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.
Judy Beltis, center in pink, with other members of Mission Viejo Christian Church, in Port-au-Prince where a 7.0 earthquake killed thousands Tuesday. The missionaries are all reported safe, but family members were seeking to evacuate them. Photo courtesy 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.
MISSION VIEJO – A group of missionaries from a local church were evacuated late Friday evening from a Haiti orphanage due to difficult conditions, said Paul Beltis, husband of one of missionaries.
The missionaries were taken to a secure facility near the airport and are awaiting transport to Santo Domingo. From there they will be booked onto flights to Miami, said Beltis, from the Dallas airport where he is on his way to meet his wife in Miami.
“The team has decided to leave,” said Beltis. “My wife has run out of medication and all of them are totally exhausted. Help and supplies are arriving and additional medical professionals will take over. Though it breaks their hearts to leave the kids, they are comfortable they will be taken care of as best as possible.”
Paul Beltis — a partner in Deloitte–– said his company coordinated a security team that rescued company employees and then evacuated Mission Viejo missionaries on a helicopter. Deloitte has also contributed $100,000 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Haiti.
Judy Beltis, 58, mother of six daughters and grandmother of five, is one of 10 missionaries from Mission Viejo Christian Church stranded at a church-sponsored orphanage in Port-au-Prince following the deadly 7.0 quake Tuesday. An orphanage building has been turned into a makeshift triage center.
Friday morning, Judy Beltis sent her husband this email.
“We’ve had a couple of pretty hellish nights; they are by far the worst part of this. We’re on a generator so we’ve got some electricity, but two nights ago it ran out of diesel fuel. The darkness here is like nothing I’ve ever seen or felt – and the sounds of the night here are unimaginable. You can hear wails and cries all off in the distance and all around. And the sounds from our own medical clinic are things you would never hope to have to hear in your entire lifetime.”
Judy Beltis said she and others from the team have been sleeping on a soccer field and continue to feel aftershocks.
“Last night was the first night I’ve slept at all since the earthquake and I just about collapsed yesterday. I spent the day with the children and they have to be kept in the safety of the soccer area and now heat and humidity have really started to climb. So I need to be here in the house today, I think, but we get to sterilize surgical instruments and run food out to the medical workers and wash clothes (in a metal tub out on the ground outside the house) for those who have nothing left to wear that isn’t blood-stained. Oh, what a team we have here and how everyone has pulled together to get through this.”
“And God still continues to do miracles for us. We had to shut the clinic down and turn people away yesterday because we were out of all supplies, and within twenty minutes a whole crew of medical interns showed up with boxes and boxes of stuff – and we’ve been in full-swing ever since.”
“For the time being we have food and water and our basic needs are being met. I lost my malaria meds during the quake and I was a bit concerned about that, but if God can carry me through standing on a rooftop (which is where I was – and I was up there all be myself!) during a 7.0 earthquake, watching buildings pancake down all around me – and keep me perfectly safe and unharmed through all that, how could I fail to trust Him for the rest of what’s to come.”
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. On Wednesday church officials got an email from Duggan stating that they were alright and that the orphanage had been turned into a triage center.
The group includes 9 adults and one fifteen-year-old girl. They had gone to the orphanage to help care for 90 children and had planned a special outreach to homeless children near the orphanage who come each day for their only hope for food.
Another Mission Viejo resident, Cindy Ahrentzen, moved to Port-au-Prince three weeks ago to become a teacher at the orphanage. She will stay there.
The Maison de Lumiere orphanage is being run by the former worship pastor from Mission Viejo Christian Church Bill Mannassero and his wife, Suzette.
If you want to help the orphanage, you can send your donation to Mission Viejo Christian Church. Put Haiti Relief in the memo. The church is located at 27192 Jeronimo Road, Mission Viejo, CA. 92692.
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