A Reason for Thanksgiving - Revolts, Ignorance and Pencils
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name" (Psalm 100:4NIV). Thanksgiving and praise to God are always appropriate but in the U.S. the month of November especially turns our hearts to words of thanks and praise to our God for His great blessings. Thoughts of thanksgiving lead me to the following account of events in the history of Caribbean Vision Ministries and a special request of you at this time.
On February 5, 2004 a rebel uprising occurred in Gonaives, Haiti, the fourth largest city in Haiti. After taking over and looting that city, along with killing a number of people the rebels marched on Cap Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti. On February 22 they took over control of Cap Haitien, burned the police buildings, killed additional people, looted the port storage warehouses and looted and closed the airport. After a three week rebellion and as the violence spread to the capital city of Port Au Prince President Aristide resigned and fled the country to Bangui, Central African Republic.
The U.S. State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel and family members to leave the country and urged the 20,000 Americans in the country to leave also. All Canadians were asked to leave and all Peace Corp volunteers were ordered out of the country. Most missionaries and many mission organizations left the country as well.
The Interim President requested a UN peace keeping force which soon arrived and remains to this day. On October 15, 2005 additional troops were sent due to the worsening condition in the country. Even though I had heard of all the problems in Haiti, like most Americans, I had not given them due consideration even though I had been working with Haitians in Ft. Lauderdale for four years when the revolt occurred in Haiti. Sometimes ignorance is bliss even when you are seeking God's will for His guidance in ministry. And no one ever accused me of being the sharpest pencil in the box.
For several years the Haitians in Ft. Lauderdale had been urging me to go to Haiti and help them start a ministry there. In January 2005, while many were leaving the country of Haiti, Pastor Elysee Joseph, me and several others journeyed to Haiti to see what God might want us to do by way of ministry there. We soon arrived at the looted airport in Cap Haitien and spent a week of traveling the roads of northern Haiti, visiting churches and Pastors, and spending time in Cap Haitien. In the midst of seeing UN troops & policemen everywhere we traveled and observing the physical and spiritual poverty all around us God spoke to our hearts about helping the people of Haiti.