Update regarding Haiti…
Most people who follow BGM are aware of the unrest that has taken place in Haiti over the last couple of weeks. The protesters are demanding that the President of Haiti resign. At the time of this writing, the President has refused to resign. Also at the time of this writing, the protestors have refused to back down. They are protesting by marching through the streets, setting up barricades, blocking traffic, throwing rocks, and other acts of civil unrest.
This past Tuesday, February 12, we brought all of our missionaries home along with the one mission team that we had in Haiti. All of our American staff members are now safe in the U.S. This includes Tony West (Mickie was already in the States), Abby Winstead, Rachel Charpie, and Christelle Nilsen (our new missionary at the orphanage).
Many people have inquired about upcoming mission trips. Here is our answer: we will always err on the side of caution. We will not allow a team to go to Haiti under current conditions. The problem is not in the three areas where we work. We work in rural areas that are usually unaffected by the protests. The areas that are most affected by the protests are Port-au-Prince and the surrounding cities. If we could fly directly to the rural areas where we work, then we could continue with little change. However, the airport is in Port-au-Prince and we must navigate through parts of the city in order to get to the highway that takes us to the rural areas where we work.
So, we are currently in a wait-and-see mode regarding our trips. Of course, the trips that are scheduled in two weeks have been cancelled. The trips scheduled for the middle of March are still on the books. If we had to make a decision today, we would cancel those trips. However, we do not have to make that decision today. Instead, we can make that decision as we get closer. But again, we will ALWAYS err on the side of caution regarding our trips.
Staying the Course
Haiti is a difficult place in which to minister. That’s why many people quit. Many go home, never to return. But God has not called us to work in only the wealthy places, the comfortable places, or the easy places. He has called us to go into the poor places, the dysfunctional places, and the hard places. As one missionary said, “Jesus did not call us to retreat from the world’s pain, but to enter it.”
When the current crisis ends, and it will, we will be needed in Haiti more than ever. Our friends will need our partnership – friends in Galette Chambon like St. Virge and Marie, Vladimir, Frantz, Odlin, Moliere, Bicly, and Johnny. Our friends in Thoman like Pastor Mathurin, Kenterson, Blaise, Yvens, and Sonday will need to know that we have not abandoned them. Our 15 employees and the starving children at the Malnutrition Center will need to know that we still care, we still love them, and we will still be there for them.
No, this is not the time to quit. This is the time to pray, to encourage, to support. This is the time to let our friends, via social media and other ways, know that we will not abandon them simply because times are hard.
How to Help
Many people have asked how to help during this challenging time. The first way to help is to pray. You can pray for peace. You can pray for wisdom for government officials and those involved in the protests. You can pray for the missionaries of organizations who have been unable to get out of Haiti. You can pray for BGM, asking God to provide the wisdom and insight and resources to continue the work to which He has called us.
In addition to praying, one of the best ways to help is to join our new Circle of Hope. The Circle of Hope will enable us to be ready to jump back into the fray and be a light in a very dark place, whether teams are going or not. The Circle of Hope allows us to remain as strong as ever and to be ready to go full steam ahead when the doors reopen. You can learn more about the Circle of Hope HERE and you can join HERE.
Thank you so much for your love for Haiti and the wonderful people we have worked with all these years. Your prayers, love, and support are vital to the transforming work to which God has called us.