The Social Conscience of a Missionary

It's a long way from LoDo to Haiti, but Dan Jeune wants to bridge the gap. With friendship.

A few days after returning home, Dan and Stephanie lend a hand to Terrance at a toy drive he's organized. Almost 400 families show up, a good crowd of more than 1,000 people. There are a few tiffs over petty stuff like jumping in line, but after his time in Haiti — after seeing how the rest of the world defines poverty — coping in his own hood seems easy. "When you are in the city and they cut off the electricity at night, it felt like prison," Terrance says. "We had to be locked in. The whole island is a prison, and people have to try to escape it. People are there starving, violent things happen, and people can't take care of themselves or police themselves, like prison. Going to bed hungry at night is like prison. If there's a riot or a political situation, everything goes into lockdown, like prison."

For so many people still in that prison, Dan is living a dream life. He escaped Haiti. But he can't let it go.

That's what friends are for: Terrance Roberts (left), Traci Grilley, Dan and Stephanie Jeune, Merlie Walters Meis and Lee Ramirez in Denver a few days before departure.
Mark Manger
That's what friends are for: Terrance Roberts (left), Traci Grilley, Dan and Stephanie Jeune, Merlie Walters Meis and Lee Ramirez in Denver a few days before departure.
Like father, like son: Dan and Joel Jeune at the guest house in Haiti.
Like father, like son: Dan and Joel Jeune at the guest house in Haiti.

"I hope I'm not naive or too ambitious," he says, "but I think great things can be done if people put their heads together. If twenty people give 10 percent, you're doing way more than any great man can accomplish in one lifetime. My dream has always been to help people and make a difference, and I think we are going to do it. We're so strong with this group, with this team, and that's what I've always wanted."

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