Diaspora

Updated: Hutchinson missionaries trapped in Haiti now home – Crow River Media

Please purchase a subscription to read our premium content. If you have a subscription, please log in or sign up for an account on our website to continue.
Please log in, or sign up for a new account to continue reading.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Welcome! We hope that you enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! On your next view you will be asked to log in to your subscriber account or create an account and subscribepurchase a subscription to continue reading.
Thank you for reading! On your next view you will be asked to log in to your subscriber account or create an account and subscribepurchase a subscription to continue reading.
Thank you for signing in! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Thank you for reading! We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
Checking back? Since you viewed this item previously you can read it again.
Cloudy with occasional rain during the afternoon. High 53F. Winds ESE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch..
Rain. Low 37F. SSE winds shifting to NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Updated: November 10, 2021 @ 6:34 am
A team of Hutchinson missionaries from Peace Lutheran Church were safe inside Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti. But on the horizon they could see black smoke dimming the sunrise as a result of protest fires in Port-au-Prince.
From the orphanage rooftop, Hutchinson missionaries saw smoke from protest fires in Haiti last week.
The Faith Lutheran Church mission team thought it may have to spend another day stuck in Haiti, but a Delta station manager called in a larger plane and escorted everyone to it. Pictured are, front row, Rebecca Messner, Alyson Carrigan, Elizabeth Wheatley, Abigail Reiter, Scarlett Talberg, Trevor Hanson; back row, Justin Rostad, the Delta station manager and Kelli Reiter. Not pictured are Erika Durheim and Teri Friauf.
Hutchinson missionaries Erika Durheim (far left) and Elle Wheatley (far right) joined some of the boys in a water balloon fight. Between them are Emmanuel, Sammy, Lavinski and Osama, while others played in the background.
Rebecca Messner helped kids at the orphanage dye shirts. “They have never done that before and they loved it,” she said.

