As I bumped down a muddy road in a small Hilux truck nearly swallowed by potholes, the rainy-season downpour streaked the windows and drenched the huddle of people crammed in the bed of the pickup. A small Haitian child slept on my lap for most of the journey from the little village of Merceron to the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
Myself, along with my videographer and audio guy, had spent most of the day shooting footage for a legacy video about Pastor Marc, an OMer and Haitian native who planted a church in this area once controlled by voodoo.
Though he was murdered two years ago in a robbery, Pastor Marc left a big footprint on this community. He led the main voodoo priest to Christ on the man’s deathbed, which resulted in many being set free from the power of generational evil spirit worship. Now there is a thriving church, as well as a school and chicken house business benefitting the community.
Coming from a western background, the blatant spiritual warfare in Haiti was quite a departure from Satan’s more sly tactics in my home culture. Here the battle is out in the open, manifesting in everything from generational poverty to spirit possession and voodoo rituals.
The pastor who hosted us during our time in Haiti told many stories about his experiences planting a church in Jacmal, another Haitian city. It was common for him to have to cast demons out of people and pray for relief from persecution by evil spirits.
At times, this atmosphere can be quite oppressive, but it shouldn’t be discouraging. In fact, the thing that stood out to me most about my time in Haiti is the sheer power of the name of Jesus and its transforming influence on lives and communities.
For people trapped in spirit worship, who will face sickness and death for themselves and their families if they stop, the name of Jesus that causes demons to flee is truly their only hope for freedom. In a country where there is so little hope for the future, Christ followers are making a real difference.
The spiritual and practical problems Haiti faces are real and daunting, but here the Good News is truly bringing hope to people once enslaved in darkness.