Missionaries from Minnesota Stranded in Haiti

July 09, 2018 10:44 PM

There is a group of Minnesotans stranded in Haiti.

They are missionaries from the Church of St. Joseph in Rosemount.  A team of 16 adults made what was supposed to be a week-long journey to the poor nation. Judy and Tom Schramer of Apple Valley are passionate about helping villagers, whether that means providing food, education or any kind of job training.


RELATED: Haiti Unrest Strands a Number of US Volunteer Groups

"The people have needs and such joy," Judy said.

The Schramer's, along with others, intended to fly back last Saturday but they couldn't get out of the country before riots broke out.

"We saw tires burning and you can't go to the airport unless you have a confirmed flight," Judy said.

Several airlines canceled all incoming and outgoing flights over the weekend as protestors showed their outrage over a government imposed hike in fuel prices ranging from 38-51 percent. The days of unrest prevented safe travels in Port-au-Prince, where the airport is located. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti also told Americans to seek shelter until further notice. 

At one point over the weekend, the Schramer's group ran out of food at their compound and had to send ambulances to other locations to bring back food. The missionaries then moved to another compound run by the Mission of Hope, which has armed security guards and is stocked with food, water and medicine.

The Schramer's adult children have been closely monitoring events in Haiti, online and by watching the news. Haley Taylor said her parents loved to be with the villagers and go every year.

"That's a place in the world that needs help, and it's something we can offer them," she said. "They feed the kids lunch, host vacation bible school and interact with locals."

Abigail Taylor said it's been shocking to see what is going on but supports her parents' efforts.

"The smallest things they do makes the biggest impact. The mission has a profound impact on everyone,"  Abigail said.

She added communication has been intermittent because phone and internet service is unreliable.  

The last update posted on the church website was Friday. The team was supposed to fly home Saturday. Now, the Schramer's are booked on a flight for Wednesday night, if conditions permit. The seven-day trip has turned into one long, chaotic mess.

When asked if it was worth it, Judy Schramer responded, "When you come here and see the people and what they have to deal with in their everyday lives, we eventually get to go, but they have to stay here."

Several other missionary groups from other states are trying to get home as well. 


Beth McDonough

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