Church missionaries react to kidnapping in Haiti
TRENT WOODS, N.C. (WITN) - For Tom Gingrich, mission trips to Haiti were fueled by his faith.
“I’ve always felt called by God to go, and just help other people,” Gingrich said.
He and other members of the Garber United Methodist Church in Trent Woods have been to Haiti on multiple occasions.
However, their most recent trip back in March of 2020 took a turn.
“We got to Fort Lauderdale waiting for our connecting flight to Port-au-Prince when we received notification from the church that the threat level from the state department was raised from a level three to the highest level, which is a level four.”
According to the U.S. Embassy on Haiti’s website, a travel advisory level four means “do not travel due to crime and civil unrest.”
“We made the decision which we thought was the wisest decision which was to cancel and return back to New Bern,” Gingrich said.
Travel to Haiti is currently a level four as 17 missionaries were kidnapped by a Haitian gang over the weekend.
“It is dangerous and can be overwhelmingly unsettling when you first get there,” said former Haiti missionary Mary Coleman.
Coleman said she has been to Haiti a total of three times, and her groups equip themselves with the words of Mother Teresa before going to serve.
“The way she gave her life for the less fortunate. So, we do a lot of reading and studies about that.”
Coleman said they also have conversations with others about what to expect and how to act.
Both Gingrich and Coleman anticipate they won’t be headed down to help anytime soon, but they do sympathize with the taken.
“Having been there, we have a pretty good idea, you can put yourself in their shoes and kind of live what they’re living through,” said Gingrich.
In the meantime, Gingrich is relying on the power of prayer to get them through. “I mean really the only thing we can do at this point is to pray and we have a very powerful God who is capable of very powerful things.”
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