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Church Adopts Haiti



In January 2010, the whole world was shocked to see the pictures from Haiti after a huge earthquake devastated the country. And there was an equally huge outpouring of concern for those affected by the disaster. But one young family already had a heart for Haiti, as Lilla Marigza reports.

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(Locator: Columbia, Tennessee)

(Dad reads book) "Still I can't rest til I paint my?" (Kids yell) "Chest."

The Pope family of Columbia, Tennessee shares a special bond&ellipsis;

(Family laughing) Caeden: "That's a rude word." (more laughing)

&ellipsis;and a special connection to Haiti.

Caeden: "We pray for them every time." Kenson: "We pray for them at night."

In 2002, Bill and Bronwen Pope, and daughters Hannah and Noe, adopted baby Kenson, and a year later, baby Caeden, from Haiti.

Mom reading letter from 7-year-old: "This was from Caeden our youngest son. He said, 'Thank you mom and dad for letting me be your son and adopting me and letting me have a family and letting me have a wonderful family.' That just blessed me, ya know?"

Kenson: "Thank you, Caeden." Caeden: "I didn't even say anything about you in this letter." Kenson: "I know."

The Popes visit Haiti often on medical missions, and to work in orphanages.

Bill Pope, Father: "If everyone just decided to help one person, one family, it would make a huge difference in that country."

Day-to-day survival has always been difficult in the island nation neighboring the U.S. The earthquake in January 2010 made matters worse, says Bronwen.

Bronwen Pope, Mother: "People who did have homes, who did have resources, no longer have resources. I met a doctor who was living in a tent because his arm was crushed and he can no longer work. So it's not just what we think of as the poor. Everyone now is struggling."

In the weeks following the quake, all eyes were on Haiti. Aid poured in from around the world. But Bronwen says human attention spans are short.

Bronwen Pope: "I was there seven months after the earthquake and the cameras are gone and people are gone, and they're left."

Friends from the Popes' church, Hillsboro United Methodist, wanted to do something.

Church members say their goal was to sew 100 dresses for girls at a Haitian orphanage.

Cherry Lane Darken, Member, Hillsboro United Methodist Church: "All of us can't go to Haiti, but we can all do our own part. And I think this was something we could do."

Cut from pillowcases or cloth, and embellished with ribbon and buttons, each dress is one-of-a kind.

Betty Hughes, Member, Hillsboro United Methodist Church: "We can remember as little girls ourselves how we enjoyed new clothing. And that's why we've chosen not to make them all alike, so each little girl can be an individual."

Bronwen Pope: "Just so she knows, somebody made this for you. Somebody's caring about you, and loving you, andremembering you and praying for you."

The church has more plans to partner with Haiti.

Cherry Lane Darken: "Somebody asked about the little boys, and so another part of this goal is to be able to develop a little shorts pattern that we can make some shorts especially for the little boys."

Bronwen Pope: "We're new at this church, but this congregation has heard my heart and is excited about Haiti. It feels good that people are listening and excitedabout the things I'm passionate about."


Bronwyn Pope is studying to be an R.N. and plans to continue training to serve as a midwife to help deliver babies in Haiti. For more information, contact Hillsboro United Methodist Church at 615-595-0155.

Posted: January 7, 2011