Staff members at HPIC were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Rev. Tina Simpson Leslie, program partner for more than a decade with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission Canada.
“Tina was so loved by the people in St-Louis du Nord,” remembers Helen Crawley, HPIC’s Director of NGO Programs, who had travelled with Tina to Haiti. Together they visited the hospital where Tina used to minister and which receives shipments of essential medicines from HPIC. “She was so invested in this mission and her work touched many lives and hearts.”
Tina was pastor along with her husband, Bev, at Mississauga Christian Church. Tina’s husband had been battling cancer and passed away on March 1. A day later Tina passed away suddenly from meningitis.
Tina made many special connections to the people served at the mission hospital, such as a 10-year-old boy who came in with a younger boy who was four years old. In a report to HPIC, Tina said that they found out that the older boy had adopted the younger one. “We asked where they lived and he told us that his family was dead, and he and the patient slept under an abandoned truck,” she wrote in her report. The boys were taken into care by the mission, which also runs an orphanage, school and feeding program.
Tina, a minister, explained that the population served by the mission are very poor. There are no schools and 80 per cent of the population cannot read. “Skilled physicians train people to help them, change bandages and help in hundreds of ways,” she wrote. “I stand in awe of the highly skilled men and women who are willing to go at their own expense to bring comfort and healing to the poor and suffering and the courageous people willing to go and help them.”
“Tina, we at HPIC were in awe of you,” says Glen Shepherd, President of HPIC. “You were a woman of deep faith who had a lot of courage and devoted a great part of your life to serving the least of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We extend our deepest sympathy to Tina’s children and family and to her church family in Mississauga and especially to all those in Haiti who are very much missing their special friend from Canada.”
HPIC looks forward to continuing to work with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.