Thank for your prayers over the last few days. Things have been quiet at the mission, which is great. We were expecting some sort of issues, but nothing so far.
An update for you…
The guy that was arrested was taken to St. Marc on Saturday. Today there is a hearing before the judge where Chris will have a chance to speak as to why the judge should keep the guy in prison. We are nervous about this as it could go any way. Haiti’s justice system doesn’t make sense, like a lot of things here.
These are our big concerns and things we would love for you to be praying about:
- The arrest madate/warrant apparently has an expiration date. Ours expired a week ago and Chris tried to have them renewed last week, but was told that it wasn’t necessary and that it would still be good. When the guy was brought into St. Marc the police noticed the expiration date and questioned it but our lawyer told them it had been dealt with. This is one of those confusing technicalities and could be a reason that the guy would be let go, even though we tried to renew it. Pray that it’s not a problem.
- Pray that Chris is able to speak clearly and share with the judge the situation as it is.
- Pray the judge will be honest and really desire to see justice work in Haiti. Pray that he will have wisdom to see the truth in this situation and that there will be no doubt as to the lies that will be attempted.
- We are anticipating that the guy will have a lot of friends and family that will be there to heckle in the court room, as is normal. Pray that this won’t sway the judge. We are trying to work it so that I can go with Chris to be there as a support. We are also hoping that a new contact from the UN will be able to be there. He works in the department that is responsible for dealing with the corruption within Haiti’s police force, which in our case is very, very applicable as we’ve recently learned.
These things are hard to write about because as missionaries we want to represent the best of Haiti, but the reality is that Haiti is not all good, it’s people are not all kind, and many of the systems here don’t work. I think it’s better for us to share a realistic view on things and situations as they are, not make them seem rosy when they aren’t.
There were some things that came to light on Saturday after the arrest, things that we had suspected, but had no proof of. On the way to St. Marc, the guy that was arrested attempted to bribe the two police officers that were sitting in the back of the truck with him. He came right out and told them that he could pay them the same way he and the other suspect had paid the police before. He admitted to it! He didn’t realize who he was dealing with and that the arresting officers don’t go for that. This was actually a good thing for us for a couple of reasons. A) It confirmed that the police had in fact been paid off and explained why nothing had been done in the last 4 months or so, and b) confirmed that he and the other guy we suspected were in fact responsible for the arson. If they hadn’t been they would have had no reason to pay off the police. He even told the police in the truck how the had earned the money! We are hoping that this will be factored into the case as proof, but this is Haiti and you never know.
We were also disheartened to find out that the person the arrested guy claimed helped him set up the payment to the police is someone that we had believed to be a good guy. We are hoping that it’s a lie, but there are deep connections there and it wouldn’t surprise us at all. These are the things that are hard in Haiti. You can never really put trust and confidence in people becuase you don’t really know where their loyalties lie. They may lead you to believe that they are on the side of good, but then they can participate in something like this and have a hundred reasons to justify it.
One of the things that we both struggle with here is seeing how much threats and peer pressure affect people and how easily they can be used as manipulation. For example, when the police tried to take the arrested guy to Montrouis, they were met there by a crowd of his friends and neighbors who were hoping that they could pressure the police into letting him go to avoid a big problem. It didn’t work because the police took him to St. Marc. Today Yonese came to work and while we were talking about the arrest with her she told us that many people had been passing by her house yelling at her. Many people in the community are jealous of our workers and accuse them of “siding with the whites”. That jealousy is a driving force. Our workers have told us on many occasions that they have to be so careful of how they respond. In our culture people might say things, but they are often words. Here, people will make threats and cajole you, but they may also follow through. Things like coming and breaking down your house and destroying everything. Beating people. Maybe worse. I know not all Haitian communities are like this, but the one we live in is. It makes me so sad to see this as a basis of how people interact with each other. So very sad.
We are happy that the arrest happened. So happy. But, that said, I don’t think either of us will rest easy until after the hearing today when we have a better idea of where things are at. ANYTHING can happen today, and there’s a good chance that things will not go the way we are hoping. We’re asking that you join us in prayer. Pass this along to anyone you know that will be interested.
I want to share something from a personal perspective. I’ve been really struggling with my attitude towards this whole situation, and just feeling tired. Last week I was really thinking about it and praying about it and one day in particular I felt like God just settled something in me. It was like he was saying, “Leslie, of course you’re tired. Look at the last year. It hasn’t been easy. It has been full of “stuff” that’s taken it’s toll emotionally. It’s okay to be tired.” There have been a lot of things to process over the last year. Some of them haven’t been shared on the blog simply because we weren’t ready. I’m thinking on all of that and want to get there, and think I will be soon. After I came to that realization, that it’s okay to be tired, I felt hopeful. It was almost as though God was saying, “Okay, now you see it. It’s okay. I haven’t left you guys in this, I’m just working things out in the way I know I need to. Keep trusting that. I’ll bring you through it.” And I got a sense that maybe we were going to be moving into a new season. Then Saturday there was some progress made.
I can’t pretend to understand how God works. I know that he does, and even when it feels that there is nothing going on there are things happening in the spiritual realm that would blow my mind. There are some things I can see now that I wouldn’t have seen a week ago. For example, several weeks ago we were given the contact info of the UN guy that I mentioned. We went to meet with him to explain our situation with the arson, as the last UN guy that was working on it had finished his tour of duty in July and gone back to Canada. The new guy told us that he didn’t think he could be much help as he was working in the corruption department, not directly with the police here as the first guy had been. We felt a bit discouraged, but were happy for the contact. When Chris talked to him Saturday and explained what had happened and the news that came to light about the police taking a bribe he told Chris that he wanted to be at the hearing and would try his hardest to be there. This is exactly the kind of thing he is involved in. We’re really hoping he’ll be able to make it because his presence there could be a very good thing.
These are the “God things”. The things I need to trust in. We appreciate your support as we move forward. Thanks for looking forward to the God things with us.