On Monday morning, November 13, there was a shoot out between the Haitian National Police and the Grand Ravine Gang on the campus that houses STEP Seminary and Maranatha School. I arrived on the campus during the shooting and I was there on campus from 8:45 AM until about 11:45 AM. Just before noon the President of STEP Seminary shut all classes down and directed us to leave the campus. Unfortunately, about seven innocent students, faculty, and staff from the Maranatha school were killed. It was determined that some of the Haitian National Police were responsible for the massacre of these innocent civilians.
This was an unsettling experience. I struggled with what happened and how it happened and why it happened. There was no way to really make sense of it all. I know that STEP Seminary is in a very dangerous area. I know that it is in a drug and crime infested area. I know the most wealthy and most weaponized gang in all Haiti lives next door to STEP Seminary. I know that many in the government. as in all countries, can be corrupt. I know that even those in the police department can be corrupt. I fear for the students and I fear for myself. I know that some Haitians see Americans as the enemy or as an easy target for robbery or kidnapping. During the month of December, I wrestled with whether it was wise for me to go back down to serve at STEP Seminary.
Is there danger? Yes. There is danger everywhere… but especially in a third-world country. I keep remembering a quote I head when I was a teen-age camper at East Iowa Bible Camp: “The safest place in the world is the center of God’s will.” God clearly called me to this ministry. I was reminded of a quote from missionary C. T. Studd: “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell!” Perhaps God wants me to serve at an outpost on the gates of hell. God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble! I want to give a shout out to Him! He is my Provider and my Protector! The Lord is my Shepherd!
After much prayer and fasting by Sharon and me, much searching of the Scripture, and much seeking of counsel, we have determined that God wants me to continue to serve as a professor and mentor at STEP Seminary! Motivated by the love of Christ, energized by the power of the Spirit, and seeking to glorify God, I am willing to be an instrument of Christ in teaching Haitian leaders and in transforming Haitian lives! I am desperately dependent upon the Lord and I am desperately dependent upon your financial support and your prayer support! Thank you for partnering with me. God will recognize, remember, and reward you for the eternal impact of this ministry (Hebrews 6:10)!
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