As the cold winds begin to blow in the winter months, CrossPoint Christian Church is planning a trip to warm both body and soul.
The Conyers based church is planning their second trip to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, and the land where Christopher Columbus first laid eyes on the immaculate shores of the island of Hispaniola on Dec. 6, 1492.
A year ago after being challenged to visit the mission they supported, CrossPoint Christian Church began planning to go to Haiti for a nine-day mission trip. CCC members Alison Gaddis, Wendy Zehner, Ed and Brenda Durham were among the 30-member team who went to Haiti to visit the Haitian Christian Mission and on a medical mission trip through the Fellowship Association of Medical Evangelism. "We found out that F.A.M.E. had a medical trip so we joined them," in hopes to assist medically but also evangelize while supporting the ministry, said Office Manager Alison Gaddis.
In Haiti the official religion is Catholicism, but voodoo also has a strong presence in the everyday lives of the residents there. The majority of Haitians believe in and practice at least some aspects of voodoo, believing that their religion can coexist with Catholicism.
The 30-member mission team saw over 1,000 patients who needed medical attention -mainly for malaria, worms, pregnancy, scabies and flu type symptoms - food, and the word. Lifelong friends were made as the group saw the need to help others.
Seeing the reaction of the Haitians, "would break your heart one minute and just make you marvel at what they accomplish the next minute under their circumstances," said Gaddis.
The mission team also took the extra initiative to collect not only medical supplies but also toys and soccer uniforms. The school in Fond Parisian had a team with no uniforms, soccer goals or field. The children happily play in a dangerous area typically barefooted. "With the help of Rockdale Youth Soccer Association, Casey Black with Black Ink Inc., and CCC's Mission Ministry we were able to suit up two teams," said Gaddis. The team handed out jerseys and soccer balls.
"I've never seen such pride and excitement over a T-shirt," she said.
Setting up a soccer association is a strong desire for the children in Haiti. The children, "play soccer on a concrete slab with two large rocks as goals. Most don't have shoes, but they play their hearts out," said Gaddis. She believes God has great plans for HCM. "A soccer field and all that goes with that would be a great outlet for the children and give them hope for something beyond the gates of HCM."
Starting a soccer association for the children would help develop their talent and hopefully allow them to further their education through soccer scholarships, she explained. It could also create pride and ownership to the school and community. "When we gave the children the soccer uniforms and soccer balls, they put them on, played a game and then tried to give them back. I told them ‘No - these are yours to keep. You don't have to give them back.' The children at the HCM in Fond Parisian started jumping up and down, laughing with joy and asked their headmaster if they could wear them the rest of the day," she said.
The mission trip was $1,500 per person which covered air travel, tipping, meals, lodging, bus and truck travel, room and board at the HCM in Fond Parisian and interpreters. Gladdis said, "Basically once we got to Haiti it was all inclusive. The medications and education items were either donated by CCC congregation, were purchased by the Mission Ministry at CCC, donated by Dentist Dr. Reddy in Covington and Dentist Dr. Golden in Conyers and Internal Medicine Dr. G. N. Kini in Conyers. Our fees were paid by contributors from CCC, our family and our wonderful Mission Ministry headed by Ed and Brenda Durham."
CrossPoint Christian Church is planning to return to Haiti in January, March and October with hopes of two going in January. In March and October their goal is to have at least four doctors and four registered nurses with doctors for the October. CCC invites all, but only 25 spaces are open for March and October. If any person 13 and older, church or organization is interested in joining the HCM medical teams contact Wendy Zehner at CCC.
RYSA and Rafe Mauran DOC for RYSA will be joining forces with CCC and HCM in 2010 to help bring a better soccer experience to the school at HCM in Fond Parisian. Cross Point Church is looking for personal and corporate sponsorship to help with providing a better soccer experience for the children. If anyone would like to donate to "Play it Forward" at RYSA contact Rafe Mauran Director of Coaching RYSA - Sporting FC- P.O. Box 51 -Conyers, Ga. 30012 (770) 388-9259 - office -(770) 922-7815 - fax www.rysa.net. Sponsorship for the children is available, as well; you can contact Alison Gladdis at (770) 483-1887.