The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'God's Party By the Sea'

Youth from Georgia and Colorado bring "best camp ever" to Haiti

Editor's note: A year ago, a quake devastated Haiti. Since then, Lutheran youth have given their time and talents to help. Here, Allison Belfield from Epiphany Lutheran Church tells how Suwanee, Ga., brought the "best camp ever" to Jacmel, Haiti.

Imagine if summer camp were a new concept. Imagine if it meant getting a meal when you would have gone hungry. Imagine if it brought you hope. For roughly 180 children from Jacmel, Haiti, this is exactly what summer camp meant.

Chris Tanner, a member of Epiphany
Chris Tanner, a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church, Suwanee, Ga., is surrounded by children who attended a Bible camp last summer in Jacmel, Haiti.

Youth and adults from Epiphany (Suwanee, Ga.) and Abiding Hope (Littleton, Colo.) Lutheran churches traveled to Jacmel last summer to throw — as my pastor, Rick Barger, often shouted — "the best camp ever!"

We worked under the Haitian Timoun Foundation, which helps bring change to Haiti from a grass-roots approach. Having been to Haiti in 2009 on one of HTF's immersion trips, I felt a strong desire to be part of the relief effort after the earthquake. But did these children really need a summer camp? Yes.

The camp was held at Trinity House, a home for orphan boys, street children and former restaveks (slaves). Our first task was cleaning an adjacent field for the opening and closing sessions. The soccer field we had planned to use was in use, filled with tents where families had made temporary homes.

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