The ten member Floris/New LifeUMC Haiti Mission team was commissioned this morning in preparation for their 6 AM departure this Thursday, March 24th. This will be the first United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) trip to Haiti sponsored by Floris since the devastating earthquake took place slightly over one year ago. Team leader, David Redding, was in Haiti last year when the quake happened and shares this reflection, “A year ago a terrible catastrophe fell on a place that could not have been more unprepared for a disaster of such a magnitude and a people more in need of God’s grace. The result? The devastation of capitol city, the death of nearly 300,000 of God’s children, maiming, hunger, thirst and much later disease. I survived where others did not, I got out when others could not, I was going out while others were coming inI choose to give thanks to God for the gift of life and the opportunity to glorify Him through how we respond to adversity (ours/others). I also give thanks to be part of a community of believers that likewise feels blessed and sees these opportunities. ‘for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:35-36).” Since the quake, Dave has undergone UMVIM training and will serve as the first team leader of what Floris hopes will be many mission teams to Haiti.
Floris’ first mission team has received their work assignment and will be spending their days reconstructing the church in the village of Le Tremblay. Team members anticipate mixing, pouring and smoothing cement as well as building solid relationships with their Haitian comrades during the week of March 24th April 1, 2011. A particular blessing the team is thankful for is the opportunity to transport much needed school supplies to the children of Le Tremblay. The first UMVIM team to be on site, a group from St. Paul’s UMC in Helena, MT, recently returned from their trip and reported the village school was in great need of supplies. Thanks to the generosity expressed at the Floris Christmas Eve 2010 services, and the enthusiastic assistance of KREW high school students, Floris was able to immediately respond to this need. Two hundred individual school kits and snack packs have been packed, (as well as a few soccer balls!), and will be delivered to these children in need. In addition, Floris Christmas Eve funds, along with a matching grant from UMCOR will pay for the necessary materials and supplies to complete the construction assignment. While team members are eager to serve and thrilled that God has called them to this venture, each carries a great sense of appreciation and gratitude for the larger community they represent that has given so generously to make this trip possible. We thank you for joining us in prayer that in we might truly be Christ’s ambassadors as we seek to be Christ’s hands and feet in a country that has endured so much.
Traveling in the name of Christ and in gratitude to our churches,
Floris Haiti Mission Team #1:
Lindy BettisNew Life UMC, Midlothian, VA
Team members: David Redding Leader, Danny Cox, Steve Bracewell, Karen Berlin, Chip Hulbert, Charlie Kendall, Dan Lynch. Not pictured: Lindy Bettis, Colby Miller, Lauren Redding