Yesterday I wrote about four unnamed and heretofore unpublicized missionaries who stayed in the Dominican Republic to ready the orphan hotel while Laura Silsby and her child snatchers went into Haiti to gather up the swag (left). I have now identified the church: The First Baptist Church in Andrews, Texas.

My information is from the February 2, 2010 CBS 7 (Odessa) News, Andrews connection with American missionaries accused of kidnapping. Go to the right of the screen and click on the video (couldn’t find a separate link) and check out old pictures of the luxurious hotel that is in real life is no longer luxurious These pictures no doubt were used to spirit the kids away from their families. (I’m working on a separate blog on that)

The news report places the First Baptist Church, on the ground floor of Larua Silsby’s pre-quake orphanage scheme. It also places Silsby’s Central Valley Baptist Church as an active sponsor of the orphanage and the trip to Haiti , despite various church self-reportings to the contrary (my emphasis):

Pastor Jeff Donnell of First Baptist Church in Andrews says the Central Valley Church in Idaho contacted them well before the earthquake to build an orphanage.

The church contacted us needing help that was just a natural fit for us,” Pastor of First Baptist Church in Andrews, Jeff Donnell said. “We could do that, we could go.”

The earthquake however inspired a sense of urgency.

No missionary tourists are named in the newscast, and the church’s webpage is clean of all Haiti/DR visits. This is what we learn of the “missionaries’ activities from the report:

“While they were tending to the actual children we were going to ten [sic] the building to get it ready” Donnell said.

They left for the Dominican Republic last week to help turn a 45-room hotel into an orphanage unit. This unit was supposed to house 150 children, including the 33 children the Haitian prime minister claims was kidnapped.

“We never went into Haiti. Our friends did and they spent a week working with the authorities before the accusations were made” Donnell said.

The pastor says they thought everything was in the clear to receive the children.

“Its our understanding all the paper work had been done, that every had been in order.” Donnell said…

…Now the all church can do is pray for their friends in Haiti and children still with out a home.

“We’ve communicated to Central valley church,” Donnell said, “And gave our support and prayers for them.”

The First Baptist Church bills itself as a mission giving church, donating 11% of its budget receipts to the ultra conservative Southwestern and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminaries. The church has led missionary tours to Trinidad, Belize, and Armenia (which, btw, adopted Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD) and helps support fulltime missionaries Crystal and Chad Reynolds. Numerous photo albums of church and mission work are posted on the church’s webpage, but none from the recent DR incursion. For those interested in evangelical arcana, check out the Joshua Project People Group flowchart and The Unreached People Group of the Day” on the front page of the church’s homepage. This will take you directly to the Haiti People Group, which inexplicably, if I’m reading it correctly, features French Jews (or the French and Jews are lumped into one People Group.)

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  1. Im trying to figure out where do these people get all their money to do all this? Isnt the economy really bad right now? There seems to be a steady supply of money to finance these excursions.

  2. Yow! Very well done, DB.
    This was one question I was really interested in hearing the answer to.
    Now, what do they have to say for themselves? Why did they scurry home without a word? When they came back, why weren’t they talking to everyone, and verifying what was happening? Being silent makes me suspicious, but were there legal reasons for being silent?

  3. Boy, that’s a good question, blueheron.

    They barely stuck around long enough to pack their bags. It looks like they were outta Dodge before Reuters broke the story.

    The remaning Eastside people left on Sunday, after dealing with the US Embassy in Port au Prince, and the Texas left the next day according to the original article. You’d think they’d stay around long enough to see what’s up. Team Silsby could have been released in a day or so, and they could get back to “work.” But with orphan scooping at a stand still, there would be no point in fixing up the place.

    Still this doesn’t set well with me. Haiti doesn’t furnish its prisoners with amenities–like food and water. They could have at least stuck round for a few adys to take care of them.

    I think they were scared.

  4. I don’t want to defend them, but it could be that without the captain, they were adrift. This was her ship. Still, I find it odd that they didn’t stick around for a few days to see how things went. They basically deserted them. Maybe they were afraid Laura would implicate them in something and they’d end up in jail in the DR.

