Local pastor rallies congregation to rebuild Haiti's churches



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Posted on January 26, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 27 at 12:24 AM

SEATTLE - A local pastor encouraged his congregation to help earthquake victims in Haiti.

To motivate them to give more, he traveled with a video crew to bring back first-hand images of the devastation in that country.

Pastor Mark Driscoll says churches in countries like Haiti are an integral part of the community, not just for pastoral services. They are a conduit for food, community services, and healthcare. So rebuilding those churches has become the focus of his fundraising efforts.

Driscoll landed in Haiti with his video crew on a 32-hour mission. In order to truly motivate his parishioners to give to the cause, he decided to bring Haiti to them, showing them collapsed churches, some of the pastors who lead them are now dead and being dug out of the rubble.

"In these kind of situations many people will flock to the churches for safety, for prayer, for funeral help, for counseling. And the churches are destroyed, and many of the pastors are dead," said Driscoll.

During one of his taped interviews, gunshots rang out. Driscoll said he turned to look and a teenage boy was dead in the street.

"To see a teenage boy just bleed out in front of you is horrible. I've got a teenage daughter, I'm a father of five," he said. "What was amazing is that parents didn't show up, relatives didn't show up, nobody came."

With all the horrors to see in Haiti, there were still wonders to behold - signs of happiness among the young, like a group of kids dancing on a blanket on the grass.

"Seeing that was amazing because it's nothing you would expect," said Jesse Bryan, Creative Director for Mars Hill and one of the videographers in the crew.

So far Mars Hill Church has raised half a million dollars for the cause. Driscoll is using these images to get people to keep giving.

"Americans tend to think, 'I cried, I gave, are we done yet?' And the issue is not for many years. So there needs to be additional waves of support," said Driscoll.

Mars Hill Church has joined a larger national group called Churches Helping Churches. Altogether they have raised $1.3 million.

 For more information go to http://churcheshelpingchurches.com/.