04 March 2012

Without Ceasing: Jacmel

This is part of an ongoing series called "Without Ceasing," which describes what I'm praying about. For the "rest of the story," see this post. 

When the two adorable people pictured below came to visit, we took them to Jacmel, a seaside town popular with tourists. (Well, really, they took us. Details.)

Notice how the water sparkles? Turns out a lot of people like that. I don't recommend the public beach, which was not so sparkly. Dad asked if we could go find gloves and trash bags and do a beach clean up. I said no. It was my first time in Jacmel, so we decided to walk around.

And as it happened, we wandered into an art gallery...but it's probably not like any art gallery you've been into lately. I had noticed some statues on the street that looked like they were influenced by voodoo, but this was way beyond "influenced."

There were still candles smoldering from their last ceremony. There were symbols drawn in red on the cement floor. The artwork could only be described as "dark." I turned to my parents. "We can stay if you want." We didn't. It was my first first-hand experience with Jacmel's reputation as a center for voodoo in Haiti, but I still enjoyed it there.

Then in November, I started to get emails: "I need to cancel my groups coming to Jacmel...and how fast can you get me out of here?" There had been break-in's. Several. Targeting missionaries. These were not your run-of-the-mill criminals, either. These guys were heavily armed, organized, and not deterred easily. One missionary was shot in the leg. Another barricaded himself in the bedroom with his family, only to have them shoot through the door. And the $250 he came up with to buy them off fell far short of what they expected. Thankfully, the police showed up in the nick of time.

The short story is that a lot of people left. A few have come back, but some haven't. Work teams are just starting up again. This little town was hit hard by the earthquake and while it's fairly developed, there's still a lot of work to be done.

Here's how I'm praying:

*Peace and healing for the long-term missionaries. Stuff like this can get in your head, if you let it.
*Courage for the short-term missionaries, that they'll come anyway, firm in their faith.
*Encouragement and help for the ministries that are short-staffed and trying to fill the gaps.
*Justice for the gang perpetrating these crimes.
*We're hoping to start a regular flight (with cheaper seats) to Jacmel soon. I pray it'll be a blessing.

Thanks for praying with me.

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