Four years ago, Haiti was struck with an earthquake that took more than 100,000 lives and affected millions. Southbrook Church in Weddington is continuing to make it their mission to help out with relief efforts.
Geoff Janes is the missions pastor at Southbrook. Since the earthquake, he has been to Haiti 14 times and taken over 100 church members. His office displays different keepsakes of the country that has become so familiar to him – a Haitian Bible, a Haitian representation of the Lord’s Supper and even a piece of tile from an orphanage they have worked on.
“Our first trip down there seemed rather chaotic to us,” Janes said.
His teams have helped with medical clinics, spiritual growth conferences and construction of two major projects: the rebuilding of a church that was destroyed and the building of an orphanage.
“Every time I take people there, it strikes a fresh wound of the hurt and the pain and the need,” Janes said.
Janes says that while sending money for relief efforts is needed, those in Haiti have even more expressed gratitude for their time and energy of being there in person.
“Showing them that they’re important enough for me to go there in person, that gives them hope,” Janes said. “We’ve been going so regularly – there were a lot of teams that went down right after the earthquake and a lot of that has stopped. They’ve picked up on that and they think they’re forgotten.”
Southbrook member Kyle Snider has been on one mission to Haiti, and is going back with a group this February. He was able to help work on the orphanage and now is returning with hopes of seeing the fruits of his labor – smiling children.
“I’ve seen this orphanage at a construction phase and now I’m going to get to go back and there’s going to be kids there,” Snider said.
The children of the orphanage have shown him how to make use of even the most every-day objects.
“The kids got one of our water bottles and they started playing kickball with it,” Snider said. “So they are not limited with their imaginations.”
Southbrook will be hosting a fundraiser for their February mission Tuesday evening at In The Mood Café in Matthews at 5:30 p.m. There will be a buffet, magic, balloons, face painting and a raffle.