Haiti Mission Group
When Jesus Christ was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27
Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church has taken these words seriously and has defined the word neighbor in a way that encompasses a wide array of mission efforts including both local and global missions. One global mission that has received vast and long-term RCPC focus is the work that is done with our brothers and sisters in LaRevoir, Haiti. RCPC members have supported this mission through prayer, financial contributions, and by traveling to this impoverished country to offer direct “boots on the ground” support.
Initially, our support was mainly in the form of financial support. On April 14-16,1991, RCPC sponsored a Medical Mission Conference where donations equaled $7,791.00. Approximately $7500.00 was sent to the Holy Cross Hospital in Leogane, Haiti (known in Haiti as Hospital Sainte Croix). This hospital is owned by the Episcopal Church of Haiti and operates in partnership with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It started as a small outpatient clinic but has grown into a 120-bed hospital with 24-hour emergency facilities and a burn unit.
Another Medical Mission Conference was scheduled for February 28-March 1, 1992. Pix Mahler, the Presbytery of the Peaks Hunger Representative, who had visited Haiti attended and spoke about her experience resulting in contributions totaling $9,689. Deep appreciation was expressed in a letter received from Hôpital Sainte Croix. A third Medical Mission Conference was set for February 12-14, 1993.
Inspired by these Medical Mission Conferences, in March of 1993, Randy and Melinda Edwards made the decision to participate in the Windy Cove Presbyterian mission trip to Haiti in July of that year and asked for sessional support. Session granted them $900.00 to help with their travel expenses. RCPC congregants collected items to send to Hôpital Sainte Croix.
In July Frank Plecity presented a motion to Session to establish a Mission Fund for use by persons wishing to participate in foreign mission projects with guidelines for use set up by the Mission and Administration Committee. Funding would come through sponsoring fellowship dinners and promoting alternative giving.
Over the years, Raleigh Court Presbyterian provided financial support to Presbyterian missionaries in Haiti. This began with Tom and Nory Clayton, missionaries who worked at Hôpital Sainte Croix. It continued with support being approved for Dr. Richard and Dr. Judith Brown, directors and medical missionaries of Hôpital Sainte Croix. In the summer of 1994, RCPC started offering financial support to Rodney and Sharyn Babe, Presbyterian missionaries who served many years in Haiti overseeing an agricultural development program to help with the reforestation of the country through CODEP. In February 1998, session voted to adopt Dr. Joseph and Linda Markee of Leogane, Haiti as our church missionaries serving at Hôpital Sainte Croix. While no financial commitment was needed for them, communication with the Markees and prayers for them were requested. (See Herald, March 18, 1998, to read about their background and interests.) Throughout their two-year service, the Markees continued to communicate with our congregation about their concerns and needs. Poverty, poor health, sanitation, and poor nutrition were always mentioned as problems in Haiti. Following the Markees, Victoria Yeghoyan became the PCA/USA mission specialist to Haiti in 1999 and was adopted by RCPC. No financial commitment was needed for her.
Along with supporting missionaries to Haiti, session allocated money to help replace a bus for Hôpital Sainte Croix in 1994 and allocated $1000.00 to purchase a truck in 1995 for Pere Albert, the Haitian Episcopal priest instrumental in bringing the gospel and education to the people of Haiti by securing funding and overseeing the building of schools across the country.
Political upheaval seems to be a constant in Haiti, but the upheaval, which occurred in Haiti, however, during the summer of 1994 was so severe that it caused a cessation of air travel, which inhibited the transportation of medical health kits being sent to Hôpital Sainte Croix and also resulted in many of the missionaries leaving the area.
