From my Haiti Journal, dated Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This morning I decided to put on my new clothes. I’m guarding my heart and mind against disappointment, yet I believe we will go home today.
Alex came by today with a note saying he is sure we will go home this week. He seems to think even today for most of us, maybe. We hear that the prosecutor has recommended that we not be released until further investigation can be done on Laura and Charisa. The day unfolds very slowly. Much like every day, only much slower. Even lunch came later than usual. Usually it comes in no later than 2PM, but today it came around 3PM. The fact that it came at all begins to establish that disappointment I am at war with.
Around 1:30PM the US Embassy showed up to begin talking to us about our return home in the event we are released. Silas and I visited with Cathy and about five other people about possible travel plans. They want to know what our plans are to get home. As encouraging as this visit was, I have no idea what kind of travel plans I have to get home. We no longer have texting ability with our families, so I don’t know what to do here but to do what God has clearly been teaching me to do, trust in Him. The visit was encouraging in that it seems more likely we are to be released soon.
Close to 4:15PM, the lawyers begin to show up and gather in the hallway. Then I noticed Alex. I don’t know how he does it? Then I saw Junior in the hallway.
Alex looked to me and gives me his patented smile and hard blinks of his eyes, then gives me a thumbs up. I know that this is good. I praise God for this breakthrough and then Alex just walked into the jailer’s office and up to the barred window we have spoken through many times and says “Today, your freedom has come!”
He is then immediately ushered out by the police as they grab him by the arms. But not without several glances back to make sure that we heard him. Then in the hallway; Junior, with a grin from ear to ear, points to heaven and mouths the words “Praise to God.”
From this point we are cleared to go, all charges dropped on eight to be released today. We are then told that the people from the Oprah show want us to seek refuge at their place. We quickly say we would rather go the the US Embassy. Aviol has wanted us to go with Oprah from the first day we met him, adding to my unrest with him.
The US Embassy met with us at the jail about the possibility of getting on a military flight tonight to Miami. We are all in agreement that this is best. The military is still flying emergency flights and they have eight empty seats, a provision from God.
We are to leave Haiti tonight at 8PM on a US Air Force cargo flight. I can’t shake the faces of the men in the cell we have just spent three weeks with. They all make eye contact and give firm hand shakes. Even though we have had our things stolen from time to time when we go to court, we have become very close. God please bring freedom to these men soon.
We make several attempts to allow Charisa to be released so she can get medical assistance in the States by letting one of us stay in her place. This was very hard to be refused to do so. Any one of the eight being released were willing to stay in her place.
The walk through the media zoo was as if it were in slow motion. Alex, true to form comes from the midst of the crowd, then Junior and Florance with a hug and a kiss on my cheek.
What has caused this kind of brotherly and sisterly affection? We are virtually strangers. It can only be the blood of the Lamb. We make our way into the US Embassy van and are escourted to the entrance to the Port-au-Prince airport, just less than 1/2 mile from where we have been for the past 19 days. We have heard these planes coming and going every day for the past three weeks. This time we are to be on one.
The media gets nothing from us and Oprah gets even less.
While at the airport we all get phones to call family. We put the battery back into the phone that NBC gave us to use as well.
I was able to speak to David for a moment and Renee’s dad. I will look forward to my call to my parents when I arrive in Miami.
The flight was packed with brave men and women of the US military causing me to think a lot about David. There are many civilians with the look of despair and joy. The flight was uncomfortable, but most pleasant! I will strive for the remainder of my life to never complain of this flight, ever!
Today, your freedom has come.