Conflicting emotions stay with missionaries in Haiti – The News-Press

Pastor Genese (Gene) Vertus, CEO and founder of Passion Rescue Mission, is leading a nine-member contingent that will deliver aid to Haiti villagers in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. They will be there until Thursday. 
Passion Rescue Mission was founded in 2009 by Genese Vertus and a group of friends who felt the call to serve others, and live out the credo “to the world I may be only one, but to one, I may be the whole world.” The small non-profit based in Fort Myers runs a tuition-free school for grades kindergarten-6 in Francois and leads a handful of educational and spiritual-based mission trips per year, and provides several free medical clinics through International Medical Relief. They also partner with two Haitian orphanages to share food for the students, school supplies, clothing and access to physicians and nurses.
Vertus and photographer Derek Shane McClelland of Atlanta were first responders when an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew hit six weeks ago. Joining them on the trip are Jen Reyes of Cape Coral, Ron Alce, Edward Saint-Jean and Joubert Clermont of Fort Myers, Nicole Tirado of Fort Lauderdale and Neena Kinsey of Atlanta.
Vertus gives a first-hand account of the group’s third day in Haiti:
On Monday, we traveled to The Genecoit Vertus School of Excellence, which we run for 225 students, tuition free.
We have graduated our second group of six graders and hope we can continue to provide an education to them.  We have 12 dedicated teachers, two cooks and a principal whose daily mission is to enhance the lives of their students and equip them for life outside of their village. In 2015, Passion Rescue Mission built five free-standing classrooms.
Local missionaries begin trip to Haiti
Day 3 was rewarding but also heavy on our hearts.
We donated basic essential needs including shoes, book bags, belts and toiletries. We also were able to provide 300 pairs of tennis shoes to our school. This experience was much needed after seeing the condition of the book bags and shoes of our students.
In a video on our Passion Rescue Mission Facebook page, I am with Jimmy, who got shoes and a brand new book bag. He’s very excited. Jimmy and I would like to thank everyone who made this happen.
Although we had 225 students enrolled, we were only able to provide 150 book bags to the students who needed immediate support.
We had the opportunity to feed not only our children but other villagers in the community as well. What a blessing. However, we felt as though we didn’t do as much justice because our children were still hungry after they received and ate their nutritional meal, as it could have possibly been their only meal for the week; they were fighting for the remainder of the food
It was disparaging to see that we didn’t have enough funds to buy food, water and the basic essentials, it was heartbreaking to see kids fighting over an empty pot of rice with scraps of burnt remnants left. We all felt overwhelmed with emotions and wish we could do more.
Shout outs to:
• Kate Seltzer at Six Mile Charter Academy and Kristina Nunez at Renaissance Charter at Coral Springs for running a shoe drive at their schools
• Thank you Mrs. Yvette Zetrene for the bags from Keys Gate Charter High School.
• Food provided by our sponsors from our Hurricane Matthew relief effort.
Even though what we provided seemed small, it was very rewarding to see how much of a difference we were making. We saw a lot of happy and grateful faces.
We all came in with the same goal in mind; bringing hope to the hopeless, it’s about having a purpose, it’s about being passionate about what we are doing and we all are here to serve.
This is a perspective of Neena Kinsey, a first-time participant of a mission trip to Haiti:
“Distributing the water (Saturday) was my first experience in Haiti. After we landed. It was eye-opening to see something so basic, like water, something that we take for granted, to be such a scarce necessity.”
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And this is from Ronald Alce, who spoke on his experience throughout the process:
“We take so much for granted, seeing the reaction of one child from receiving a brand new pair of shoes. It seemed as though he had won the lottery. That’s how excited he looked.  This possibly could have been his first pair of brand new shoes as most of them normally get used, hand-me-downs. Seeing the excitement on his face made my whole day.”
For those who want to donate to help the people of Haiti, go to http://passionrescuemission.org/


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