|Haitians in Florida await news of family, friends after
Patience Nave of Florida visits with a
teacher from a school in the mountain
town of Carrenage, Haiti, during a 2008
trip. UMNS photos courtesy of
Patience Nave, Florida Conference.
A UMNS Report
By Jenna DeMarco*
2:15 PM EST Jan. 14, 2010
Sorrow, shock and stalled communications. United Methodists in
Florida with connections to Haiti have experienced all since a major
earthquake struck the Caribbean nation Jan. 12.
“Most of my church members are still waiting to hear about their
loved ones,” said the Rev. Charline Pierre, pastor at St. Johns Haitian
United Methodist Church in Boynton Beach. “Some have received news that
their families are fine. Others have received news of entire families
trapped and killed under the rubble. It is a very difficult time for
Pierre did receive word that her sister and extended family were all
right. Her church, she said, will be helping in “the effort to support
our brothers and sisters in Haiti” in any way they can.
At South Dade Haitian Mission in Homestead, the Rev. Montreuil Milord
called the earthquake a tragedy with a potential for “great loss of
life.” Milord is chairman of the Haiti/Florida Covenant, a
three-year-old relationship between the Methodist Church of Haiti and
the Florida Annual (regional) Conference.
Milord was among three members of the covenant team who planned to
travel to Haiti Jan. 14 to develop ongoing relationships with the
Methodist churches there and to plan future mission trips.
Patience Nave, a member of First United Methodist Church in
Homosassa, who had also planned to make the trip, said she was
disappointed and conflicted about the cancellation. “I cannot tell you
the mixed emotions I have that I am safe and all these other people are
not,” Nave said.
Share this site with your friends.
Nave, who is in her late 70s, has traveled to Haiti numerous times.
On this week’s trip, she had planned to deliver $2,000 to the Carrenage
Methodist Church to help feed the children who attend school there.
“I keep thinking about people who had nothing and now they have
less,” Nave said. “Isn’t there a bottom? If you were sleeping on the
floor, now you have no floor. You had a piece of bread, now you have no
Relief efforts begin
Despite the devastation, Nave also said Haitians are a “remarkable
people” who are very resilient and capable of recovering from this
disaster. She expects that will take years, however, because of the
extent of the disaster and weak infrastructure.
Schoolchildren in Carrenage, Haiti, gather for a photo taken
during a 2008 fact-finding trip sponsored by the Florida Conference.
She is among those urging people who want to help to participate in
one of the organized relief efforts. People “should not do a knee-jerk
reaction to this,” she said.
The Rev. Tamara Isidore, a native of Cité Militaire, Haiti, is
awaiting word about her family and working with others to organize the
gathering of specific supplies for loading into shipping containers.
Isidore, senior pastor at Grace United Methodist and Oak Grove United
Methodist churches in Tampa, says the effort will send aid where it is
In the coming weeks, she said, a 40-foot shipping container will be
available on the campus of Wellspring United Methodist Church in Tampa.
Financial contributions will allow organizers to ship a container to
Haiti when it is full. Donations may be sent to Wellspring United
Methodist Church, 10701 Sheldon Rd., Tampa, FL 33626, with “Haiti
relief” in the memo line.
Isidore and her husband are waiting for information about the status
of her sisters and her husband’s two older children, who all reside not
far from Port-au-Prince. “We still cannot account for them,” she said,
noting that communication was difficult even before the earthquake.
Other Florida Conference churches are also planning to collect relief
At Branches United Methodist in Florida City, the Rev. Audrey Warren
said the tragedy affected many of the congregation’s families, who were
in a state of uncertainty. She estimates that 60 percent of her
congregation has ties to Haiti.
“Mainly, I’m just a comforting, counseling, praying person for them
right now,” she said.
Warren says the Sunday worship service will focus on hope in the face
of destruction, emphasizing “as Christians we have the promise that
we’re going to see a different picture — that all things will be healed
and put back together, and God hasn’t let go of us,” she said.
One of her members, Jean Daceus, said he had not heard any
information about his father or brother, who live in Port-au-Prince.
“I couldn’t even sleep last night,” he said. “They could be alive or
dead or they could be injured. We have no idea.”
Donations to UMCOR’s “Haiti Emergency” relief efforts can be placed
in local church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR, P. O. Box
9068, Room 330, New York, NY 10087-9068. Designate checks for UMCOR
Advance #418325 and “Haiti.” Online donations can be made at www.umcor.org. Those
making credit-card donations can call (800) 554-8583.
*De Marco is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist
News media contact: Kathy Noble, (615) 742-5441, or email@example.com.
The Rev. Charline Pierre: “We cry together.”
Photos from team in Haiti
Concerns mount for missing UMCOR
‘Dire situation’ in Haiti calls for generous giving
United Methodists in Haiti
before quake hit
United Methodists respond with
prayer, aid for Haiti
UMCOR Field Office: Haiti
Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance
The United Methodist Church
Comments will be moderated. Please see our Comment Policy
for more information.