DELRAY BEACH, FL – Haiti has been plagued for years by extreme poverty and natural disasters. In fact, the natives of Hispaniola were “virtually wiped out” by Spanish settlers within 25 years of Columbus’ arrival. Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere even before the massive earthquake of 2010 in which some 200,000 people died. According to Prayercast, “Slightly over half the population is illiterate . . . (and) two-thirds are unemployed.” It is understandable that the country has been reeling with political turmoil. That turmoil has made it difficult for some church and FBO-sponsored mission teams to work in the country. (See “US Missionaries Stuck in Haiti”)
Spiritually, many of the people are in bondage to voodoo. The conflict and despair are visible evidence of the demonic forces operating within the republic.
It was into that turmoil that several missionaries from Living Water Ministries went earlier this year. They were carrying supplies for a community center they have been helping to build. Although the team had been to the site hundreds of time, they had never encountered any dangers or threats.
Everything changed during their visit in April.
Several hours outside of Port-au-Prince, the team’s first vehicle encountered a roadblock of burning tires and debris. One team member recalled,
“The truck was just totally swarmed with men with guns and weapons. And they were pounding on the windows trying to break all the windows to get in.”
In the melee of confusion that followed, the blockaders pulled the driver from the vehicle and began confiscating the passengers’ cell phones. As tensions rose, the group’s second vehicle halted short of the rapidly deteriorating situation but drew gunfire as they attempted to turn away.
Meanwhile, shots were fired into the first vehicle, wounding Dr. Doug Burbella twice in the neck. He was bleeding profusely from what were potentially fatal wounds.
Suddenly, something strange happened. Another team member, Drew Pasler, explained that “A man on a motorcycle just kind of pulled out of nowhere in front of me. And he looked at me and said, ‘it’s okay, it’s going to be okay,’ in perfect English.”
The biker spoke calmly,
“Just kind of a regular talking voice. He said something in Creole, two to three words, and everybody around us that had the guns just kind of stopped.”
“The whole demeanor of the crowd just stood back. I don’t know what they saw, but they stepped back, and the tension was gone.”
So was the motorcyclist.
The abductors returned the cell phones and released the mission team. Dr. Burbella lapsed into unconsciousness as the team desperately drove 45 minutes to the nearest medical facility. They transferred him to Port-au-Prince where a medivac jet carried him to Ft. Lauderdale from where he was moved to the Delray Medical Center.
Surgeons found one large-caliber rifle round lodged in his jaw and another in a vertebra, both of which they were able to remove. Dr. Burbella continues to recover.
Once again, we witness the mighty hand of God at work—in the healing with which He has blessed Dr. Burbella and in the miracle of the motorcyclist. Whoever that man was, he was sent from God.
To read more news on Haiti on Missions Box, go here.