In October 1994 the congregation voted to approve a Capital Fund Raising Campaign for a proposed 1.8 million dollar RCPC building program to renovate and add on to our church, a much-needed project. An RCPC Bi-Centennial Fund Ad Hoc Committee was formed in November of 1994 to research and present to session a recommendation for a mission component to the Capital Fund Campaign. In February of 1995, a recommendation was made by this committee and approved by session to include a benevolent component to the capital campaign that would support a local mission, West End Center, and an international mission (Haiti project). No less than 10% of the pledged funds would go to these mission recipients. In March 1995, it was also recommended and approved that 10% of all undesignated funds collected also be used to fund the local and international mission projects.
Meantime January 16-31,1995 Frank Plecity traveled to Haiti with four mission team members from churches in Virginia, Wisconsin, and Louisiana. The RCPC endowment fund allocated $200.00 to help with trip costs. The goal of the trip was to build a pipeline, which would provide clean water to two small schools in Bejin and Duni, Haiti. He also took health kits made by the children in Vacation Bible School and medicines donated by doctors in our church. While the group was waiting for the plastic pipe to be released from customs, a five-day wait, Frank taught English classes at one of the schools, gave out the health kits, sorted medicines, and became acquainted with the language and customs of the area. When the piping was released, with the help of Haitian stone masons, the mission team was able to lay 1350 feet of piping, erect a concrete standpipe, and set a hydraulic ram in place to pump water 325 feet up a mountain into a 3030-gallon reservoir with runoff going to a 2525 gallon reservoir at the Bejin School.
The first RCPC-sponsored mission trip was set for January 14-22, 1996 with a sessional approved budget of up to $4000.00 for travel expenses. The mission team consisted of Nick and Carol Brash, Randy and Melinda Edwards, Harry and Mary Jo Shannon, and three other team members from other churches.
On March 25, 1996, session approved the allocation of $10,000.00 from the Capital Campaign Fund to help replace the palm branch shelter open on three sides serving as a school in LaRevoir, Haiti, and construct a cinder block school, using the Haiti fund administered by Frances `M. Landers as the vehicle for funding this project. The total cost for the build was $15,000. On February 24, 1997, after reading a letter describing the impact of the successful 1996 RCPC mission trip on the six RCPC members who participated, session voted to authorize sending the remaining $5000.00 to the Haiti Fund to complete the construction of the James A. Allison School in Larevoir, Haiti (known in Haiti as the St. Timothee School.)
On June 23, 1997, Session voted to send $5000.00 from the Haiti portion of the Building fund to finance materials and build a church adjacent to the school. An additional $10,000 was allocated, but $5,000 was sent to the Haiti Fund to purchase supplies to build benches and desks for the school as requested by Pere Albert.
On November 24th, 1997 Session approved allocating approximately $328.00 from benevolent giving portion of the Building Fund to purchase a bronze plaque reading “James A. Allison Jr. School.”
From January 12-21, 1998, Frank Plecity, Nick Brash, Rob Crittenden, and seven people from other churches participated in the second RCPC-sponsored mission trip to Haiti. (While Elise Hansard was from a church in Radford at the time of the trip, she later became a member of RCPC.) The team split their time between Hôpital Sainte Croix and LaRevoir. They took with them1400 pounds of medical supplies, school kits, hygiene kits, and infant kits. They painted examining rooms, restored malfunctioning air conditioners, repaired sliding and screen doors, and repaired broken faucets at Hôpital Sainte Croix. They visited elementary schools including St. Timothee School (Allison School), five high schools, and one vocational school. The medical team members saw 240 patients in two days.
While Raleigh Court provided the $15,000 funding for the St. Timothee School construction, Ann Landers, representing the Haiti Fund through a letter, informed RCPC that $1000.00 a month would be needed to maintain the school. She assured donors that 100% of all contributions go to the school because there are no administrative costs.
In February of 1998, the RCPC Haiti Mission team encouraged RCPC congregants to sponsor a Haitian child for a full school year for $55.00, which included a nutritious lunch each day. They could add the cost of a uniform for $7.00, shoes for $6.00, and a Bible for $4.00. The committee sent out the same opportunity for generosity in November 1999 and again in October 2002.
