Written on 9-26-21
I listened as I was told story after story of what’s been happening in just the last 72 hours….
Haiti is a “level 4 DO NOT TRAVEL” country and has been for a long time. In the past it’s been due to road blocks and riots, robberies and protests. But now it’s kidnappings. Though the others still are happening often, kidnapping is increasing rapidly in so many areas. Haitian, American, French, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or the color of your skin the gangs are kidnapping people for ransom left and right. Young and old. Locals and foreigners.
It’s exhausting mentally and emotionally to watch it play out.
I’ve been told not to go to the grocery store in the city any time soon. I haven’t been in over a month. I’ve been warned not to go renew my residence permit yet. Not to go pick up my mail. Not to go into the city at all for the time being.
It’s exhausting because we all hear about the kidnappings, see the faces of the victims and then just wait to see if they make it. If ransom is paid. It’s tiring because your friends that are Haitian know so much more about the situation than you do and they say to forget the cheese and the milk and the selection of flavored chips that can’t be bought where we live. Eat a Haitian diet with whatever food can be found in your own little town. Rice and rice and more rice.
Out here it’s relatively calm. We’ve had very little to no gas or diesel for months, making parts of doing ministry really hard, but for the most part the big issues are all in the city.
It’s mentally crippling because the girls are stuck here. They can’t escape with me if I were to want to leave or made to leave. My employees who are the sweetest, most caring people don’t deserve the consequences that affect the country as a whole because of the actions of some. I heard my nanny tell one of my girls the other day that wanted a snack I buy for them but can only be found in the city “we have to eat what’s made and put on the table each day. It’s about filling our stomach these days not about satisfying our stomach. Food is expensive.”
BUT we’re not giving up on hope in Haiti. There’s too much good still here. Still visible. So many beautiful people who deserve the best of what the world can offer. So many Haitians pressing on, serving their community, loving the Lord their God amidst so much danger. Innocent people who just want to live a life and not be afraid of sending their child to school.
I’ve dealt with my own fair share of trauma out here but I truly can’t imagine what the mamas are going through in the “hot zones” where kidnapping is a daily occurrence.
We need prayers. So many prayers. On your knees begging to the Lord for safety, for security, for peace and mostly for change. Change needs to come. It can’t continue on like this. It’s not fair. Divine intervention is needed. So pray like you’ve never prayed before. Please. For the victims, for the families, for the men, women, and children having to watch it all take place. For the gangs. For the innocent lives. For the ministries. For the government. Just please pray.
If you know a missionary in Haiti reach out to them, pray for them, encourage them, send a care package or just a little money so they can go to the beach to relax. I think we’re all exhausted over here and yet still willing to press on. It’s a fierce battle some days. The future is so unknown and the present is so messy. But the sun rises and the sun sets and Jesus is still King and always will be…and that’s enough to get us through the hard days.
Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. These people and their country are worth it.
The devil might be winning the battle but we already know who wins the war.
——- Since writing this blog but before posting it here, an article came out by the Washington Post on October 9th 2021. Here is some of what it says:
(The last quote is from a lady who sells eggs on the side of the road. Her son was kidnapped and her words are truer than true.)
“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Four days after the August earthquake that devastated the south of Haiti, Walkens Alexandre, a physician, was traveling to treat victims at a hospital when a motorcycle blocked his white Ford Ranger. Two men hopped off, pulled guns, commandeered his truck and hauled him to the outskirts of the capital.
He was held for three days while the kidnappers negotiated by phone with his family. He’d be set free for 30 times his monthly salary. Loved ones pleaded with relatives and friends to contribute to the ransom.
“Now I’m traumatized, fearful of people, and reminded of this every time someone slams a door, or I hear a motorcycle,” said Alexandre, 43. “We don’t feel safe in Haiti. There is always panic, always fear.”
“The most troubled nation in the hemisphere is now being held hostage by a surge in kidnappings.”
“Haiti now holds the tragic title of highest per capita kidnapping rate on Earth. Recorded kidnappings so far this year have spiked sixfold over the same period last year, as criminals nab doctors on their way to work, preachers delivering sermons, entire busloads of people in transit — even police on patrol. So great is the surge that this year, Port-au-Prince is posting more kidnappings in absolute terms than vastly larger Bogotá, Mexico City and São Paulo combined, according to the consulting firm Control Risks.”
“During the first six months of the year, there were at least 395 kidnappings, more than four times the 88 during the same period last year, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince. After the assassination in July of President Jovenel Moïse — abductions dropped briefly, before surging to 73 in August and to 117 in September, according to the center.”
“Haiti is confronting a convergence of crises: political instability, a collapse of the rule of law, the spread of violent gangs, shortages of food and fuel, and massive need in the earthquake-hit south.”
“The recent wave includes the kidnappings of two senior bank executives, raids of evangelical churches, the nabbing of nearly 20 doctors and the seizures of fuel trucks and their drivers.”
“Locals and foreigners alike are living in fear. The heads of several foreign companies told The Washington Post that the kidnapping wave led them to reassign staffers to remote work in other Caribbean countries, Europe or the United States. Other firms are leaving Haiti altogether.”
“Every time you leave your door in Port-au-Prince, it’s like a game of Russian roulette,” said one European executive”
“Most people who can afford it and have visas have sent their family away, or moved outside the country,”
“In September, a preacher was killed and his wife kidnapped in front of a church in Port-au-Prince. On Sunday, kidnappers wearing Haitian National Police uniforms snatched a pastor and two worshipers from a church in the troubled Delmas 29 neighborhood.”
“David Turnier, president of the National Association of Petroleum Product Distributors, said seven fuel trucks were hijacked and their drivers held for ransom during just the first week of October. He said gas stations across the country have witnessed a 60 percent drop in fuel stocks.”
“We are lost,” she said. “Our only hope for change is God.”
Pray for Haiti and it’s people.
“But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore- the LORD above is mightier than these!”
Full article can be read at https://archive.is/wasn9
*photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP Sept. 27.
—-And since that article, we found out that 16 Americans and 1 Canadians were kidnapped and are still hostages being held for ransom since Saturday October 16th.
“I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”