Haiti Needs You: "It is faith that will take us back"

7:42 AM, Jun 4, 2013   |    comments
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Jim & Rita Cwengros (left); Matt Kutsche (top right); Mary LaPonsie (bottom right)

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- A Grand Rapids group will return to Haiti to finish its mission trip six months after four of its members died in a car crash.

The group, "Haiti Needs You" will leave on its journey on Thursday.

Two of the 14 people heading out were part of the group back in January when Matt Kutsche, Mary Laponsie, and Jim and Rita Cwengros were killed when the brakes failed in the car they were riding.

It happened on the first day they arrived in Haiti. The founder off the group, Tim Ryan, admits the trip will be filled with a wide range of emotions.

"It was an accident. It wasn't anything we could predict or prevent. If we could have we would've. So we look at it like we're on a mission from God and we just need to continue to move forward with it and take it where it takes us."

Still, he says they'll be focused on helping the people of Seguinwho are still recovering from a devastating earthquake three years ago.

In the course of three days, they'll provide medical services for 2,400 people and dental services for 400 people.

The Seguin area is the size of Kent County-- situated high up on a mountain.

Ryan says the community is the poorest of the poor and the reason why Kutsche, Laponsie and the Cwengros couple were drawn to sign up and go on the mission.

Laponsie's husband and his daughter will join the trip this time around and Holy Spirit Church will continue to provide the moral support needed from Grand Rapids.

"Our church community has surrounded everybody involved in Haiti and I think as a church community it has brought everybody closer together. The community itself, it's faith that took us there and it's faith that will take us back," says Ryan.

Ryan points out the people of Seguin are also mourning the loss of the four volunteers, so he'll take time to share details of their lives so they understand who they were as people.

Additionally, the group will place a simple cedar cross at the site of the accident and have a small ceremony.

The Haiti Needs You group returns on June 14th.




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