Lately, I've been reading a lot about Haiti: books on missions to Haiti, books on missions in general, information about the country, culture, economics, etc. I'm attempting to understand as much as I can before we are actually on the ground. The more I read, I'm realizing I may know more, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll understand a whole lot of it until I'm living in it. However, there have been glimpses into the culture and aspects of missions there that I believe will help me even in transitioning. One of those glimpses has been into the spiritual warfare that is a present reality in the country and that I believe accounts for much of what is going on there.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere - it was already before the Jan 2010 earthquake. More than 70% of the people live on less than $2 a day and 60% don't have basic health care. Half the population is under 20 years old and due to poverty, 225,000 of those children are living as restavecs (modern-day slaves). Behind all these statistics, lies a spirit of oppression over the country, most notably, in the form of voodoo. The Western idea of free will does not truly exist in Haiti, because to them, the voodoo gods (lwa) are responsible for everything that happens. Their only course of action is to petition them for change. It's a fatalistic religion robbing them of all hope. And make no mistake about it, the forces of darkness behind this religion are very real. Culturally, there is more that complicates things, and as I stated earlier, I have only begun to get a glimpse of it. One thing I do understand - we are headed into spiritual warfare. We can choose to ignore it and focus only on the physical aspects of ministry; we can fear it and choose not to bother; or we can acknowledge it and prepare ourselves for the spiritual battle that is already going on. We choose the latter, because we know and believe in a power greater than any other in whose name the chains of oppression will be broken. In the name of Jesus, there is hope, there is peace, there is freedom, and there is life. Nehemiah Vision Ministries exists to bring people "from darkness to light; from hopelessness to eternal life." Please pray for us as we partner with them and bring the message of hope to the people of Haiti and that they would embrace Jesus.