July 7, 2010 —
Wednesday, June 23rd, a group of cyclists rode into Lenawee County. After a turn around the track at MIS they stopped at Rollin Township Hall for watermelon and strawberries then headed into Hudson to spend the night at the First United Methodist Church. They were biking 300 miles from Rockford, Michigan to Harrod, Ohio to benefit H.I.S Home for Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This orphanage was started in 1999 by Hal and Chris Nungster, missionaries from Harrod, Ohio. It was home to 126 children before the January 12, 2010 earthquake. 67 of those children received humanitarian parole and arrived in the USA 13 days later.
Two of those children, Daphna and Grace, accompanied their new parents, Geoff and Judy Van Berkel on this six day adventure, diapers and all. In 2008 adoption plans were instituted and Daphna was officially reserved for the Van Berkels. On visiting Daphna for her first birthday Geoff and Judy met another one year old child, Grace. Grace had been found in a trash can. She has a rare genetic disorder causing short tendons in her hands and legs and the inability to completely open her mouth. In addition her hips were dislocated. Both her legs were in casts during her stay in Hudson and she has foot surgery coming up in July. It was a joy to see her being carried about by her 11 year old brother who was one of the bikers.
Four years ago a young man, Tony Scott from Joliet, Illinois, organized the first 300 mile trek, having cyclists collect pledges that would help pay some of the operating expenses of the orphanage. This year there were three teams, one riding from Joliet, another from Champlain, and the Michigan team. Michigan’s team collected over $15,000 and the total for the three teams was over $50,000; 100% of which will go directly to HIS Home for Children.
After a hard day of riding in the Irish Hills the group was pleased to have showers available at the high school, even though it required showering by flashlight due to the power outage on that side of town. Thank you to Hudson Area Schools for opening your doors to this group
Thursday morning following breakfast they watched a short video interview with Thursday’s Child of the Day, Juvens Fortune, in which he told about himself and his dreams. The video ended with pictures of him on his birthday in September every year since 2003 when he came to live at HIS Home. Juvens will be 14 this September. Every morning a picture of the Child of the Day was attached to the handlebars as a reminder of who they were biking for. They pulled out of the church parking lot at 8:40 in an attempt to get down Munson Highway before 9 AM because that was the day it was being asphalted. After a beautiful ride on Lawrence Highway they arrived in Morenci for a midmorning snack at the Church of the Nazarene and then headed into Ohio.
More information can be found at www.hishome300mi.blogspot .com or www.hishomeforchildren.com