Langdon Presbyterian Church holds Annual Ladies Luncheon; Jacobson is guest speaker

On June 13, the ladies of the Langdon Presbyterian Church held their annual Ladies Luncheon.

Posted June 24, 2013

This year, Janet Jacobson was the guest speaker, sharing about her time in Haiti.

As in the past, the ladies of the Presbyterian Church have volunteered their time, made salads and put together a small program for those in attendance. This annual event has been going on for over 25 years, with over 90 ladies from around the area coming to enjoy tasty salads, listen to local speakers and spend some time visiting with each other. The luncheon is a major fundraiser for the church’s mission.

As in the past, a speaker is someone who is local and has been involved in some type of mission’s trip or activity.

This year, attendees listened as Jacobson spoke on her time in Haiti.

Jacobson, along with others from the United Lutheran Church in Langdon and Eden Prairie went to Haiti in February. Those that went from Langdon were, Janet and Terry Jacobson, John and Kathie Johnson, Lindy Johnson, Pastor Bob Bekkerus and his sister from Grand Forks, Leah Jaeche and Ethan Michaelson a high school student from Rolla.

It was a difficult transition from North Dakota to Haiti and the difference was quite evident as the group departed the airport, “the smell overwhelmed us. It was more than you could stand when you got out of the airport. There were people everywhere,” Jacobson said about her first impressions.

Their time was spent in Gressier, which is the home to the Lutheran Church in Haiti, and in Jacmel, previous location of the center of art and wealth in Haiti.

Jacobson spoke on the devastation that still remains in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. Currently, the conditions in Haiti have seen little improvement since the earthquake with a majority of the people continuing to live within tent cities.

This densely populated nation, has some of the world’s greatest poverty, and a rise in exploitation.

Jacobson explained that Haiti has a long history of exploitation, starting from when Christopher Columbus discovered the beautiful island and used its inhabits as slaves in the process of removing and shipping Haiti’s natural resources. In less than 100 years, those native to Haiti had been killed off, which then resulted in African slaves being shipped to Haiti to continue the work of deforestation.

This resulted in a new culture and language, Creole, for those living in Haiti. Creole is a combination of French, Spanish, and African dialects.

On their first day in Jacmel, those from the States were able to spend time with the Lutheran Church in Sunday morning service. The church there is being lead by a deacon, and Pastor Bob Bekkerus, former pastor at the church in Langdon, also took part in the trip.

Jacobson said the church was happy to have a pastor as part of their worship service, and often you would see Pastor Bekkerus in deep discussion with the deacon of the church.

Jacobson and the others spent a majority of their time in Jacmel, where they worked with congregates of the Lutheran Church there. Together they built a shelter for the church. The shelter, Jacobson explained was nothing more than four posts and a roof. The building would be used to shade the worshippers during the hot months, and protect them during the raining ones.

Jacobson said that the group worked with the congregates of the church showing them how to build the shelter, instead of building it for them, so that if it does need repairs they will know how to fix it.

“We didn’t built a church for them, we built a church with them,” Jacobson went on to say, “we built relationships with them. We need to listen to them. Ask them what they need, not tell them what they need.”

As soon as the church building was constructed, it was used as a place for doctors and nurses to come and provide medical care for the people of Jacmel.

While part of the group was building, the other part spent their time playing with the children in the area. When they first got there, there were only 30 kids, but by the second day, 120 kids showed up. These kids were not from Jacmel, but the surrounding areas, some having walked miles.

Those in the village knew that most of the kids would not have food and so they used the money that taken in collection early that week to feed the kids each day.

Jacobson said that instead of using the collection money for building items for church they decided to use it for food, “I have never seen such generosity in my life.”

It was during this time that Jacobson said she, along with her husband Terry and the others, got to practice their “grandparent skills” while playing with the kids of the village. Terry spent a lot time with kids in his lap, as he showed them pictures of his cows and sheep.

Jacobson ended her presentation with, “Someone said that you never really leave Haiti, a part of you stats there, that’s true and I can’t wait to go back.”