At roughly 1600 miles from Indiana, Gandou, Haiti is certainly out of sight for Hoosiers, but thanks to a young couple from Sunman, Gandou is not out of mind and has become a “mission” to many.

About 15 years ago the young couple, Joe and Jennifer Rennekamp, along with medical providers and support people, traveled the 1600 miles to Gandou in hopes to bring basic medical care to an area where there was none. Over the years, this initiative has expanded to include dental care, eye care and a referral program to get people additional care elsewhere.

Funds received have also helped to build a new church following the earthquake in 2010, school buildings for the school expansion (includes over 350 students K through 12) and helped build or rebuild homes for those that live in unthinkable poverty.

Since 2006, inspired by the works of the original crew, teams consisting of a mix of different people each year have made 30 trips to the hills of Gandou.

“In the previous 14 years, around 36,000 patients have been treated,” volunteer and leader Joe Rennekamp said. “Five thousand were categorized dental and 1,200 vision, the rest being medical.”

Despite all the work that has been completed over the last 15 years, the volunteers want more for the residents of Gandou.

“It is now time to turn our attention to building a permanent medical facility to house our semi-annual mission clinics,” volunteer Mary Horninger said. “And
also provide a place for clean safe, private care on a daily basis by the nurses who are there full time and a physician who will come weekly at least.”

In order to accomplish this lofty goal, help will be needed from the community.

“Thanks to all the people who have generously donated in some way (time, talents, money, etc.) to allow us to accomplish what we have already accomplished,” volunteer Jenn Rennekamp said. “If you are interested in helping us continue our current projects and hopefully expand, there are many different tasks that need to be done here in the vicinity of Morris, Indiana that you might want to use your time and talents to help”

Community members that feel called to join the dream being realized can donate by sending a check to:
St. Anthony's Haiti Ministry, P.O. Box 3, Morris, IN 47033, Attn: New Clinic.
Also a mission team member would be glad to personally come and speak to anyone or any group that would like to know more about the Haiti ministry.
For more information visit:

"God gives abundantly, but he doesn't share."
“What that means is that God has put enough resources on this world that everybody can have basic necessities that they need. It's all here. There's plenty for everyone, but he left it up to us to share it, and that's where it's gone wrong.”
- Mike Krokos is editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.