Tag Archives: Haiti

How great is our God

By Michele Kappas
Contributing Writer

Psalm 46:1-4: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

Jan. 12 is a day that Haitians will never forget as their foundation was literally shaken. Before the earthquake, 80 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. The devastation surrounding this country is unfathomable, and one can only cringe at the increase in death and destruction.

But on Feb. 12 things started to change.

Photo by Amanda Ulik

For many around the world this weekend kicked off the celebration of Mardi Gras, a huge event in Haiti. On the one month anniversary of the quake, President Rene Preval stated on national television he was canceling Mardi Gras and called Haiti to three days of fasting and prayer to God.

This statement shocked many in Haiti, a nation with many practitioners of voodoo. Preval spent time praying himself from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a church for those three days. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, News

Vacationing in Para-disaster

By Nick Papa
Contributing Writer

Although most of Haiti has been rocked by an earthquake that the New York Times called “the worst in the region in more than two hundred years” and with almost 200 thousand missing or dead, a small division of this devastated country remains unaffected by all of this.

Ninety miles from the devastated capital city of Port-au-Prince (16 miles outside the epicenter of the earthquake) is a spick-and-span resort known as Labadee.

Leased to Royal Caribbean International by the Haitian government, the port allows tourists on Royal Caribbean cruises to dock in Haiti with the protection of a 12-foot tall fence separating them from the disaster that surrounds.

While I am disgusted by the fact that an American company is able to lease land in a foreign country for the purpose of setting up a disturbing Disneyland-like version of Haiti in Haiti (complete with private beach, American restaurants and bars and a reconstructed Haitian market), there is a far bigger issue at hand.

How could anyone justify spending, at base price, anywhere between $500 (an interior stateroom) and $2,500 (a deluxe suite) to enjoy a holiday on the beach, when, just beyond a partition, they are surrounded by an impoverished and suffering country?

Artwork by Alicia C. Stamm

A large part of the problem is that a number of passengers are not even aware they are in Haiti.

David Southby, Royal Caribbean’s site manager for Labadee, said, “If you are honest, even if you tell them, most passengers don’t know where they are, usually,” according to csmonitor.com.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinion

What if it happened in South Florida?

By Cheyanne Lent
Contributing Writer

Picture this.

You are walking back to your dorm after a long day of classes and all of a sudden the ground starts to tremble under you.

You hear an earth-shattering rumble that turns into loud cracking and popping. You hear screams throughout campus as buildings begin to crumble and chaos ensues.

On Jan. 12, a 7.0 earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti where millions of people instantly became homeless. Thousands of children lost their mothers and fathers.

If this tragedy ever happened here in West Palm Beach, it would be heartbreaking, but we would pick up the pieces and be back on our feet in no time.

However, what is despairing in Haiti’s case is that the places Haitians once called homes were barely held together by straw and tin roofs.

I’ve been there, and have a firsthand account of the spirited nation from my PBA mission trip last spring break.

Here in America, we have numerous resources that would be available should this ever happen in one of our states.

Even in these hard economic times, money would still find its way to help fund the many cranes, bulldozers, construction crews, electricians and humanitarian workers that would get us back on our feet again.

However, for the already impoverished people of Haiti, their new reality is like the worst dream anyone could ever imagine.

From my experience with the Haitian people, I know that the best is honestly yet to come for them.

Through this huge trial, I firmly believe it will make them a stronger, more courageous people.

When our mission team was driving around, we would wave to every passing Haitian and each would greet us with a wide grin.

Even at the orphanage in which we stayed — which is run by former orphans who were raised by the missionaries with whom we traveled — constant joy was felt throughout the walls despite the poverty they were experiencing.

Every day, the children would wake up, do their chores and walk two and a half miles on an unpaved road to school. In the evening, after time devoted to play with my team, every child would take part in the preparing and serving of the “family meal.”

Before they slipped into their bunk beds at night, the children would take a shower and praise God for the gift of water, even though the temperature was likely below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

After this earthquake, by the grace of God, the orphanage still stands. I have been told by the missionary, who is currently in the country serving in the relief efforts, that it did suffer some external damage so the children and staff have been sleeping outside in tents.

However, he also has said that this tragedy has brought the children and their community together.

Their hope still remains alive.

But what will this tragedy do for us? Sure, many people will give money and support organizations across the world providing immediate aid to Haiti. But what about farther down the line?

When Haitians are still picking up the pieces to mend their broken lives, will we too be forever changed in the way we live?

I urge each of you, not as a reporter or as a student, but as a Christian, to let this disaster in Haiti continue to remind you how sovereign God is and that He has called us to love one another.

In John 13: 34-35, Christ tells us that the most important rule in life is to love each other as He loves us.

He didn’t say love each other when you feel like it or when it’s convenient. Christ didn’t command us to love only the people that look and act like us.

