Holland congregation sends van to Haiti

HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Thousands of sick and suffering families in Haiti will soon get a life-saving gift from a Holland congregation.

Calvary Christian Reformed Church saw an extreme need for medical care there after going on countless mission trips to Port-au-Prince.

On one of their trips, the Haitian doctors told Calvary they had a dream of someday running their own mobile medical center, which would travel around and help save lives all over Haiti.

"We have no concept of medical care in Haiti. Currently a group of doctors is working out of a lady's home, in her living room," says Joyce Johnson, Missions Director at Calvary Church. "The medical needs are tremendous. There's one doctor for every 10,000 people. People there don't even have transportation so when they're sick they have to walk to a doctor."

The church raised 152,000 dollars this Christmas to turn an ordinary van into a state-of-the-art mobile doctor's office.

Before they could custom-build the mobile center, Calvary sought out the help of Curt Wierda at Barber Ford in Holland to find a van that would accommodate these goals.

They eventually purchased a stripped-down Mercedes Benz Sprinter but then had the tough job of finding a company that could transform the delivery van into a two-room doctor's office.

"We didn't have many choices in the United States for a company that could do all this custom work," Johnson notes.

Surprisingly, their answer to prayer was right in their own backyard: American RV in Grand Rapids, who jumped at the opportunity.

"I knew as soon as we got the call that we could do it, no problem," reflects Chad Neff, General Manager at American RV.

Starting with a bare-bones van, they put in 200 hours of work and 50,000 dollars in renovations, eventually creating two consultation rooms inside, complete with exam beds and cabinets for supplies.

The team at American RV was also able to install sinks, water tanks and a generator for electricity and air conditioning.

"I can't explain how exciting this is," Johnson says. "This is going to be more than the Haitian doctors even expected."

Neff adds, "It's just humbling knowing the lives were going to save. It really brings it all back to reality."

The mobile medical center is nearly finished and will be shipped off to Haiti at the end of April.

Calvary Christian Reformed Church needs your help to keep the center running well into the future. They're hoping for donations to cover the cost of gas and medical supplies.

For more information on how you can donate, visit the Calvary CRC website at or the American RV website at

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