NRB International Insider
Haiti…Darkness and Light
It was shocking to hear and difficult to believe. Children disappearing. As many as five to seven a week during the last weeks of each year. Ages? Anywhere from babies to 10 or 11 years old. Sacrificed to Satanic spirits.
The town of Grison Garde is about 40 minutes outside the northern Haiti city of Cap Haitien, home to Christian Radio 4VEH. We traveled to this area in early December, with a small team consisting up of Kate Michel and Bryan McDonald of One Mission Society (OMS), Hollie Taylor of Shine FM in Edmonton, Ontario, Canada, Tim Whitehead of Galcom International in Canada, and myself, representing National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). Our mission was to give out solar powered radios in various areas to support the work of Radio 4VEH. We had heard these shocking stories early in our trip, but thought they were exaggerations.
On Sunday our group made the trek to the New Life Church, in the tropical rural area near Grison Garde. Our pickup truck could only make it so far, so we hiked down a valley, across a small stream, and back up to the community of several thousand people where the church is located.
After a powerful worship experience led by Pastor Job, we began to interview church members, many of whom had lived in this village for years. And we asked about the disappearance of the children. Yes. It was true. During late November and into December each year children would vanish. Everyone knew what was happening, but no one could do anything. Voodoo witch doctors were sacrificing children to satanic spirits to buy favor from them. Praise God, that isn’t the story today.
Many of the church members and others in the village recounted more stories that underscored the depth of darkness that existed in that place. One woman said she had birthed 12 children. The first seven died. As she told us, “They weren’t sick, they just died.” Soon, through the witness of Christians, she committed her life to Christ. “After having Jesus in my heart, I have had five children, and they are all healthy.”
What made the difference in this rural community near Grison Garde, Haiti? A radio. A solar powered radio with the frequency fixed on Radio 4VEH. A handful of people began gathering to listen on the little radio to the stories of God’s love. Of Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins. Of hope and salvation available to all. Of the One who is the Light of the world, whose Light drives out Satan’s darkness. And they believed.
When Pastor Job came to the location in 2004 he found this small group meeting and listening to Radio 4VEH. Soon a church was started. Soon the power of God was overtaking the darkness of sin and Satan. And soon, a culture began to change.
It was a joy to worship with Pastor Job and the New Life congregation, to hear their joyous singing and their deep-felt prayers. One soloist had previously worked for a witch doctor. Now she sings for Jesus and tells of her transition from darkness to light.
Two days later we were back in Grison Garde. Once again hiking to the village, this time going door to door to talk about Jesus and distribute more of the Galcom solar powered fix-tuned radios. Committed Christian young people joined each team, helping to direct us to the various homes, and helping to tell of God’s love. We heard more stories of the great difference Jesus is making. And we saw people in deep poverty talk of the joy in their hearts since Christ has come into their lives.
One man stood in his doorway…really just a curtain over the opening of his little hut…and told of losing his sight in 1998. This man cares for his nine children. In 2001 he asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life. He expressed joy at having the Lord in his life, and the strength he receives from knowing Christ. His life is hard, no doubt about it. His story isn’t a “name it and claim it” rags-to-riches one. Yet, there was a calm assurance in him as he told of his life today. It was moving to see one of our team members give him a radio, and place his hands on the switches and buttons as he showed him how to work it. Our prayer is that this man will grow in grace and be a shining example of God’s love and provision and peace.
There are still problems. There is still a spiritual battle going on. But soul-by-soul, home-by-home, the Spirit of Christ is replacing the spirit of darkness that has gripped this area in Haiti for hundreds of years.
While in the Grison Garde community, we heard that one of the few remaining witch doctors wanted a radio. Tim Whitehead, executive director of Galcom, and his team went to his home to take him a radio. Tim told us later he was praying hard for God’s Spirit to go before them, that they might be a witness for Christ. God answered the prayer. The witch doctor was happy to get a radio, and he promised to listen to it daily. Pastor Job made an appointment to return in the future to talk with him about a power greater than Satan…Jesus.
Port au Prince
Tim and I flew to Port au Prince to visit Radio Lumièrè. This station has received a gift from NRB to purchase solar panels to help reduce the cost of alternative electrical power when the main electrical system goes down. This happens frequently in Port au Prince, especially after the massive earthquake nearly two years ago.
We found the city still trying to recover from devastation, with thousands of tents still in evidence, forming packed areas that are little better than slums. The roads are in terrible shape, even though there is evidence they are trying to get them repaired.
And there are people everywhere. Many are trying to scratch out a living, mostly on a day-to-day basis. The need is great. And into this mess of destruction and distress comes the clear message of Hope…found only in Jesus.
I hope you will commit to pray for these Christian radio stations. As mentioned recently, Operation World prayer guide says that Christian radio is the most effective tool for evangelizing the people of Haiti. We have seen it first hand, and we know that is true. God is using Christian broadcasting to impact lives, turning Satan’s darkness into the glorious light of Jesus.
As we wrap up 2011 and look to 2012, we see more and more opportunities to enhance and encourage Christian broadcasters around the world. However, our financial situation will limit our opportunity to be with many of these faithful servants, seeing the needs, encouraging the leaders and staff of the various ministries.
The economy has hit many individuals and ministries, and it has taken its toll on our funding. As it stands today, I will not be able to book any trips in 2012 due to our current deficit. We will continue, of course, to connect with ministries and leaders in other parts of the globe via email, Skype, and other means. And we will continue to work with NRB members to assist the international partners. But we will be greatly limited in travel due to the current financial needs.
As the year closes, let me ask you to consider giving a gift to our NRB Strategic Partnerships work. You can write a check to NRB, and designate it to Strategic Partnerships on the memo line. It appears we will need some $50,000 to continue the work at the current level. If God puts it on your heart, would you give?
Checks can be mailed to:
9510 Technology Dr.
Manassas, VA 20110
For three and a half years we have been sending out these updates on the Strategic Partnerships work around the world. God is up to great things, and has great people all over His world sharing the Good News.
For three and a half years you have committed to pray for the ministries with whom we work. God has answered your prayers in amazing ways. I am humbled by your dedication to pray for us as we work to strengthen Christian broadcast ministries in far-flung places in our world. And I am humbled that the Lord uses us to accomplish His plan for the spread of the Gospel.
The year 2011 will wrap up for us in an unusual way. My wife Judy and I will be in Albania and Kosovo for the launch of the first Christian station in Kosovo, a country that is almost totally Muslim. Pray for God’s blessing for this station, and for the amazing people who are taking bold steps to plant the message of salvation through Jesus Christ in a land gripped by the darkness of Islam. Your prayers will be appreciated.
Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year!
Ronald L. Harris, DD
Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships
National Religious Broadcasters
703-330-7000 (NRB HQ)
This is one in a series of occasional looks at the
need and the impact of Christian broadcasting around the world.
National Religious Broadcasters
Dr. Ron Harris
Senior VP for Strategic Partnerships