Wilsons Visit Haiti to See Progress,
Two years after devastating quake, members glad as G.C. president lays cornerstone (Posted Mar. 8, 2012)
BY LIBNA STEVENS, Inter-American Division, reporting from Haiti
Two years after a devastating earthquake claimed 300,000 lives, top Seventh-day Adventist leaders visited Haiti to offer encouragement and to monitor the rebuilding progress there. More than 500 Seventh-day Adventists died during the January 2010 earthquake, and dozens of churches and schools were destroyed.
General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson was among the church leaders visiting Haiti. Accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and Inter-American Division (IAD) administrators, Wilson was welcomed by Theart St. Pierre, president of the church in Haiti. Wilson made a brief statement to more than two dozen TV, radio, and print reporters during a special press conference at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince.
Wilson said his visit was one to spend quality time with members, visit institutions, and encourage members and the people of Haiti that “the basis of our Adventist message is the Word of God.”
His three-day visit to the country included a trip to Cap-Haitien in the north, where the Adventist message entered the island nation in 1905. Its three mayors, the press, and hundreds of church leaders, Pathfinders, and church members met Wilson and church leaders.
Mayors Wilbrode Beon, Jean Cherefant, and Rosevelt Francois welcomed church leaders on behalf of the 211,000 citizens of Cap-Haitien and gave the Adventist president a key to the city. Mayor Beon praised the work of the Adventist Church in Cap-Haitien and the committed support of the young people and church members in cleaning and beautifying the city.
It was the first visit to Cap-Haitien ever made by an Adventist world church president.
Hundreds packed the Temple Adventiste No. 1—the oldest Adventist church in Cap-Haitien—to hear Wilson’s message.
“I want you to know that even though you may not be visited much, you are an integral part of the Adventist world church around the world,” he said. “Regardless of the difficulties you may face, your God will stand by your side.”
“The world church has been touched by the destructive earthquake that hit the country,” Wilson continued. “I’m glad that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been key in helping alleviate the suffering.”
Church leaders toured the Cap-Haitien Adventist school, the new site of their auditorium and medical clinic.
In the capital of Port-au-Prince the group visited one of many crushed churches in the capital city. It was there in the Christ-Roi church where Wilson and Inter-American Division president Pastor Israel Leito laid the first stone for a new church building, as members gathered to witness the historic event under the one-day temporary structure built by Maranatha Volunteers International.
Christ-Roi Adventist Church symbolizes a number of churches beginning their reconstruction from the ground up in Port-au-Prince, according to St. Pierre. Church leaders are waiting for the government to release new building codes for several churches in the jurisdiction of downtown Port-au-Prince near the National Palace.
Church leaders continued the tour at Haiti Adventist University in Diquini, Carrefour, where more than 25,000 displaced persons found refuge for more than 18 months.