July 10, 2018
Two church vans are currently bringing the 14-member missions team from First Baptist Church, Russellville, home. They landed in the Atlanta airport about 5:45 p.m. Central Time.
The team from Faith Community Church, Trussville, made it to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last night and then flew home today. Teams from Tennessee, Georgia and Louisiana also have been working to get home. There were a total of about 200 Southern Baptist missions team members stuck in Haiti over the weekend and through today.
Airlines began canceling flights to the capital city of Port-au-Prince on July 7 as civil unrest escalated over a government-ordered spike in gas prices. At least three people have died as angry crowds have attacked luxury hotels and businesses owned by high-profile Haitians. The protests have continued even after President Jovenel Moïse rolled back the gas hikes.
In the midst of the unrest, U.S. officials instructed tourists and missions workers to shelter in place.
Missionaries, orphanage ministry leaders and others in Haiti worked hard to keep the youth groups and their chaperones safe, well fed and well informed.
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said, “We are thankful to the Lord for answering the prayers of Alabama Baptists for this team’s safe return to the U.S. Our prayers continue for other missions teams that are still in Haiti.
“We are also grateful that the gospel message shared in Haiti has borne fruit for the Kingdom in the lives of many who accepted Christ through the efforts of missions teams working alongside Haitian Christians,” Lance said.
Earlier today, one of the First, Russellville, team members Anna Beth Mitchell shared on her Facebook page about the news coverage of the teams not able to return home from Haiti: “While these statements are not false, the attention is being drawn to the wrong thing. This is not about us or any of the other missions teams here with us. The main reason many Americans have heard of the events in this country is that friends and family are stuck in it. This is not a new thing. This is not the first time this has happened to the people of Haiti. Attention hasn’t been brought to the other times because we were not a part of it so the media had less to say. Haiti is in need of more than a good news heading to catch the attention of those back home. They need our prayers. Genuine prayers. Prayers that go further than just God getting us out.”