Members in Haiti More Unified After 2010 Earthquake

Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver

  • 27 November 2013

In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, local Church leaders and members in Haiti showed the Lord that they were willing to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” as they reached out to lift those in need.  Photo by Nate Leishman.

Article Highlights

  • In the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, members set out to serve those in need, helping both members and nonmembers become more self-reliant.
  • The country now has a bishops’ storehouse, and most of the members now live in permanent housing.
  • Many are planting their own gardens, and this year they worked together to plant 41,000 trees.

“We love each other. That is where the strength comes. We are serving. … We are just working together to bring help to members and nonmembers. They are all children of our Heavenly Father.” —Berthony Theodor, director of Church Humanitarian Services in Haiti

Berthony Theodor, director of Humanitarian Services and Bishops’ Storehouse Services in Haiti for the Church, says everyone in his country was impacted in a major way by the January 12, 2010, earthquake. If they didn’t lose a relative in the disaster, they lost a friend, he said. Many lost their homes.

But the horrific disaster did help Church members and leaders work together with their community, he said.

A counselor in the Port-au-Prince Haiti Stake presidency, he said that after the disaster local leaders wanted to show their Heavenly Father that they were keeping their covenants to “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God” (Mosiah 18:9).

“Because of that—because of our covenants, because of our faith—we were able to consult together under the direction of the Area Presidency to address that great need,” he said.

Through the challenges that came during and after the earthquake, Haitian Latter-day Saints learned much, he said.

The members were able to see how much Church leaders love them, he added.

In the end, President Theodor said, the earthquake “did not stop the kingdom of God in Haiti.”

Members who received food, water, and other supplies from the Church were changed by the service.

“As they saw all [that was done for them], they felt the desire to be more obedient,” he said.

“The Church kept growing and moving forward,” he said, noting that local Church leaders and members are united. “We love each other. That is where the strength comes. We are serving. … We are just working together to bring help to members and nonmembers. They are all children of our Heavenly Father.”

The Church now has a bishops’ storehouse in Haiti, and members have been working to grow their own gardens, he said.

Members are also receiving Church employment services. The great majority of Latter-day Saints are now in permanent housing, he reported.

This year they worked together to plant some 41,000 trees in their country.

“Things are not easy,” he said. “Things are not perfect.”

But good did rise from the rubble of the earthquake, he said.

“The Church is moving forward in Haiti,” he said.