Four years ago, members of Memorial Lutheran Church heard the story of Haitian Silentor Esthil-Henderson in the Iowa State Daily. They quickly invited him to speak at their church and were immediately drawn to help the Haitian cause.

After numerous mission trips and a strong commitment, their bond to Haiti is growing stronger. Sunday, they hosted their fifth fundraiser for Many Hands for Haiti, this time raising over 4,000 dollars for new classrooms in Gonaives, Haiti.

The fundraiser consisted of a baked potato bar luncheon and a silent and live auction of over 70 items donated from individuals and businesses in Nevada.

“We were so impressed with Silentor’s life story and his desire to help children. We just decided we needed to do as much as we can to help him achieve his goals,” said LeRoy Bergmann, an organizer of the event and a member of the first group to travel to Haiti in 2011.

Last November, a group including Pastor David Burling, Jody Melcher, MaryAnn Gardner and Nan Jungst returned to see the progress of Gonaives and Silentor. During that trip, they witnessed a group of Haitians first communion at the Etoile church, started and run by MH4H.

“The first time we went down there [November 2011] there was nothing. Today, there is a church community with a great passion and desire to be people of God,” said Pastor Burling.

The people in Haiti connected to the event through the sale of jewelry community members in Pignon handmade. Coffee, jewelry and art were sold at the fundraiser with the proceeds going back to the economic development of Haiti.