Friday, July 02, 2004

Haiti - American Missionary Attacked in Her Haiti Home

Margaret Joanna Hodges, 81, was attacked in her home in Limbe, Haiti, on June 15th around 10 o'clock p.m.
At least seven armed men invaded her home and violently attacked her and her guardian. Mrs. Hodges is the widow of Dr. William Hodges, the founder of Bon Samaritain (Good Samaritan Hospital) in Limbe, a small town just ten miles from Cap Haitian, Haiti's second largest city. After beating Mrs. Hodges' assistant, they turned on her, using a stick with a nail on the end. Hodges was left with a broken left wrist and a broken right arm. The invaders stole all the cash they could find in the house and threatened to kill Mrs. Hodges and her maid if they didn't give them what they wanted. Following their brutal attack on elderly Hodges, they ransacked the home, fleeing in a Suzuki Sidekick belonging to the hospital. According to witness, the attackers stopped the vehicle less than half a mile from the house and fired several shots into the air before fleeing on National Highway One towards Cap-Haitian where the vehicle was later found abandoned. Family members, hospital staff and neighbors, rushed to Mrs. Hodges' aid. They tried to telephone the police in Cap Haitian without success. They tried calling the National Police in Port-au-Prince, the capital city 160 miles away but didn't get any help. Finally, around three o'clock a.m., they were able to reach the American Embassy. The Embassy returned their call about ten o'clock and a day later sent a representative to interview Mrs. Hodges and others. The Hodges founded Good Samaritan Hospital almost 50 years ago. The hospital was operated under the auspices of the American Baptist Convention until recent years. Today the hospital, along with the University of the North, are independent. The Hodges family have always considered Haiti their home. According to HAITI OBSERVATEUR, a Haitian newspaper published in New York, "in light of this new aggression against Margaret Hodges, her helper and residence, witnesses are discovering a 'new phase' of insecurity in Haiti.

Persecution of Chrisians is alive and well. Most Americans never think about what happens to Christians living outside of the United States because we rarely have incidents involving religious violence. Those few incidents are labeled "hate crimes," and are dealt with by law enforcement as "freedom of religion" is a guaranteed under the Constitution. The Constitution is seen as an impermeable wall protection our "rights as Americans," but we forget that Constitution is only a piece of paper that is backed up the attitudes and the will of the people which could be tested if we are unable to counter the dark forces that are moving against at this time. God bless us all and keep us safe. from the forces of evil.


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