Written By Mike Phillips, Missionary to Haiti
As I look back over the four mission trips I have taken to Haiti, there are many stories to tell. Stories such as a witch-doctor grabbing my arm, or having a shot-gun pointed at me, or seeing a tarantula in my bedroom. These are just a few of the stories I remember from our trips to Mountain Faith Mission in Haiti. My favorite one of all time is story about a little church in the middle of nowhere and the man who protected me.
On one such trip to Haiti, it had been decided by Pastor Turner our mission team would travel to Mirabalais. We would park the vehicle in Mirabalais and then travel on foot about 45-minutes to a church in Balumette. The purpose of the trip was to dedicate this new church to the Lord. After walking for about 45-minutes in the hot and humid climate of Haiti, the mission team sat in the front of the church as Kenneth Akers stood and spoke a message of dedication to the Lord for this church.
About half-way through the service it came a torrential down-pour. The rain was hitting the tin roof of the church so loud we could not even hear Kenneth’s words. Realizing the weather was continuing to get worse and knowing we had a long walk back to Mirabalais, Pastor Turner decided it was time to leave the church in the rain and head down the trail before it got dark. Pastor Turner, the Haitians from Saut d’eau who accompanied us and the rest of the team headed quickly down the trail to get back to the dry warm vehicle awaiting us. However, myself and another member of the team, Ray Farris, remained and spoke to an older gentleman and his wife as they spoke of their hardships of living in Haiti.
After speaking to them for about 10-minutes we realized we needed to get going due to the weather and the sun setting quickly. As we started moving down the trail we noticed a Haitian walking alongside us as we moved quickly. Ray and I did not recognize the Haitian and asked him if he was from Mirabalais. His next words will forever be etched in my mind as I think of the heart-felt servant’s attitude. He looked at Ray and I said in broken English, “I am from the church and live here. But I will walk back with you to make sure you get back safely and don’t get lost.” He then added, “I will be your protector.” Ray wasn’t concerned at all, but a rush of overwhelming relief came over me like never before. We had no clue where we were and could barely see in front of us due to the rain and darkness. The terrain was also very unpredictable and mountainous in areas. With the addition of the rain and the trail washing out; it was considerable work to maintain balance to keep from falling on the rocks.
As we arrived back in Mirabalais there was a river we needed to be crossed. By now the river was extremely high and flowing at a fast pace. As we came to the river the last boat was just leaving and so we would have to wait for the boat to go across the river and come back. Ray and I looked at each and decided to swim for it. We were already wet so we thought why not? The Haitian quickly talked us out of it by telling us a story about several Haitians who died trying to cross the river during a similar flood as few years back. We patiently waited, crossed the river, and eventually met up with our team up the hill. We thanked the Haitian for staying with us. He nonchalantly turned around and headed back to the river to start his trek back to his little town of Balumette. Not only had this Haitian protected us down the trail, he also could have saved our lives. I will never forget this trip and the man God sent to protect me.
As I look back on this trip to Balumette, I can’t help but think of this unknown Haitian was willing to walk in the pouring rain to make sure I was protected. It also reminds me of my daily protector, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who daily walks with me and protects me.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.