A rice and beans breakfast is planned for 9:15-10:15 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Grace United Methodist Church, 318 N. Center St.
The meal will be prepared similar to the school lunches served to the children in Augustin, Haiti. Karen Johnson and her church committee hope the informational breakfast extends grace and hope to Augustin school children.
“There is no charge for the breakfast,” Ms. Johnson said. “It is an opportunity to learn more about this ministry and how to help feed the school children in Augustin.”
She cited scripture from Matthew 5:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” She and her son-in-law, Brett Decker, have traveled with mission teams to Haiti and will present information at the breakfast.
Members of the Geneseo church made their first trip to Haiti in 2005, visiting the Far West wilderness. Returning in 2006, they created a church in an Augustin grass hut, with a church building and parsonage constructed in 2008.
In 2011, a four-room school — constructed in parts in Geneseo and shipped to Haiti — was assembled by a team of volunteers from six churches. The Campus Store opened in 2014.
Mr. Decker, who has been on four Haiti mission trips, said he will continue to travel there and lead youth groups to ensure the ministry and programs continue to grow. Ms. Johnson traveled to Augustin in March 2015, helping to repaint the church.
“We both concur with many others who have gone on mission trips to Haiti, that once you go, your life is forever changed,” Ms. Johnson said. “Our mission team was always surrounded by the children who were at play and would talk to us.
“In our country, it is almost hard to imagine what absolute poverty, lack of any resources, and hunger really look like until you live among it,” she said. “I was only there 10 days. But the Lord touched my heart for the children in an area of Haiti that is the poorest of the poor.”
She said her heart was especially touched by one orphan girl who seemed to relate to her.
”While there, I learned of the needs of many of the orphans who lose their parents at quite young ages due to health conditions and lack of adequate medical care as a result of widespread poverty,” she said.
One major issue is the lack of food.
“I tried to send money for one child, but discovered that many others were left without food,” she said.
When the pastor from the Haitian church visited Grace United Methodist Church last summer, Ms. Johnson said her heart was moved to try to find a way to collect enough money to provide lunch for the children every day while in the school.
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SOURCE: QCOnline – Claudia Loucks