A team of Hutchinson missionaries from Peace Lutheran Church were safe inside Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti. But on the horizon they could see black smoke dimming the sunrise as a result of protest fires in Port-au-Prince.
From the orphanage rooftop, Hutchinson missionaries saw smoke from protest fires in Haiti last week.
The Faith Lutheran Church mission team thought it may have to spend another day stuck in Haiti, but a Delta station manager called in a larger plane and escorted everyone to it. Pictured are, front row, Rebecca Messner, Alyson Carrigan, Elizabeth Wheatley, Abigail Reiter, Scarlett Talberg, Trevor Hanson; back row, Justin Rostad, the Delta station manager and Kelli Reiter. Not pictured are Erika Durheim and Teri Friauf.
Hutchinson missionaries Erika Durheim (far left) and Elle Wheatley (far right) joined some of the boys in a water balloon fight. Between them are Emmanuel, Sammy, Lavinski and Osama, while others played in the background.
Rebecca Messner helped kids at the orphanage dye shirts. “They have never done that before and they loved it,” she said.
A team of Hutchinson missionaries is home after riots trapped its members three extra days in a Haitian orphanage for boys.
The 10 Peace Lutheran Church missionaries, including four adults and six students, left June 30 with the Praying Pelican Mission Group to volunteer at Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti. The plan was to fly out Saturday, July 7. Among the group was Rebecca Messner.
“We do a worship service on the roof every night at 7:30 p.m.,” Rebecca said. “We were told Friday there were riots going on and other protests going on.”
She said the news their flight would be canceled was devastating, as the missionaries were eager to be home.
“But we were overjoyed with the kids there,” Rebecca said. “And the staff was amazing and got us food, and we had water the whole time.”
Good Shepherd Orphanage serves as the home base for Praying Pelican’s missions.
“It’s a very secure compound with multiple buildings,” said Erika Durheim, director of youth ministry at Peace Lutheran Church. “They have a large staff and many children who stay there.”
Praying Pelican’s staff includes American and Haitian citizens. They were able to use their contacts to stay up-to-date with what was happening around the country, bring extra food, reschedule flights, and arrange vehicles when they were needed.
“Rebecca called us Friday night at midnight, and said, ‘Mom, we’re not coming home, we cannot leave,’” said Anita Messner, Rebecca’s mother. “‘There is rioting going on. There are people burning tires in the streets. We can see the smoke.’”
Haitian news agencies report the violence was incited by an increase in the nation’s gasoline prices, with the hike ranging from 38 to 51 percent. Rebecca said the group felt safe at the orphanage, but was worried about the two-hour, 45-mile drive to the airport in Port-au-Prince.
The missionaries had a conversation about riots and protests, Rebecca said, and how they’re nothing new in the world, and happen in Minnesota as well. But it always feels far away.
“We got a bit more frantic call from her Saturday afternoon saying, ‘It’s worse, Mom. People are dying in the streets,’” Anita said. “‘We don’t know how we will come home or when we will come home.’”
Because Rebecca did not have consistent cell phone service, most information her parents received came from others on the trip.
Haitian deaths were reported Friday and Sunday, but it is unclear if all were related to the unrest. Reports included vandalism and looting. CNN reported 120 Americans were trapped in a Port-au-Prince hotel. A group of missionaries that attempted to leave Saturday found road blocks constructed with burning tires and demands of payment, and decided to turn back.
“It made it real seeing the black smoke,” Rebecca said. “That was all going on, and we couldn’t leave. I wasn’t scared, just homesick. I wanted to come home.”
Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced a temporary stop to the price increases Saturday. Hoping the announcement would calm tensions, another plan to depart was made.
“The country is 50 percent Christian. There is a tradition that protests die down during church worship service Sunday morning,” Durheim said. “It was our hope to get to the airport then.”
So Sunday morning the team packed its bags and waited by the bus as a police escort searched for a route into Port-au-Prince. The police couldn’t even get 10 minutes into the city, and the plan was called off.
“That was very much a day of anxiety, not knowing when we could get home,” Durheim said. “We had supplies. It was the not knowing that was very stressful, not only for those on the trip, but for families back home.”
Meanwhile, in Hutchinson, church congregations and community members eagerly awaited good news.
“Because Hutchinson Area Youth Ministries are so strong, and so supportive of each other, when I sent a message to the group, instantly every church the HAY ministers go to was praying for us,” Durheim said. “They were getting updates all along. Families back home were reaching out to people. We felt so covered in prayer.”
By Monday, staff at the embassy, Rep. Collin Peterson’s office and Rep. Amy Klobuchar’s office were looking for a solution. In the meantime, the advice was to stay put and stay safe.
As they waited for a chance to depart, the missionaries continued to work in Good Shepherd Orphanage.
“We were never worried they weren’t safe where they were,” Anita said. “And the kids weren’t ready for them to leave, anyway.”
“We played a lot of cards and hung out with the boys,” Rebecca said. “We made bracelets, prayed we would be home soon, played basketball and soccer. … The kids really enjoyed our presence and didn’t want us to leave, so we spent a lot of time hugging them and giving them attention.”
Another mission group from Missouri had arrived, and since the Hutchinson group had already completed its Vacation Bible School ministry, its members joined in with the new activities.
“We also helped with their feeding program,” Durheim said.
The orphanage opens its gates to feed neighborhood children. Many of the missionaries were familiar with the food packs, as their preparation is a common volunteer endeavor in the United States with organizations such as Feed My Starving Children.
“It was kind of fun to see where those packs end up, and how they serve,” Durheim said.
A plan was made to try and leave Wednesday. Seats on a flight were available if the missionaries could make it to the airport. But an update came sooner.
“(Tuesday) we were sent a message that said, ‘We are going to attempt to leave at noon to drive into the city. We have a hotel room. We are going to try and get to the airport and stand by if possible,’” Anita said.
The plan was to make the journey, try to get on a flight, and if that failed, head to a hotel near the airport where rooms had been reserved. The Hutchinson missionaries realized the attempt was going to be a serious one when other missionaries told them about the bus driver.
“They called in the best bus driver they had, Advar,” Durheim said. “We were told he was a ‘badass’ bus driver, and that he could drive anywhere.”
“We saw concrete blocks on the side of the road, and remains of burned tires,” Rebecca said. “But there weren’t a lot of people out, and it was really quiet. The drive only took 45 minutes. That tells you people were just not out and about. We did see gang members sitting around, but we weren’t stopped. We got there just fine.”
Anita received word the mission team would try the journey around noon.
“I was dreading them leaving the compound,” Anita said. “I was worried about how frightened they probably were. Being a parent who couldn’t help, all we could do was ask for lots and lots of prayers, and that’s what we did. The Praying Pelican people worked very hard to keep them safe. The journey was the hardest part.”
Based on the usual travel time, Anita expected to receive news at 2:30 p.m.
“At 1:30 (p.m.), I received a FaceTime call from Rebecca,” Anita said. “She said, ‘Mom, we are at the airport, we are at the airport!’”
The Hutchinson missionaries asked for passage on any flight out of the country, but were told the only plane available had three seats. The team made plans to head to a nearby hotel, but was chased down by a Delta manager who told them a bigger plane was being prepared. They were all going to get out of the country “now.” In addition to worries about the riots escalating again, there were concerns about a storm. The United States government is advising travelers not to go to Haiti.
The Delta manager escorted the missionaries through airport security and walked everyone onto the tarmac and directly to the plane. The plane took off around 2:43 p.m., central time. When the news made it back to Hutchinson, it was announced at the Tuesday night church league baseball game to a chorus of cheers.
Only a few hours later, Rebecca and the rest of the missionaries had their feet on American soil at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, waiting for their next flight. They later landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport around 11 p.m., and were home late that night.
“We were lucky to come home, and they have to live in that unrest,” Durheim said. “We didn’t eyewitness the unrest, but we were eyewitnesses to the beauty of the Haitian people.”
Rebecca said she wanted to “give my mom and dad a hug, and my sisters, and then go to bed” the moment she made it home.
“Right now in the airport what I want to do is eat American food,” she said in Atlanta. “They had really good food there, but after 10 days eating it, it gets tiring.”
Anita couldn’t wait to have her daughter home, but she had a good idea of what she would hear from Rebecca.
“I’m quite certain some of the first words I hear out of her mouth are going to be ‘I’m going back, Mom,’” Anita said.
“That is totally right,” Rebecca said. “Haiti is a beautiful country and the people are amazing. This one thing doesn’t explain Haiti at all, or show how the rest of the country is. They are amazing, they work so hard, they don’t depend on Americans. They work hard for their country, and to raise money for their families. It was inspiring to be there, and I’m definitely going back.”
“It made it real seeing the black smoke. That was all going on, and we couldn’t leave. I wasn’t scared, just homesick. I wanted to come home.”
— Rebecca Messner, missionary
“Haiti is a beautiful country and the people are amazing. This one thing doesn’t explain Haiti at all, or show how the rest of the country is. They are amazing, they work so hard.”
— Rebecca Mesner, missionary
This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use the site, you accept our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

source

What's your reaction?

Excited
1
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
1
Silly
0

You may also like

More in:Diaspora

Comments are closed.