  5. Of course, not Von. This isn’t about them. This is about white middle class exuburbanites descending on a Third World to steal little black children to christianize and americanize them.

  6. merrymico asked; “Im trying to figure out where do these people get all their money to do all this?”

    merry, I was raised in the Bible Belt and I can tell you, truthfully, that no matter how strapped they were for money, I have seen my elderly relatives sit down after watching a televangelist or going to a “revival” and making out checks with 4 figures. Unfortunately, there are some people that just need to hear the “Lord’s name” invoked to open their pocketbooks.

    The fundamentalist Christian Right-Wing is well-funded and this is their kind of investment. More fundies mean more power.

  7. Thanks Robin I just cant get over the fact that most people are struggling but this group got enough money to send 10 plus people to Haiti, pay legal fees etc. Boggles my mind.

  8. These people individually have a huge financial base. They are mainly exburbanites with good jobs and disposable income. They also have fundraising capabilities, especially when it comes to adoption, since adoption is of the highest priority amongst evangelicals. What to adopt a kid? Get your friends–and strangers–to fund it for Jesus. The agenda is tied up with abortion, conversion, and creating a new generation to follow them. It is basically, imo, a political agenda veiled in “christianity.” Go over to my Haiti site and look under “Tomfoolery” for a small sample of what’s going on.

    In some locales, evangelicals also are big players in keeping original birth certificates sealed. And then there are the Mormons….

    These people also have influence in state and local governments not only amongst legislators, but staffers, policy makers, etc.

  9. One thing I’ve noticed, and I’m sure you have, too, is the absolute distain for the “missionaries” and their supporters and evangelicalism in general that are appearing across the board in newspaper and forum comments. Team Silsby has their small band of friends, but by and large these people are hated by the public I think it goes beyond the Haiti incident, and expresses that people are fed up. Unfortunately, the real power and influence is behind closed door that we can’t can’t get in to.

    I’m glad that people are fed up, but I fear this won’t carry over into any kind of counter activity. Evangelicals tentacles are buried deep in our current government system and they’re not going to go away on their own. We can all scream as much as we want, but we’re not the power structure. Of course, they are paranoid, and will play martyr at any sign of the least opposition. The Team Silsby folks are being framed as martyrs and certainly Silsby will be. I’m not sure that will be as hard a sell as sane and rational people think it will be. Some will make the TV and ministry events circuit like the two missionaries who were tossed in jail in Afghanistan a few years ago. They’ll be trotted out at Tea Party events and the 2012 election.

    When Silsbycomes home I want to go to her home (wherever she may be living at this point) wearing a sandwich board with an arrow pointing and sign saying” a loon lives here” or “Kidnapper in the Neighborhood” on one side, “Lock Up Your Children” on the other or just go out there and shout “Loser Loser Loser” at her. Her ex-employees should come out to protest Deadbeat Boss! Not exactly an adult reaction, but so what. Shame is a great weapon.

    BTW, Miz Laura is in a contentious custody dispute with her ex. It should be fun to watch this play out.

    And while I’m thinking of it, am I the only one who find Charisa Coulter really annoying?

  10. BD I read the comments on the articles in the news and I think this is the straw that broke the camels back. Mostly everyone is angry that these people did what they did. At best these people are incompetent at worst they are kidnappers. I know one thing for sure I would trust any those people with kids.

  11. The thought of the NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN/fox corporate jet sitting on the runway waiting to whisk them away to a New York studio turns my stomach. Ah yes, that all-important first exclusive interview. Of course, they never pay for interviews–just legal bills, outstanding debts, a donation to the Laura Silsby New Life Foundation. A week of morning shows, and Oprah, The View, Larry King, PTL, Rick Warren, a book deal and a movie of the week.

    Media ho’s, start your engines. Mother Teresa is coming home.

  12. I have an article which I’ve been meaning to comment on or incorporate in something else (more likely) about a Haitian man, now and American citizen from Chicago who went to Haiti to bring back his little girl. The US refused to let him leave with her and she’s now stuck in Haiti hell. I guess she should jsut have been in the christian adoption pipeline.

  13. I also saw a thing about a family running one of the NGO’s. The wife and kids are American, but the husband is Haitian. The kids and wife are now in the US, but they won’t let the husband be with them. This is absolutely ridiculous. It seems there is no rhyme or reason to the immigration set-up. It’s a very arbitrary system.

