On the way to the office this morning, I was listening to the news on NPR. A Red Cross spokesperson was clarifying the difficulty of fully deploying necessary resources into Haiti until the situation is adequately assessed. One problem, according to the report, was the usability of the roads into Port Au Prince from across the border in the Dominican Republic.
That report just verified what we were hearing from Pastor Manolo, the Executive Secretary of the Dominican Baptist Convention and Missionary Barry Burnett. Manolo was en route to Santo Domingo, the DR capital to meet with their national Baptist leaders tomorrow. He requested prayer for that meeting.
Manolo explained to us today that the border between the nations has remained sealed -- at least as far as travel from Haiti into the DR. In addition to the recently heated relations they have experienced, the Dominican has been concerned about a massive flight of Haitian refugees across the border. That concern led to a total closure when it was discovered that the prison in Port Au Prince has collapsed and the inmates have fled. It will be most natural for them to attempt to hide in the DR.
At least two of our DR Haitian pastors -- dear friends named Wilmer and Patricio -- have the full papers to travel back and forth. They are waiting for the border to open so they can cross into Haiti and assess how to best help the churches and ministries there. They asked today that we keep them in prayer. They also said, "Tranquilo!" In other words, be at peace and wait for God to open it up.
One caveat: we really don't know that much about the needs of the poor, at least not from experience. With gasoline in the DR at over $5 (U.S.) per gallon, Wilmer and Patricio didn't know where they could get the $100 this trip will cost them. They pastor churches, working very hard and riding motor scooters. But they don't have $100.
I know it's outlandish. But the average cost for a family of four to attend a Dallas Cowboys game in their new stadium this season was $750.