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Haiti protests prevent travel, but ministry persists

Haiti (MNN) — Google the word “Haiti” right now, and you’ll see pictures of protests and burning cars. Haitians in the streets of Port-au-Prince are angry about corruption and poverty. Is the whole country up-in-arms?

For Haiti With Love’s Eva DeHart says “no.”

“Up north, it’s pretty much back to life as normal because Cap Haitian is more on the ‘survival’ level,” she says.

“Life is tough, and… they don’t want to make it tougher.”

How protests affect ministry

Even though Cap Haitian – For Haiti With Love’s location – lies approximately 150 miles north of Port-au-Prince, unrest in the capital city still affects ministry there. For example, riots in March caused For Haiti With Love to lose the help of two short-term medical teams coming from the U.S.

A short-term medical team serves in For Haiti’s clinic in 2018.
(Photo courtesy of For Haiti With Love via Facebook)

“You get flexible when you’re hurting in the mission field, and particularly in Haiti,” DeHart explains. “You just take a deep breath and say, ‘It isn’t going to happen that way, so what do we do next?’”

The answer for DeHart and her in-country staff is ‘carry on’ in whatever capacity they can. Help lighten the burden with a financial gift here.

“Our burn clinic is still very active; we still have a limited program. We provide homes for [the] homeless whenever we have the funding.”

Every interaction provides an opportunity to share the Gospel in word and deed. This often means ministering to the parents of a burned child, DeHart says. “You pray with them… and then you treat the child, and you try to talk to them (the parents) about safety,” she explains.

“Of the burn patients that we had last month, 44 of them were under five.”

Why so many burns?

Burns are an ongoing problem in northern Haiti. Due to poverty and a widespread lack of infrastructure, people cook their meals over open fires in ground pits. These pits often lack covers, making it easy for young children to toddle into danger.

As described here on For Haiti’s website, “Accidents happen, and where there are a lot of people and a lot of open fires, there are a lot of burns.”

A full plate of warm food is a rarity for kids in northern Haiti.
(Photo courtesy of For Haiti With Love via Facebook)

Food scarcity makes the problem worse. Warm meals – or any meals – are not available on a daily basis. So, DeHart explains, “when [children] get the opportunity to eat and the food is on the table cooling, they’re too hungry to wait for it. They reach up and grab things off the table that end up coming down and burning them,” explains DeHart.

“[Then], they’re at a burn clinic instead of having lunch.”

What’s next?

It looks as though protests and burns will be continuous challenges in beleaguered Haiti. Pray for peace in Port-au-Prince, and pray short-term mission teams will be able to fulfill their commitments. Pray also for donors to continue supporting For Haiti With Love so it can keep providing physical and spiritual care through its medical clinic.

Click here to support For Haiti With Love.

“We just really need their support, and we need God’s support in keeping things calm so that we can do His work to the best of our abilities.”

Header image depicts fires set in the streets during Haiti’s 2018 riots.  Photo courtesy of For Haiti With Love.

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