By Will maule
A team of missionaries from a North Carolina Baptist church have finally returned home after finding themselves stranded in Haiti after an explosion of violence and rioting broke out on the streets Friday. The lead pastor of North Albemarle Baptist Church has now confirmed that the group managed to fly out yesterday after being holed up in a compound outside Port-au-Prince for a number of days. “God miraculously provided and our people were able to fly out on Tuesday,” Pastor Brad Lynch told Faithwire July 11.
Protests erupted in response to a sharp increase in gasoline prices, with demonstrators setting fires and barricading major roads across the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Despite Friday being the last night of their trip, a dozen members of NABC were stuck in an orphanage outside the capital over the weekend – their route to the airport blocked off by rioting and general mayhem. “The main concern for our folks is food and clean water, and because of the rioting and violence they’re having some difficulty retrieving those things,” Lynch said, as reported by the Charlotte Observer. “Our team is booked on a flight for 9 a.m. Wednesday, but the concern for us is getting them to the aircraft
The team decided to rebook departing flights for Sunday, but when they prepared to head for the airport, news came in of armed civilians barricading roads and charging illegal tolls to motorists. Traveling through the streets of the capital was simply too dangerous for the group. Lynch said that if the team are stranded until Wednesday of this week, their predicament will become increasingly dangerous – they are running low on food and money. The church has attempted to transfer money to their stricken missionaries, but all attempts to wire funds have been unsuccessful.
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North Albemarle Baptist sends out a missionary team to Haiti four times a year and, due to the orphanage being located outside the dangerous capital city of Port-au-Prince, it is usually fairly safe. But this latest spate of violence, which has resulted in the deaths of at least three people, caught the whole team off guard.
“We just never saw this coming,” said Lynch. “It just completely blew up out of nowhere.”
Though three airlines resumed flights out of the Capital Sunday, the U.S. embassy advised citizens against any travel until the situation had calmed down. “We continue to advise U.S. citizens to shelter in place at this time,” the embassy tweeted.
Another mission team from Cornerstone Covenant Church in Caldwell County managed to travel home Monday morning. “There were a lot of places where the roads were blocked and barricades in place,” one member of the team told the Observer as he waited for his flight. “There were still some blockages around, some areas where people were gathered and trying to make it home.”
One member of the group, Savannah Peek, told WSOC-TV that in a particularly nerve-racking moment, a group of armed men tried to break into the compound in which the group were staying. “We hear a loud knocking,” she said. “We look over and there are 10 men trying to break in.”
She added: “I 100 percent thought I was going to die, and so did my sister and fiance.”
According to the Miami Herald, the demonstrations flared up after the Commerce Ministry and Economic Ministry issued a joint statement announcing a massive 23 percent price rise for gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
Pray for this group as they do everything they can to get home safe
Source : Faithwire.com