We had people here last week but before I give you an update on that I have some bad news to share with you… we have another broken arm!! Albert is the first casualty of the new playground. Luckily his sponsor sent a present for him recently so that cheered him up quickly. He slept in my room & I left the present beside his mattress… in the morning I woke up to find ALL the candy gone & wrappers covering his chest! It was a picture perfect moment but I don’t function well before I drink a few cups of coffee so the picture never happened.
Ok, now for the update on the last group. Pastor Jim & Scott (from my home church, Pacific Community) came last week. Both have been to H2H before so it was an easy “hosting” for me… I’d almost call it a holiday! Here they are with Pastor Luc.
They spent the first half of their trip in Grande Goave meeting with Pastor Luc, reconnecting with friends & of course playing with the kids. They brought full sized hockey sticks so we turned the dinner room into a rink – it was great!
The rest of the trip was spent in Grande Savande / Bouva. Every trip to GS/B was been unique, & this trip was no disappointment! We were rear-ended by a tap-tap in Port-au-Prince, visited with the family of a voodoo priest who recently died, and FINALLY got to attend a church service in GS!
Pacific Community Church, partnering with H2H, started building a church in GS several years ago but we’ve never had the opportunity to join them in one of their services so we were really excited about that.
The new & old church buildings:
The church service:
Scott, Jim & I each had a chance to talk during the service & while I waited for my turn I became nervous… what am I going to say? … should I speak in Kreyol or English? … ah!! … it was so much easier talking when I didn’t know who I was talking to!!! I still didn’t know what I was going to say when I stood up so I started by saying how special GS & B are to me, which led to me explaining why. So here’s my summary of why GS & B are so special to me.
Bouva is the village where Pastor Luc was born. His father was a well known voodoo priest & he had a large following. After Luc became a Christian he returned regularly to Boava & preached to his family. A time came when his father’s only argument left was his concern for the people who relied on his magic to survive. This may sound like something out of a Harry Potter movie but here it’s a reality. Luc said that if Satan had brought them this far, they’ll be blown away with where Jesus can take them. His father agreed to call a meeting with all of his followers & let Luc preach the Gospel to them. ALL of them came to the Lord that day! Their voodoo temple was torn down and a Church replaced it.
Haiti is a place full of turmoil. Some of the team members that come here say they feel the evil as they land in Port-au-Prince. It’s not like that for me but there have been times when I have felt evil’s presence & have seen Satan at work. It’s not something that is easy to explain, but it’s a reality – Satan is not a character in a movie – he’s real & very much at home in Haiti. It’s
culturally acceptable to worship him – to dance & sing in the streets to praise him. But that doesn’t mean he has power over Christians & it certainly doesn’t mean his power is comparable to God. The Bible is clear –the battle is finished & there is a winner. Genesis 3:15, “…he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To me, the Church is Bouva is a symbol of this – there is no comparison between the power of Jesus & Satan.
Grande Savande is a small ocean village close to Bouva. When I spoke to the Church in GS, I said believing that the battle is already won should change the way you live your life. It should change the way you view those who are involved with voodoo. There is no reason to fear them. They has no power or control over you. You should live your life in confidence. The new church building will attract the attention of many because of the size & the connection it will have with outside aid relief – all people should be welcomed. But the building itself will not welcome them, as the building is not the Church, the people are the Church. It is your responsibility to accept all people & to give them the opportunity to know a different life.
So that’s my summary of why GS/B is so special to me. I really didn’t do justice to the story of how Pastor’s Luc’s family became Christians so you’ll have to come here with one of the teams to hear it first hand & to see the church in Bouva.
I know this blog entry is already long but I want to tell you about our visit with the voodoo priest’s family who just passed away. The temple (& his house) is a short walk from the church in Bouva. On the way we saw this tree:
It’s in the middle of a riverbed, surrounded by thriving trees & bushes, yet it is dead. I have passed this tree many times & wondered what happened to it. Pastor Luc told us that this tree was a regular spot for them to perform voodoo ceremonies so he would come to this tree to pray against the spirits… And the tree died! It would be a great tree to make charcoal but the locals are afraid to cut it down because they believe spirits still live in it.
We arrived at the voodoo temple & I was surprised to realize that I know some of the people there! We sat & Luc chatted with the family about what had happened & it was surreal for me. I have heard lots of stories about what happens at the ceremonies but somehow it became real as I heard it from their mouth as I sat at their house (where it happened). The voodoo priest, Jon, was at his house when he felt the spirits leave him. He began having chest pain & called a meeting. Many people came & they performed their ceremony & gave their sacrifices but the spirits did not return. His wife (who was telling us the story) knew they had left him for good. He died shortly after. Luc didn’t have to do anything but listen… his previous sermons & the testimony of his own life was already known to them. The voodoo priest’s wife said they now realize that the spirits they put their trust in were not loyal & they had been waiting for Pastor Luc to come so they could becomes Christians. However, they felt they still had one final ceremony to do so the spirits would leave them permanently. The final ceremony didn’t sit well with me as it shows their lack of faith & understanding but their eyes are beginning to open & great things are about to happen in Bouva!
Here are some pictures of the voodoo temple & the surrounding yards:
A boy making his family dinner as they talked with us:
Me & another new friend: