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Local missionaries hunker down in Haiti

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:00 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A faith-based organization in Lansing, Soaring Unlimited, currently has missionaries working in Haiti. Right now, they’re doing what they can to stay safe while continuing their service there.

The organization’s executive director, Rev. Dr. Laura Alexander Elliot, spoke to News 10 directly from Haiti.

“I have actually been sheltering in place for the last few days,” she said.

Unable to disclose her location, Elliott is hunkered down as she waits for things to smooth over with the gang-related kidnappings.

She’s there with some others involved in the organization Soaring Unlimited. They’ve been helping provide everything from medical care to education for the Haitian people.

While her care runs deep for them, her biggest concern is being the cause of a conflict for her native friends.

Elliott said, “If for some reason people were to target me because I’m a missionary and because they can tell I’m not from here, I certainly don’t want to put my very special Haitian friends that I care about in any kind of harm’s way.”

Thomas Hanna from Eaton Rapids is a missionary with Soaring Unlimited.

“Sometimes we cannot travel on the street because the protesters are out there,” Hanna said.

He’s been going back and forth from the island for years, helping with operations and construction of a hospital. He says, unfortunately, kidnappings in Haiti aren’t all that unusual.

“Kidnappings have been occurring, but not on that scale,” Hanah said. “We don’t want to encourage this stuff to repeat. We try to be as invisible as possible.”

Dr. Elliot says some schools have shut down for safety but, other than that, she hasn’t been aware of any violent activity in her area over the past few days. Despite the governmental collapse, gang-related activity and violent protests, she says she’s dedicated to the Haitian people.

“We’re devoted to Haiti,” She said. “We know that it’s been challenging for people to be here in recent times, but we’re not going anywhere. We’ve been in Haiti for over 25 years and we intend to continue to work with the wonderful people here and continue to make a difference in their lives.”

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