Town Crier News Staff
Terry Sanders had the opportunity to witness first hand the true meaning of "love, hope and charity," when he accompanied a medical missionary team to Haiti on Jan. 20-27.
Sanders lives in Paragould and works in Leachville as manager of Jimmy Sanders, Inc. He is a member of Center Hill Church of Christ in Paragould.
Sanders heard from a church friend about the medical missionary trip sponsored through Hope for Haiti's Children and decided to volunteer.
It was Sanders' first missionary trip and but he hopes it is not his last.
"It was an eye-opening experience," Sanders said. "Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. The orphanages are full. Many of the children are there because their parents just cannot feed them. Many parents visit their children regularly."
Sanders said not only the Church of Christ, but many denominations are working in Haiti trying to help the people.
"People are willing to help, but the need is so great," he said.
In addition to medical teams, other teams were there doing construction and painting to buildings that house the children.
Sanders and the medical team he was traveling with arrived in Port-au-Prince setting up a clinic at the Delmus Church of Christ for three days seeing children and adults affiliated with the orphanages in the area. They saw over 400 children and 125 adults.
The team traveled up the coast to a village and worked for two days with the Kazo Church of Christ setting up a medical clinic and seeing children and adults.
"It was hard to believe there is such a need by so many living so close to the United States," Sanders said. "It is only a two hour flight from Florida. In spite of their poverty, the people are happy, loving and very gracious."
Sanders and other volunteers worked with the children waiting at the clinics telling Bible stories and playing games.
Sanders said they met wonderful people. A woman who was raised in South Carolina went on a missionary trip and now makes her home in Haiti caring for 17 orphans. One of her sponsors is the Leachville Church of Christ.
"Several church members sponsor some of these children," Sanders said. "We got to meet some of the children and see the results of the sponsorship. There is a church in Tennessee which sponsors these children with a full college scholarship at Freed Hardeman College in Henderson, Tenn., when they finish high school.
"Port-au-Prince has 2.5 million people and very little opportunities but the teenagers still have hopes and dreams of helping to make things better for the future," Sanders said.
Through health, education and day to day care, Christian organization such as Hope for Haiti's Children are making a difference.
Sanders said the sponsorship of a child is not a large amount per month but provides food, housing and education.
"Haiti is a beautiful island but there is so much unrest and it has been striped of its natural resources," Sanders said. "The number one industry is missionary work."
Anyone interested in finding out more about Hope for Haiti's Children can find information on the internet or Sanders said he would be glad put them in touch with representatives of the organization.
"The trip made me appreciate things we take for granted every day," Sanders said.