We must be the change we wish to see, and if we show the Haitians the love of God through our love for them, it may just be the greatest relief effort possible.

Christ came for everyone, and if we are to be the true Church here on Earth, we need to die to ourselves and let Christ live through us by daily submitting to Him and loving everyone we come in contact with.

This was and always will be Christ’s call to love.

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinion

Lynn inspired by lives of service

By Collier Rice
Contributing Writer

On Jan. 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Haiti. The total destruction was covered by local and national media outlets.

The loss of life was staggering and far-reaching. In such close proximity, South Florida felt the aftershocks.

While many are scrambling to rebuild the nation, let us remember those who ventured to Haiti before the tragedy, to spread education, hope and love.

Lynn University in Boca Raton is a private school of approximately 2,400 students. A team of 14 students and faculty was in Haiti as part of “Journey of Hope” mission at the time of the earthquake. Eight were evacuated shortly after the quake and returned to campus. However, six were left unaccounted for.

Weeks went by as the search continued, each day becoming more difficult. As rescue workers sifted through the rubble of the Hotel Montana where Lynn students and faculty were staying, South Florida held its collective breath, waiting for answers.

On Jan. 27, Lynn University president Kevin Ross said it was time to grieve.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Beacon News: Slavery exists in 2010

By Evelyn Ticona
Managing Editor

As President Barack Obama named January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, a group of West Palm Beach residents raised awareness of the problem in their own back yard.

On Thursday, Jan. 28 a crowd held a vigil outside a home on Lave Avenue where two years ago, federal investigators found 13 women used as sex slaves.

Todd Mullins, pastor of Christ Fellowship Church, addressed the issue of human trafficking on Jan. 31 in his sermon.

According to Mullins, 27 million people serve as slaves in the world today, and half of those are children.

With the earthquake in Haiti, the issue of human trafficking was brought to the table.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Beacon News: Haitian student grateful for ‘renewal’

By Jen Herring
Contributing Writer

Only 45 minutes from Miami, part of the Island of Hispaniola, Haiti remains in dismay due to the recent earthquake.

The tragedy is felt not only in Haiti, but at Palm Beach Atlantic University as well.

Edwens Prophete, a student working towards his masters in business, considers himself lucky to have heard from some of his family only a few hours after the earthquake.

Prophete, born in New York as one of seven siblings, lived in Port-au-Prince for six years and still has a lot of extended family in Haiti. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under News

Beacon News: Haiti relief adds to PBA’s 2 million Workship hours

By Samone Davis
Contributing Writer

Reaching out to a desperate country, Palm Beach Atlantic University students contributed to Haiti relief efforts by loading and unloading supplies at Missionary Flights International in Ft. Pierce.

As Workship volunteers, students helped package 600 pounds of food, 13 boxes of hygiene and first aid supplies, 30 cases of water and more than 40 bags of clothes.

Photo courtesy of Workship

“Participating in the [Haiti relief] Workship was heart-warming,” said freshman Timeelah MiAnn, “Being there really put things in perspective for me and it made me realize how blessed I am.”

Missionary Flights International has been flying from Florida to Haiti daily since the Jan. 12 earthquake. Workship students helped on Jan. 23.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under News

A view of Haiti

As a member of a Spring missions team to Haiti in 2009, Cheyanne Lent documented her stay at an orphanage outside the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Her photos and audio show the deeply Christian community of which Lent was a part.

Click here to view the slideshow of her emotional trip to one of the poorest countries in the world, recently wracked with tragedy following a devastating earthquake.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

Beacon News: South Florida aid reaches Haiti

By Kristina Webb
Copy Editor

Since a 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook their home on Jan. 12, the people of Haiti have looked to the sky, searching for aid that has been trickling into their shattered country.

There are over 100,000 Haitian immigrants in Miami alone, according to government records. With such a large Haitian community, South Florida has been at the epicenter of Haitian relief efforts.

Missionary Flights International (MFI), whose headquarters are in Fort Pierce, has been flying to Haiti for almost 40 years. MFI provided the first relief flight on the ground in Haiti, aside from the military, arriving less than 24 hours after the earthquake.

In addition to taking supplies such as dry goods and medical necessities, MFI brought back a special passenger load on Jan. 18 — a group of 26 Haitian orphans meeting their new parents for the first time.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under News

A view from Haiti

Tiffany front webBeacon contributor Cheyanne Lent spent her Spring Break, along with a group of students, on a missions trip to Haiti. Every year, PBA sends students around the world to different countries during the Spring and Summer breaks. Spring Break ’09 trips included missions to locations such as Ireland, Brazil, Peru and Haiti.

Check out Lent’s slideshow of the trip and her behind the scenes photos of the team’s experience here!

For more on the Spring missions trips, check out the Beacon’s archived coverage.

Did you recently get back from a summer’s missions trip? Send us your photos at beacon@pba.edu!

Leave a comment

Filed under Features