Last night Chris and I went to bed around 9 pm only to be woken up about 45 minutes later to banging and yelling at the gate. Someone had lit fire to the front of the van which was parked up against our fence. The mission doesn’t have a wall around it, just barbed wire fences. On that particular section of fence we have put up “tres kokoye” or woven palm fronds for some privacy between us and the neighbors. Last night someone built a small fire, about the size of a dinner plate, on the other side of the fence where it would catch the tres kokoye, and in turn the van.
We’re incredibly grateful that our neighbor’s guard just happened to be walking by and saw it when he did. Jan Filip, our guard, and Chris and the other guard were able to put it out and the damage is extensive, but repairable. It basically melted all the plastic on the front end of the van, which was quite a lot, burned up the paint, broke the front window and melted a part of the dash, and one small piece of floor mat. The motor is under the front seat so that will be fine, but we’ll have hoses and what not to replace. Once we’re finished with the legalities of the situation Chris will have the van towed to the dealership in Port so they can go over it thoroughly and order everything that needs to be replaced. It’ll be expensive, but not as expensive as replacing an entire vehicle and it could have been so much worse so we’re grateful.
Last night we thought we had an idea about who the culprit was, but this morning when we went out to look at the van in daylight and talk to our workers as they arrived I found two large pieces of paper in the yard with all sorts of threats written on them. We now know from the content that it’s a group of young men from the community that are unhappy for various reasons. We even have an idea of who it may be given past events over the years, but have no confirmation.
We contacted the justice of the peace last night to let him know what’s going on. He came and started writing up the necessary paperwork to get the ball rolling. He started the paper work to get everything moving. Chris went with Jean to St. Marc to the police station. After they left I got on the phone to a friend of ours that works with the UN. She provided me with contacts in St. Marc which I was able to pass on to Chris, but she also got on the phone and got the ball rolling from her end. About another hour later I got a call from the local UN reps telling me that they wanted to come by to check things out. When they got here they did a thorough look around, took pictures and asked me all about the events. They were back and forth on the phone with the guy that Chris was with in St. Marc and eventually decided they wanted to take Olivia and I to St. Marc to be with Chris because they were wanting to move forward with their operation as they called it.
When we got to St. Marc Chris filled me in on events. At one point the police chief for the whole Artibonite came into the police station and was looking through our file and when he found out that the police in St. Marc hadn’t taken proper measures with Michel he called them and reamed them out, then told Chris this was going to be a priority case for the police in the region. The UN have said the same thing and with their push the police won’t be able to let it drop. It was very encouraging to get so much support. They have a plan, we just have to wait for it to unfold. We were driven home in an unmarked police truck with two plain clothes detectives. Talk about things I never thought I would experience here.
As you can imagine our family is feeling like we’ve been rung through the wringer and I sense the same from our staff. Last night as Chris was dealing with the aftermath I sat on the couch and just started praying and crying. I talked to God about my anger with all of it, let him know my fears and asked why all this has been happening. Chris and I have been talking over the last several days about everything and we believe that we and the mission are under spiritual attack. I don’t like to give Satan any more credit than he’s due, but there is definitely a battle going on here. I do believe that he has the ability to work through others to cause us pain. For the last three years the mission has been gaining momentum and God has just been blessing it. Our funding has increased and our support base has become more consistent. Going into this year we knew it was time to consider expansion and put the word out that we were looking for people to help with that.
What we haven’t shared is that we have a prospective couple that are planning on visiting in the near future to see if it’s a good fit for them and the mission. For anyone considering bringing a family into this safety is of concern. Over the events of the recent months and weeks Chris and I have found ourselves repeatedly wondering what they would be thinking and feeling through all of the things we’ve shared with them (we believe in being honest and upfront so they can make an informed decision). It became clear to me last night that if Satan wanted to gain any leverage with slowing down the work of the mission and discouraging us it would be this one particular thing – to make us feel vulnerable and to discourage this couple from considering the possibility of being here.
Chris and I know that this is not a battle we can fight on our own. It’s one that were asking you to join us in. Please be praying for us and with us. We need an army on our side.
That’s all I have right now. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone that you know might be interested in praying for us and the people here as well. The bigger the army, the faster the fight.