Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle landed in “hell” this week where he witnessed a teenage boy shot in the head and a girl sold to an older man. He was in the collapsed city of Port-au-Prince where rubble from former buildings and streets piled with corpses give the impression of an aftermath of a war zone.
Driscoll, along with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago-area, landed in the capital of Haiti on Monday to assess the situation and needs of Haitian churches and to deliver 1,000 pounds of relief supplies.
On his first day on the ground, Driscoll said he heard a gunshot behind him and when he turn to look he saw a teenage boy immediately killed by a shot to the head. The teenage boy was just a few feet away from a seminary property and next to a makeshift clinic where thousands of people slept outside, Driscoll reported on his Facebook page.
In an interview with USA Today on Tuesday when he returned to America, Driscoll said the boy was murdered “for no apparent reason. He was just shot in the head and left in the street.”
Fears of violence, looting, and chaos in the aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince last Tuesday grew when relief supplies, including food and clean water, could not meet the immediate needs of quake victims.
But the fears somewhat eased Wednesday when U.S. troops provided security for water and food aid deliveries.
In addition to concerns of unrest due to shortage in relief supplies, aid agencies are also concerned about the some 4,000 criminals that escaped from prisons after the earthquake struck.
“It gets too dangerous,” said Remi Rollin, a private security guard hired by a shopkeeper to prevent looting, to CBS News. “After sunset, police shoot on sight.”
There are about 12,000 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Haiti, and the U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed this week to temporarily add 2,000 U.N. troops and 1,500 police to the 9,000-member peacekeeping force in Haiti.
Besides being troubled by the security situation, Driscoll also confronted an incident he believed to be part of the sex trade in Haiti’s capital amid the wreckage.
“If u want a phone, cigarettes or a teenage girl you can get them here in Port au Prince,” Driscoll tweeted. “Like the American who said he’s on a relief mission and bought a hungry girl despite our confrontation.”
The pastor elaborated in the USA Today interview that a man pushing a cart while selling cell phones, cigarettes “and a few young girls” asked Driscoll, “You want to buy loving?”
Another man, who claimed to be a translator for a relief agency, negotiated with the seller on a price for a young girl.
“I (Driscoll) asked him what he was trying to do,” the American pastor recalled. “He said, ‘Oh, she’s a friend of mine. We’re just trying to connect.’
“That’s ridiculous. A young girl. A man 20 or 30 years older. I told him this was unacceptable. MacDonald confronted him, too. But there were no police and you could argue all you wanted but the girl took his money and they walked away.”
Driscoll plans to report the American man, and submit his photo, to the relief agency he supposedly works for, according to USA Today.
MacDonald and Driscoll are part of a new effort called Churches Helping Churches, which led them to travel to Haiti this week. The initiative seeks to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches affected by disasters. Many times churches provide social services – such as health care, humanitarian aid and education – to the local communities, so rebuilding local churches would help address the communities’ practical as well as spiritual needs.
On the Web: http://churcheshelpingchurches.com