Once a year for the last four or five years, I take a trip to Cap-Haitian Haiti in order to teach Principles of Spiritual Warfare at the Emmaus Biblical Seminary   . A thirty hour course is crammed into two weeks and further squeezed by the need for a translator. This is that time of year.
I arrived on Monday and stepped off the plane into the sweltering heat of the Caribbean sun. It’s good to be back. In fact it’s good to be out of the snow storms and cold weather sweeping across the Midwest. I’m not one of those guys who will ever be able to afford a Caribbean vacation – not a complaint at all by the way. But once a year the very gracious people in my church help send me here because they believe strongly in missions. And they believe strongly in the work of training pastors at Emmaus Seminary.
Some of my own congregation have had first hand experience a few years ago with the country of Haiti. when we took our first short term missions trip there through Men for Missions. It’s a land of mixed signals to say the least. To start with it is earth at it’s most beautiful. The land itself is rugged, mountainous at least where I am located and enormous in it’s display of God’s glory. The people are beautiful as well. Everywhere the people of Haiti dress in the cleanest clothes I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen white’s so bright or yellows so vibrant. But the living conditions are often less than pristine.
Many sleep in huts on dirt floors. Concrete, rather than wood is the construction material of choice. A wood residence would be devoured in a few years by the weather as well as the termites. But concrete offers not only durability but protection from the elements. Away from the cities the concrete gives way to thatched huts with walls comprised of woven sticks. Yet the people of Haiti are proud, beautiful and strong.
But it’s not the living conditions that makes Haiti such a land of contrast it’s the voodoo (or voudou).
You need to get past the image of witch doctors with bones through their noses. That’s not in Haiti in my experience. Here the witch doctors (Boku in Creole) are dressed like everyone else (though sometimes better since it can be lucrative to have power over the spirits).
The Boku are part of why I come. The Boku follow the traditions of worship and ceremony passed on to them from their ancestors. They call on demons (Loa) to inhabit either their bodies or the bodies of others in the midst of their worship ceremonies. They sell formula’s for healing or for more diabolical purpose. They buy and sell souls and enslave drug stupified “zombies” to serve them. And knowingly they worship Satan. They like much of Haiti are in bondage to Satan. There are many Boku who would willingly leave their life and come to Jesus but there are too many blockades in their way.
It is economically powerful to be a witch doctor. People will sell you their children in exchange for a potion to make them rich. They will give everything they own in a last hope of being healed of some disease. So it is not uncommon for the witch doctors to be at least slightly better off than their often unemployed counterparts.
If economics will not hold them back there is also a rampaging fear that Satan will kill them if they leave him to follow Jesus. They fear everything from a supernatural death to the vengeance and violence of Satan’s other followers – including family members. They do not understand that death in Christ who cannot die again, is better than life in Satan who’s end is the lake of fire. And they do now know if Jesus can truly free them from bondage.
The Ignorance of God’s word is the third “rope” which keeps them in bondage. Fear, economics and ignorance.
Most people in the western world with an equally erroneous view of Satan and his power are often in bondage for the same reasons. They may not think much of Satan but they can’t see past the next paycheck. In Haiti the bondage to economics is often due to not enough. In much of the rest of the world it is due to way too much. I’m not rich by American standards but by Haitian standards there’s no comparison, it’s a completely different league. Ignorance of God’s word in every country keeps people in the dark spiritually, and fear of the unknown is always nearly completely crippling.
God’s word plainly teaches about the victory over Satan and his power which is found solely in Jesus. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross, soundly defeating him and rising in power on the third day. Colossians 2:15 (compare Ephesians 4:8) informs us that Jesus defeated and disarmed Satan and made a public display of them. This public display was in his ressurection which was displayed clearly for many to see. The disciples were not the only ones to know of his ressurection. The Pharisees also knew and turned a blind eye and a hardened heart to it (Matthew 28:11 …the guard…reported to the chief priests all that had happened.)
Jesus trully is the means of freedom. He can deliver you from demons both literally and figuratively. He can release you from Satan’s power and he can cleanse you from your sin.
Jesus can break the power of the bottle, the pills, and the past. He has the power to deliver you from whatever you need deliverance from. After all. He has all of the authority – both in heaven and on earth.