Bringing Urgent Help to Remote Haiti Villages
Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring help to those traumatized by Hurricane Matthew
Teams of Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) are providing relief in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the worst storm to hit the island nation in more than 50 years. Making landfall on October 4, Matthew killed more than a thousand in Haiti and left some 175,000 homeless.
Chad, an American VM, in Haiti with the Scientology Disaster Response Team, learned of a village in a remote region near Les Cayes that needed help. He drove a team of Volunteer Ministers to the village, Les Bois, over treacherous mountain trails.
He described his first impression: “There was nothing left,” he said. “All the houses and trees were flat on the ground—it looked like a giant broom had swept everything away.”
“Being able to do this has been a life-changing experience for me—and for the families who lost their homes”
One man approached Chad for help—his house was destroyed by the storm. “It was completely removed from its foundation,” says Chad. The man’s family of eight was living in a shack, put together with mismatched metal roofing and branches, scraps of sheet metal, trees and tarps—whatever was found in the area. “He and his family were devastated,” said Chad.
The VMs immediately set to work, salvaging nails and lumber and cutting boards from trees that were felled by the storm. For three days throughout the daylight hours, the team of eight Volunteer Ministers worked to create a new home for the family.
A veteran of Scientology Disaster Response, Chad was familiar with the toll a major disaster can take and he was not surprised to find most of the villagers in a state of apathy—standing around in shock while the Volunteer Ministers worked. But that didn’t last long. Soon villagers pitched in and then organized teams of their own to take on the cleanup of the entire village.
Applying the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers, “Something can be done about it,” the VMs continued their work, cleaning up the village and rebuilding homes as best they could. “It was an exceptional experience to be able to build someone a home in which they could finally get some proper rest and take care of their children,” said Chad.
On first arriving in Haiti, Chad activated a team of local Volunteer Ministers, trained by the Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Team after the 2010 earthquake. The local volunteers are excited to be working together again to help their country.
“I feel very good,” says Stevenson, a Haitian Volunteer Minister. “When I help, I use my heart. When I help someone, my spirituality and life feel good. Everything I do in my life—I want to help someone."
“Being able to do this has been a life-changing experience for me—and for the families who lost their homes,” said Chad. “And once they get involved in the rebuilding process, the villagers are completely revitalized. Every time we arrive at a location, the villagers start helping. We are creating change in Haiti, one village, one house at a time.”
Whether serving in their communities or on the other side of the world, the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid-1970s by L. Ron Hubbard, is sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service.
“A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence,” wrote Mr. Hubbard. “Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.
“How does a Volunteer Minister accomplish these miracles? He uses the technology of Scientology to change conditions for the better—for himself, his family, his groups, friends, associates and for Mankind.”
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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