Jenny Reks, Todd Pihl, Lynn Duquette, and Jane Howard—all members of New England Chapel, a Christian Reformed church in Franklin, Mass.—left for Haiti Jan. 9. They thought they knew what they’d be doing there. Their goal was to work with Mission E4 to build a medical clinic and work with an orphanage in Carrefour, about four miles from downtown Port-au-Prince.
Then chaos struck.
When the earthquake hit on Jan. 12, some of their group were visiting a hospital, and others were leaving the orphanage for their secured American compound. They managed to reunite that evening, pulling mattresses outside to set up a sleeping area in the courtyard. There they spent a terrifying night as massive aftershocks continued to rock the area.
None of the team were injured and all sixteen girls in the orphanage were safe, though the orphanage itself sustained major damage. The group spent the rest of the week setting up a medical clinic to tend the wounded and working at the orphanage to create sustainable living conditions in what had become a refugee camp.
The group’s scheduled flight home was canceled, but Mission E4 was able to arrange return flights with Mission Aviation Fellowship. All four arrived safely in the U.S. on Jan. 16. At the time of this writing, they were recovering from the traumatic experience and were not available to speak with the media.