AUSTIN — An Austin church congregation is hoping to hear something soon from two of their own who were on a mission trip in Haiti when the massive earthquake struck earlier this week.
At choir practice Wednesday night, University Presbyterian Church members prayed together and sang for John and Suzi Parker, who were in the country working with missionary medical teams.
They were in a seaside village very close to the epicenter of the earthquake. No one has been able to get in touch with them.
Janet Chapman has been friends with the Parkers for years. she used to sing in the choir with Suzi.
"We're very concerned," she said. "We would like to be reassured that they're okay, but no one we know has been able to make direct contact with them."
"We're afraid they might be in an area of greatest impact," Chapman added. "Based on what I've seen, they've described this area as being near the epicenter."
Chapman said it was somewhat reassuring that the Parkers were stationed in an area without high-rise buildings. "We're hopeful they're in an area where there wouldn't be the extent of injuries that there are in the city," she said.
Chapman said this is the second time the Parkers have spent time helping the people of Haiti. They spent all of 2003 and have been in the region since September of last year. She described the Parkers as "energetic and giving people."
"They work tirelessly with volunteer groups here at our church and within the city of Austin, with the greatest concern for their fellow man," she said.
The Parkers run a guest house that hosts various medical teams from across the country. They cook for them, help schedule their clinics and help them pack.
"It's like camping out in the tropics, in extreme heat, without regular utilities, without water on a good day," Chapman said. "On a good day they only have electricity for a few hours."
The Parkers' daughter, who lives in Austin, has also been unable to make contact with them.