Editor’s Ink -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 21:2 (Spring 2007)
Article: Editor’s Ink
Author: Anonymous

Editor’s Ink

Like many churches, ours on Boston’s North Shore is invested in a mission in a developing country. In our case, we support a school in Haiti. The vision belonged to one of my students in the first class I taught for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (its Boston Campus) some fifteen years ago. Joseph is himself a Haitian with a burden for a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince. It had an infant mortality rate of more than 80 percent, since the people had to depend on a river for everything—drinking, washing, etc.

The village was basically a wide place in the road. Joe became the minister of evangelism in our church and one day shared his vision. Providentially, my wife, the Rev. Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer, was a community organizer before she became a New Testament professor and used those skills to pull together an organization for the ministry. Partnering a board Joe selected in Haiti with one we recruited in the U.S., we began to network and ended up sinking a well (which instantly cut down the infant mortality rate drastically), building a road, and establishing a church and a school for the town. The school today has close to one hundred students—most of them orphans. For many, the meal they receive at the school is the only certain food they receive each day.

Three years ago, Joe discovered that one of the more important men in the village was raping one of the little schoolgirls. He was fifty-eight; she was eleven. Joe went to the police and to the court and informed them about what was going on. Then he confronted the man and offered to have the ministry subsidize his family while the man served time in jail for his crime. The village elder chose instead to enlist the police and judge on his side and lay plans to murder both Joe and the child. At one point, he organized a mob to accuse Joe of trying to kidnap him. Joe was saved from harm only by the intervention of a university professor who, driving through town, was stopped by the mob scene and intervened, rescuing Joe by telling everyone that he had done more for this village than anyone else. Joseph put the girl into hiding and, for the next several years, she moved from place to place around the area. The judge demanded she remain nearby to prove she was not lying (though he had the full report of the examination—of her blood and physical damage as evidence). The ploy was to keep her available to be killed.

As the trial date was continually postponed and different family members of the man kept trying to track down the girl, it became evident to everyone that justice would never be served, and we needed immediately to relocate her. We moved her to the north and, this past Christmas, over the border to a new home in the Dominican Republic. Tod...

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