Stone Upon Stone

Posted by Stephen Shepherd on with 1 Comments

I have just returned from a four-day trip to Haiti. I travelled with two people from St. George's Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg. Their names are Carey and Linda. Carey has been to Haiti several times and Linda was making her second trip. As we flew into the airport I was struck by the city of Port au Prince. I had not realized it is built into a side of a mountain. With many of the structures built of stone and cement it is no wonder so many buildings collapsed in the earthquake. The city was built to accommodate about 500,000. At the time of the earthquake, there were 5,000,000 living in the city. I was surprised to see many of the tent cities in the open spaces surrounding the presidential palace were gone. The government paid the "residents" to move back to their home villages. There is still a very large refugee tent city that house close to 400,000 people.

I had a wonderful visit with the priest and congregation at Notre Dame. The priest's name is Reverend Francis Cole (nickname Fan). We worshiped with them on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. On Sunday morning I preached with a translator. The congregation was very welcoming. One difference I found between Tanzanians and Haitians is trust of outsiders. In Tanzania trust is given right away assuming an outsider is there to help in some way. In Haiti, because the people have been taken advantage of so many times, trust needs to be earned. Thanks all who helped with the vitamin collection. a 50 bound bag was delivered with enough vitamins to supply all the children in the school for a year.

I am coming to the end of the sabbatical. It has been a wonderful blessing that has given me experiences that I could have never imagined. I look forward to returning to St. Dunstan's. I return with some new ideas and opportunities for us to prayerfully consider.My first Sunday back will be September 9th and I look forward to seeing you all and sharing stories of our summers. See you in a couple of weeks.


Richard Staudt February 23, 2014 11:16am

How wonderful for you and your congregation. I am the senior warden for St. Paul's Episcopal in Payson, AZ and have been having a tough time seeking sabbatical funding for short enlightening trips like yours. If you have any advice per your staff please respond to; if not that's ok, too.

Blessings to you, your family, and your congregation,

Rich Staudt