For Dana Adams, leaving the United States to spread the gospel overseas was a calling — a duty many people are not willing to do.
Since the early 1980s, Adams and her husband, Pritchard, have been changing the lives of citizens in Haiti though their ministry, Rehoboth Ministries.
“To really make an impact anywhere, it’s for the long haul,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of missionaries come and go. They come with stars in their eyes about how they want to do this and do that.”
But six months to a year later, Adams said they leave.
“It’s a tough place and you will go through a lot of trials,” she said. “Even now, they had failed elections last year and things are very fragile there.”
Adams grew up in Sampson County, near the Taylors Bridge area and graduated from Union High School. She earned a degree from East Carolina University and later met her husband, Pritchard. He was a colonel in the Army and served in Panama. At that time, Dana said he was not a devoted Christian, but that changed later.
They became members of a church in Tarboro and were sent to Haiti as missionaries in 1983. They have been in the county for more than 33 years.
“Haiti is actually the poorest country in our hemisphere,” Adams said. “It’s more like a Fourth World country than a Third World.”
Their work resulted in the raising of five churches, three schools, a Bible institute and feeding thousands of children.
“Our stepping stone was teaching at a Christian school in Port-au-Prince,” Adams said about their work in Haiti’s capital.
After serving in the town for several years, they later moved north to Cap-Haïtien, where their first church was started in 1990. It lead to the other foundations.
They had three children who were born and raised in Haiti. Their oldest son,John, also traveled to Haiti to lend a hand, serving as the academic dean of the institute. John operates the website www.backtohaiti.com, which features information about his work in the country.
The couple come back to the United States from time to time for fundraising efforts, but Haiti will be their home for a while. Rehoboth Ministries are member of Ministers Fellowship International, based out of Portland, Ore. Adams said they will work to plant more churches and schools in the country, if they can find the money. The family plans to start a feeding program at one of the countryside schools and are currently raising $20,000 for it. Additional information about donation efforts is available on the website, www.rehobothhaiti.com
For the children’s food, Rehoboth Ministries works in conjunction with Orphan’s Promise from Virginia Beach, Va. The organization is a children’s ministry of The Christian Broadcasting Network, a religious based production company.
“It has been an incredible blessing and a great answer to prayer,” Adams said about the contribution from Orphan’s Promise. “But on our end, we have to pay the cooks’ salaries and buy those huge gas tanks and other cleaning products.”
Adams emphasized that they’re training people to become leaders while providing education and discipleship.
“We’re doing a lot of those things for the Gospel to take root,” Adams said.
But the missionary work was not easy. Along the way, Dana and Pritchard went through a major battle as a family. Her book “Into The Storm,” tells the story about their trip to Alberta, Canada where her husband suffered from a brain aneurysm. Two days later it happened again. The outlook was frightening, since there was little hope of recovery.
“He was in a 26-day coma and I was told that they didn’t know if he was going to wake up,” Adams said. “I was told that even if he did come out of the coma, he would not be the husband that I knew.”
In kind words, it meant he would be a “vegetable,” Adams explained.
“We had people all over the world praying for him, especially the Haitian churches,” Adams said.
Before the unfortunate incident, Adams remembered a moment when a pastor at one of the churches in Haiti got a caution in his spirit and felt the need to pray for her husband.
“They were really the forerunners of this miracle husband woke up,” she said.
But he was not 100 percent and Adams was unable to look into the eyes of her husband.
“It was a sign of a neurological damage because one of his eyes sat in the corner, which is a sign of extensive brain damage,” Adams said. “Eventually, he started talking and if you talk to him today, you would never know that he went through that.”
During the ordeal, she made a promise to God that she would encourage other through her own testimony. “Into The Storm” also weaves in other accounts of the 2010 devastating earthquake and being kidnapped in 2006.
“I had to negotiate for my husband and he was released,” Adams said about her husband being held at gunpoint for three days.
“I can tell you story after story. God has taken us though the fire and we’re still there doing the work of the Lord. We’re truly grateful that we’re still impacting that country for the Lord.”
With a desire to continue their mission works, Dana and Pritchard will probably have more positive stories to tell in the years to come.
“It’s the Lord that ultimately gives you that will to stay,” Adams said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.