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Jacksonville missionary stays in Haiti to help as Hurricane Matthew hits

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

A Jacksonville mother left Haiti ahead of Hurricane Matthew with her 11-month old baby, but her husband stayed behind with the nearly 30 other kids in their orphanage and several employees.

Jessica and Matthew Bush moved to Haiti from Jacksonville in 2014 for their nonprofit, All Things New.

And ahead of Hurricane Matthew, Jessica and their baby, Sophie, flew back to the states.

"He says, 'It's a big ol' slumber party,'" Jessica Bush said.

While Action News Jax reporter Danielle Avitable was at their home, Matthew called from Haiti.

He said the weather has been bad there with strong winds and heavy rain.

"It felt like the tin roof on part of our house was going to come right off, but luckily it stayed," Matthew said.

Although he hasn’t left his house yet, Matthew said he heard a city close by was hit hard.

"A lot of the houses washed away and there's 200-300 people waist-deep in water trying to figure out where to go," Matthew said. 

Throughout the storm, Jessica said there has been constant communication between them.

“I'm shocked we are still talking. That's been a huge, huge blessing. I was terrified of the thought not knowing if they were OK," Jessica said.

Jessica said she plans on staying in Jacksonville for the next couple of months for fundraising, but wishes she was back in Haiti.

"There will be a lot of rebuilding to be done. Rebuilding on things that haven't been rebuilt since the [2010] earthquake most likely," Jessica said. 

Matthew said the only damage the hurricane caused to their house was that a PVC pipe burst.

If you’re interested in donating to their nonprofit, visit their website at allthingsneworphanage.com.  


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