I had been warned many times not to go to this man
Walking through the thick humidity of the Haitian bush was taking its toll on me physically, but the anticipation of walking onto the property of the vodou priest was the stronger force pressing on me that afternoon. I had done this many times before as sharing the gospel with vodou priests is the call that God has so generously placed on my life, but this time was different. I had been warned many times not to go to this man, as he practiced a powerful form of vodou called black magic.
While most vodou priests satisfied their demonic spirits with the blood of animals, this man had often engaged in human child sacrifice to appease his demon’s insatiable thirst for infant human blood. This shouldn’t be surprising to Christians as this practice is seen in the Old Testament worship of Moloch, a demonic god who also demanded child sacrifice. The blood of children is known to release the most powerful demonic forms of magic, sorcery, and divination and this evil practice is known as ‘black magic’.
From the moment I had heard about this man, I felt the Holy Spirit strongly pressing it upon my heart to go to him and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. So I obeyed and on this particular day I was acting on that obedience (along with my Haitian friend, fellow evangelist, and translator—Destine Mavoy).
A snake with the head of a human
We finally arrived, deep in the bush, at a moderately sized compound of huts arranged circumferentially around a ceremony pit. The walls of the ceremony pit were filled with crude drawings of blasphemous symbols including upside down crosses, occult symbols and signs, and most prominently drawn was the demon that this man worshipped—a snake with the head of a human and its name was written boldly over its head. As soon as I walked into this pit to meet the vodou priest (called a ‘hougan’ in the local Creole language), my spirit was heavily disturbed.
But this disturbance served solely as an assurance that the air was saturated with evil, not a warning to run away. The hougan revealed himself as he slowly appeared through drawn back curtains on the main hut. As he approached I studied his appearance and demeanor. He was a small, very thin man with dark, weathered black skin. He wore very loose clothing, and his face was frightening due to a lack of life and happiness. His expression was stoic and indifferent, as if humanity didn’t exist within him—he almost appeared as a demon himself.
As he came closer his eyes locked mine, and all that I saw was evil. As he entered the ceremony pit, my translator and I rose to our feet and I was introduced. Destine’s introduction of me was brilliant for this situation in which darkness was literally meeting light. Destine said, in Creole,
His face began to soften
As I started sharing the gospel, I began to see his face soften, his posture lose its militaristic rigidity, and his countenance change revealing a glimpse of goodness, hope, and curiosity. As soon as I see this, I know that the Holy Spirit is at work. I can’t tell you how awesome this is to witness-- the Holy Spirit and me, working together to change this man’s life and hopefully his eternal destination. My only part in this is speaking the truth (“And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” –Romans 10:14), while I get the honor of sitting there and watching the Holy Spirit regenerate this man’s spirit, (“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters in anything, but only God who gives the growth.” -1 Corinthians 3:7). After I got through the entire gospel message, this man looked at me with new eyes that revealed happiness and hope, and said to me,
I was overjoyed to hear this and of course I obliged. So we returned 2 days later and after several minutes of my arrival, there were over 120 people sitting on the ground waiting to hear this good news. So I stood on the porch, with Destine, and we preached the gospel to them and took questions for over 3 hours. We did this 6 more times over the course of the next two weeks, with additional people coming every time (even some from other vodou camps!).
Over 100 accept Christ
We spoke at length about God, Christ, Christ’s birth into this world, His life on earth, His death and resurrection, His ascension, and what all of this does for us if we are able to believe and accept Christ! When we were done with all of this teaching, over 100 people told me that they wanted to accept Christ and leave the demon and vodou.
Because I wanted to pray and make sure that this was genuine, I waited. When I prayed, God told me to give them all Creole Bibles, and to lead them in their salvation!! So I returned to the camp with 200 Bibles, distributed them, and had a 3 hour study on the Christian life, which may be difficult, involve suffering, ostracism from communities, and hardship, but the assurance of heaven, the promise of Christ to never leave us or forsake us, and the constant internal companionship of the Holy Spirit, make this life more than worth it, and more importantly gives them the ability to turn to their heavenly Father for all of their needs now and, unlike the demon, they will owe nothing since Christ paid our debt to sin on the cross. So then I prayed with every one of them individually, which took hours, but God told me that this was important—to listen to their prayer, that I did not lead them in—to make sure that their understanding was accurate, and their desire to repent and accept Christ was genuine.
THE HARVEST IS PLENTY
So at the end of the day the harvest was huge, and now a whole vodou camp, outside of the priest himself, had given their lives over to Christ!! How awesome—and quickly the recorded words of God spoken to Paul, in Acts 26:18 came to life and filled my heart with an overwhelming joy that flooded my soul,
“I now send you to them to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.”
Now it is such a blessing to enter that camp for ongoing discipleship. As the people hear my motorcycle entering the area, they all run into their huts to grab their Bible, and then run after me. By the time I arrive I have at least 70 children, young people, adults and even grandparents standing there to receive me. I get smothered in hugs, kisses and at times even tears. What an overwhelming honor this is!
I am no one special—in fact, I stand with Paul in claiming that amongst sinners I am one of the worst. But for some reason unknown to me, God chose to look down upon me, grab me and pull me up and out of the pit of hell, and place my feet on solid ground. I know what I am saved from, and I will live my life in utter dependence on God and His Holy Spirit within me.