The next mission team went to Haiti from October 5-13, 1998. Participants on that trip were Tupper Garden, Dave Erb, Rob Crittenden, and Bob Merian. The goals of the trip varied. Tupper saw firsthand the positive results of the Haitian missions supported by RCPC. The pharmacy in Grand Coline was restocked. Dr. Bob Merian used his skills as a dentist to see patients for three days. The team worked together to help build the CODEP guesthouse. (CODEP is the group, which oversees reforestation in Haiti.)
Mary Jo Shannon led the next mission trip to Haiti from January 11-20,1999. There were four people on the team with three of the members coming from other churches, including Elise Hansard who as mentioned is now a member of RCPC. The three medical members of the team conducted nursing seminars at Hôpital Sainte Croix. They then went up the mountain to Grand Colline where they opened a clinic and saw approximately 300 patients in two days. They visited the new St. Timothee School in LaRevoir.
The next mission trip to Haiti was September 4-12, 1999 and consisted of a five-person mission team, from RCPC Rob Crittendon and Davis Yeuell (our new parish associate), Elise Hansard from Radford, and three other individuals from two other churches.
An update was received from the St. Mattias Parish in Haiti offering data showing the positive effect of the donations going to this mountainous area of Haiti. In 1989 there were seven churches and fewer than 100 Christians in this area. As of November 1999, just ten years later, there were 35 churches and more than 7,500 persons who attended confirmation classes, professed faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized. The voodoo temples in this area were destroyed.
Davis Yeuell was scheduled to go back to Haiti on February 1-3, 2000 to attend “Haiti Connection 2000” and to participate in another medical mission trip to the mountain area, but his trip had to be canceled due to political unrest in the country. An RCPC mission trip planned for March 24, 2000 was also canceled for the same reason.
Rob Crittenden attended a meeting of the Haiti Fund with Frances Landers in Eldorado, Arkansas on March 24-25, 2000. Rob was asked to serve on the board of the Haiti Fund that later was named the Haiti Education Foundation (HEF).
In January 2001, a thank you letter was received from the Haiti Educational Foundation for the $152.00 scholarship and $8000.00 donation sent from RCPC. Again in April 2001, acknowledgement was sent for the donation of $1,639.00. Again in October 2001, acknowledgement was sent in appreciation for the gift of $6,550.00. Donations continued from Raleigh Court, a collection of $2685.45 was sent in January from the Alternative giving contributions, but the interest from congregants in going on a mission trip was waning. The 2002 mission trip was canceled due to lack of interest. While members from RCPC did not participate in a 2003 mission trip, session contributed $1000.00 to the Romney Presbyterian group for computer software for Hôpital Sainte Croix that was installed on their trip. Throughout the next few years, money was sent quarterly from RCPC to the Babes and Haiti Education Foundation for St. Timothee School.
In June of 2004 Session approved a motion to contribute $10,000.00 to the World Mission of the General Assembly Mission Board designated for Haiti mission work and given to our missionaries, Rodney and Sharyn Babe. Political unrest and violence erupted once again in the summer of 2005 and the Babe’s had to leave Haiti due to unsafe conditions. It was not until August of 2006 that the unrest assuaged and there was enough stabilization for them to return. Donations continued to be sent from RCPC during this time of unrest.
In April 2005 Susan Kessler became the contact person for Sunday School classes to be pen pals with the children in Haiti. She invited the elementary school children to collect a nickel offering during the months of April and May to go for milk money for the children of St. Timothee School. The nickels were collected in an empty half-gallon milk jug. At the end of two months they had collected $31.15 which equaled 623 glasses of milk for the boys and girls of St. Timothee School. Global Missions sent pictures and letters from our youth group to the children in Haiti in May of 2005. Correspondence was received back from the Haitian children as well as an acknowledgement from Francis Landers noting her appreciation for such a reaching out from the congregation of RCPC,
Pere Albert became sick with pancreatic cancer and died in July 2005. Tupper had a memorial service for him at Raleigh Court. A gala celebration of Pere Albert’s life and his many contributions to children and the community was held. The $55.00 scholarship program for Haitian children was discussed as a means of honoring him and continuing the work he started.
