Last weekend, fellow co-worker Amy Long and I, had the privilege of hosting all the missionary ladies in our area of les Cayes for a retreat at the RMI Retreat Center in Zanglais. This is a retreat that RMI sponsors annually, but last year had to be cancelled because it was scheduled for the weekend after the earthquake. So it had been over 2 years since the last one.
About 2 months before the retreat, a search for a speaker hadn’t come to fruition and fell in Amy and my hands. We felt confident that, despite the short time frame to find a speaker, God had the speaker already picked out and we needed to be faithful in asking. Through prayer, we decided to just ask one person at a time and wait for their response before turning to the next person on our short list. What I wanted to do was send a mass email and see who responded, but we felt God prompting us to take it one person at a time! The first two we asked quickly said no as they already had other commitments that weekend. We were thankful for quick responses. Then I emailed a good friend and supporter, Terri Robinson, from Absecon, NJ. It took her 4 days or so to respond, but when she did it was a YES! I was personally excited. Rob and I have known Terri and her husband Carl for a long time. She has a huge heart and I knew she would be great for our ladies retreat.
Within a week, she had recruited 2 other ladies, Vicki Sommers and Donna Boyer, to come along and share in the teaching. Terri recruited her ladies Bible study and they all donated funds to cover the materials and goodies they brought along for all the ladies. And wow, did they bring some great things! Each lady left the retreat with a goody bag filled with 2 devotionals, music CD, body lotion, spray and wash, a journal, and other little goodies. We had to charge a small amount for the retreat to cover costs, but we didn’t want anyone to not come because of finances. So my Mom’s Bible study collected money to sponsor 8 ladies to come. We had missionary ladies from the US, Germany, Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, and Guyana.
Here’s a picture of our speakers at the retreat center, left to right: Donna, Terri, Vicki
Terri, Vicki, and Donna had never been to Haiti before. I gave them detailed instructions of what to do and look for at the airport. That day, Benson, who is an RMI staff member, and I left Cayes at 7 AM to start the drive to Port Au Prince to pick them up. Their flight was scheduled to come in at 1:15 PM. Well, I keep learning that in Haiti nothing goes according to (my) plan. It’s why Haitian Christians always end sentences referring to plans with the phrase, si Dye vle, which means, if God wills. ABout 30 minutes into our trip, Benson and I learned that there was a roadblock about halfway to Port. These are called manifestations in Haiti and they are usually a form of political protest. This day, before the sun rose, some individuals decided to force 2 18-wheelers to block the road with their trucks and shoot all the tires out. In Haiti there is only one road to Port au Prince so we sat, not moving, for 4 hours, waiting for UN troops to move the trucks, with some serious equipment, just enough for one lane of vehicles to scoot by. Then when we started moving, we were in quite a bit of traffic for a while.
Meanwhile, Rob had gotten word to the ladies while they were in Miami, that we were stuck in a roadblock and might not get there in time to pick them up. He instructed them to look for the driver we use in PAP, Nadir, to pick them up. Nadir got them a reservation for overnight at a guesthouse in case we could not get thru the road block. Only one problem: when the ladies got outside the airport, Nadir had not yet arrived because he had gotten tied up with another group. God sent the 3 ladies different people to help them; other people who knew Nadir and called him for them. They stayed calm and patient (so they tell me! I know they prayed a lot!) until Nadir arrived. By then we had gotten through the road block but were still 3 hours away because of traffic. Rob talked to them and told them Nadir was going to take them to and leave them at a gas station until we met them! They didn’t know this gas station has tables, food, TV, and a guard with a big rifle! Finally, by 5 PM, Benson and I arrived. We all grabbed food for the trip back to Cayes and arrived home by 9:15 PM. It was quite and adventurous day for all of us!
Here are Terri and Donna waiting at the gas station with their suitcases and the guard with the big gun patrolling outside.
Terri, Donna, and Vicki had great attitudes through all their delays and testified that they really saw God’s hand of protection on them throughout the whole day.
Well, this post is getting too long, so I will post about the actual retreat in Part Two!