July 7, 2018
By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
A missions team from First Baptist Church, Russellville, is stuck in Haiti right now, safe but unable to leave because of violent protests in the country.
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, calling for President Jovenel Moïse to pull back the gas hikes or resign.
In the midst of the unrest, U.S. officials instructed tourists and missions workers to shelter in place.
Other teams including a youth group from Faith Community Church in Trussville are also stranded in the Caribbean nation. A post on First, Russellville’s Facebook page Saturday evening said their team had reported the protests were dying down and they were beginning to look at exit options. But they “are still thinking it might be mid week before they will be able to get a flight,” the post said. “Everyone is still safe and doing well. No cell signal, but they do have the [satellite] phone and will keep us updated that way.”
Before the protests kicked up, the team from First, Russellville, had reported having an “incredible week,” doing Vacation Bible School for more than 250 children in poverty, providing them and their families with food and sharing the gospel.
A team from Calvary Baptist Church, Russellville, was supposed to leave for Haiti on July 8 but its trip was postponed because of the violence.