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Christian Medical Ministry in Haiti Fights off Armed Attackers, Pleads for 'People to Pray'

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A Christian ministry in Haiti recently came under attack from nearly a dozen violent, armed gang members, but security personnel were able to stop them and save the lives of at least 120 staff members.

David Vanderpool is the CEO and co-founder of LiveBeyond, a ministry that operates a hospital, school, and church serving Haiti's residents, just 20 miles outside of Port au Prince. 

Vanderpool told the Baptist Press that on March 21, eight to ten gunmen came to the ministry's compound and "started shooting at the gate, trying to get in."

"Our security personnel repelled the attack, so nobody was injured. But it's just constant gunfire, constant danger," said the physician. 

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As CBN News reported, Port-au-Prince is the center of extreme political tension and street violence as Prime Minister Ariel Henry fights to stay in power while gangs demand his resignation. 

The chaos has spread to other parts of the country as well. 

Attacks at police stations, prisons, and the airport have been the culmination of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis taking place in the country. Nearly 1,200 people have been killed and more than 700 injured within the last two months.

Gang leader Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier has claimed responsibility for the attacks and says he aims to force Henry from office. 

Many Haitians are angry that general elections have not been held in nearly a decade. They claim that Henry was never elected and does not represent the people.

He has promised that chaos will continue if Haitian citizens are left out of the process. 

"This is sort of the culmination of gangs running the country for the last three or four years. The government has collapsed. The president was assassinated in '21. The judiciary was also terminated as well as parliament. So there's not been an effective government in place since 2021 and the gangs have had full run of the country," Vanderpool recently told CBN News. 

Vanderpool told the Baptist Press that the gunmen who attacked his facility were likely looking for food and supplies to steal, and hostages to capture for ransom. 

Street battles between the gangs and police have crippled Haiti's fragile economy with United Nations officials saying half of the country's more than 11 million inhabitants don't have enough to eat, and 1.5 million are starving.

The LiveBeyond co-founder highlighted how the gangs have been kidnapping people to kidnap for ransom.

According to a February report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, heavily armed and organized gangs have gained $25 million in ransom payments as well as other money from individual businesses that wish to remain operational. 

The report says gang members are even stealing organs from dead bodies and selling them. 

"It's one of the most dangerous places in the world right now," Vanderpool said. "It just really demands some kind of intervention. There has got to be some international intervention."

"It's a very, very dire situation," he added. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. earlier this month called for the Haitian president to expedite a political transition while working to repatriate American citizens from the country. 

Vanderpool, who established LiveBeyond in 2011, was last at the ministry compound eight months ago but regularly communicates with staff members. 

He is encouraging people to pray for Haitians who are feeling helpless over what is happening in the country. 

"We make the case that it's the poor and it's the people whom we serve who are the most vulnerable," Vanderpool said, "and they're the ones that are suffering the most."

He added, "We really are wanting people to pray because the people of Haiti are under a tremendous amount of pressure."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.