First Baptist Church of Winter Garden celebrates five years of work in Haiti
| 8:28 a.m. February 12, 2015
West Orange Times & Observer
WINTER GARDEN — Since the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake of 7.0 magnitude with an epicenter near the town of Leogane, about 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, service groups from all over have tried to help the Haitians.
Five years later, First Baptist Church of Winter Garden is beginning its fourth service trip to Haiti since that catastrophe, which involved at least 52 aftershocks at a magnitude of 4.5 or greater and killed more than 100,000 people.
The trips have been involved with a group called New Missions, including being on the ground on a missions trip during the earthquake with a team of students from the church and Foundation Academy, said Keith Yarborough, executive pastor/youth pastor for First Baptist Church of Winter Garden.
While in Haiti, Blackhawk helicopters evacuated that group, but teams have returned with the hopes of providing more aid in Haiti’s ongoing restoration effort, said Will Blaine, family pastor at First Baptist Church of Winter Garden.
“Every one of them had to go back because they saw what kind of need was there,” Yarborough said.
On Sunday, Jan. 18, the church hosted a special service that honored its ongoing partnership with New Missions and the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, Blaine said.
“Tim DeTellis, new missions director, was our special guest, and he presented a symbolic shovel to highlight the rebuilding projects we are involved with,” Blaine said.
Yarborough accepted the shovel as the primary point person for the church’s projects in Haiti, and he was on the ground when the earthquake struck, Blaine said.
On Jan. 26, students packed 143 shopping boxes for a minimum of 1,250 shoebox gifts for Haiti, Yarborough said.
“We leave Tuesday, Feb. 3, for the fourth trip into Haiti with a team of students,” Yarborough said.
Two years ago, First Baptist Church of Winter Garden members participated in a groundbreaking for a church and school they helped to fund, with a donation around $10,000, he said. Last year, First Baptist held a prayer of dedication for that church, he said.
And this is not the first time since the earthquake that Haitian children will receive shoebox gifts from First Baptist. A team from First Baptist has been distributing shoeboxes on site at the church since the afternoon of the earthquake five years ago, Yarborough said.
The earthquake was a catalyst for already impoverished Haiti to suffer even worse poverty, which made the call to continue serving the people of that nation even greater for Yarborough and his team.
For more information, visit fbcwg.org or call (407) 656-2352.