Rescue is as rescue does

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

by Diana Nelson Jones/May 18

The Light of Life Rescue Mission serves people in various stages of need. Their clients come to the Central Northside building for a warm bed, for prayer services, for food and, in the best long-term scenarios, to become housed independently, purposeful and clean of addictions.

A few of these clients have passed the rigors of their supervisors to become the helpers: The mission is taking a group of its clients to Haiti next week to help in the continuing recovery and relief work for nine days.

As I walked to the mission one morning to observe the first-aid class, I passed homeless men in Allegheny Commons Park and wondered what a homeless Haitian would think to see them. Has a local homeless person ever been as hungry as a hungry Haitian? How does poverty in one place see poverty in another? As an equal? Will the Light of Life clients look like rich people to Haitians living in cardboard boxes or tents?

Pam Armstrong is leading the group. She is on the board of the World Mission Initiative of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and has been to Haiti with her daughter, Erica.

"We fell in love with it," Pam said. Long before the January earthquake, she had applied to the Light of Life to take a team there, as Haiti's needs are great even without weather and geological disasters.

In recent weeks, the relief team that is going has met several times to plan the trip, to learn about Haiti and to learn first aid skills. The photo you see is of James T. Harrison practicing CPR compressions on a mannequin.

Look for a follow-up report in the Post-Gazette soon.

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