West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Pere Jean Jacques Deravil in Memphis July 31

Pere Jean Jacques Deravil and his wife Fenide were in Memphis this weekend.  Pere Deravil is the priest in charge of St. Paul’s school in Montrouis, Haiti.  This is where the children from St. Vincent’s school were evacuated after the earthquake and this is where the mission team stayed in April.  St. Paul’s school has about 250 children from kindergarten thru eighth grade, and many of these kids were seen in our medical clinic in April. 
Through the generosity of  Margaret McLaughlin and others (Margaret was one of our team members in April), Pere Deravil and his wife were able to visit us in Memphis while in the United States, visiting family in Trenton, New Jersey.  They both worked  at the Stop Hunger Now food packaging event at Holy Communion church on Saturday, July 31, joining approximately 390 volunteers (a total of 450 counting Friday’s volunteers) in packaging 144,747 meals. They worked alongside everyone else, counting meals to be packaged into boxes.  Pere Deravil was also given a very special gift at the food packing   event.  Raymond Williams decided a few months ago that instead of presents for his 10th birthday, he wanted to collect items to help children in Haiti.  Raymond brought a suitcase full of toothbrushes, pencils/pens, note book paper and toys to give to Pere Deravil for his children at St Paul’s school.  All present were touched by the generosity of this young boy and the opportunity to witness the gift to the Haitian people firsthand.
The following morning,  Pere Deravil spoke briefly at Grace St Luke’s  and later at St Mary’s Cathedral during Sunday services. He said he was touched by the testimony of people old and young working to help his countrymen who are hungry.  The Deravils also paid a visit to More Than A Meal at Grace St Luke’s on Sunday afternoon, where Pere Deravil again spoke to the crowd in thankfulness for all that the church community has done for the people of Haiti.  His message was timely in a room full of hungry people who had just been fed by that same church community.  Pastor Chris Hamm, of Germantown Presbyterian Church, also visited with the Deravils briefly on Sunday afternoon.  Germantown Presbyterian Church installed a water purification system at St Paul’s School in April 2010, and we met them while we were visiting St Paul’s ourselves.  We are in discussion about ways to connect the various churches in Memphis who are doing ministry in Haiti.

Thank you to all who made this weekend possible, first to Margaret McLaughlin for her generosity and persistence in making their trip possible.  Secondly to all members of the West Tennessee  Haiti Partnership who set aside whatever plans they had for this weekend and made time to be with our Haitian friends. Thirdly, to Rev. Brian Ponder and Dean Andy Andrews, who welcomed  Pere Deravil to their churches on Sunday morning with VERY little advance notice.  Their hospitality and gracious treatment of the Deravils is greatly appreciated.  Drew Woodruff presented Pere Deravil with a check for $5000 to take home to support the school at St. Paul’s, directly from the West Tennessee Haiti Partnership.** When presented with the check on Sunday morning at St Mary’s Cathedral, Pere Deravil had tears in his eyes.  By way of information, it costs about $200 tuition per year to educate one child at St. Paul’s School.  The tuition includes a hot lunch, which is often the only meal the child receives that day.  Often the meals are an incentive to send the child to school, where the parents know they will get at least one meal that day.  It is our hope that some of the meals we packed on Saturday will go to St. Paul’s school. 
**(These donations are always processed through the Diocese of Haiti, and are tracked carefully.  The check will go to the diocesan office first, 10% will be kept for the Diocese and the rest will go to St. Paul’s School.)

Susan Nelson

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