in by hand according to Enns.
â€œThese teams are vital to our ministry.Â Those that visit can see firsthand what God is doing in the lives of the Haitians we minister to.Â Many of the volunteers give to Grace Mission, and it is helpful for them to actually witness how we are using their monetary gifts.Â It is spiritually uplifting for the volunteers and encouraging for those working in Haiti,â€ said Enns.
It says something about the Henderson community and churches to have such a strong tradition of volunteers giving their time and energies for these worthy projects in such an economically challenged country such as Haiti.
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