When the Babes returned to Haiti in 2006 after the political unrest, they requested that RCPC provide a $775 scholarship for a Haitian man named Yves who wanted to continue his education past high school under the supervision of the Babes. This tuition support for Yves continued in combination with the ongoing financial support for the Babes and for the St. Timothee School through HEF (Haiti Educational Foundation – formerly Haiti Fund) In 2008, Rodney Babe’s job changed and therefore RCPC no longer offered him financial support because he was no longer involved in Presbyterian Church mission. Our financial support continued for his wife, Sharyn, however since she was continuing her mission work. $800-900 was sent each semester to Yves as he continued with his education. (Following college, Yves worked in reforestation and erosion relief.) In 2008, Sharyn came close to being caught up in a riot so prayers were requested for safety as conditions became unsettled once again. By September of 2008 Haiti had been struck by four hurricanes that affected the Leogane area of Haiti where Hôpital Sainte Croix is located. Many of the people could not be reached by rescuers so prayers were requested.
On October 13, 2008 due to the damage caused by the hurricanes, the following budget was approved:
HEF (Haiti Education Foundation) for St. Timothee School $9,600
Haiti Scholarship for Yves $1,600
Haiti Disaster Relief $4,500
It was decided that the 2009 Alternative Giving and the 2009 Joy Gift be split between HEF and the Babes.
By 2009 the Board of Deacons had decided to start supporting Rodney Babe again as they continued to support Sharyn Babe because of their joint involvement in so many different areas of aid to Haiti including disaster relief, erosion control, health and sanitation, and reforestation to restore fuel and food sources to the Haitian people. Rodney also worked with inter-city gangs.
January 2010 brought devastation to Haiti as an earthquake hit that caused damage never before seen in this poorest country in the western hemisphere. Many of the schools built through funds funneled through HEF were destroyed. By the grace of God, our school, St. Timothee School, sustained very little damage. The loss of lives and buildings in other areas across the country was tragic as was the damage to the already limited infrastructure of the country. Our long time missionary, Sharyn Babe, was seriously injured when the Babe’s fourth story apartment collapsed leaving her with a broken back, ribs, severe bruises and cuts and other less serious injuries. She was transported by medevac to Cuba where she was stabilized and then flown to a Ft. Lauderdale Hospital. RCPC responded to this horrific earthquake tragedy generously by contributing $38,000 in “off budget” donations. $19,000 was raised through individual donations and the remaining $19,000 was given as a matching donation by the RCPC Endowment fund. The monies were sent to HEF and to Rodney and Sharyn Babe. Susan Turbeville, now director of HEF, later wrote to describe how the HEF donations were used:
Medical supplies for the clinic at Cherident
Baby formula for three orphanages in Leogane
Repairs for water purification systems
Food, water and juice for all four parishes
Transportation of food and drink to villages
Assistance with housing
Repair of windows in the parishes
On September 17-19, 2010 Rob and Beth Crittenden attended the Haiti United Gathering (HUG) in Little Rock Arkansas. The sessions included rebuilding the schools, scholarships, Haiti Healthcare Partnership, Living Waters, Solar Under the Sun. At this meeting Rob Crittenden was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Haiti Education Foundation (HEF).
Donations continued to flow through HEF to the St. Timothee School in Haiti throughout the following year,
On January 29, 2012, session approved the expenditure of $1000 ($500 each) to support travel expenses for Andy Travers and Rob Crittenden’s trip to St. Timothee School in Larevoir, Haiti. The trip was for the purpose of formulating plans for future projects there. After his return from his February trip to Haiti, Andy presented initial plans for the RCPC Allison School (St. Timothee) Capital Plan which included terracing the grounds, construction of a solar panel on school property, and a water purification system. In May, a motion was made and approved by session to allocate $9000 from the Endowment Board to terrace the grounds at St. Timothee School.
