The worst earthquake in over 200 years hit the country of Haiti on January 12, 2010. The devastation was incredible and countless lives were damaged by the effects. Orange City and Northwestern communities immediately took action.
Sophomore Lindsey Geels and Senior Drew Nonnemacher rose to the challenge, designing and selling the ‘Hope for Haiti’ shirts that NW students are still wearing proudly. Three hundred shirts were printed and sold through the Education office. Almost all of the shirts were sold after just a day or two and NW raised a total of $3,826.75. “We adopted the verses Romans 12:12-13 for this fundraiser, which says, ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.’ I thought it was a perfect vision statement for Northwestern’s campus in light of the earthquake,” stated Geels.
Nonnemacher spearheaded the black-out for Haiti at one of NW’s basketball games, asking students to wear their shirts in support. Local businesses donated money at half-time of the game which was then sent to Sunnybrook Church in Sioux City who donated it to Promise for Haiti. The money went to buy medical supplies, fuel for generators, food, clothing and shelter.
Kelsey Leonard, a junior at Northwestern, has had Haiti on her heart even before the earthquake. She has been there twice, once in May of 2009 and again in August of 2010. While there, she worked in a small orphanage in Petite Riviere, a small mountain village. Leonard is passionate about ministering in Haiti. Touched by the stories of the people she worked with and inspired by their genuine faith, Leonard said that although many have forgotten about the earthquake in Haiti, the country is still struggling. “In reality, so little has changed since January. You can still see tents in the median of roads the minute you step into Port-au-Prince,” she said.
Sarah Earleywine, a 2010 graduate of NW, has been to Haiti seven times. She has seen the devastation firsthand, but also the hope that the Christian Haitians have because of their trust in Jesus. She offers advice to NW students to keep the country in our prayers daily, especially remembering the recent cholera outbreak and the flooding due to the recent hurricane. “It’s easy to see something on the news, feel bad, then go on with your day,” she said. “Pray, give and communicate with other people about what is going on.”
At Northwestern’s I-Club Coffee House, Sophomore Claude Gillot, a Haitian student attending Dordt, sang an original song dedicated to his country, first in English, then in the native language of Creole. “I wrote and recorded the song about eight months ago after getting back from Haiti and seeing all the devastation.” Claude is currently working on a CD in dedication to Haiti that will be out sometime next year.
Haiti is not a country to be forgotten. Their struggles and hardships are experiences they have to survive daily. As students, it is easy to get so caught up in our lives at school that we cut ourselves off from the pain and the suffering in the world around us. We can be a small part of that hope that Haiti needs.