A man on a mission

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Pastor says he’s changed by trip to Haiti

By Molly Haines

After a medical mission trip to Haiti, an Owen County pastor said he now has a whole new outlook on America.
Pastor Brad Vincent of New Columbus Baptist Church and 20 others boarded a plane in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 15 for Haiti, only days after the one-year anniversary of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged the country.
The group consisted of doctors and nurses from all over the country, including team leader Amanda Borchers, a member of New Columbus Baptist Church.
“We went to Miami and from there flew to the Dominican Republic,” Vincent said. “After we got to the Dominican Republic, we drove across the border into Haiti. Going into Haiti really put me in mind of Africa. There were children running around with no clothes on and houses literally made out of sticks. It was just a very different culture.”
Neither of the cities the team visited had running water, Vincent said.
“There’s just no infrastructure there,” Vincent said. “They don’t have the type of sanitation system we have either. They can’t just set their garbage out on the side of the street and have someone in a truck pick it up for them.”
Vincent said the group worked in the city of Ouanaminthe, where there were only two clinics for medical help.
“My job on the trip was basically just to pray with patients in the morning before they went in for surgery and throughout the day,” Vincent said. “If someone was malnourished it was my responsibility to go to the market, get food and take it directly to their home.”
Vincent said many of the Haitians who went through surgery during his time there were orthopedic surgery patients.
“Our team alone saw about 500 patients during our time there,” Vincent said. “The clinics were very substandard. They were their equivalent to an American hospital.”
Vincent said the team attended the First Baptist Church of Ouanaminthe and visited six different orphanages.
“The trip changed me tremendously,” Vincent said. “After being there, I think sometimes Americans may be the poor ones. Despite their hardships they are very content people. You could give the children a tennis ball and to them it was like giving an American child a big-screen TV. It really opened my eyes to the materialism that we as Americans are enslaved to.”
Vincent said despite the cultural differences, he would go back to Haiti today if given the chance.
“We truly don’t know how well we have it until we experience something like this,” Vincent said. “By the end of our week there I fell in love with Haiti. It may have been a year ago, but the country still has a great, great need for help.”