In 2010, a 7.0 earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti from its already unsteady foundation, and the rest of the world united in sending aid and prayers for support. Clifton Presbyterian Church, led by Pastor Lynn Stanton-Hoyle and represented by a group of willing volunteers from the congregation, set forth on a mission trip to Hopital Ste. Croix, in the town of Leogane. In addition to performing repairs in painting, waterlines, carpentry, electrical circuits, and even demolition of old structures to make way for new, the group discovered a real community of faith, joy, and hope. The youth and adults alike connected through the local church service, a visit to the nursing school and its temporary tent-hospital and daily English classes and clubs in the community.
In May of 2011, the Haiti mission team, including some new participants, returned to Haiti. Since the hospital from the previous trip was undergoing a more intense phase of construction, the mission team headed to Wings of Hope, a home for children and young adults with mild to severe disabilities in Fermathe, a small town in the rural mountains outside of Port-Au-Prince.
The loving connection between the volunteers and the family at Wings was immediate, laughter and smiles were abundant. The group joined the children in their daily classes and therapy sessions, gave care in feeding at mealtimes, walked alongside the kids participating in weekly therapeutic horse-riding, and joined in praising God with the children and loving staff through devotions, music and dancing. Wings of Hope is currently undergoing its own construction, as the previous building was condemned after the earthquake. Also, a recent epidemic of illness in the home has taken the lives of two of the beloved children, so members of the mission team have pledged continuous participation through carwashes and other fundraising opportunities to provide support to Wings of Hope, a member of the St. Joseph Family in Haiti. For more information on Wings of Hope and the organization dedicated to their cause, Hearts with Haiti, visit www.heartswithhaiti.org.
One member of the Haiti mission team felt called to continue God's work in Haiti. Lara Baldauf, baptized and confirmed at Clifton Presbyterian Church, realized her passion and an opportunity to serve as a year-long volunteer in Port-Au-Prince through Partners Worldwide, a Christian 501 (c)(3) organization, whose vision is "Business as a ministry for a world without poverty." Departing for Port-Au-Prince on October 26, 2011, Lara worked towards vital job creation and business development for the next 12 months as part of the "100,000 Jobs for Haiti Initiative." Prayers and financial sponsorship helped Lara walk with Christ and Christian businesses in the poverty-stricken communities of Haiti. To learn more about the Partners Worldwide Organization, go to www.partnersworldwide.org.