People who care about our Haitian brothers and sisters have been watching the news with growing fear in the past few weeks. The current political crisis has been simmering for a long time, and most Americans have stopped traveling there for at least the past 2 years. But recent events have taken a turn for the worse. And there’s no sign of relief on the horizon.
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, Haiti’s problems have multiplied, and gangs have taken over large parts of the country. Kidnappings of foreigners and wealthier Haitians became a source of income for the gangs. Notably, 17 members of an American short-term mission team were kidnapped in October 2021 and held captive for 2 months. Gang activity had been largely confined to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city, but it has spread throughout the country, making travel very risky for everyone. Acting Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry has tried in vain to reestablish stability, and many of the larger gangs are demanding his immediate resignation. G9, a gang led by a former policeman nicknamed “Barbecue,” has cut off access to the main fuel terminals. This, of course, has paralyzed much of the country and has caused the black-market fuel price to skyrocket to around $30 per gallon. Recent reports from Haiti mention the looting of homes and businesses in and around St. Marc, one of the largest cities in Haiti and the geographic center of Project Help’s ministry. In addition to basic security and the loss of property, this causes a lack of food and other items. Even if one has sufficient money to buy from the black market – which is increasingly difficult to obtain – there might not be any food to purchase. As if that weren’t enough, there are reports that the two main cellphone companies are considering closing down. Very soon, Haitians could be faced with NO imported food, NO generated electricity, NO gasoline, and NO communications.
- The Prime Minister yields to the gangs’ demands and resigns. This might cause some relief if opposition forces could cooperate and create an interim government, but until then there would be an even larger power vacuum. Gangs might carve up Haiti even more than now.
- The Prime Minister digs in and tries to outlast the opposition. It’s highly unlikely the gangs are going to dissolve or reach any compromise with the government, so this scenario spells even more misery for the Haitian people.
- An outside country or coalition intervenes to restore order and bring the gangs under control. This has happened many times before as the USA and the UN have both “invaded” Haiti. Many people see this as the best option, but many others insist that the solution must be a Haitian one – not one imposed from outside. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any desire from any country to intervene militarily. Apart from humanitarian relief, there’s no motivation.
Project Help missionaries Mike and Dawn VanDervort returned to the USA at the end of November 2021 and are now retired. Project Help is now led by Pastor Denis Droicin, who serves as Liaison, and Pastor Watson Joseph, who serves as Assistant Liaison. The Project Help Executive Team, headed by Global Reach Director Ben Tobias, works with Denis and Watson in coordinating the ministries of Project Help – particularly the Pierre Payen Clinic and Hospital. (Other ministries include the Physical Therapy/Nursing School, the Sister Church & School program, and pastoral training in conjunction with the Haiti Conference and Winebrenner Theological Seminary.) The medical work employs over 120 people and is faced with severe shortage of supplies and medications. We were told they were going to have to close on Wednesday, Sept. 21 – which we announced on Facebook – but then they were able to procure some diesel for the generator and have remained open with a much-reduced staff. Pastors Denis and Watson are doing their best to coordinate with other leaders to oversee the PHH ministries and property, while at the same time caring for their own families. They ask for our prayers on behalf of PHH and all Haiti. (See map below for locations of CGGC ministries.)
So, what can we in the CGGC do? First, we should acknowledge that the tumultuous situation in Haiti makes it supremely challenging to offer monetary assistance or to even get supplies to the people who need it. As we work with our partners in Haiti and around the U.S., we are evaluating what we can do to be effective in our aid. This means that we are not currently asking for emergency funds. Most importantly, we need to pray. Only the Lord is able to bring real and lasting peace in Haiti.
- Pastors Denis and Watson, that they have wisdom and protection in their leadership
- Sufficient food for all Haitians
- Gangs to lay down their arms and work for Haiti’s good
- Pastors and teachers of churches and schools, to lead their communities during the crisis
- Hospital and clinic staff, to persevere in providing medical help as much as possible
- PHH Executive Team members, to encourage PHH staff and advocate for them
- Coordination of efforts by hundreds of mission organizations
Will you join us in prayer and fasting on behalf of Haiti?
CGGC eNews—Vol. 16, No. 38
Login To Leave Comment