The Priest

2021 Jan 09

I stood above a giant, spring-fed pool. Once a site for baptisms, it had become a nationally renowned hotspot for voodoo.

An internationally renowned, seven day voodoo festival had just ended. People had sacrificed cows and goats, draining their blood and throwing their entrails into the pool. Cases of sugar cane rum had been poured in, too.

The pool was completely filthy and bubbling. Its stench reached our nostrils as we looked around for people to share the gospel with. We could not help but feel disgusted, but we were there to bring light into darkness. More than anything we felt sad for the people who were there – they were so deceived.

Our attempts to talk about Jesus were met with resistance or annoyance and, after a while, we began to leave. Then a man of around sixty rode up to us on a bicycle.

He introduced himself in broken English as Gregory. He asked what we were doing and if we had any questions about the festival. As we peppered him with questions he began to open up. He explained that he was a voodoo priest. To our surprise he also had quite a bit of understanding about Christianity. 

Before we left I asked him if we could pray a blessing on him. He immediately stepped back and said, “No, that would be very unwise.” He said that, as a voodoo priest serving satan, if we prayed a blessing from Jesus on him, it would be like two live wires touching – it would cause an explosion!

He then asked a very interesting question: “Did God tell you to come here tonight?” I told him that God had spoken to our family to come to Haiti and share the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen.

“So you’re telling me,” he said, “that God told you to come here this night?” I said, yes, that would be the case. He responded, “If God told you to come, then yes, you can pray for me.”

We laid hands on him as a group and prayed a blessing on him. There was nothing eventful or spectacular about the prayer or that moment but in faith we spoke out blessing over this lost man. 

Before we left, we told him where he could find us if he had any other questions about Jesus or spiritual things. He thanked us and we said goodbye.

The next day I was teaching the DTS and explained to the class what had happened. We all stopped and prayed that Gregory would come to see us and have a hunger for more of Jesus. It was not a prayer of great faith – more of a prayer of obedience.

Then, about six hours later, Gregory knocked on our gate! In disbelief we invited him in. He proceeded to explain that when we prayed for him, he felt a sort of heat or electricity in his body. He recognized that this must be from God and was seeking salvation and relationship with Jesus. 

We led him through a prayer of repentance, and he accepted Christ. He immediately told us we needed to come back to his house to pray for his pregnant wife.

We went to their home, which was a small tin shack. He invited us in and in the corner we saw a huge voodoo shrine with candles, incense, human bones and pieces of paper with curses written on them. 

We explained the gospel to Gregory’s wife Jaunty and he told her she needed to stop practicing voodoo and turn from her sins. She was not sure and said she wanted to think about it. We told her that was fine, that she should take time to consider the cost. Then we asked if we could pray a blessing over her. 

She said yes and two women from our team laid their hands on her pregnant belly and prayed.

Two days later we returned and Jaunty said she wanted to commit her life to Christ. She told us that she had never felt her baby move around like it had during our prayer. To her, that was proof that the spirit of God was at work.

I thought this was totally amazing – here an unborn baby was leading its mother to Christ! Just as John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb, this baby leapt in response to the presence of Christ in our prayer.

We visited Gregory and Jaunty a few days later and were told that she had thrown all her voodoo things down the pit toilet. I was skeptical, so at an opportune moment, I excused myself to use the bathroom. I shone my phone’s light down the toilet and, sure enough, all her voodoo things were down there floating around in the sewage. To me, the fact that she did this on her own accord, with no prompting from us, showed the reality of her conversion.

Now, a year later, we remain friends with Gregory and Jaunty and they help us with our mission in Haiti.

Sean Murphy, DTS Director
YWAM Ships Kona

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