Editor’s note: This is the story and photos of a trip to Sonlight Academy Feb. 1-10 and written by Tim Hillman, one of the 10.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to go on a mission trip?
What would you do?
The answer was just about anything for a group of 10 members from the Rising Sun Church of Christ.
One thing for sure, it doesn’t matter how many times you go to Haiti, it’s always different.
Five members of the group were first time visitors to Sonlight Academy in Port-de-Paix Haiti.
One of those was Josh Daugherty, Ohio County resident, talked into making the trip by friend Michael Mathis. However, Mathis had to back out just two days before because of death in the family
One of his first experiences was helping work on the security cameras, something right up the alley for the chief of police of Aurora.
Then there was working to move and rearrange freezers when a dolly broke. No problem for the certified welder who had no problem with the you break it you fix it rule.
Then it was into the classroom and a chance to get to know the children. It didn’t take long for him to contact his wife Mary at home to decide to be a sponsor. Students attending the school of more than 300, must have sponsors ($45 a month).
Rusty Walton retired from nursing to be youth minister. He started out working in eighth grade and other classrooms. It wasn’t long before he was called to duty when a cook shredded two of her fingers. Along with veteran Bobbie Hastings (last minute replacement for Mathis), they were able clean up and doctor for the cook for the rest of the week.
With one cook down, Charlene Fancher was called to duty to help out in the kitchen. Fancher was a last minute replacement for Kennedy Oser (also due to a death in the family).
Keira Mann, a Rising Sun High School student, was engrossed in helping in various classrooms learning in preschool but her best memories was the spirituality of the people.
Like many teenagers, she had her hair braided (a three-four hour process).
Laken Copeland, daughter of David and Marla Copeland (formerly of Rising Sun), flew up to Rising Sun from Fort Meyers Florida to join her uncle (Josh) on the trip. She filled a spot vacated when Kyhm Johnson (former operator of Moto Coffee on Wilson Creek Road).
Sue Arnold made her first trip and helped in the first grade classroom of Cindy Shoaff. She had sponsored a child from preschool through high school but had never made the trip. She chose to sponsor a second child while there.
She was able to take a taxi (moped) trip to her new child’s house but after crossing through a number of streams, they were lost.
Karen Lovern, her sister Gail Sams, and mom Charlene Fancher joined Bobbie Hastings in organizing the kitchen supplies.
All five newbies had a chance to take a tap tap (pick up truck) ride to market and home of one of Sonlight’s graduates where his mom operates a bakery.
A trip to LaCoupe, a satellite church started by graduates, the group helped with a Vacation Bible Study program.
A hospital visit explained how the medical system operates including payment in advance and the family members involvement in feeding and care.
Adjacent to the hospital is the House of Hope orphanage which is the most emotional and heart wrenching moment of the trip.
Principal Carmen Niehaus, husband John and daughter Bella live in Aurora in the summer and are continuing the work of her parents and founders Roger and Norma Alexander.The work that started over 30 years ago continues to grow.
Pray for their continued work in spreading and teaching the Word of God to a nation of people who are thankful for the simplest things in life.