Saint Mark’s relationship with the people of Haiti dates back several years and has included several mission trips (2007, 2009, and 2011). We have formed a particularly strong partnership and friendship with an organization called Hearts with Haiti, the umbrella organization for the St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, Wings of Hope, and the Trinity House (for more information go to www.heartswithhaiti.org). Recently our efforts in Haiti have been focused on helping this country and its people work towards recovery from the devastating earthquake in January of 2010. Fundraising in support of the recovery has included the following:
1. Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund – Shortly after the earthquake, through the Global Mission Ministry, Saint Mark began a collection fund to be used for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. Through the generous contributions of Saint Mark members, visitors, and friends, we have raised approximately $18,000 as part of this effort.
2. Haiti Earthquake Relief Benefit Concert – In February, Saint Mark hosted a benefit concert for earthquake relief in Haiti that generated $5,570. These proceeds were split between Hearts with Haiti and Doctors without Borders.
3. Resurrection Dance Theater of Haiti – In September 2010, Saint Mark organized the D.C. area tour of the Resurrection Dance Theater of Haiti which has raised nearly $50,000 for rebuilding efforts of the Saint Joseph’s Family (part of Hearts with Haiti). The RDT will be visiting the area October 6-9, 2012.
The highlight of 2011 in our on-going partnership with the people of Haiti was a mission trip to Haiti, led by Pastor Roy Howard and Elder Lyn Hill, to visit our friends and partners who are part of the St. Joseph’s Family. This was Saint Mark’s first trip back to Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January 2010. The mission trip took place from November 15-22. Nine people participated, seven from Saint Mark (Battokok Bityeki, Jocelyn Henjum, Lyn Hill, Rebecca Howard, Roy Howard, Jane Karakashian, and Betsy Weingarten) and two non-Saint Markers (Lauren Dwyer and Keith Salmon). Highlights of the trip included fellowship with our friends and partners who are part of the St. Joseph’s family, our participation in the re-building of the St. Joseph’s Home for Boys, a day spent with the children at Wings of Hope (a St. Joseph’s family affiliated home for disabled children), a day at Trinity House (a school and home, also part of the St. Joseph’s family), and a visit with Jane Wynne of the Wynne Farm (whose work to educate the people of Haiti on sustainable environmental practices is inspiring). During our time with Jane Wynne, we were able to see a sustainable toilet built with a $300 contribution that Saint Mark made during 2010. Jane thinks this type of toilet will help in the fight against cholera, which has been an on-going problem in Haiti particularly since the earthquake. Finally, thanks to the generous donations of the Saint Mark congregation, we were also able to take with us much needed clothing, medicines, school supplies, and recreational supplies for our friends with the St. Joseph’s family.