Giving context to Haiti's challenges

The media have dedicated extensive coverage to the massive destruction and desperate living conditions in Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12, and rightfully so.

But what was life like in Haiti before the earthquake struck, particularly for the thousands of Church members living there?

In speaking with former mission presidents and their wives who served in Haiti, two major themes kept emerging: the nation's physical infrastructure was already exceptionally poor prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake, and the strong faith of Church members will abide and endure in spite of the present trials.

Sorely lacking

Michael F. and Maria Moody are the president and matron, respectively, of the Papeete Tahiti Temple. From 2000-03, though, President Moody presided over the Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission.

"The transportation system in Haiti is not good," President Moody said. "The roads are such that it takes hours to go a few miles.

"A lot of people don't have electricity. They wouldn't necessarily have electronic communication, computers and so forth."

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