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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Need huge, but Lutheran finds hope in Haiti

Member of Pennsylvania congregation advocates for school

When Jillian Rockey Forbes was 17, she asked how to help her new home congregation. She had no idea that her simple question would lead her all the way to Haiti and to a ministry that earned her a Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Jillian Rockey Forbes (center in blue
Jillian Rockey Forbes (center in blue shirt) leads a tour to Haiti, where participants learn firsthand about the country and its people.

A member of St. Peter Lutheran, Mechanicsburg, Pa., Forbes learned that the congregation had years earlier started a relationship with Institution Univers, a school in the Ouanaminthe community of Haiti that no one had visited in several years.

"I don't know how I convinced my parents at 17 to let me go," said Forbes, who eight years ago took her first of nine trips so far to Haiti, accompanied by Carol Forbes, who eventually became her mother-in-law. "It captured my heart right away. My initial thought was that I wanted to move there. Then I realized that the school needs money and support, and Americans have money and lots of love to give."


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