Written by: Rhonda Nisbett Pierre, Public Health Liason at myLIFEspeaks
Listen to the audio version of this story on our podcast, here.
It was October 4th, 2016. Leading up to this day we had been scurrying around making preparations for the possibility of Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti. We watched countless weather tracking reports as the storm moved its way across the ocean and its eye seemed to be on track to hit directly over us. The day arrived when all had been done. We had gotten the word out to as many people as we could in the commUNITY living in low-lying flood-prone areas and down to Bord Mer (the next-door village to Neply) directly at the edge of the ocean.
We had made as many plans as we could and we prayed for protection. No matter how many plans and alternate emergency plans we could think of, we were still unprepared for the monstrosity of what Matthew appeared to be, especially compared to the simple homes made of tarp, old wood, and metal sheeting it would be hitting.
Throughout the day we continued to wait. In the air was the anticipation of what was to come and uneasiness in knowing it was possible we may not see some of our friends again after the storm hit.
In the evening, individuals and then families begin to trickle into the commUNITY center seeking more substantial shelter and higher ground from the impending storm. Little did we know there would soon be a spiritual storm swirling around us inside our protected walls unrelated to the hurricane.
I’m sitting in the commUNITY center helping to settle people in when I see and hear some of the staff rushing in carrying a child, yelling, "Help us! Help us!” “He’s not breathing”. No one knows what happened, he was just at home and they were checking in on the family to remind them they could come in when they found the family around the child.
I grabbed the child and laid him out on the table and assessed him. I quickly see he is lifeless, with no respiration, no heartbeat. However, he is still warm to the touch so I begin CPR. I am focused on this child and the methodical rhythm of performing CPR. I don’t hear the chaos and crying around me. I don’t see the small mob of people gathered to watch.
The only thing that enters my mind is hearing the voice of Andrea calling out to God in prayer and asking if she can lay her hands on the baby. I say yes and I continue compressions...1,2,3,4,5, and so on.
There is one time I think we may be getting him back as Andrea and others continue to call on God. I can hear a small commotion as the child’s family enters the room. I hear a male voice chanting and crying out and I feel as if things have turned and we are losing the battle and the baby remains lifeless.
I hear Andrea’s voice shouting out… denouncing evil, denouncing Satan. I hear her tell the father of the child that he can NOT and she will NOT let him come into these protected walls and call out to his voudou gods. I hear her telling him that there is no power there and he cannot bring Satan in while we are calling upon the One and only God, begging for His mercy to save his child.
The father quickly became quiet. Andrea cried out to God in prayer, on her knees. Sadly, the time soon came to change our prayers from bringing this child back to life to prayers as we acknowledge and fully return the child to God in our hearts as his soul is clearly no longer there. We pray for the family and friends standing in bewildered grief. I cradle the small body in my arms as I pray. I know the child is innocent and has returned to our Creator’s arms.
The small body was wrapped and placed into a classroom for the night until the parents could go have a small wooden casket made in the midst of the oncoming storm.
The storm comes. With so much power of evil and light having swirled around the commUNITY center that night, what would come with the storm that was predicted to have a direct path over us?
We continued to pray for God’s mercy over us and for His protection. The winds came, the rain came. But what was this? Nothing as harsh and destroying as predicted. We heard of major destruction, flooding, and complete towns gone from places all around our commUNITY.
We went to survey Neply, some metal roofs were down here and there, some tarp homes were down, and a few areas had high water, but nothing devastating.
The large river was high and breaking down the banks and taking down the outside wall of a nearby orphanage... but that is another story. It was as if God literally held His hand out over our village and sheltered us as we were the only spot in the surrounding vicinity that was spared by the ravages of the storm.
God saw our battle. God saw and heard us claim to all Who has the power? Who has the light? Who can shelter us? Who has the victory? The family returns and tells us they need to know God.
As you read this story, we hope you are aware of the reality of Spiritual Warfare in Haiti. With no hospital or urgent care to go to when a child has a medical emergency, people often turn to VouDou because it is familiar to them and to their families. Breaking that cycle of turning to false gods is one of the main reasons God has placed us here in Haiti.
Many people in Haiti know about Jesus and what the Bible says about Him and they think He is good for them. The reality though is VouDou has such a deep and ingrained grip on people’s lives. They see Jesus as a good luck charm rather than the ONE who is good (Matthew 19:17). They see Jesus as a good “addition” to their spiritual network instead of making Him their only hope.
You’ll see the name of Jesus painted in many places in Haiti but often alongside other trinkets, symbols, or ideas. We are here to stand firm in the goodness of God alone. Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE (John 14:6), and we stand with Him alone.
Please pray for the truth of Jesus to be seen in Haiti today. Pray for the commUNITY to know and trust Him alone.