Session approved the expenditure of $4,000 from designated funds in support of the Haiti Mission Group to purchase supplies and educational materials for the installation of the water treatment system at St. Timothee School. They also approved the establishment of the Clean Water Covenant between Raleigh Court Presbyterian and St. Timothee School.
On January 17, 2013 Molly Bullington, Lori Earls, Craig Favor, Henry Schaefer, Travis Smith, and Alec and Andy Travers traveled to Haiti to initiate a year-long effort to install a water purification system for St. Timothee School. Prior to this initiative, St. Timothee had no power, no lights, limited school supplies, no clean water, and no lunch program. Prior to the trip, Travis Smith and Andy Travers attended a training program, “Solar Under the Sun,” where they were educated on how to develop and install a solar power energy system, the first step to providing fresh water to St. Timothee school. The seven-man mission team successfully installed the solar panel providing limited energy that would eventually run the water purification system. They installed pencil sharpeners in the classrooms and played with the kids. Craig Favor measured every square inch of the property in preparation for the water purification system and in leveling the play area. The team felt that the development of relationships with the people of this community was of utmost importance so they worked alongside the Haitians, played with the children, attended a Haitian wedding, and attended a church service. They even rigged up a few lights for the church from the solar panel, which was not a part of the original plan for this trip.
In November, 2013 Andy Corbin and Craig Favor went to Larevoir to ensure the functioning of the solar panel system and to prepare the cistern that would attach to the new water purification system that would be installed in January. Andy researched the possibility of putting lights in the church upon his return in January.
In January 7-14, 2014, Ellen Austin, Andy Corbin, Reif and Susan Kessler, Rosita Paul, and Sharon Stinnette traveled to LaRevoir. The purpose of this mission trip was to install a water purification system in the school that would be run by the solar panel that had been installed by an RCPC mission team the year before. (In April prior to the trip, Andy, Reif, Susan, and Sharon had attended the Clean Water University where they learned about installing the system and educating the community on appropriate water use.) The mission team members transported all the materials for the water system in 12 suitcases from Roanoke to Haiti. In addition to installing the water purification system, Andy successfully installed lights in the church while Ellen, Susan and Rosita taught a two-day education program to 30 Haitians on the proper use of the new clean water system. How difficult it was to have to tell these very excited people that the clean water was limited due to the dependence on rain so it could only be used for four things, washing babies (not children and adults), brushing teeth, drinking, and cooking. The participants left the training realizing the danger of drinking unclean water and realizing why many children miss school due to illness from unclean water.
In early January 2015, Rob and Beth Crittenden, Reif Kessler and Rev. Bart Smith traveled to Haiti on behalf of the congregation to visit our ministry partners in Bainet, Larevoir and Petite Riviere. They assessed and found that the solar powered water purification system at St. Timothee School was in working order and providing much needed clean water to the community. It was determined that the Water Committee was functioning properly and those previously educated on proper water use had shared their training with parents and other community members. On Sunday Rev. Bart delivered the message at two church services and he and Pere Michaud baptized over 100 people at the Episcopal Church at St. Timothee. Bart was most moved by the exuberance of the stomping-clapping praise at St. Philippe church in Petite Riviere, the drums, the dancing, the voices of the children in song. Yes, exuberant unreserved praise of God. Bart preached a sermon about his experience when he returned to Roanoke, which resulted in an anonymous donor offering a matching donation that ended up fully paying the St. Timothee teacher salaries for a year.
The mission trip scheduled for early February 2016 was canceled due to political unrest from the presidential elections in Haiti. The trip was then rescheduled but was canceled again due to the destruction from Hurricane Matthew in southwestern Haiti.
