Missionary family shares history of Haiti and home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Missionary family shares history of Haiti and home

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LINDALE, TX (KLTV) - As desperation in Haiti grows, an East Texas family says it is the heart of the Haitian people that will overcome the disaster. The family, who spent 13 years in Haiti, shares the history of a land they call home.

"In our hearts, Haiti will always be home," said Cheryl Shipley.

Cheryl and Brian Shipley met in Haiti - both were Youth with a Mission missionaries. It was there that they raised four children and fell in love with the native people and culture.

"I know that seems kind of weird because most people would go, 'Haiti is a tough place to love,'" said Brian Shipley.

"We haven't lived here very long," said Kendra Shipley, a junior in high school.

In fact, it was just a year ago when the Shipley's moved back to Lindale. News of the earthquake came as a shock, but word of Haitian people joining together, singing in the streets, and surviving for days in the rubble comes as no surprise.

"When people are trapped under the rubble, 50 hours is the max [to live]," said Brian Shipley. "You don't find people alive after that. And then, they are finding people now five days, six days later and they're going, 'This is amazing!' And, I go, 'Not at all.' If you knew the Haitian people and what they have overcome."

Overcoming years of slavery, Haiti declared its independence in 1804.

"They beat the French once, they beat the Spanish, they beat the English, and then they beat the best the French had to offer," he said.

Independence that came with a price.

"The entire world turned their back on them," said Brian Shipley. "They've had a long string of bad leaders and bad government. Lots of oppression. Lots of tyranny."

Brian Shipley says their history of perseverance is proof they can overcome this crisis.

"If there is anyone in the world capable, these guys are," he said. "We should stand with them and say this can be the beginning of something wonderful. It doesn't have to be one more awful thing."

In doing so, honoring all of the Haitians with compassion and respect.

You can watch our extended interview with Shipley by scrolling through the video thumbnails in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

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