Sunday, January 24, 2010

Witch Doctor Renounces Voodoo in Haiti

When we hear and see the devastation left by the earthquake in Haiti, many will inevitably wonder how anything good can come out of it all. We feel that way when personal disasters strike, whether it follows a car accident, a house burning down, or even the sudden death of a loved one. However, as Christians we are told that it is not this world we are promised, but the next one that Christ will bring when He returns to judge the world. So we as sojourners here on earth, must look at this world as a place that is here today and gone tomorrow. So while I agree that seeing the destruction and human suffering in Haiti can test ones faith in God's promise to care for, and comfort those who are suffering, if you look beyond what the MSM wants to show us, you will see miracles happening all over Haiti. It is those miracles which should assure you that God is fulfilling the promises He has.

A little history on Haiti and its Voodoo problem will help me introduce you to a certain little old lady named Anne Marie Polestier, and the miracle God is performing with her and others all over Haiti. Let me take you back, back to a time when Europe was at war and America was doing all it could to avoid being brought into it; a time when few if any of your grandparents even knew of Haiti, let alone the existence of Voodoo and black magic. The time was 1941 and a young teen girl was becoming enamored with the power she saw in the practices of Voodoo. The Catholic Church started to come down hard upon those who practiced the black arts, they even put pressure on the government to outlaw Voodoo and disband the practice. There were two other times the church attempted to eradicate the practice of witchcraft and mysticism, once in 1896 and again in 1913. However, in 1941 the church began a campaign of intolerance that led to the dismantling of hundreds of Ounfos (voodoo temples), the burning of thousands of parchments, and the destruction of paraphernalia used in black magic rituals.

Haiti was a poor country then as it is now and produced barely enough food to feed its own people. Like most of Latin and South America the Catholic Church was the dominant Christian influence and its influence spread to those in control of the Haitian government. So when the government helped the church to eradicate the religion of Voodoo from the island, it helped to destroy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items and buildings. The heavy financial loss was especially hard on those who were already struggling and using voodoo as their means of sustenance. Many of those involved were willing participants who helped to destroy their own livelihood as they accepted Christ by the thousands throughout the crackdown. What happened should bring to remembrance to any regular reader of the Scriptures the incident Luke wrote about the chapter 19 of the book of Acts.
And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.Acts 19:18-20
As I said, during the crackdown many thousands would came to know Christ, but others just melted into the jungles continuing to practice their rituals in secret, away from the prying eyes of the government and the church. We may never know exactly why Anne Marie Polestier set it upon her heart to become a voodoo mambo or a priestess. Maybe she was a daughter of those who melted into the woods after the pressure of the Church and government became unbearable. Perhaps she was met with Christians who failed to show the love of Christ and instead was repelled by their anger over the evil they saw. Sometimes without realizing it, a Christian's hatred for evil can come off as hatred for the one practicing it. We are told to love the sinner and hate the sin, but too often the sinner and the sin both feel the wrath of the righteous. Regardless the reason, 83 year old Anne Marie does remember that she chose willingly to become a practitioner of Voodoo's black magic.
As you will see in the accompanying video that I edited from a report done for CBN, Polestier would become a well known witch doctor of voodoo, and in time would move to a neighborhood in central Port-au-Prince where she would gain quite the reputation for her knowledge and understanding of the many practices of voodoo and mysticism. Then one day a Christian Pastor decided to open a church in her neighborhood and spread the Gospel of Christ. Camille Desravines, was not met with joy and enthusiasm by the voodoo priestess, who considered the neighborhood to be her domain and the people to be her flock. She even told the new preacher that he had one year to get out of the neighborhood or else she would put a curse on them that would kill him and all the members of his church. It was not a threat to be taken lightly, after all the jungles are full of the bones of those who crossed the paths and made enemies of voodoo priestesses. Many, even in the Christian communities of Haiti, tend to keep their distance from such women and their black magic curses.

Voodoo priestesses may be scary, but in Christ we know no fear, because greater is He who is in us then he who is in the world. 1John 4:4 Pastor Desravines did not back down. He may have feared for the lives and welfare of his congregation but he knew that God would protect those who truly put their faith in Him through Christ. Well it was less then a year from the time she threatened them when the earthquake struck Haiti. When the quake hit, Anne Marie was in the living room with her daughter. She managed to get out, but lost her daughter who died and her home. A few yards away, her hated enemy, Pastor Camille would experience a similar fate. His church and home were destroyed and just like that, both he and Anne Marie were homeless.

It is important to know as a Christian, that calamity and death will visit both the righteous evil person, and it is how we react and what we do when such devastation and loss of life comes that shows the world who our God is. In the wake of the devastation, Pastor Camille's church invited Anne Marie to join them. Oh there is no building left ,but the church is not a building, the church is a community of God's children. Anne has learned what it means to be forgiving because those she threatened with a curse, are now the ones who are giving her aid and comfort at a time when she has no one and nothing left in this world. Anne Marie and Pastor Camille are becoming good friends, and Anne has even renounced Voodoo magic. She has yet to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior, but Pastor Camille is convinced that day will come shortly. Anne said of Voodoo:
"I'm going to leave it. I'm going to leave Voodoo, It has brought me nothing but anguish."
Pastors and Christians all over Haiti are reporting the same kind of miracles as the one that was visited upon Anne Marie. Almost every day following a service and meeting, more people come forward to declare they too want to trust Christ with their future and souls. They have a new found faith and it is a faith in Christ that many are beginning to understand as they witness the devastation that Voodoo could not keep from visiting their door. See, Christ does not promise that you will be free from trials and tribulations, what Christ offers is freedom from the second death as he told the Church of Smyrna when he told them they would face persecution:
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." Revelation 2:10-11
The current troubles, brought on by the earthquake, only add to what the Haitians have suffered from years of political and spiritual corruption. That lethal combination has kept the people in such a state of constant poverty that many turned to Voodoo to help explain and deal with their suffering. Now some are looking to a different God, and the answers they are getting make more sense and offer better choices than the religion of Voodoo. Sometimes God's greatest miracles are most evident when people are suffering greatly. At a time when every person in Haiti has been touched by this tragedy, a miracle of rebirth is taking place. Both young and old are looking to Christ for answers and salvation that only He can offer.

I pray that those who have ears to hear will hear His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Way cool articlw.... reminded me to pray for hAITI. -gARY Jacques