SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - Merle West had been to Haiti dozens of times aspart of the Free Methodist Church's mission work. He landed thereagain on Tuesday. An hour later, the earthquake hit.
He and fellow missionary, Gene Duford, from their home church in Cliohaven't been heard from since.
Both men were supposed to report to the hospital or the churchmission house, but both buildings were devastated in the quake.
Family members believe West and Duford died. A
Anxious family members waited by the phone, including Kristina Diekema. West is her sister-in-law'suncle.
"We get reports he was either at the hospital or the missionhouse. But either way, they were completely devastated," she said."All I could think is he's under that building, and if he's alive,he's waiting. He's waiting for us to come and find him. And wecan't."
Diekema told 24 Hour News 8 West helped build the hospital in Port-Au-Prince that collapsed in thequake. "He helped so much," she said, "and to think that someonewho helped as much as he did is gone, it feels like a huge piece ofthis world is missing now."
But she said West's devotion to God and man is helping her cope."It gives us comfort, it gives us the idea that if he did this, weneed to pick up his work. We need to do it as well."
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