Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Students seek to serve Haiti

Jonathan Dimanche helps students prepare for trips that will impact them, as well as the nation of Haiti

Photo credit: Meighan Thompson

Photo credit: Meighan Thompson

Every year, Liberty University sends students on trips all across the globe. This year, two of those trips will be to the small country of Haiti.

The two trips, which have been in the works since last summer, will focus on the city of Les Cayes in southern Haiti. Students will be working there in direct cooperation with the local churches, according to Jonathan Dimanche, a Haitian American and one of the trip coordinators who is working with Dean of Students Keith Anderson to facilitate the trip.

The first of the trips will take place during spring break this March, and the main focus of the trip will be a convention. More than 30 Haitian churches are expected to participate.

“(The convention) is to help eradicate some of the stigma brought in … maybe by previous missionaries or people who do humanitarian aid,” Dimanche said. “Sometimes we do this thing where we give, but we don’t really help them. There’s no sense of accountability. So we’re gonna help with that.”

The second trip will begin June 9 and will last eight days. It will feature a leadership conference on missions designed specifically for the nationals.

The trip is also intended to help churches and individuals who are interested in missions. The conference is specifically designed to help them learn how they can become involved.

Dimanche started going to Haiti shortly after the earthquake in 2010. Since then, he has returned to Haiti once or twice every year. He said that missions has always been a part of his life, as he was raised in an environment where being a Christian was coupled with helping people.

“We’re saved by grace through faith,” Dimanche said. “It’s our job to love people and to help others to understand that.”

The two trips will give students a chance to experience mission work in the field. Dimanche hopes that meeting the local pastors and seeing their ministries will help students view global outreach in a new way.

He also hopes the experience of going on a missions trip will encourage students to use their degrees on a global scale. Dimanche switched his major from psychology to intercultural studies after feeling God’s call during a Spiritual Emphasis Week at Liberty.

“Even if you’re not a missionary per se, you can still be missions minded,” Dimanche said.

The two trips will include approximately 20-25 people, and there are still some spaces available. Those interested in getting involved with the trip can contact Dimanche at jdimanche@liberty.edu for more information.

“I really feel called to the whole world, to be honest,” Dimanche said. “What a better place to start than Haiti?”

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