From Una Jones / Mission Volunteer Office
We, the UMVIM community, are sadden by the sudden death of Lauren James, UMCOR Field staff, in Haiti. Our prayers go out to Lauren’s family and then the many friends and colleague who had the opportunity to work with Lauren either in Haiti or on prior Mission Journeys. Here is an additional statement from the General Secretary of Global Ministries/UMCOR, Thomas Kemper. From UMCOR/Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UMCOR:
It is with deep sorrow that we ask for prayers and condolences for the family of Lauren James, UMCOR church liaison, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Lauren died suddenly from a heart attack January 11. Lauren became part of UMCOR's staff in Haiti in 2010, responsible for supervising and coordinating integrated and sustainable development activities in Eglise Methodiste d’Haiti (EMH) communities across Haiti. We are grateful for her years of service to the people of Haiti and to UMCOR. May the peace of Christ surround Lauren's family and friends during this time of mourning and grief.
Furthermore, we are grateful and thankful to Tom Vencuss, his wife Wendy, whose supporting the EMH Guest House and Brulan Jean-Michel with the hosting of UMVIM teams. What a blessing to have these leaders around with Lauren’s death and we prayer for them too. And besides grieving they also faced some challenges last week which we would like the UMVIM community to be aware of. Here is an extract from Tom and Brulan:
This past week has been a difficult one for the UMVIM and UMCOR communities. Last week, the Methodist Guest House in Jeremie was attacked by a large group protesting the arrest and extradition of Guy Philippe, a Haitian senator and former rebel leader, by the DEA on drug trafficking charges. They were targeting Americans. There was an UMVIM team in the GH at the time. One of the team members was injured. Within half an hour someone arrived and convinced the crowd that the group was Cuban and not American. The crowd eventually dissipated and the team eventually flew back to Port au Prince several days later. Obviously, all were deeply affected by the event.
We keep Lauren's family, and the entire UMCOR-UMVIM community in our prayers.
Finally, an additional logistical Update will follow next week for UMVIM teams but in the interim as Tom gets ready to depart from Haiti this week-end Mike Willis will arrive in Haiti on January 24, and would further support GH/Brulan. We know mission is challenging but I am grateful to all leadership and the support of the UMVIM Jurisdiction offices to communicate how important UMVIM’s role is not only for our local churches but our partners around the world. Please remember and live by our motto: UMVIM - Christian Love in Action.