I wanted to take a moment and share a wonderful answer to prayer. Living on the border provides us an opportunity to serve both Dominican and Haitian communities. One of the communities where we support a church and school is technically in Haiti. I say technically, because it borders a lake, that previously was located completely within the Haitian border; however, as the lake has flooded over the years, the lake now extends into the Dominican Republic and has effectively cut a section of land off from the rest of Haiti. The only way to access this area by land from Haiti is by first crossing into the Dominican Republic; otherwise, the only access to this community is by rowboats. For a long time we have had no problem by following a dirt road out of Jimaní into this are of Haiti; however, in January the Dominican Border Guards established a checkpoint limiting access along this road. Since January we have been working to cross easily into this community once again. I have been knocking on doors and making phone calls to resolve this issue non-stop since January both locally and in Santo Domingo.
After speaking with Immigration officials, Customs officials, Border Patrol officials, and even Dominican Department of State officials, I was getting no where. I remembered meeting the US embassy’s military attache a few months back, but I knew that he had left the Dominican Republic. I decided to go ahead and e-mail him to see if he still had any connections with in the Dominican Republic. He replied within a matter of minutes that he was in Columbia, but he forwarded my e-mail to his replacement who had taken up the position only a few weeks ago. And, just a few hours later, I got an e-mail from his replacement saying that he was in route to Jimaní and asked if we could meet the next day. WOW! So, the next day I was able to meet the US Embassy’s new Military Attache, he was very interested in helping resolve our issues, and made calls to both Border Patrol and Immigration. He toured the facility in Jimaní, and was excited about coming back and putting me in contact with medical missionary friends of his, oh did I mention he is a Christian, with a strong desire to serve in missions, but feels God led him to serve God’s Kingdom through his position in the US Army, making him one of the few missionaries I’ve seen carrying a gun!
Well, the next day I was headed to Santo Domingo to pick up paperwork on one of our vehicles at the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Haitian Relations, and I only needed to pick up paperwork from the secretary, but asked if I could step in and say hello to a Dominican State Department employee that had helped me with the paperwork. We said hello, and he asked how the border crossing issue was going (he was one of the countless people I had talked to) and I told him we still couldn’t access the community. He asked me to wait a minute and then invited me into an office. The office of the Dominican Ambassador in charge of Haitian Relations. I was able to explain our situation, and the Ambassador knew exactly the area I was talking about. He picked up the phone and tried to call the Dominican General in charge of Border Patrol, but couldn’t get through. He told me he would keep trying. Later that afternoon, I got a message from the US Military Attache and he said that he had talked with the Dominican General in charge of Border Patrol and that he had been told we would be getting permission to get across.
After returning to Jimaní and speaking with the Colonel in charge of the Jimaní Border Patrol he had not heard from the General, but would stay in contact. After a week, of no word I called the Ambassador back, and he said that he would be in Jimaní for a meeting that the General would be attending, and that they would work it out, and that the Ambassador would meet me in Jimaní. I got a call in the afternoon of the meeting that the Ambassador had to return to Santo Domingo, but we would be in touch on Monday.
Later that evening I got a call from the Border Patrol Colonel, and he asked me if I could meet the General in one hour. Yes Sir I can.
So, I met the General where he was staying in Jimaní, and after a short discussion he said that he would grant permission for us to access that community and continue our work there! Praise the Lord. Then I spent the next three hours having dinner at the General’s invitation at a table, where I think, I was the only unarmed person and definitely the only one not in camouflage.
So, last week I was able to deliver 60 gallons of drinking water to the school and three suitcases of shoes we have been trying to get over there since June.
We are so thankful to God’s answered prayers, and continue to pray that we will find favor with the officials we have to be in contact with in all the various facets of our ministry here.