Paul Thompson considers it a beautiful thing to reflect on the days he and nine other Baptists were detained in a filthy Haitian jail, falsely accused of trafficking the orphans they were trying to help.
“They were difficult and perplexing and complex days, but God ordained them,” Thompson, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, told Baptist Press four years after the ordeal. “It’s easy to see that, especially as I read back through my journal entries from those days.”
Thompson has compiled a 60-page journal of his time in Haiti, recording times when he wept with his face to the wall and times when he rejoiced over God’s provision.
The group of volunteers from two Idaho churches traveled to Haiti in January 2010 to rescue orphans from the earthquake-ravaged country and move them to safety in the Dominican Republic. Shockingly, they were charged with child kidnapping instead.
Eight of the volunteers, including Thompson, were released after 19 days. Another team member was allowed to leave after 37 days, and the final volunteer was held more than 100 days.
Among the good that God brought from those bad days was the establishment of New Horizon, a ministry supported by Eastside Baptist Church that houses, feeds and educates 20 girls in Port-au-Prince. It was during the volunteer group’s detention that they met a Haitian named Alex, who now serves as director of the ministry.
“That connection with Alex was clearly the providential hand of God,” Thompson said.
Because of the spiritual need in the community where the ministry houses the girls, Eastside has planted its first international church plant, New Horizon Baptist Church.
“Spinning out of our engagement there for the last four years, since the arrest days, they’ve been days of unfolding for church planting, caring for orphans, being a witness for the Gospel there in Port-au-Prince,” Thompson told BP.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press