PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Roberta Edwards, who dedicated her life to serving God and children in the impoverished nation of Haiti, died in a shooting in Port-au-Prince while going to get gasoline Saturday night, workers with Healing Hands International told The Christian Chronicle.
Edwards, 55, was the director of SonLight Children’s Home in the Haitian capital, where she cared for orphaned and abandoned children. Her supporting congregation, the Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tenn., provides the following details in a statement:
On the evening of Oct. 10, witnesses report that Roberta’s car was stopped by another vehicle which intentionally blocked her path. Armed gunmen emerged from the vehicle and fired into Roberta’s car, causing her death. Haitian authorities are still investigating, and the identity of the perpetrators and the motive are not known at this time. She is survived by her parents, Robert and Laura Edwards.
Edwards was “dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless,” members of the Estes church write. “She knew that she worked in a dangerous setting, but had committed herself to care for children in Haiti despite these risks.”
Read the full statement
Edwards was involved in multiple development projects in Haiti and was hosting a workshop for Haitian teachers and teachers from the U.S., sponsored by Healing Hands.
Five of the nine teachers from the U.S. were scheduled to return today, but now all all nine are headed home, Healing Hands reports. A mission team from the Estes church also was working with Edwards at the orphanage and now plans to return to the U.S.
The Chronicle profiled Edwards as she responded to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, which claimed the life of one child at the orphanage.
Edwards built the ministry from the rubble of a collapsed marriage. She moved from North Carolina to Haiti in 1995 with her husband, a native Haitian. Five years later he left, and Edwards’ parents expected her to come home. But by then she already was caring for several orphaned and abandoned children.
“So I decided to stay and do whatever needed to be done,” she said.
The Estes Church of Christ in Henderson, Tenn., began supporting her work, which expanded to include 30 children. She also oversees a nutrition center that feeds about 120 neighborhood children twice per day, five days each week. She works closely with church-supported groups, including Indiana-based Manna Global Ministries.
For her 50th birthday, Edwards’ parents took her on her first real vacation since she moved to Haiti — a Caribbean cruise. She was exploring Grand Cayman when the quake hit.
“I didn’t sleep another night until I got there,” she said. “I had to get home. I had to get to my kids.”