  14. This opinion article was posted on the DR forums. It is written by a former missionary (I think tourist missionary but I am not sure) to Haiti. The author makes some good points.

    Missionaries’ actions reveal egotism
    Children have potential to pull Haiti out of rubble

    Tracy Taylor

    We are all taught at one point or another to do the right thing, or at least to try our best.

    Laura Silsby and her band of missionaries probably thought they were doing the right thing when they attempted to take 33 children out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti last month.

    In fact, Silsby even told a Haitian judge they were “trying to do what’s best for the children” when they attempted to take the children across the border into the Dominican Republic to establish an orphanage. Unfortunately, they failed to supply the proper documentation for the children, such as passports. The 10 Baptist missionaries from Idaho were thus caught by surprise when they were ultimately arrested and detained on kidnapping charges.

    My issue with the actions of these American missionaries does not stem from the fact that they did not have all their paperwork in line, because they did it illegally on a whim, or even because they took 22 of the 33 children from their living parents, who willingly handed them over, because they could no longer afford to support them after the earthquake. Actually, these various issues are merely a shot in the dark when it comes down to why their actions were so underestimated and wrong.

    My issue comes from the knowledge I gained on a mission trip to Haiti a year and a half ago. I am all too aware of the self-righteous thoughts that accompany mission trips to poverty stricken developing countries, because in retrospect I have carried the “save” the souls before the world moniker. The stereotype of white churchgoers flying to distant places with notions of rescuing poor, oppressed, uneducated people who just need them, is too instilled in our minds.

    This stereotype is a crock of lies. It is an idea that has left the church, as well as the people they attempt to minister, to cripple without a long-term plan for true change. It has left everyone with a jaded idea as to how to save the world. It is this well-intentioned conception of Haiti’s emergent issues and poverty that led these missionaries to “rescue” these 33 children from the grips of the earthquake’s torment and take them to an entirely new country.

    Continue reading

  15. On Jorge is Innocent (the web page), the address listed at the bottom is a Mailboxes Ect. location.

    I’ve been going through the web site, translating, and I must say the google translator makes a mess of Jorge’s words. So read the translated version with great caution.

  16. No, you are not the only person who finds Charisa Coulter annoying, BD. But, I must admit I have more sympathy for her than for Laura Silsby. Coulter must have it hard going through life looking like a female version of The Incredible Hulk. And, by not managing her weight, she is surely making her diabetes worse.

    But keep an eye on the charisma-free Charisa. I think she is slated to be a star. She is being singled out by The Liberty Legal Institute, and other far Right fundraising groups as the more sympathetic figure. They are exaggerating her disease as if every Type 1 diabetic is a step away from her deathbed. (Tell that to Haile Berry.) It is she who is featured in fundraising appeals already and will likely be making rounds of carefully managed speaking engagements for money. Furthermore, Coulter, at just 24, does not have the legal and life baggage Silsby does.

    Who knows? Give C.C. two months on a healthy, but stringent diet, a Sarah Palin-style wardrobe and cosmetic makeover, and she may have found her calling in life.

  17. I must admit in my one of my nastier moments looking at Coulter I thought a month in jail hasn’t helped her hmmm….lookok any better. I wonder what will happen to her “job” as live-in nanny when Terry Silsby wins custody.

  18. Where do these Christian Ministries, Churches, etc. get some of their money? In the form of Federal Grants (taxpayer $$$$$$)under the federal program known as “Faith-based Initiatives”. Larger faith-based groups can get bigger grants and then ‘grant’ money to smaller ‘faith-based’ groups. Supposedly a condition of accepting these faith-based initiative grants, is that the grantees cannot preach the good word of their Gods…yeah, OK..that’ll work. Like some fed snoop is going to investigate every fed dollar a church or religious org has received in the form of a ‘grant’. Have been searching for who gets what. What I did find the biggest benefactors of ‘faith-based initiative’ grants, are the Lutherans, Catholic and Salvation Army.
    This was an interesting piece about fed grants under the faith-based initiative program.
    Always follow the money………..

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