Witness to the King from Fellowship Bible Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 29, 2016
Witness to the King
Acts 25-26
Gary McCutcheon

This is part 2 of the “Eleven Days in Haiti” series that started here: https://fbcbridgeport.org/eleven-days-haiti-part-1-series-intro.  Be sure to get caught up if you missed the prior post!

PROLOGUE, part 2


The men stayed at Ed’s place, right next to Dan’s at the lake near Roxboro. We were up at 3:00am and left for the airport at 3:45. We were checked in, drinking Starbucks by 6:00. Jackie Green met us there. We left promptly at 7:00 and had a five hour layover in Miami, which we used for bonding, walking, exploring and enjoying the exquisite airport cuisine. TSA is very effective at screening, so we felt very secure, until the Cuban restaurant served us silverware….fork, spoon and serrated knife which I considered stashing in my carry-on just because I could. The flight to Port-au-Prince was uneventful, but the airport is chaos, making it very challenging to connect with the authorized folks from NCBM that are there to guide you and load your luggage. There are the others who latch on to your carts and bags because they just want to “help”. We were somewhat lucky in that our extra “helpers” were satisfied with just carrying our stuff to our vans, but of course there was a price to pay. Scott Daughtry, one of our hosts and a missionary on staff with NCBM was able to appease our helpers with a fistful of dollars and they mostly scurried away. The whole airport experience reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie. I felt a certain relief as we pulled away from the bedlam at the airport, but that was replaced by a shocking possibility that perhaps the whole nation, still reeling from the effects of the earthquake nearly a year ago, would be more of the same. I rode in the back of a pickup truck with Dr. Daub, who was on his sixth mission trip of the year and enlightened me as to some of the customs of Haiti and what to expect in the days to come. The drive through Port-au-Prince was hectic, but seemed to be the usual state of affairs—lots of traffic, dilapidated vehicles, horns blowing, shouting and small fires burning everywhere. The drivers seem crazy, using horns more often than brakes, but there are surprisingly few crashes. I guess you adjust. I was to find out later that the usual route from the airport was deemed too risky because it was nearly dark when we arrived, so we took a longer, supposedly safer route to the secure 60-acre compound that would be home for the remainder of the trip. Earthquake damage is still evident but life goes on.

People are walking the streets everywhere, but it is not clear where they are going.

Perhaps they have been in the city for the day and are returning to the tent cities which continue to grow on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, quickly becoming a way of life for the estimated 1.3 million persons still displaced by the earthquake.

Scott and Janet Daughtry, volunteer missionaries assigned by NCBM to lead the Haiti project are amazing hosts. Scott is a retired state park superintendent from North Carolina and Janet is a retired kindergarten teacher. They manage the teams that come in weekly by providing food and shelter as well as organizing the work for both the construction teams and medical teams. They see that all teams have adequate local staff which includes drivers and translators. They oversee maintenance of the vehicles and the house that NCBM rents on the Global Outreach compound, also shared by Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide Christian relief agency run by Franklin Graham. Samaritan’s Purse houses their medical teams there as well as assembling the kits used to construct shelters for those without homes after the earthquake.

Soon after our arrival, we met with Dr. Vladamir Roseau and his fiancé, Dr. Merline, both Haitian natives, working for NCBM to run the mobile medical clinics. Dr. Vlad is the medical director for the project and he was thrilled to see the medicines and supplies we had brought. We talked and organized some of the meds for Day 1. After a short time, the doctors left and our team prayed and most were in bed by 9:00pm. It had been quite a long day.

For Fellowship Bible Church, the response to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 has been to “Proclaim the Word, Equip the Saints, and Go Into All the World”. In fact this has become the mission statement of the church for many years.  The fruit of such effort has been evident by seeing many of God’s people respond to the call of local, national and worldwide mission opportunities.  Conversations with those who returned from a recent Haiti mission have caused a re-connection of sorts to a mission trip I took in 2010.  I created a daily journal while in the Port-au-Prince area nearly a year after a devastating earthquake struck that city. Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share my journal in a series of posts that I hope will be enlightening and encouraging to those contemplating missions involvement.



