Haiti Task Force (HTF) - Mattituck Presbyterian Church
Our outreach to the people of Haiti started in 1984. Our interest was spurred on by a request for MPC to participate in a CROP walk to raise funds that would be used in the country of Haiti. On this first visit to Haiti, it was clear that there was a very strong attraction between members of MPC and the people of Haiti.
Our initial contact group in Haiti was Service Chretien d’Haiti (SCH), a sister organization to Church World Service. This group is based in Port au Prince, but also had offices on the island of La Gonave. It was early in our association with SCH that our efforts got focused on people of La Gonave. The first large program was our primary school scholarship program. With the help of SCH and some newly-made Haitian friends, we were able to identify roughly 300 students in Anse a Galets that we could financially help attend schools in the village. This scholarship program is still functioning today, with some significant improvements. From these ‘simple’ beginnings, we have developed strong personal ties to the people of La Gonave and our outreach has broadened significantly.
So here is a brief overview of the activities of the HTF:
Every year in the fall since 1984, plans get made for a team to return to Haiti early in the new year. MPC’s programs have developed from many hours of consultation with our Haitian brothers and sisters.
The HTF’s activities can basically be categorized into three classes:
First are ‘projects’ that have eternal significance, that would be helping to get the Gospel message preached throughout the Island of La Gonave. We have helped ‘plant’ three new churches on La Gonave. Besides the actual construction of the buildings and pews, funds get used for retreats, purchase of Bibles and Sunday school materials, song books, etc.
Second would be programs that are offered to groups of people to assist them in building a brighter future for themselves. This includes scholarship programs, business credit program, support of a medical facility staffed by Haitians, agricultural and livestock programs and so on.
Third are activities that focus on the needs of individuals or sometimes a family. For many years an optometrist and a dentist make up two of our team and they provide their services to hundreds of people that otherwise would not see such doctors. Over the years we have built homes for needy families and made much needed repairs on other homes which the owners would never have been able to afford. We also have a fund that is overseen by our Haitian counterparts to pay for emergency medical help.
In all that we do, we try to take a path that helps create greater independence of outside resources, not more dependence.
Over the decades, team members have developed close relationships with many people of Haiti. We have had many joy-filled occasions such as participation in weddings, baptisms, church dedications, bringing water to a dry land, offering medical help where in the past there was none and the list could go on and on. At the same time, with long term relationships, we have also shared in tremendously sorrow-filled times. We share in the grief over friends killed in the earthquake. We have participated in the funerals of friends that have died there and we continue to ‘wrestle’ with trying to solve the hunger, social and economic situations that exist.
So, we go to work with, not for, members of God’s family.
If someone would like to participate in the efforts of the HTF, or learn more about the specific programs, you can do any of the following:
1. Speak with any of the HTF travelers.
2. Attend an HTF meeting
3. If you wish to financially support our efforts in Haiti, donations can be made to MPC noting the HTF Mission in the memo line.