Held at gunpoint by the gang

7 automatic weapons were pointed at us as the gang surrounded our vehicle. I thought, this is it. It’s over.  I was going to be taken. 

Here’s what happened on the 30th of December: 

For the past several months with all the issues in Haiti, I’ve been sitting in the back seat instead of the front whenever I leave the house to go into the city or come from the airport to leave the city. Less people can see me in the back so it just feels safer. 

After lots of deep breaths I felt confident I could quickly go to the grocery store to get the basic necessities and then make the trip back to La Limyè. 

Before I even got in the truck and after I was in, I prayed for safety, thanked Him in advance for protection and prayed no traumatic issues would happen on the road because one can only handle so much in a lifetime and I thought I should be about done. 

Once we left the grocery store we passed the round about and headed down that road. When we got to the outskirts of Port au Prince there was a ton of traffic and the 2 lane road immediately became 5 lanes with no oncoming traffic able to pass. My driver did what he did best and weaved in and out of traffic because traffic jams in that area of town sometimes result in robberies at one point of the day or another. He paid off a group of guys that were banging on the windows asking for money and then kept trying to maneuver around the traffic. 

There were police completely suited up with masks on and holding automatic weapons. They were helping direct traffic but of course always ready for whatever else this island will throw their way. 

There was a road right by where the police were directing traffic and up until about 3 years ago we use to always take that road. But over the last few years gang activity has worsened in that area. 

Due to the major gridlock of traffic the police forced us to go down that road to get to the next highway instead of trying to let us sit in traffic for the next street up- the street we always take now to get in and out of the city. 

At the end of that paved road was a group

of young men just sitting on the side of the road. My driver said “they’re apart of the gang, police probably know they’re here too but can’t or won’t do anything about it. Some of the police are involved in the gang too.” 

As soon as we turned off that street and onto the next road we drove up to a young man standing in the middle of the road holding an automatic gun pointed straight at our vehicle. Within 5 seconds my driver stopped the car and 6 more men approached the vehicle on either side of the truck all with automatic guns drawn and pointed at us. 

They told my driver to roll down the window and he did. They demanded him to give them his gun which he told over and over again that he didn’t have one. They said they’d kill him if he doesn’t hand it over. He swore he didn’t have one. They told him to get out of the truck. He put two feet on the ground but then they said to get back in the truck. 

Had he opened the truck door fully, they would have seen me. 

Had the gang member walked about 4 feet closer to the truck he would have seen me through the door. 

Meanwhile, I was in the back seat directly behind the driver seat. 

Had I been in the front seat they would have seen me. 

Had I been in the back seat but on the right hand side instead of the left they would have seen me when the front windows were rolled down. 

Had we gone to the mail room to pick up packages and then piled them high in the truck bed, the chances of them robbing us would of been higher probably. 

Had we not have tinted our windows as dark as they can go last month and got our authorization 2 days prior to this, they would have seen me. 

I put my phone in my pants, hid my passport and my visa, and crunched as low as I could go on the left side of the backseat. The right side of the backseat had all three of my Suitcases stacked up on the seat. 

The men wore normal clothes but had masks covering their faces. Once they were convinced my driver didn’t have a gun they let him get back in the car and let us leave. 

God shut their eyes and forced them to let us go. Gangs usually always ask for guns when they stop people. And if that isn’t an option robbing of money and phones or kidnapping is always next. Only GOD was the reason why they let us go without touching us. I fully believe this. 

Truly a miracle and an answered prayer as I was crunched down shaking and praying and wondering if my worst nightmare was about to come true. 

I don’t know why Gods will is for some to be kidnapped or robbed and others to be invisible and not be taken or touched. I don’t believe it’s a “He saved me and didn’t save the other victims that have had worse outcomes this year” type of answer. I believe His will will be done whether it makes sense in our eyes or not. 

Because we live in a broken world, bad things happen. But God is God and He will work it all out for good. For reasons we’ll never know this side of heaven. There’s a reason for everything and we must just trust that He knows what he’s doing and His plan is greater than ours because He sees the whole picture. Bad things happen, but God is still good. He is still with us and He’ll be glorified by His people no matter the outcome. 

His will be done. 

I was and still am shook up as well as my driver who wondered if his life was about to end but I am so thankful that that really close call was only just a really close call. 

So many other stories I hear involves kidnapping and robbing these days but God for some reason had a different plan for us. 

I don’t know if they had seen an American in the backseat if the story would have changed any. Sometimes being a foreigner changes perspectives for some people. Sometimes it doesn’t. 

3 minutes before this gang encounter was police presence. 3 minutes after was another police presence.  When the checkpoint approached and the officer asked if all was well my driver just said “yes” because what’s the point in telling the police what had just happened. No one trusts anyone. 

I had been texting my sister constantly from the time I left, at the grocery store, and through the trip home because we were already on heightened nerves being in Port Au Prince while things are so sporadic these days. 

I had sent her a picture of a police officer saying “stuck in traffic in the worst part of the journey home, thankfully there’s “police” (may or may not can trust them) but the chance of getting robbed is a lot slimmer with them around. I even said “hope they’re up ahead too”

But they weren’t. Not for that mile stretch. 

I’ve had many nightmares about things like this. I’ve thought a lot about the stories I hear of others going through it and the thoughts of past incidents happening in similar ways to me over the years here are always vivid. 

All that to say, I hate that because I needed a ride I put my drivers life in danger like that. But I’m thankful for the angels that protected us. I am so thankful for God blinding the gangs’ eyes so they couldn’t see me. I’m so thankful they didn’t hurt my driver or rob him or take a shot with 1 of the 7 automatic guns staring down at us. 

We aren’t safe from the world just because we trust in Him. But we can know we are eternally safe. And we can know that He will work everything out according to His will, which is good. Whether we always see it as that or not. 

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up.” 

Isaiah 43:2

My prayer is for every other victim who’s outcome wasn’t as positive as mine. May we continue to seek the Lord and trust Him. He is always with us, even through the deep waters. 


  1. Praise God for His care for you and His work at La Limye Ministries!!!

  2. Praying for you and thanking God for His protection!!!

  3. Oh Ellen....what a horrible experience!! So very thankful for God's protection over you and your driver! May He continue to put and keep a hedge of protection around you, your staff and your precious children.

  4. Praise God for His protection and His mercy and grace over you and your driver. A great reminder of the need snd the power of prayer!!!

  5. Ellen please know that people you have never met are praying for you daily. This is truly a miracle. Thank you for your obedience and service to Him. His blessing is upon you.

  6. Praising God for His protection and continuing to lift up you, the children, and the staff.

  7. We are praying for you. May God continue to keep you, the staff, and the girls safe in His care. I’m so thankful that He is in control and so thankful for your deliverance.


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