Pastor: Missionaries Died 'Living Their Faith'

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A West Michigan pastor says at least three of four people killed when a sport utility vehicle slid down a steep hill in Haiti had served on multiple missions to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Father John Vallier says Mary LaPonsie and Jim and Rita Cwengros were long-time members of the Parish of the Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids.

LaPonsie, the Cwengros and Matt Kutsche died Friday. They were part of a medical team traveling in five vehicles to a parish in Seguin, south of Port-Au-Prince.

Police in Haiti say their vehicle crashed through a barrier when its brakes failed.

Vallier says LaPonsie and the Cwengros had been on at least 15 missions to Seguin. He described them as "dynamic, active people ... living their faith as best they could."

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