Frank Garlock Escapes Haiti

Dr. Frank  Garlock, founder of Majesty Music, was teaching in Haiti when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck. For forty-six hours, none of his family knew if he was alive. There was no electricity, no phone lines, and no chance of flying American Airlines out of Haiti.

“I remember thinking before the earthquake, ‘God, why did you put me here?’” recalls Dr. Garlock as he thought back on his miraculous experience in Jacmel, Haiti. He was scheduled to speak to a church and Christian school, but the trip just didn’t seem very profitable.

His plans were drastically changed four days into the trip. At 4:50 pm on Tuesday, January 12, the earth moved under southern Haiti. Dr. Garlock was walking outside when it happened:

“I heard a very loud roaring noise and saw the trees shaking violently. As I grabbed the iron gate to stay upright, I turned to my left and saw the second story of the unfinished house collapse right in front of me, pancake-style. The rubble from most of the houses that collapsed came out into the streets and  alleyways.”

God’s hand of protection was clearly on Dr. Garlock and Sarah Bennett, the wife to missionary Tom Bennett who was hosting him. Dr. Garlock didn’t receive a single scratch in the quake, and the home where he was staying was one of the only buildings left standing in the neighborhood. Sarah was planning to be inside preparing dinner when the quake struck, but instead she decided to give a ladies Bible study outdoors. As Sarah climbed the stairs of the spared home after the quake, she remembers the Spirit of God telling her, “This house is protected because of those who are in it.”

Darkness fell on Haiti at 5:45 that evening. Mourning cries rang outside all night long, but noticeably absent were the voodoo drums witchdoctors used to call the evil spirits. Small groups were having prayer meetings and singing hymns like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” While most of the city slept under the stars that night, Dr. Garlock and Sarah slept soundly under God’s hand of protection.

Morning broke to reveal the desperate condition of the city. All communication was down. The world knew what happened in Haiti, but no one had heard from Dr. Garlock or Sarah Bennett. Late Wednesday night Cheryl Reid of Majesty Music found an email address for the Joy in Hope Foundation, a children’s home in Jacmel. She sent them a short message asking for any information on Frank Garlock and Sarah Bennett who were ministering at Hosanna Baptist Church. While the email was a long-shot, no one at this point knew that Joy in Hope was the only place in Jacmel with internet service.

Thursday morning came, and Cheryl received a response from the children’s home. They would look for Frank and Sarah. That same day, God led a worker from the home right to Dr. Garlock.

Forty-six hours after the quake, Dr. Garlock’s family finally learned that he was safe, but getting him and Sarah home would be difficult. Very few people were getting clearance to land in Port-au-Prince, even military crafts with relief supplies. In the middle of making arrangements, Tom Bennett received a message from American Airlines, “Your reservations have been cancelled.”

After several failed attempts to arrange a plane flight into Haiti, Ron Hamilton—Dr. Garlock’s son-in-law—and Tom were able to arrange a helicopter flight at a steep price. Then God provided another miracle—an anonymous benefactor paid the full price for the rescue mission.

Dr. Garlock and Sarah received word of the helicopter, but while waiting at the landing site they heard the airport would be locked down. Secretary of State Clinton was flying into the country. Immediately after hearing the bad news, they saw a helicopter coming in very low to land. Dr. Garlock thought to himself, “That helicopter must be for Mrs. Clinton!” But when the helicopter landed, the pilot called out their names. Through tears, Dr. Garlock told Sarah, “Come! This is for us!” One helicopter, three planes, and a chartered bus later, Frank Garlock was home.

On the Sunday following the quake, twenty-five people trusted Christ at Hosanna Baptist Church. The Sunday after, the church was packed again. All of Jacmel notices that the church and school still stand and are saying, “God is speaking to us!” Dr. Garlock is thankful for God’s miraculous protection, but his prayer is that this catastrophe would open hearts in Haiti to the Word of God.