Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Update on Rebuilding St. Vincent's

Hello, everyone! Here is an update from Mike about the continuing effort to rebuild St. Vincent's.


Please spread the word that the design effort for the new St. Vincent's School has begun ! Yesterday, the bishop signed contracts for the Massada group to begin to work with Fr. Leon, his staff, and their partners to design the new St Vincent's School. The planning will begin soon in Haiti and the US.

 Fr. Leon will start with his staff , and I will jump start with the partners groups in the US - hopefully with a conference call next week or the following week. The design work will fall into 4 working groups:

  1. The prosthetics shop - a working group is set up for this design work, and full funding is already in place The school and dormitories The administration and clinical space.
  2. The guest house - we hope to have as a 3rd foor over part or all of the admin / clinic space 
  3. The designated Site 1 for the planning process is the old site of the school ( the larger site) which will house the school, dormitories, and the P & O shop.
  4. Site 2 (where they are currently functioning) , will house clinical space, administration , and the guest house. 
We will be wanting to develop working groups in the US that will work on design ideas for 2, 3, and 4 above, along with their Haitian counterparts. These US groups and their counterparts in Haiti will relate to Msaada through a single person for each project area. The leadership of the different groups will be determined soon, but people should think about what group they would like to be a part of.

I will help with jump starting these 4 groups along with Fr. Leon and the Msaada people so they will understand how the process will move forward in the most efficient manner possible.

Once we have this initial important phase of design work done, we will then move to a phase where we will actually have preliminary designs, drawings , and costs. We can then go to donors for funding the construction efforts. We can also begin to look at procurement of the equipment for the inside of the new space.

It should be mentioned that this whole design process is being funded through the Rev. Bill Squires' group, based on a request from Fr Leon in late November. It could not have been done without their investment.

Thanks for all of your support and prayers. The country is showing signs of progress and it is good that we are actually seeing progress at St Vincent's and elsewhere in the diocese.

Have a good weekend,


Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ruthie's Haiti Reflections


Several years ago when I served as the head of the Outreach committee at Grace-St. Luke’s Church, I was always asked by church members and community leaders alike, “What is your church doing in the way of ‘hands-on’ ministry?”  Yes, we contributed lots of money and volunteer hours to outside projects like Habitat for Humanity, Bridges, The Church Health Center, MIFA, or soup kitchens organized at other midtown churches, to name a few.  At that time we did not have an ongoing, on-location signature project of our own, which the members of our parish yearned to create and participate in on a more regular basis.  I believe that people innately knew that to honor their calling as Christians, they had to have opportunities to “do ministry,” that is, to make Christ known to others in their surrounding community, not just in their immediate congregation.  For us it meant getting out of our “comfort zones” to extend ourselves to others in the practice of our faith and, in doing so, to understand what it means to be transformed by that very ministry.

This became the impetus for our bringing the More Than a Meal program to Grace-St. Luke’s in 2003.  Two short years later, Father Joe Porter introduced us to yet another program that would challenge us and our comfort zones even further.  I’ll never forget that first trip to Haiti in January 2005 when I learned to overcome my nagging fears and uncertainties of why I’d been called to go there in the midst of this beautiful country and these wonderful people, both overwhelmed with insurmountable problems. I found that putting ourselves aside for the betterment of others allows us to honor not only them but also ourselves, as we increase the positive flow of energy in the world with our efforts to bring hope and healing.  In essence, it is possible for only one person to make a global difference, and that difference can be all it takes to change the world for the better, like the parable of the starfish on the shore.

So much of what I’ve learned from the people of St. Paul’s in Montrouis or the children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince can also be said of what we’ve learned in working with the folks at the soup kitchen:

Mission trips require dedication, determination, discipline, courage, perseverance, coordination, flexibility, and certainly leadership, and usually involve patience, humor, tolerance, frustration, forgiveness, understanding, and appreciation on the parts of both givers and receivers.
We learn more about ourselves and our own faith in acting it out for other people.
We learn to honor and respect people different from ourselves as we share our various stories with one another. While some fears may be erased through understanding, we learn to create and honor boundaries as well.
We learn to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses while acknowledging our limitations – we are not there to solve every problem, so we focus on a few human needs that we can address, such as health, hunger, education, and clean water.
As in any other new project, we have good days and bad days; we succeed at some things, and we make mistakes along the way, but we continue to try and do better and improve upon the results and benefits for all concerned.
The more we get to know the people we serve, the more we realize that fundamentally we are more alike than different from one another, and that in fact, we are exactly the same in God’s eyes.
The time we spend “doing this ministry” is God’s time, and there is no more important work that we are called to do than this, at this time and in this place.
Every trip brings with it a new lesson, a new opportunity, a new reason to keep doing this ministry.  While it is always a mystery beforehand, it is inevitably revealed in the process and upon reflection, as we have become alert to its unfolding.
The more we go to Haiti, the more committed we are to ministering well to the people we serve, as we know that we are all a part of the family of God.

So whenever someone asks, “Why do you go to Haiti?”  I’ll quote Matthew 16:25 and say, “We always get back more from the Haitians than we ever give - our money goes farther, the people are more appreciative, and they teach us to be better, if not more faithful, Christians as we watch them share with each other whatever we bring each trip.” Just as God made it clear to Abraham that “My blessings carry with them the responsibility to be a blessing,” so too are we all “blessed to be a blessing” and have a prime opportunity to respond to those blessings through this Haiti Partnership.

For more information on how to become a part of this important ministry, contact The West Tennessee Haiti Partnership, 5865 Ridgeway Center Pkwy., Suite 300, Memphis, TN  38120, or any of our steering committee members: The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, Bishop + The Rev. Drew Woodruff, Coordinator + Dr. Susan Nelson, Healthcare + The Rev. Ollie V. Rencher, Chaplain & Communications + Ruthie Lentz, Finance

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tess Cannito's Haiti Pics

A (relatively) small selection from  the many, MANY pictures taken by my sister Laurel Cannito during her most recent trip in November, 2011.  So many wonderful photos, especially of the St. Vincent's kids.  Hope you enjoy,