NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - We re-introduced you to Zac and Becky Weems of Nacogdoches last night. The couple's adoption of two sisters from Haiti has led to a powerful and successful mission program originating right here in East Texas.
On July 1, the Weems will take 25 East Texans to Haiti. It's one of their three annual trips to the impoverished country.
East Texas News talked to several of the mission team's members Thursday. They're all looking forward to the trip and the service they'll provide.
Eleven-year-old Becca Clark of Central Heights knows while in Haiti a backpack will hold her belongings.
"I'll put these in here," Becca said.
The big suitcases are reserved for the important items she asked for in a letter to her classmates and their parents.
"It said please bring peanut butter and flip-flops of any size and we sent that out the next day," Becca said. "And like the next week, we had almost a tub full of flip-flops, peanut butter, a couple of toothbrushes, and some toothpaste, and now those are in the suitcase in the church."
Becca will take her first plane ride to the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Zac and Becky Weems know a trip to Haiti will transform the lives of those who go.
"There's no reason that you can't get on a plane ride for 80 minutes and change your life completely and help somebody at the same time," said Zac Weems, one of the mission trip's co-leaders.
Becca's mother, April feared a reason not to take her third trip to Haiti would be a lack of funds.
"Like this year, we have some things we really need to get paid off, and I was like, 'We can't do it,' you know, at first I said, 'I cannot do this, I can't go," said Becca's mom, April Clark. "'We can't go. We don't have the money.'"
But her faith told her not to use money as an excuse. Becca sold Helping Haiti T-shirts, and the teacher is tutoring. Each missionary must provide at least $800 on their own. Fredonia Hill Baptist Church will pay the other half for its members.
The partnership is extended to a Haitian church led by Pastor Gabriel.
"We are linking arms with a church there and helping them with supplies," said Becky Weems, one of the mission trip's co-leaders. "Supporting them. Doing some pastor training, giving them water tablets, giving them the resources so that they can give it to their people."
The opportunity intrigued KTRE's Jeff Awtrey. The newsman knows the Haitian earthquake of 2010 has dropped off the headlines, but the country's problems never went away.
"The big thing is, I'm going to be shooting video every day, showing that with the help of KTRE, and also keeping a daily journal, sending that back, so all our viewers will be able to see what we're doing," Awtrey said.
You'll see vacation bible schools for orphans and medical treatment in isolated villages. More than anything, you'll see the hard work and dedication put in by East Texans whose faith helps others.
Not all 25 members going on the Haiti trip have completed fund raising. Sponsorships and donations can be arranged through Fredonia Hill Baptist Church in Nacogdoches. People interested in helping can also donate online here. Hygiene items and high protein foods are also needed.
Awtrey's coverage of the Haitian trip begins the first week of July. Tune in to KTRE's Facebook page and the East Texas News.