Teens bring the Good News to a notorious Haitian village

from reports compiled by Emma, James, Stephine

St Marc’s District Five stretched before us, dotted with small villages of cinderblock houses with thatched roofs. Dust hung in the air while the intense sun baked the earth.

District Five is notorious in St Marc for its voodoo practices. It’s a rough, impoverished community. According to YWAM Haiti director Terry Snow, the village we were in has never been visited by a team of missionaries. That would soon change with our team of teens and young adults.

The team had chatted nervously on the bumpy bus ride to the village. For most of us, this would be our first time visiting people in their homes or praying with them to give their lives to Jesus. And it would be our first time coming face-to-face with voodoo.

A small crowd of Haitians from the village greeted us as we left the bus. Some of the smallest children hid behind an adult or older child. We were the first white people they’d seen—we must have looked like ghosts!

teens in Haiti

Because this was the first time YWAM had visited this village, we wanted to dedicate it to God. Like Joshua leading Israel on a march around the Promised Land, we walked around the village, worshipping and praising God. By the end of the half-hour walk, the team was no longer nervous, but excited to meet and pray with the people. So we split into groups of twos and threes (with translators).

The first home my group visited was a one-room cinder block building with an attached porch. Their only luxury appeared to be a handheld radio tied to the porch post that blared the whole time we were there. The family welcomed us inside, curious about why we had come. We told them about God and they asked us to pray with them. I held their baby the whole time. Before we left, we gave the family a New Testament in their language.

We stopped at the voodoo temple and I walked in, right past the Dora the Explorer voodoo doll that hung by its neck. I expected that there would be a strong reaction against us, that we wouldn’t be welcomed in the village or especially in the temple. But that was not the case. Everyone was welcoming and hospitable. It seemed like our prayers and worship beforehand had made a difference.

The temple looked like it was home for a couple large families, with many children running around. So I held the babies and kissed the little kids. Their moms giggled and handed me more and more babies to hold. I don’t think I could ever tire of holding and loving these little ones!

Our small groups reunited and could not stop talking about their experiences.

teens in Haiti

Praying with a Haitian young person after he dedicated his life to Jesus

“They were so open to our message about Christ,” Stephine said, excited. “They wanted us to pray with them. And they really wanted to open their hearts to God, to choose to live their lives for Jesus. My group alone brought over 20 people to God!”

“Jimmy and I prayed for a baby who was sick,” James said. “She couldn’t eat or drink for days. But as we prayed, I was sure God would heal her.”

Later in the day, we held a large event for the community with songs, skits, and discussions about what it means to be a Christian. We played soccer with the kids in the community and one of our teen girls gave them her soccer ball.

By the end of the day, nearly 100 people in the village decided to give their lives to God.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if in a matter of months this voodoo temple becomes a place where people worship Jesus all the time,” Stephine said.