Since the 2016 trips had to be canceled, Reif and Susan Kessler traveled to Larevoir, Haiti on February 9-13, 2017. They brought gifts to the children, discussed a possible feeding program with the principal, met with the facilitators of Plant with Purpose, and met with the teachers to discuss their concerns. They found the school cleaner and the water system working properly.
In November 14-17, 2017 the mission team consisting of Ellen Austin, Andy Corbin, Jordan Hertz, Fred Hoffman, Rosita Paul, and El Saviers traveled to Haiti with plans of tiling the floor in the water purification room, painting the outside of St. Timothee School, and providing a teacher appreciation ceremony for the St. Timothee teachers. Our work was funded through the generosity of our congregation who gave individual donations that equaled $4000. Unfortunately, it had been raining for weeks in Haiti and the Bainet River that must be crossed to get to St. Timothee School was too high to pass through. Their Haitian driver/protector, Lucson, found a hotel in Bainet for the team to stay. When the driver determined the next morning that the river would not be passable for weeks, the team decided to abort the trip. While they waited for changed flight arrangements to be made in the states, the team decided to walk to the river to take pictures. While there the river overflowed, so the team members had to wade through waist deep water to get to high ground. They were then trapped from getting to the hotel by an overflowed tributary. The team members were fearful, but their trusted driver encouraged them to have faith. An hour later another Haitian showed the team an alternate way to a narrow part of the river where passing was possible. The Haitians cut down a tree and placed it over the river and then helped the team members shimmy across the branch. The RCPC team had come to help the Haitians, but the Haitians were the ones helping the RCPC team members. The next morning the team left for the airport in Port-au-Prince, but once again they were trapped in Bainet due to another river that overflowed. Lucson, once again assured the mission team members that God would protect them. An hour later Lucson drove the team members safely through the river to the other side. The car stalled just as they were getting to dry ground, but the Haitians picked up the back of the car and moved it onto the road. Again, the Haitians offered help to the Americans instead of the mission team offering the help.
The team was able to return to Haiti to complete their mission during the week of January 28-February 4, 2018. Much to Andy Corbin’s surprise, one of our teachers at St. Timothee also skillfully lays tile so with help from fellow Haitians the floor of the water purification room was successfully tiled by Haitians. (We just provided the material.) With the help of approximately 10 Haitian men, we painted the entire outside of the school. We hosted a wonderful celebration for the teachers and staff of St. Timothee showing appreciation for their hard work through gifts of school supplies and personal items. Among the gifts given to the teachers as a result of RCPC congregational support were LLBean backpacks full of teacher supplies, personal items for the teachers such as deodorant, wallets, purses, toothbrushes, tooth paste, soap, solar powered lanterns and flashlights, etc. The teachers felt honored and appreciated! They all were thrilled with their gifts and repeatedly told us to thank our congregation. During this trip the teachers met with Ellen Austin and Rosita Paul to discuss concerns. They shared the school’s need for a library, a computer lab and an administrative office. As of January 2018, the water purification room was serving as the office since the room originally used as the office was now where they had to store the food for the lunch program. The dust and dirt from so much foot traffic was not good for the water purification system. They discussed the need for higher salaries and for educational books for the children. The folks running Plant with Purpose (Floresta Ayiti) met with a few of the mission team members and gave an update of their progress. Over 100 families had been identified and divided into four cooperative sustainable development groups, 25 families in each group called Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). They received training in environmental reforestation, economic empowerment and spiritual renewal. The VSLA groups promoted transparency. Each group had a box with three padlocks and the people in the group had the keys. The secretary was the only one who had to be able to read and write because she kept a record book of the money that came in and the loans that went out. The people could buy five shares; they used symbols to represent the shares for those who didn’t read and write; the group determined the interest. The group could decide to kick someone out if they didn’t participate in meetings. Most of the 100 families were from St. Timothee School. Participants were required to go through the training modules, participate in meetings and activities/projects, and show motivation. Enette Donejour, our vice principal, offered a piece of her land for people to grow saplings that would later be transferred to the yards of those in the groups.
