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Members, supplies sought for first mission team to Haiti

Members, supplies sought for first mission team to Haiti

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Members, supplies sought for first mission team to Haiti

Aug. 27, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0729}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — The Rev. Montreuil Milord is encouraging all Florida Conference churches to support the conference’s first mission trip to Haiti since the signing of the Haiti/Florida Covenant last year.

Scheduled for Oct. 9-15, the trip will be a medical mission, with the team functioning as a mobile health unit. Team members will visit a different site each day in the southern part of Haiti. Ideal team members will be people with a medical or heath-care professional background.

In January 2007 a team from the Florida Conference visited Haiti and attended the annual conference of The Methodist Church of Haiti. In addition to participating in the sessions and meeting with clergy to discuss the Haiti/Florida Covenant, the team visited various ministries run by the Methodist Church of Haiti, including this eye clinic. The church is providing the ministries in an effort to help fill the gaps in social services to the country. Photo by Icel Rodriguez. Photo #07-0656.

The cost, including room and board and airfare from Miami, is projected to be $850. The team is limited to no more than 11 people. The deadline to register is Aug. 31.

Churches are encouraged to collect medical supplies that can be used during the trip. Items such as antiseptics, vitamins and over-the-counter medications will be crucial.

Milord said the mission, which is being done in conjunction with the Methodist Church of Haiti, is important because it will open the eyes of Americans to the suffering of Haitian people.

“I’m very excited about the trip,” said Milord, chairman of the conference’s Haiti/Florida Covenant task force and pastor of South Dade Haitian Mission in Homestead. “I want people to see the country, to be able to see what is going on in this country that is so close to us.”

Haiti is about the size of the state of Maryland. It is two-thirds mountainous, with the remainder of the country speckled with valleys, plateaus and small plains. It is also a country wracked by continuous civil and political upheavals.

According to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. UMCOR’s Hot Lunch Program provides a hot meal for nearly 17,000 Haitian school children every day. For many, the meal of rice, beans and local produce is the only food they eat each day.

Milord said Haiti is dealing with many issues that could be addressed by the upcoming mission trip, but he felt the best place to start would be with health care because the vast majority of the country receives little or no medical assistance.

The Rev. Tamara Isidore, pastor of Faith Community Haitian United Methodist Mission in Tampa and a member of the Haiti/Florida Covenant task force, says the lack of medical assistance costs lives.

She said her brother, who just returned from a trip to Haiti, told her about a young boy who died from stepping on a sewing needle. The child’s foot became infected without medical assistance or even the basic first-aid treatment common in many American homes, and he soon died, according to Isidore’s brother.

“This (medical treatment) is something common in America, but, unfortunately in Haiti, he died because his parents didn’t have access to a medical clinic,” Isidore said. “That’s why it’s so important for churches to donate first-aid items that can be used during the medical mission trip.”

Isidore said she is excited about the trip and optimistic the Haiti/Florida Covenant will prosper, just as the covenant between the Florida Conference and Cuba Methodist Church has blossomed.

The Haiti/Florida Covenant was signed at the 2006 Florida Annual Conference Event, creating a formal relationship between the Methodist Church of Haiti and the Florida Conference. Through it, leaders of both churches hope to strengthen connections between the two and encourage the sharing of experiences and resources. They also hope the covenant will foster an equal exchange of ideas and a better understanding among Florida United Methodists about the plight of Haitians.

The covenant will unite the Methodist Church of Haiti and the Florida Conference and allow the two to partner in a variety of ways, Isidore said.

“Haiti is so close to us,” she said. “It is such a joy to see the conference involved in a formal manner. I am encouraged, and I’m sure the Haitian people will be strengthened by our presence and support.”

“This is a good thing, and I hope that churches and members will join us in prayer and collecting supplies,” Milord said. “This is the beginning of what we can do.”

More information about the trip is available by contacting Milord at 305-962-8496 or Icel Rodriguez, associate director of the Florida Conference’s Global Mission and Justice Ministries, at 800-282-8011, extension 182, or

Medical supplies may be sent to Rodriguez at Florida United Methodist Conference, 1140 East McDonald Street, Lakeland, FL 33801. Individuals wanting to donate items may also call or e-mail Rodriguez for a list of suggested over-the-counter medications.


This article relates to Haiti/Florida Covenant.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.