People Gathered for Lutheran Village Dedication

Yesterday, Sunday, 15 January 2012, the Lutheran Village in Jacmel, Haiti, was dedicated. The Lutheran Village was conceived by Rev. Glenn Merritt, working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), after the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010. The Lutheran Village consists of cinder-block homes constructed around a Lutheran congregation. Hundreds of people attended the dedication on Sunday, including the mayor of Jacmel and two senators.

Rev. Marky Kessa, President of the ELCH, awards home to applicant

Senator Joseph Lambert was a government dignitary who attended the dedication of the Lutheran Village. Senator Lambert, himself, was personally trapped under concrete rubble after the earthquake of 12 January 2010. Thirty-nine others were trapped with him, only four, including him, survived. He recounted that when the earthquake struck, he was rendered unconscious almost immediately. Around 11 PM, some six hours after the earthquake, he awoke and thought that life was very short. The sounds of people crying for help brought him to consciousness. He heard people crying, “Senator, please help me, pull the board out that went through my stomach”; “Senator, help me, pull the concrete off my legs.” The Senator said he would spare those gathered from the other horrible sounds he heard as people died. His arm was broken behind his back and concrete pressed on his skull. He said with his good arm he reached back and grabbed hold of a board. Around 2 AM, he heard the voice of his younger brother calling his name. The rescuers pulled the Senator out of the rubble by the “board” he clung to. Once out of the rubble, the Senator saw what he thought was a board was in fact a crucifix. He said that he gives thanks to Jesus every day for delivering him from the earthquake. He thanked the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for its work to help the people of Haiti. He also thanked Glenn Merritt in particular for traveling to Haiti more than 20 times to make the dream of a Lutheran Village a reality.

A Home in the Lutheran Village

A distinguishing feature of the homes in the Lutheran Village from the homes constructed by some of the other relief agencies is the cinder block construction. The mayor of Jacmel contrasted the sheet rock and cardboard homes constructed nearby to the “real homes” constructed from concrete in the Lutheran Village. The quality of the homes in the Lutheran Village were greatly appreciated by Haitian government officials.

A Lutheran Congregation forms the heart of the Lutheran Village
Another distinguishing feature of the Lutheran Village is a Lutheran Congregation, which will serve the community with the Gospel of Jesus and serve as a gathering place, as it did for this dedication.
Sanctuary of the Lutheran Congregation

The people who received homes at the dedication service were very grateful to receive a home.

After the dedication people gathered for refreshments and discussion. It was the conclusion of a fine day.
People from the ELCH

After the dedication service, people rode home on the back of trucks.

A Common Mode of Transportation in Haiti

Below are pictured Dignitaries from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Haitian Government.

Dignitaries at the Dedication

It was truly a blessing to see the completion of the Lutheran Village.

– Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations,
Posted 16 January 2012 in Miami, Florida.