Our trip to Haiti was a trip of firsts

(Editor’s note: In the following letter, Howard Bogusat, a member of the Haiti Lutheran Mission Society (HLMS) and Christ Lutheran Church, St. Catharines, Ontario, writes about his recent experiences in the earthquake-ravaged nation of Haiti. Howard and his brother Wally (Grace Lutheran, St. Catharines, Ontario) travelled to Haiti for the dedication of a church in Poto, financed by the HLMS and located outside Gonaives, north of Port-au-Prince. Lynnette Tobin, a member of AIDS Niagara, joined the Bogusats and gave several presentations on AIDS. All three are safe and back home in southern Ontario.

Hello to all those who were thinking of us and praying for our safe return. As much as I hate winter, the recent earthquake was not exactly what I had in mind. Our trip to Haiti was a trip of firsts: our first earthquake experience and our first ride aboard a C-17 U.S. air force transport. 

First earthquake experience

We were in an SUV near Pastor Thomas Bernard’s church in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, when the earthquake hit January 12. (Bernard was one of the first pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) and studied at Fort Wayne, Ind.) The ground shook, winds blew dust all around, and trees shook like dogs shaking off water. We were on a grade right beside a strong wall, which did not come down. A guy in the back of the SUV shouted at the driver, “allez, allez,” which means “go, go,” and we travelled a few blocks to the church. At the time, we did not realize the gravity of the situation because we had not actually seen anything fall. 
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