In just two weeks, 10 volunteers from Libertyville's Trinity Community Church will be in Haiti, working on a school and getting to know the local residents.
This will be the church's third trip to Haiti.
"It's been neat to see people grow together," said David Niblack, lead pastor from Trinity. "I'm totally excited to go again."
Trinity Community Church is participating in a program through Forward Edge Ministry and its Haitian counterpart, Grace International. The volunteers will fly into Port-au-Prince and then drive about a half hour to Carrefour, where the group will do most of its mission work.
The volunteers will spend a week there.
In preparation for the trip, Niblack said the group has been reading the book "When Helping Hurts" and having regular meetings. The group talks about how to truly help the poor, Niblack said, and what poverty really is. He said while many people look at poverty as a lack of money or material goods, the poor see it as a loss of dignity or a loss of voice.
"Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere," said Niblack. "The whole Haitian economy runs on aid."
Though the volunteers will certainly focus on construction-type work at a school in Carrefour, Niblack said the long-term goal "is to have some sort of partnership with people in Haiti." He wants the volunteers to build relationships with the residents.
"I'm always struck by how broken the world is," Niblack said, saying there is so much devastation in Haiti. He added, however, that he then gets to "worship with other believers and hear them praise God."
During the 2012 trip, he and a group of volunteers were there for the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.
"You think, how can God allow this to happen," said Niblack. "And then you hear people saying, 'God saved me.'"
Niblack said he enjoys "seeing God bring people together."
The church and the volunteers have been raising money for the trip, for the travel portion itself and also for the supplies they'll need.
"I was hoping to raise $3,000," said Niblack. The amount raised now stands at about $8,000.
"It's exciting to see God stir people up," he said.
The volunteers will be in Haiti from Jan. 26 through Feb. 2. If you would like to donate money for the trip, the downtown Libertyville branch of BMO Harris Bank is collecting donations. Checks can be made out to Trinity Community Church and given to a bank associate.