Missionary in Haiti ‘on fire for God’ – OCRegister


Judy Beltis of Orange County holds a baby in the Maison de Lumiere orphanage in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake hit Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Beltis family.

People sleep outside of the Maison de Lumiere orphanagein Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where a 7.0 earthquake struck killing thousands. Judy Beltis of Orange County, who was there doing missionary work, was unharmed.

Judy Beltis, center in pink, with other members of Mission Viejo Christian Church, in Haiti where a 7.0 earthquake killed thousands Tuesday. The missionaries are all reported safe. photo courtesy the Beltis family.

Orange Countains Aahmes Kubicki, with her daughters Alexis, left, and Olivia, are safe and apparently in good spirits after surviving Haiti's 7.0 earthquake Tuesday. They are members of Mission Viejo Christian Church and were there as missionaries. Photo courtesy the Beltis family

Paul Beltis's wife Judy was in Haiti doing missionary work at a Port-au-Prince orphanage, Maison de Lumiere, when the earthquake struck, killing tens of thousands. He learned she is safe.

Paul Belits's wife Judy was in Haiti doing missionary work when the earthquake hit. After about 24 hours he found out she is safe.

MISSION VIEJO – A woman whose heart broke at just the thought of orphaned children has become a rock of strength to her family and fellow missionaries in Haiti following Tuesday’s deadly earthquake.
Judy Beltis, 58, mother of six daughters and grandmother of five, is one of 10 missionaries from Mission Viejo Christian Church stranded amongst the rubble and tragedy at a church-sponsored orphanage in Port-au- Prince following the 7.0 quake. The group has gone from ministry to caring for the injured, frightened and dying. An orphanage building has been turned into a makeshift triage center.
“She was born with the heart and passion to help children,” said Sarah Beltis, 26, one of Judy Beltis’ daughters.
“She’s independent, focused and strong-willed,” said Erin Lurker, 28, another daughter. “She’s full of faith – living a life on fire for God.”
The missionaries – led by Jim Duggan of Mission Viejo – had left for Haiti on Friday. On Tuesday after the quake there was no word from them. Only a Twitter message late that night offered a glimpse of hope for her daughters and husband, Paul Beltis, 59.
An email from Duggan late Wednesday night followed by one from Judy Beltis allayed their fears.
“I cannot even begin to describe here the sights and experiences i have had these last 44 hours,” she wrote. “I don’t know how I’ll ever explain to you what God has done here and what he called us here to do.”
The orphanage, called Maison de Lumiere, or house of light, has in effect become a hospital – with a steady stream of victims arriving for help.
“I probably should go to bed, but I’m going back over in a minute – there are so many who need comfort or a cup or water or a someone to just sit with them and cry with them and hold their hand or give them a sip of water,” she wrote.
Though Beltis has been on countless mission trips to Mexico she only recently decided she would be ready to face the anguish and poverty of orphaned children. She listened to and cringed in sadness of stories that her daughter Erin and son-in-law Andy Lurker, 29, recounted from their experiences on mission to Uganda.
“The tragedy of it all pushed her over the edge,” said Paul Beltis, a management consultant from Mission Viejo. “She was fearful that the stories of the kids might not let her stay composed.”
In November Judy Beltis told her husband she’s been praying and needed to be on the church’s mission to the orphanage in Port-au-Prince.
“She felt called to be on this trip,” said daughter Jamie Howard, 32, from Dana Point. “The purpose of the trip was to love on the children and specifically to distribute food to homeless children who came to the orphanage every day.”
Now the family looks forward to the impassioned and heartfelt work that Beltis is ready to do. It is unclear how long the missionary group will stay but Paul – who will provide updates on his blog frbelti.blogspot.com – said his wife will want to stay.
“Judy wouldn’t want to leave those kids,” he said. “My fear isn’t for her safety anymore but rather when we’ll see her again.”
949-454-7307 or eritchie@ocregister.com
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