During their visit, the ground still shook and early one morning had to run from the building where they slept to make sure nothing would fall on them. “Can you imagine living in that type of trauma?” Boston asked with incredulity.
The attention on Haiti’s recovery was then dwarfed in the news cycle by the sudden ending of America’s longest war in Afghanistan. These are some of the reasons, Herode Thomas, US Navy chaplain and Greater New York Conference pastor, reached out to John T. Boston II.
Boston is the Associate Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute (NADEI) based at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. NADEI was birthed in the Lake Union and now serves this territory and the entire North American Division. In this role Boston is responsible for organizing and supporting field schools and evangelism across North America, Bermuda, Guam and Micronesia. He teaches M.Div and D.Min courses on how to keep evangelism and compassion working together and providing spiritual leadership to the world around us.
After a night of prayer and dialogue Pastors Boston and Thomas decided to head to Haiti. They are both trained to provide spiritual support in trauma situations and crisis. In consult with local members of the Haitian community, a GoFundMe page was launched and three days later the two left the US and landed in Haiti.
“Destruction and death were everywhere,” says Boston. “At each stop we made the stories were eerily similar. The amount of loss and grief is almost inconceivable.”
During their visit, the ground still shook and early one morning had to run from the building where they slept to make sure nothing would fall on them. “Can you imagine living in that type of trauma?” Boston asked.
Boston and Thomas provided spiritual care and disbursed the financial resources raised directly to the victims. Some of the funds were used to bury children and provide food and shelter for survivors.
“We came across one group camping at an Adventist school. 220 people made up of 46 individual families. They had no food, homes or any idea if help would ever come,” Boston shared. The money that was given to this group was enough to feed them for more than a week.
One of the victims had this to say, “You coming here let me know that we are not forgotten. That is worth even more than the money you gave us.” As the ministry pair traveled the countryside places where entire communities once stood had been reduced to rubble Boston observed that, “The homes and business where life once thrived are now tombs.”
The purpose of their trip was to hand deliver love and support to the people of Haiti. But in spreading this essential support, Boston recalls the most difficult part of his trip.
“We met a father at a large pile of debris where a home once stood. He told us that it took nine hours to dig out his wife, daughter and two sons. The boys were dead and he hadn’t buried them yet. We gave him money to bury them. His wife had her leg amputated and his other daughter has two broken hips and legs.”
Boston and Thomas were able to deliver help to this family and others like it at what will probably prove to be the most difficult experience of their lives.
Boston intends to continue to raise money and get it to the victims and families that he met on his trip to Haiti. He wants the people to know they are not forgotten. As classes resume at Andrews University, his hope is to inspire the seminary students to always rise to the occasion and be a light of God’s love when the world gets dark.
“Evangelism is not in the number of baptisms, it’s in how well you care for people. That’s the Gospel,” says Boston.
Lake Union Herald Staff