Friday, February 5, 2010

What I know about the missionaries in Haiti

If you've been reading my blog this week, you know that three of the American missionaries in Haiti--being officially investigated for criminal association and kidnapping--are related to me. If you've followed the news like I have, you know that, like most legal situations, it's hard to sift through exactly what happened.

What did happen? I don't know. Unfortunately, I don't have a bunch of "inside information." I'm not going to be naive and say I'm certain the team did everything the way they should have. I don't know seven of the ten missionaries (including the leader, Laura Silsby, who spearheaded and organized the effort to bring children into the Dominican Republic.)

What do I know? Well, I've known Drew Culberth, my first cousin, all my life. I've known Paul Thompson, the husband of another of my first cousins, for well over 20 years. I've known Silas Thompson, Paul's son, since he was a baby--but I haven't spent much time with him since he was small, so while I do trust him, I'll refrain on commenting on his character.

So what do I know about Drew and Paul? They are men of deep integrity. They wanted to serve others in this mission. They are men who live out their faith, day to day, in a real way. Paul lives sacrificially every day, pastoring a church and driving a school bus to support his family. Drew has a career of service as a firefighter and also leads a church youth group. Paul and his wife Renee have raised two men who, from all I can tell, have character--their oldest is in the Air Force, and their youngest is in Haiti with his dad. Drew and his wife are loving, joyful parents of four young children.

We haven't heard much of what Drew and Paul have to say about this situation, but I don't even have to hear it to know this: I believe them. Whatever they have told the judges, I believe them.

I've read news stories throughout the years with people that seem to blindly trust their relatives who are suspected of wrongdoing. And I'm realizing, in some cases, it's not blind trust. In some cases the people involved really are so trustworthy that their families can know they are telling the truth.

If you want to reserve judgment, that's okay. I'm reserving judgment on the team members I don't know. I'm reserving judgment on exactly what happened and who knew what.

But I'm standing by my cousins. When people have proven themselves trustworthy through the years, I owe them my trust. They have it.


Anonymous said...

It really is a terrible situation. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I do believe they were only trying to help. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little bit to do the right thing, and I truly believe that's what they thought they were doing. I've been in situations before where doing the right thing has gotten me into trouble (almost cost me my job once), but I knew in my heart that what I was doing was right and justified. I'm guessing Drew and Paul and the others felt the same way about taking those kids.

Guilty of bending the rules? Maybe. Were they mislead? Maybe. But kidnapping? No. I don't believe that for a second.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

Cathy said...

Very well said. Thank you. -Mom

Eternal Lizdom said...

Ditto Jeff. He pretty much said what I was thinking.

Adding to that... what makes me ANGRY is that I'm reading on blogs and such about these pick up trucks that drive through the streets and call out to the kids they see- bribing them with food. They say they will take them to eat and get a bath and new clothes... and the kids jump in and they are gone. If citizens see it happening, how can the government constantly be missing it??

Unknown said...

Your relatives will be in my thoughts. I hope that there is a resolution to the situation soon.

Laurel said...

Beautifully put Beth. This is what I can only imagine very hard to endure 1) the uncertainty of the outcome of their detainment; and 2) to see the vast amount of media coverage and the negative bent the reporting has taken. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Grand Pooba said...

Wow, I haven't even heard of this story yet. I guess I should watch the news. After reading the articles I believe that this is all just a misunderstanding. I hope everything gets worked out for the best!

InspiredDreamer said...

You know, all I've heard about this situation is what's in the newspaper (I don't watch TV). And it's so very easy to jump to conclusions. But your situation should make us all realize that these people are someone's family, and if I were in your place, I'd be thinking the exact same things, instead of just assuming that they ran ripshod over people's rights, or flouted the local government, or whatever people are saying. I believe you that they likely went in with the best of intentions, and I certainly hope that they are judged as such and not made an example of.

May you and your family (especially their families) have peace in this time, and rest assured that God knows what's going on, and has His hands over you all.

Mellodee said...

Courage! All things happen for a reason and sometimes we never find out what the reason is. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

If you believe them, I believe them, Beth. Period. Because I trust you!

LEstes65 said...

Any cousins of yours are cousins of mine. I'm praying and leave the judgment to God. He's much better at that than I am (as you know). Love you!

Screech Owl said...

I live in Idaho and some of my friends who are in a worship choir with me called Treasure Valley Voices attend the same church that your cousins go to. I just want you to know that we are all praying for them around the clock.