WHEN TO PULL THE CULTURAL VEIL
Charis is a strong advocate of supporting and upholding the indigenous culture of any country. "Americanizing" a community, or country, and viewing that as success is a deplorable practice as there is an inherent beauty to be appreciated in all culture. There are times though when the missionary must pull the culture veil off of the unbiblical face underneath. As Christians we should never fear combating unbiblical practices just because they hide under the sacred cow of tolerance called ‘culture’. We witnessed this unfortunate occurrence in Haitian churches when we began attending services upon our arrival in Haiti.
The very poor in Haiti are not allowed to enter a church, or attend services, secondary to their inability to purchase and wear ‘church clothes’ (dresses for women and slacks/collared shirts for men). It broke our hearts to see the poorest members of the community, wanting desperately to hear about the hope offered in Christ, being shunned due to their appearance. We prayed about what to do and how to handle this, and God placed it on our heart to clear out our living room and open a house church with absolutely no dress code.
COME AS YOU ARE
So we spread the word to our Haitian brothers and sisters, who are entrenched in poverty, to come to our home for church, and wear whatever they want. In the first week, 56 people showed up--that was about a year ago. Now the Holy Spirit has added over 150 more people to our house church; over 200 people congregate 4 times a week to hear and study the Word of God together. Everyone who comes to our living room church receives a Bible, and we are witnessing many accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Praise God!
Inquiring of God about a problem, in this case, a problem that was part of the culture, will always result in the correct way of handling it—because God provides the solution and it doesn’t come from man. Thank you God for the believers, our new brothers and sisters in Christ, who meet in our living room to worship and cry out to You. Charis is humbled and honored that God chooses to use our home as a place to teach His people. God is so good, and we are so unworthy!
BUT IT GETS MUCH, MUCH DARKER IN HAITI
Laying one night, in the unbearable heat of Haiti, I prayed that God would show me exactly what He wanted me to focus my ministry on in this difficult country. As I prayed my ears began to attend to the rapid and consistent sounds of vodou drums that were a nightly occurrence. These drum sounds were almost inherent to Haitian nights. These drums are played by hand, and despite the fact that the sound of drumming is nothing new, the trance inducing steadiness of the beats possessed something sinister within their rhythm, something dark and evil.
ENGAGE WITH VODOU PRIESTS DIRECTLY
As I laid there focusing on the drums, God told me that those sounds are what needs to be attended to in Haiti, (the worship of demons by vodouists, and the summoning of the demons through drumming, is common nocturnal practice in the mountains of Haiti—the “high places”). This surprised me, because I knew of no one doing this type of ministry, but I strongly sensed the Holy Spirit’s instruction, so I obeyed. Since that time Charis has made ministry to vodou priests and their camps a mainstay of our mission.
We enter vodou camps and directly engage the vodou priest or priestess in conversation. This conversation is first purposed to create personal relationship, but prayer, to open the conversation up to share the gospel, is performed without ceasing over the course of the interaction. As a result of this pioneer ministry, entire vodou camps have turned “from the power of Satan to the power of Christ” and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.
Vodou is being crushed within hours of hearing the gospel
We are currently having weekly Bible studies with 13 vodou priests, and always inquiring of God to show us where He wants us to go and carry His gospel message next. These vodou camps have never heard the true gospel and don’t know who Jesus is. Being allowed to witness the seducing power of demons, that has been in place for centuries, crushed in hours through the power of the gospel, is a humbling, yet awesome occurrence to behold. Thank you God for your protection as we minister within Satan’s strongholds. Thank you for the boldness to preach the gospel of Your Son, and thank you for allowing us to witness the work of the Holy Spirit powerfully regenerating the hearts of these men and women who have spent their lives enslaved to evil.