In December 2017, RCPC partnered with Trinity Hope to provide a daily lunch program for the students at St. Timothee School. The institution of the lunch program, while urgently requested and greatly welcomed by St. Timothee students and teachers, requires yearly funding in addition to the funding needed yearly for the teacher salaries. St. Timothee currently serves approximately 250-300 students. The cost to feed each student is approximately $.28 per day. Donations provided by RCPC congregants have helped fund the feeding program while the funding for the teacher salaries are written into the RCPC working budget.
After returning from Haiti in 2018 and after much prayer and consideration of the concerns and wishes voiced by the teachers while on that trip, the Haiti mission team decided to approach the Endowment Board of RCPC with a request for $15,000 to build the much needed rooms onto St. Timothee School, an administration room, a library, and a computer lab. The Endowment board and session approved the request and the building began. Jordan Hertz set up a Go Fund Me Page on Facebook to purchase books for the library. She had begun working at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the church identified St. Timothee’s school library books as their alternate giving focus at Christmas time. RCPC congregants came through again during the Haiti Opportunity for Generosity month and enough money was collected to buy classroom pencil sharpeners, crayons, composition books, paper, chalk, teacher planning books, and various other school supplies to pass on to the teachers of St. Timothee School.
On January 28-February 4, 2019, the RCPC Mission Team included Ellen Austin, Fred Hoffman, Hunter Moore, Rosita and Sandy Paul, El Saviers, and Pastor Andrew Whaley from Raleigh Court and Matt Ricks from Rocky Mount. Susan and Reif arrived in Haiti two days earlier than the team in order to represent Presbytery of the Peaks by visiting a church in Mombin-Crochu (in the mountains of NE Haiti) to inspect a wall that had been built around the church and school grounds so that a feeding program could be started there for that community. Presbytery of the Peaks had helped to build the wall. They then met with Mackenson, Principal of St. Timothee, and Junior from Love the Children, in Port-au-Prince to purchase books for the library and four computers with money donated by members of both Covenant Presbyterian Church and RCPC. When the rest of the team arrived they worked with the Haitians to paint the interior of the classrooms, build and shellac new student desks, and repair broken desks. The computers were set up and training was offered for the Haitian teacher, Sobia, who would be responsible for the education of the students on the computers. Susan Kessler and Ellen Austin provided two days of teacher training for the teachers of St. Timothee School and the teachers from Love the Children School, a school just up the road from St. Timothee. Reif Kessler and Sandy Paul provided training in first aid to a group of Haitian men and women. In all the work funded and facilitated by Raleigh Court Presbyterian, mission team members always work with the Haitians to get the work done. What Raleigh Court does is offer and enable a hand up, not a hand out. Because of this model the whole community of LaRevoir is being changed. There are many teachers currently teaching at St. Timothee School who went to elementary school at St. Timothee. They feel the need to give back and make their community a better place. Ennette Donejour, the Vice Principal of the school, started school at St. Timothee School when it was a palm branch shelter open on three sides, but she ended her elementary years in the cinder block building funded by RCPC. She now serves in that same school as Vice Principal and has served her community in many varied ways, partly because she was able to receive an education through the school that RCPC funded! Raleigh Court’s giving to this community keeps on giving year after year. For team members who have returned repeatedly, strong relationships have been built and are being maintained through visits and communication through the What’s App. Yes, the relationships built are strong and sustaining. An example of this relationship is demonstrated in the fact that the first child of Makenson, the principal of St. Timothee, was named Reif Siders after our Reif Kessler, mission team member and friend to this community. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Raleigh Court Presbyterian has demonstrated that love by working side by side with Haitians at St. Timothee School to make their school a place for educational growth and community advancement, but the results don’t stop here. The Haitians in turn continue to pass on that love to make their lives and their community a better place!