From Chapter One of Just Go!
A Line in the Sand
The bone-jarring roads steadily worsened until they were like dry riverbeds, potholed and strewn with rocks the size of soccer balls. Steve maneuvered his big, Isuzu truck around or over obstacles, creeping along at five miles per hour to keep from blowing a tire. The women—Joyce, Delores, our North Carolina friend, Judy, Steve’s wife, and myself, Carol—rotated in pairs, riding in the back of the truck or in the cab with Steve. Either place dealt torturous blows to our bodies. We joked about riding a bucking bronco and when dust boiled around us, we covered our cameras and tied bandanas over our faces like bandits.
Tired, dirty, hungry, sore and irritable, we arrived in the town of Gonaives as the sun set. Riding along with us were Demese and Luke, two Christian, Haitian men who work for Steve. Steve stopped alongside the street and kept the motor idling while Demese purchased chicken and rice dinners packed in Styrofoam boxes.
With that “fast food” I felt like we had truly reached civilization. Little did I know that in the days to come, this would be the end of anything remotely familiar.
The dinners filled the truck cab with a heavenly aroma. Steve assured us we would arrive at ‘Motel 6’ in thirty minutes or so where we could enjoy our feast.
An hour and a half later we reminded him of his promise. “Oh I forgot to tell you how long our trip would take in Haitian time,” he said with a grin.
The soft twilight vanished and nighttime dropped around us like a velvet curtain. In the countryside, electricity is virtually non-existent and our headlights seemed like pinpoints in the thick blackness.
Suddenly, Steve turned off the dirt road and pulled between two tin-roofed, cinderblock buildings. Joyce and I were amazed how he knew they were sitting there in the dark. No signs announced we had entered the village of La Pierre, no writings over the school or church doors. No steeple or cross rose skyward.
Demese and Luke chocked the back tires. We had stopped for the night in an ocean-side village where the people lived in thatch-roofed, mud huts.
With flashlights we made our way into the church building, a one-room structure with a concrete floor. The pastor had told Steve we could camp here on our way to the remote, northwest mountains. Sitting on rough-hewn benches, we ate our supper by flashlights, not waiting for Steve to string up a bulb hooked to the battery he always carried with him. After dinner, flashlights in hand again, the women trekked up a rocky path to the school’s outhouse, for which we were grateful. Standing outside waiting my turn, I listened to the soft bleating of goats on the hillsides.
But later that night, another sound would not be so comforting.
Joyce and I had come to Haiti to learn firsthand about Judy and Steve Revis’ well-drilling ministry. We wanted to understand, not only the difficulties they had faced in their twenty-five year missionary journey, but also the obstacles they continued to overcome.
Tonight would prove to be a bonus as we witnessed the devil’s influence over the Haitian people. Our eyes would be opened to an impending darkness we had never seen before. The devil was indeed like a wild beast stalking the souls of men. As Christians we knew this; tonight we would bear witness.