In times of need

Brent Justus, second from left, and William Moore, third from left, works on a water purification system in Haiti for Life’s Hope.

Photo submitted
The Duncan Banner

Brent Justus, founder, CEO and President for Life’s Hope, Inc. is planning another trip to Haiti to bring aid and clean water to people in the disaster ridden country.

Justus, along with Pastor William Moore, associate pastor at Bethel Church, and Benny Alegria, a Florida businessman, traveled to Haiti on Jan. 21 on a cargo plane to install water filtration systems for the Haitian people.

Upon arriving in Haiti, Justus said that there was a bit of a shock getting off the plane, but mostly due to the amount of people and the activity happening around them. The group drove past ground zero where the devastation was at it’s worst.

“It was like someone dropped a nuke,” Justus said.

In a letter Justus posted on the Life’s Hope Web site, he recalls what the environment was like as they began their trip through the country.

“We witnessed first-hand the devastation. We drove past the mass graves, witnessed corporate moans of grief and experienced the stench of death that will stay with us the rest of our lives. The need is great but we serve a mighty God and He called us to help.”

Justus, Moore and Alegria did just that by installing two filtration systems. One was at the Mission of Hope with the Convoy of Hope. They run an orphanage for nearly 7,000 children who even before the earthquake were only getting half a glass of water a day. After they installed the system, five gallon jugs were filled and distributed to schools and orphanages as well as some of the surrounding tent cities that were full of Haitians who were either homeless or too frightened to return to their homes.

The system also supplied water to Mission of Hope employees that had been severely dehydrated.

Mike Clark, who’s with the Convoy of Hope in Haiti sent a note to Justus thanking him for the water system. In the note, Clark said that the system will serve approximately 720 families, which amounts to 5790 displaced people, in the rural communities surrounding Titanyen and will allow for daily re-filling of water bottles with clean water for the victims. Also, 160 Mission of Hope employees will now have access to clean water.

The group also installed a filter system at the hospital in Port Au Prince. In his letter regarding his experience, Justus said that when he asked a doctor where to install the system, the doctor said he had no money and could not believe that it was a gift from Life’s Hope to them.

“I don’t believe he believed me until he saw us leave,” Justus said in his letter.

Overall, Justus believes that between the two systems, they are providing clean drinking water to nearly 30,000 people in Haiti now, and also said that the filter systems will save a lot of money for clean water in the country.

“They currently spend $50 every three days for water,” Justus said. “That comes out to about $7,000 a year. We’re giving these water filter systems to them. It’s like writing a $7,000 check, and we give them enough filters for a year.

“The only thing we ask is that they pay for future filters, which only come out to around $200 a year.”

Justus and Moore said that the Haitians were very grateful for the help, and Justus even said that he ran into a police officer that asked him if he was American.

“I told him yes, and he said ‘You friend, you friend,’” Justus said.

They did say that most of the people who came down to help mostly stayed back behind the barriers at the airports, and didn’t venture out into the cities as much. He even said they would see people sitting and doing nothing at the airports with supplies.

“It’s like ‘I’m glad you came down here and thanks for the support, but do something,’” Justus said.

He said that the only American presence outside of the barriers was mostly military, but that the number of U.S. people was considerably higher than any other country.

Justus and Moore also said the trip was no camping trip.

“It was bring your own food, your own water, your own everything,” Moore said. “And we literally slept 100 yards from where jets were taking off.”

One of the toughest obstacles Justus said was getting a flight in and out of Haiti. With only three airports and the amount of air traffic, someone would almost have to have a private jet or prop plane to get in. However, once on the ground, he said it was fairly easy to get around.

Justus said the group plans on going back to Haiti (TODAY) to install another four filtration systems at clinics and orphanages. Pastor Moore said that overall, the systems will more than likely help nearly 100,000 people by providing clean water to drink.

“People will ask us ‘Why do you have to go,’” Moore said. “It’s because other people aren’t going.”

Justus said that they will continue to make as many trips as they can as long as the money given holds out. Money donated to Life’s Hope will provide them with airfare and with the water filtration systems that cost around $2,500 each.

In his letter, Justus writes that people have been wondering where the money they donate for Haiti is going.

“The donated money is being deposited into funds for Haiti and when it is convenient and a request is made, the organizations will send essential supplies. But by the time this aid get to Haiti, many people will have perished due to dehydration and starvation. We have the courage and desire to go into the areas that need help; TODAY! The Haitian people greeted us with open arms and appreciated us for coming to help them. There may be danger in Haiti, but we did not witness a single threat on our lives. They loved us and we loved them back.”

Anyone interested in contributing to Haiti through Life’s Hope can visit www.lifeshope.org.



— Kevin Kerr is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 147, or via e-mail at kevin.kerr@duncanbanner.com.

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