South Fayette mother, son volunteer for Haiti mission
South Fayette Township resident and Bethany Presbyterian Church member Bonnie Eichler went on her first international mission trip to Haiti in 2003.
The experience and calling remained with her that now, 10 years later, she and her son, Dan, are heading there in mid-October to live for a year at the LaCroix New Testament Mission.
Although she had served a week at the medical clinic 10 years ago, she now will be helping to set up a new English immersion program to teach preschoolers at the mission schools. Two years ago, she was further inspired for a return visit when Pastor Pierre spoke at Bethany and shared his dream of starting such a program at the lower levels of the mission schools.
The children of Haiti speak Creole with French as their second language. In teaching them English they will be able to get better jobs upon graduation. Eichler and others will help the Haitian teachers learn how to implement the immersion program on their own by attending vocational school and assisting the Americans throughout the year.
The mission is two hours north of Port au Prince. School buildings have been established in seven villages in the LaCroix community, educating 3,500 children.
The pilot English program will start with 25 children in a morning English class and 25 children in the afternoon. For the last year, Eichler has been working and training with a Pittsburgh group of preschool teachers, artists and professors who have been writing the curriculum.
ASSET Science has assisted on training with preschool science programs and WQED has donated a series of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood DVDs. Other supplies and resources additionally have been donated.
One of the biggest expenses is buying books which is done as finances allow. It costs roughly $25 to $50 per student for books. Any financial contributions will be accepted at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 740 Washington Ave., Bridgeville (marked LEEP — LaCroix English Education Program).
Eichler is taking 10 months off from her employment at Sunset Hills United Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon. Her son, Dan, is taking a two-month leave from his job at the Family Christian Bookstore in West Mifflin. Her other son, Bob, is entering his third year at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, while her husband, Paul, will continue to work. Both Bob and Paul will join their mother in March 2014 during spring break.
Mission trips travel throughout the year to Haiti. Those who may also feel the call can email firstname.lastname@example.org for the complete schedule of groups. Eichler also will be running a blog throughout her time in Haiti and can be contacted at bonnie email@example.com.
On Sept. 1, both Pastor Pierre and Bonnie Eichler will be speaking at the 8:15 and 10 a.m. services at Bethany Presbyterian Church about their upcoming mission work.
Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carnegie, Collier families welcome new additions
- Officials concerned expansion plan for South Fayette intersection might not be enough
- Oyler: Importance of lifelong learning a lesson for all