Haiti

Haiti unrest leaves US missionaries stranded

Trauma Relief in Haiti: A Report, Part 2

Ten days after the earthquake shook Haiti I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a shock and trauma team that had access into Haiti through indigenous and wealthy benefactors. The team consisted of three orthopedic surgeons, an ER doctor, a pediatrician, and several nurses. We worked under the auspices of a respected Haitian surgeon who is one of the pillars of the Leogane society. Though this was not a Christian team, I was offered a role as “chaplain” because of my knowledge of the French language and the need for translation service. A “door of utterance” was opened for me to minister to both Haitians and Americans in the city of Leogane, one of the most dramatically affected cities near the epicenter of the January 12 quake. Over the next few weeks I will share with SI readers snippets from my journal containing my observations and opinions about the situation in Haiti.

Read Part 1.

Day Three (January 24)

Glad I have a tent. I almost left it, but it provides the only tiny private spot I’ll probably have for the next two weeks. It’s pitched on a slope that is quite rocky and I have a hunch that I’ll become quite familiar with the particular rocks under my tent, negotiating with them for a comfortable sleeping position, me doing all the compromising no matter how contorted my body may end up being to adjust to their inflexible intransigence. Reminds me of a lot of mid-level bureaucrats.

It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and we were awakened at 4:30 this morning by a congregation that is meeting just outside the fence. I didn’t recognize any of the tunes except for one old Gospel song, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.” I missed going to church today, but we are too new to the area to even know what is going on so the morning was leisurely spent getting settled in and preparing for a reconnaissance trip with Dr. Charles.

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Trauma Relief in Haiti: A Report, Part 1

Ten days after the earthquake shook Haiti I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a shock and trauma team that had access into Haiti through indigenous and wealthy benefactors. The team consisted of three orthopedic surgeons, an ER doctor, a pediatrician, and several nurses. We worked under the auspices of a respected Haitian surgeon who is one of the pillars of the Leogane society. Though this was not a Christian team, I was offered a role as “chaplain” because of my knowledge of the French language and the need for translation service. A “door of utterance” was opened for me to minister to both Haitians and Americans in the city of Leogane, one of the most dramatically affected cities near the epicenter of the January 12 quake. Over the next few weeks I will share with SI readers snippets from my journal containing my observations and opinions about the situation in Haiti.

Day One (January 22)

Entering into Haiti was a surreal experience. Our forty-five-minute charter flight from the Dominican Republic was extended to about two hours because the Port-au-Prince airport that normally handles about nine flights a day (so I am told) is now trying to handle two hundred flights a day. It was deep into the night when we approached. No one spoke; everyone was lost in thought as we gazed out the window of our twin engine plane. Looking down on the city of a couple million souls, one could see very few lights. A black hole of suffering, I thought. And that was before we got here.

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Those Baptist Missionaries

NickOfTime

The press is full of reports about Baptist missionaries who have been arrested in Haiti. They are accused of—and, as of yesterday, formally charged with—attempting to abduct children illegally into the neighboring Dominican Republic, ostensibly with the purpose of eventually selling the children into adoption. The missionaries have been moved from lodging in a public building and sent to jail. Jail in Haiti. Jail in a Haiti that has been decimated by earthquakes.

I admit that my first reaction when I heard the story was, “Oh, no! Another black mark against Fundamentalists.” As it turns out, however, these missionaries were not from any Fundamentalist group. They were from Southern Baptist churches (albeit mainly from northern Southern Baptist churches). Still, they wear the names Baptist and missionary, and as far as most people are concerned, that has implications enough for the rest of us who are Baptists concerned with missions.

Naturally, the American press is playing up the story, focusing mainly on the two words Baptist and missionaries. To read the reports in the daily papers one would imagine the worst. Baptist missionaries have been arrested. Baptist missionaries were abducting children. Baptist missionaries have been charged and jailed. The natural assumption is that Baptist missionaries must be guilty.

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