Above from left: Michaela Siemens, Jackie Coglon, Matthew Durocher, Mitchell Fraser, Rick Melvin, Josh Melvin and Forest Tillapaugh are off to Haiti on a missions trip this month. Lynne Rosychuk not shown. – Submitted Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Discipleship students from the Father’s House Church in Morinville will board a plane next week for a missions trip to Haiti.
Pastor Rick Melvin, Father’s House Creative Arts and Discipleship School Coordinator said the church is partnering with an organization called Haiti Arise, a registered Canadian charity that works to strengthen the Haitian people spiritually while expanding their skill base to influence positive change around them.
The group of nine students and church members will leave for the island nation Mar. 9 and return Mar. 20. While there, the missionaries will provide resources for project-based initiatives the charitable organization is involved in, including the construction of schools, clinics, homes for children, and the distribution of food.
“Since the devastations that have been there, [people are] just caring for the people and trying to alleviate some of the problems, including poverty as well,” Melvin said. “I think there has been a shift in the way of thinking and trying to help. There is this idea about how we can actually benefit and help? It’s a lot more about partnership and sitting down with people to find out what the needs really are rather than just coming in and giving a hundred thousand dollars. It’s not a bad place to start, but it’s not going to fix all the problems.”
Melvin said a large part of the Morinville group’s focus would be working with Haitian students. “We’re providing a children’s festival, a vacation Bible School that will be faith-based [and from] the Gospel,” Melvin said. “It will be about celebrating them as kids.”
As for Melvin’s Discipleship School students and other missionaries taking the trip, the youngest is 18, and the oldest is in her 50s. “It’s a nice mix of people that have been on missions trips before, and some who have never been,” he said.
Melvin said he sees the Haiti mission as important and that he believes everyone should go on a mission trip at least once in their life to experience it.
“It’s obviously a way to give, serve and love people,” he explained. “I think it is also a necessity to get out of what we know so that you can become something that you have never been before. For some people, it is just a question of going someplace they have never been, and that’s valid. For other people, they just want to love people, serve God and help people that just don’t have the same that we have.
“I think it just helps us shape a better world view. The world isn’t Morinville, Edmonton, St. Albert or wherever you live. I think the more you can experience that and get challenged in the way you see yourself and the world. Those are huge questions that need the right answer.”
Community help appreciated
Melvin said it would cost each of the Father’s House’s team members $2500 Canadian for airfare, accommodations, and meals while they are there for ten days.
“Flights are about 60 per cent of that [$2500 cost]. The way that the flights work, we have to fly to the States, stay overnight in a hotel, and then go to Haiti the next day,” Melvin said, adding they are also raising extra for the project itself. “We’re taking supplies for games that we can leave there, art supplies for crafts – that type of thing. We are also working on doing repairs on one of the schools – so buying paint and that sort of thing.”
To assist in raising funds for the journey, the Discipleship class held a fundraiser meal on Feb. 26; however, those wishing to make a donation can contact Rick Melvin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping into the church offices across from the post office on 100 Avenue.