Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Service to Haiti

While the world watched the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, three Bluffton alumni were experiencing it firsthand.

Brandon ’07 and Jess (Cassel ’09) King had traveled with 25 others from Souderton Mennonite Church, Souderton, Pa., to Haiti for a mission trip. Part of their group planned to work in La Baleine, a small village 90 miles west of Port-au-Prince, at a water purification and oxygenation plant. The other group would travel on to Passe Bois D’Orme to work with Water For Life, a mission that drills wells in villages.

The Kings were traveling from one village to the other when the earthquake hit. No one in the group was hurt and they set to work distributing food to local villages that had been destroyed.

Their trip home was delayed because of the devastation in Port-au-Prince and the airport. They returned to the U.S. Monday morning and were scheduled to travel home to Pennsylvania sometime on Tuesday. To read of a first-hand account of the Kings’ mission group, visit The Reporter.

Another Bluffton alumnus, Jim Pohlman ’72, was in Haiti on a VOSH-Ohio eyeglass distribution trip. Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH-Ohio) collects eyeglasses and distributes them in third-world countries. They began seeing eye patients on Jan. 10 at the Society of Our Lady Mission in Hinche, about 75 miles from the quake's epicenter.

After the earthquake they traveled into Port-au-Prince and to the airport. Pohlman and the VOSH-Ohio group returned safely to the United States on Friday. For more information about Pohlman’s experience, visit The Courier.

If you know of other Bluffton alumni involved in the Haiti earthquake or those that are helping with the relief effort please let us know about their stories. Bluffton students have responded through prayer and by making donations to Mennonite Central Committee. Student organizations on campus are organizing additional fundraisers for Haiti relief.

To those returning from Haiti, we give thanks to God for your safe return. For those going into Haiti to serve we thank you and pray God grants you strength, courage, stamina. For the people of Haiti, our hearts cry out to God for you.


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