By Robert Stitt
Roberta Edwards was an American missionary to Haiti. This last Saturday, she was killed by an unknown gunman and a young child, perhaps four-years-old, was abducted from her vehicle. Edwards served at the Estes Church of Christ. The church told authorities that witnesses had told them what happened. A car blocked her path as she was driving through the city. Gunmen emerged from the car and started shooting into her vehicle and killing her. The motives are officially unknown, though child abduction could be an issue.
Edwards ran the SonLight Children’s Home and cared for 20 children directly. She also headed a nutrition center in order to provide food to around 160 children twice each day. A church spokesman said that ““Roberta was a light to those in the community and dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless. She knew that she worked in a dangerous setting, but had committed herself to care for children in Haiti despite these risks.”
Edwards death comes at a tough time for U.S. missionaries in Haiti. Recently, 10 American missionaries were charged with kidnapping. While 10 of them have been released from jail and allowed to go back to their own lodging, two are still in custody. The missionaries, who are from two Baptist churches in Idaho, are accused of attempted trafficking of 33 children when they tried to take them to the Dominican Republic without proper papers. The missionaries say they “were on a humanitarian mission to rescue child quake victims by taking them to a hastily prepared orphanage in the Dominican Republic”
A judge said that those freed would be allowed to leave the country without bail if they agreed to come back to Haiti is they were needed for further questioning.
Part of the problem with the missionary’s story is that their sponsor in the DR is a wanted smuggler sought in the United States and El Salvador. The sponsor, Jorge Puello, has Interpol warrants out on him and is being chased by the U.S. Marshals. It is said that “he led a ring that lured young women and girls into prostitution.” Puello, who has also gone by Jorge Torres, says he is innocent, but disappeared with most of the money the families of the Americans sent him to help free them, though he did bring them some food and water while they were in prison. Once he was recognized, he fled. The missionaries said they had never actually met the man before their incarceration.
This is called living by faith. Sometimes God calls you home, sometimes you end up in jail wrongfully accused, but always you remain faithful and know that God is sovereign. God bless you.