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Mission team leaving Albany for Haiti

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Right now, a medical mission team from Albany is finishing up packing for a trip Haiti.  The 15-member team initially planned to go to Guatemala, but after the earthquake struck, plans changed.

Rhema Word Church in Albany has a ministry called Stand Up Again. It's an outreach program and this year, they are reaching out internationally, to help those injured in Haiti.

In between patients at his office, Dr. Mike Satchell packs the back of a van, full of water and medical supplies that he'll take with him to Haiti tomorrow.  He said, "There's a great need and I think that's part of the reason I became a physician is to take care of those type of needs."

Needs like broken bones, cuts, infections. Dr. Satchell said, "I'm expecting to see at least 100-200 if not more patients a day. That's probably as many as we can see, but we're just going to work and use up all the supplies that we've got and work as hard as we can and see as many patients as we can."

Fortunately, he's not going alone and will have help.  Dr. Cherinor Sillah is also going.  He said, "When this came up, I just decided well, I'm going to go for a week at least and do the best I can."

After all, healing and treating those in need, is not only his job, but his calling. He said, "Going to Haiti and helping those people, I think I'll come back with a lot of joy in me."

Bishop Victor Powell is coordinating the trip.  He said, "I think this is our calling, our assignment on the earth to help people."  And by this time tomorrow, they'll be in a place where the earth shook, helping so many people in need.

The group is leaving to drive to Miami at 11 o'clock tonight. They fly to Haiti in the morning. The Mission team will work in Haiti through next Monday. People throughout South Georgia donated money and supplies for their trip.

Here's some information about the church:  Rhema Word International Ministries Inc. (formerly Rhema Word Worship Center Inc./Williams Springs Baptist Church), was originally a prayer house. It was organized as a church in 1935.

The first deacons, Maze Stadum, Luke Gilbert, Porter Fields, and Pledge Norman, were men of vision and faith. Rev. R.L. Hampton was called as the first pastor. Later other deacons were ordained, Thedo Merritt, Robert Bennett, Tom Weston, Morris Simmons, Will Jackson and Hardy Salyer. Rev. Hampton served faithfully until March 18, 1949.

 The church, then called Rev. J.D. Ousley as pastor. He served until May 6, 1960. On October 6, 1960, the church called Rev. Samuel Wells. He worked diligently and was instrumental in starting the church's building fund. Rev. Wells resigned in 1966 to work in the Civil Rights Movement.

The church then called Rev. O.Blakely as pastor. Under his leadership, much of the present structure was built. He served until 1972. In 1972, Rev. Howard K. James was called as pastor. During his tenure, there were many improvements made. The church was air-conditioned and carpeted. Also, the kitchen annex was added. He served faithfully until October 2, 1989.

Presently, Bishop Victor L. Powell is our Sr. Pastor. He was called in 1990. We have been truly blessed under his pastorate. Physically, there has been an increase in membership; but most importantly is the spiritual growth. Under his leadership several major projects have been completed: the sanctuary was remodeled, new pews were purchased and the front foyer was enclosed. Under his leadership a baptismal pool was added in 1998.

We realize that we have come this far by faith, and now Bishop Powell has brought us into the 21st century with a vision. As he continues to seek God for wisdom we continue to grow and move forward. In February 1997 we changed our name to Rhema Word Worship Center. We added a stat-of-the-art sanctuary which seats 300, purchased sound equipment, added new offices and a conference room, created a multipurpose room and named it in honor of Mrs. Mercedes Washington, one of our oldest members.

As time moves on God continues to unfold the vision and now we can see that he is calling us to the nations. As God unfolds the vision we must go with His flow. Because he is calling us to be a Multicultural International Ministry our name must reflect that. So once again, we changed our name.

Our name is now Rhema Word International Ministries Incorporated. This truly is a reflection of who we are. Rhema is currently supporting the building of a church in Ocap, Haiti. We have purchased the land and supply monthly support for a local school in Haiti on the purchased land. The school feeds and teaches about 75 students daily. Rhema Word International Ministries has also recently sent the second team of missionaries to Ghana Africa. The first team went in 2004 and was able to take 2 doctors, a few nurses and ministers to treat the people there. God blessed us to be able to take nearly $200,000 worth of medicine that year.

The most recent trip back to Ghana saw 18 people go for a medical missions trip. We sent 5 doctors, multiple nurses, vocational teachers and ministers. There was nearly $400,000 in medicine, 800 pair of glasses and dental packages taken during this mission trip. We were able to treat over 1300 people, as well as preach the word of God to all who would come.

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