Teens back from trip to Haiti

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – We're just a few days away from the first anniversary of that catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.

More than 230,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands of people still have no permanent housing.

A group of teenagers from 1st United Methodist Church in Albany returned January 2nd from a Haiti mission trip.

Palm trees, picturesque mountains, and all smiles, you would think they were on vacation. It was anything but.

"They're collapsed buildings everywhere, they're so much work to be done," said Joel Diaz, Director of Student Ministries.

"I was pretty hesitant about getting off of the plane because I thought it was going to be madness in the airport," said Chris Dervan.

"I thought I was going to be nervous walking down the street but I wasn't at all people were so welcoming," said Shelly Wallace.

Youth director Joel Diaz was one of five adults and ten youth members at 1st United Methodist Church who spent a week in Haiti.

"Once we got there my eyes opened so much it's nothing like you seen on the news," said Morgan Smith.

They went to the poorest country in this part of the world with not much more than their faith.

"It's just so different just so shocking you can't even process it," said Lexie Harrison.

They spent the week praying with people affected by the quake.

"They wanted nothing, just that we don't forget them," said Diaz.

They visited an orphanage where they bonded with the kids.

"There was this girl at the orphanage and soon as we got there she came running up to me," said Smith.

Some sell what they can to survive.

"One of our translator's wives made this necklace and she sells them a little necklace that she made out of clay it says Haiti on the back," said Harrison.

"They were one of the poorest countries before the earthquake, now it's even worse, but their faith is inspiring," said Justin Miller.

They say it's something they'll never forget.

"Coming back I feel much more compassionate for everyone around me," said Megan Rainey.

They even got close to their translator name Carl.

"On Wednesday night we raised money to rent Carl a house for his family," said Wallace.

The group said the Haitian people were very hospitable.

They hope to go back with supplies in the future and find mission opportunities close to home.

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