Pastor Jim Lewis with Dr. Maudelin MesadieuRev. Jim Lewis while ministering at the West Liberty and Branchton United Methodist Churches in Western, PA felt a strong desire to do mission work.  

His first trip out of the U.S. was with Go International, an organization from Wilmore, KY that is informally connected with Asbury Seminary.  The representative of Go International had been to the Western Pennsylvania Conference Center to speak with pastors who might be interested in short-term mission work. Pastor Jim was the only one of that group who eventually went and it was a good experience. The churches helped raise the money and upon his return, Pastor Jim gave the usual mission trip program at each church.

In 2000 and 2001, Pastor Jim, along with the pastor serving the West Liberty Presbyterian Church, took two trips to Nicaragua.  As part of the 2000 trip, Pastor Jim was able to encourage Walt Dittmer, a man from the West Liberty UM Church to join him. And once again they had good responses and good experiences.

Pastor Jim's first trip to Haiti was in February of 2002 while he was attending Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  During this trip, his group worked at the hospital in Leogane and that is where I met Dr. Paul McClain.  Dr. McClain was a retired physician who was finishing up his linguistic education for creole and then would be spending the next few years as the administrator of the hospital in Mombin Crochu. Before we left from that week in Leogane, Dr. Paul asked if anyone wanted to visit him in Mombin that he would be glad to host a group.

Pastor Jim along with Don Simmons, and Barb Walwik, both from Branchton UMC, took Dr. McClain up on his offer and went the next year Feb 28, 2003.  During this trip, they painted and did odd jobs to help out while experiencing the culture of Haiti. That is when Maudelin Mesadieu struck up a relationship with Don that would continue after we got back. Maudelin eventually asked Don if he could help him with his medical school expenses and Don did for a while. It eventually became too much for Don to afford and asked if the Branchton UM Church could help.

Branchton UM Church agreed and Don along with Pastor Jim went to Maudelin's graduation from medical school in Port au Prince on Jan. 15, 2012. That was an accomplishment of perseverance and patience and we all celebrated with Maudelin. Maudelin always said he wanted to go back to Mombin Crochu and open a clinic and help the people of his home town. So Pastor Jim and Don asked if they could help and bring a group down the next year.  Of course he said yes.

So on the 14th of February 2013 the first group went to Mombin Crochu. There were thirteen that went and they took medical supplies and medicine from Brothers Brother and Global Links. Maudelin had rented a 24 by 24 foot building as a clinic. Two doctors, two dentists, a pharmacy, an examination room and supply room were all crammed in there. They took close to a hundred thousand dollars of medical supplies on that first trip and almost as much each trip since.

The first work project was to dig a hole eight feet square and eight feet deep. This was to be the beginning of a toilet. We left after the week with cement block coming up out of the hole and today it is a functioning toilet. They have returned each year since 2013, somewhere in Feb or March. This year Pastor Jim took a second group in August as a new opportunity to let other people experience the Haiti trip and it opened up the opportunity to do VBS with a church that they attend.

Besides helping at the clinics they have also built a grain depot and are now in the process of building a clinic on property that ULS owns.  So far they have done eleven trips and we will do two more in 2020. 

August 2016 Mission Trip

The Hearts 4 Haiti Mission Team from the Branchton United Methodist Church, located near Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is on the move. This March, during their semi-annual mission trip to Mombin - Crochu, Haiti, they furnished a medical clinic with nearly 800 pounds of donated medical supplies, painted a guest house, helped to finish the hole that was dug for the restroom, visited an English classes that is being taught to some of the children in the town, and arranged an evening soccer tournament for the whole town. They also participated in dental and medical clinics. Most of the group has been traveling to Mombin- Crochu for 6 years. They have been building a permanent clinic, and are hoping to raise enough money to finish the roof. The group also attended church services at several of the local churches. While they are there, they sample the local cuisine and build relationships with the people who call Mombin-Crochu home.

March 2018 Mission Trip