Relief needed for schools in Haiti

By Lora Chance - email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Members of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Savannah are feeling deep concern for their friends in Haiti.

On Tuesday, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

International Village of Hope, an unofficial ministry of The Lutheran Church of the Ascension, has built and continues to operate two schools in Haiti, including the Heroes of Savannah School, named in memory of those Haitian soldiers who lost their lives during the Siege of Savannah in 1778.

Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Bill Roen, said the ministry is in deeper need after Tuesday's devastating earthquake. Pastor Roen and members of the Ascension church have been affiliated with International Village of Hope for a number of years. Many Ascension members also choose to support an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

"I'm just an old Haiti hand now," Roen told WTOC. "I've been there at least 20 times. I regularly lead groups of people down there on work trips. They're usually non-denominational, mixed groups of people who are concerned and want to reach out to help other people, some of the poorest and unfortunate people in the world, in the name of Christ."

Roen said he's lost count of the number of times he's been on mission trips to Haiti. Like many members of the Ascension, Roen said he is personally touched by Tuesday's tragedy.

"This congregation deeply cares about this," he said. "Many people in the congregation have adopted children in these schools and regularly give to these children to give them a better education and food. Members here have gone down to nail desks together, put roofs up, work with the children and the schools, play with them, laugh with them."

Many have established relationships with people in Haiti. They know their way around the area.

"If people want to help, we are ready to be the conduit through which their help can move to Haiti," said Roen.

International Village of Hope provides an education and a meal to more than 500 children each day.

Those who want to help, can direct gifts to "Haitian Relief" at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, #6 East State St., Savannah.

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