The journey for me started in June of 2010. I received an email, forwarded from my cousin, Danny Phillips, a physician practicing in Roxboro, NC. Dan and I had spent a good bit of time together, separated by just a few miles, until college, marriage and careers kept us apart for most of our adult lives. We kept in touch mainly by phone, mail and e-mail. We’d see each other at funerals and weddings and knew we should spend more time together but it rarely happened. The June email was a surprise though. Dan was in Haiti. Really, Haiti? I pictured him hunkered down on some cruise ship, soaking up the sun, eating fresh pineapple and rejuvenating himself with the occasional massage and fruity tropical beverage. And yet that does not accurately reflect his adventurous spirit.   Not this time. The drinks were only tropical in that they were served near the equator and were comprised of powdered Gatorade dissolved in a Nalgene bottle. Dan was serving God in the blighted neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and the nearby mountain villages on a medical mission trip. The disaster relief from the earthquake of January 2010 was ongoing and teams of volunteers, working through North Carolina Baptist Men, were constructing shelters and seeing over a thousand patients weekly through mobile clinics. Dan’s team was doing OK but he said what they really lacked was a pharmacist.

That statement was my wake-up call, and my invitation, to recruit a team and serve with Dan on his next trip.

I never thought I had any skills worthy of the foreign mission field, yet there it was…my call from God, through my cousin, to serve His people in Haiti. Through many conversations over the next weeks, I recruited a group of three others from Bridgeport: a nurse, a skilled contractor, and a willing young lady yearning to serve God with us in whatever capacity needed. Team 51, as assigned by NCBM would depart for Haiti on Dec. 5, 2010.

My initial contact was Gwen Cornman, a nurse whom I have known and respected for a long time. Her outstanding nursing skills and vast experience, however, were not why I sought her. I know more about Gwen’s heart for the Lord, for missions, for children and for the lost and hopeless. Her compassion is at least as important for this team as any scientific understanding or ability. The other two Bridgeporters sought me out after hearing of the trip. Jonathan Peterman, a skillful contractor and electrician, had been to the Gulf Coast to assist in restoration after Hurricane Katrina. Jenna Weightman, a high school senior, was undeniably the least experienced team member, but had helped with some local projects and had a desire to serve that was second to none. Dr. Dan recruited his brother-in-law, Ed Stalnaker from the Fairmont area, who got two other men from his church, Butch Burnside and Raymond Rouzee, to complete the construction team, along with Ryan Thomann, Dan’s nephew. We also pulled in Jaclyn Green, a North Carolina nurse practitioner, and physicians Steve Daub from Greenville, NC and John Gall from Louisville, KY.

The West Virginia crew and the locals from North Carolina met at Dan’s house Saturday Dec. 4 for dinner, a meet-and-greet, and some final organization for the trip. Dan and his wife, Sandy fixed a great dinner. Admittedly, it was the first time Dan had grilled burgers in the snow, which had been with us most of the trip south. Drs. Daub and Gall were to meet us the next day during our Miami layover for the flight to Haiti.

There are those dark nights of the soul when the best thing we can do is to “steal away to Jesus.” Those words from the old Spiritual were birthed out of the tears of severe trials when the heart of faith turns to the only Refuge and Hope. We steal away to the secret place where we find safety in Jesus.

That’s the emotion behind Psalm 91:1,2 – “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust.’”

What life-experience compelled this author to reach for his pen and capture his feelings in these lyrics? What’s his story?

Was he feeling threatened, alone, trapped? Was his inner strength drained? Was he where many find themselves: no where to turn but to God?

I love that expression, “the secret place of the Most High.” It speaks of a sanctuary, a stronghold, a retreat in which to hide. The imagery is that of a baby birds tucked safely under the protective wings of the mother.

Four names of God give rise to his declaration, “in whom I trust”:

  • “Most High” – not unlike the description of Jesus Christ who is seated in the heavenly place “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come,” (Ephesians 1:21)
  • “the Almighty” – there is no equal to the supremacy of God in power and might.
  • “the LORD” – whatever the situation or need, he himself becomes the solution to that need when he acts on behalf of his people. He is present and working in your circumstances.
  • “my God” – he who is Creator, strong and mighty…the superlative name for God who spoke the universe into existence.

Steal away to this God! The Secret Place.