ST. MARYS, W.Va. - An area pastor who traveled to Haiti on a mission of mercy last week says the trip was a success, but much more needs to be done for the earthquake-ravaged country.
Pastor Terry Lough of the North Pleasants Apostolic Tabernacle in St. Marys, left for the Dominican Republic on Jan. 19 to buy supplies and take them by truck into the devastated town of Petit-Goave, located several hours from the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince.
It took nearly 16 hours for Lough and a small group of pastors and a driver to make their way across the border into Haiti, through the devastated Port-Au-Prince and to the village of Petit-Goave.
Pastor Terry Lough of the North Pleasants Apostolic Tabernacle in St. Marys helps distribute food and water in the village of Petit-Goave in Haiti.
"It was difficult," he said. "At the border, trucks were backed up for miles. As we went through Port-Au-Prince, the stench of the unrecovered bodies was almost unbearable."
The pastors found and rented a 30-foot box truck and a driver to take them and supplies into Petit-Goave, a small town with a population of about 15,000. The group purchased about 4,000 pounds of rice, 1,000 pounds of beans, cases of cooking oil, canned meats, crackers, flour, sugar, bottled water and other basic food necessities. Lough said they also managed to secure a diesel generator and diesel fuel, a gasoline-powered generator, a lighting system, tents and tarps for the homeless and a water filtration system.
The 53-year-old Lough has been pastor of the Apostolic Tabernacle in St. Marys for about 18 years, and said his congregation has worked in the region around Petit-Goave for more than 25 years, with several churches established in the area. Lough himself has made several trips to Haiti.
"Some of these people I've known since they were born," he said. "I've known them for so long."
Lough said it is unclear how many in Petit-Goave died in the earthquake. The village's Apostolic church crumbled to the ground when the quake hit. At the time, there was no one inside.
"The service was due to start 15 minutes after the earthquake struck. Fifteen minutes later and the church would have been full," Lough said.
The remote community had received no outside support before Lough and his group arrived, the pastor said.
"As much as we were able to take, it was still very little," Lough said. "You don't know how much hope means until you have none, and we were able to bring them some."
Lough said he plans to return to the village Feb. 15 with more supplies. He is working with pastors from around the country to organize relief and rebuilding efforts.