Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More of the Same

Mac and Cheese. Peanut Butter & Jelly. Noodles with a jar of spaghetti sauce. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Perhaps some soup. Rice and beans. That is the current menu at 'Chez Troy'.

No complaints yet. Last night I treated myself, however to a "steak". The label said it was filet mignon, but it looked more like rump roast. Actually, I'm not even sure it was beef. But with enough garlic, A1 sauce, and Montreal Steak seasoning salt...it turned out fairly edible.

I've had a few medical patients to tend to, and I'm wishing I knew how to do stitches too. One of our employee's sons came today after nearly severing his whole finger with a machete. I took him to a local lady who has helped us with stitches before, I'm sure Britt will be disappointed that she missed the opportunity to help. She prefers the nice, clean cuts from machetes, after all. There is a little girl who is coming for treatment of a burn on her leg, so I am now studying our "Where There Is No Doctor" book and the internet so I can help instead of harm.

I just found this article this morning, he's thinking along the same lines regarding the "curse" and Haiti's problems. Interesting read, if you want another perspective on it.

Can Believers Help Haiti Move From Curse Into Hope?

2006-08-11 -- WDC Media News --

(AgapePress) - Once called the "Pearl of the Antilles," Haiti has always occupied a special place among the Caribbean Islands, not only because of its beautiful landscape and rich culture, but especially for its unparalleled history. Haiti is the only place in the new world where revolutionary African slaves successfully ended slavery and colonialism to build a new country. On January 1, 1804, Haiti proclaimed its independence from France and then became the second oldest republic of the new world after the United States.

Two centuries later, the two countries stand at opposite poles in terms of stability, prosperity and wealth -- with Haiti being the poorest of the entire Western Hemisphere. After episodes of foreign occupation intertwined with coup-d'états, Haiti is being led once again by a democratically elected government. On February 7, 2006, the people of Haiti elected René G. Préval as their new president. President Préval, who ran for the party LESPWA (meaning HOPE), will govern for a period of five years in accordance with Haiti's constitution.

A Pact with the Devil?
In the midst of the country's instability, however, one segment of the Haitian society that has known a steady growth is Protestantism, since its introduction by American and British missionaries shortly after independence. As a believer myself, born and raised in Haiti, I can say that the general impact of the gospel in the country has been a positive one -- considering efforts made in educational and nutritional programs, as well as in the areas of spiritual, emotional, and medical care. But one particular movement among some evangelical churches that has puzzled me is a religious campaign based on the idea that God has cursed the land to keep it from prospering because Haiti's founding fathers -- among them a slave leader named Bookman -- supposedly made a pact with the devil over 200 years ago.

Several years ago, however, Bishop Joel Jeune made the following statement at the end of a series of worship services and meetings that took place throughout the country:

"All Haitians now know that Haiti is no longer under any contract with Satan. The contract is canceled, the curse is broken. Praise God for His great victory!"

He went on to explain the changes expected in the country as a result:

"Already people visiting Haiti testify to a fresh atmosphere in the country. The heaviness has been lifted up. God is going to completely change this country spiritually, economically, and socially. We now call it Haiti G.C. [God's Country]! Be encouraged with us and keep praying."

But how much truth is there in the whole satanic pact and curse message? I have researched Haiti's history and found no record that suggests early Haitian leaders ever made a pact with Satan that would bind the entire nation.

First, Haiti's constitution does not sanctify Satanism, but guarantees freedom of conscience for all throughout the land. Freedom of religion is as much real in Haiti as it is in the United States, Canada, or France. Second, there is no evidence that Bookman ever made a pact with Satan in the name of or on behalf of the entire nation of Haiti. Finally, the historical records show that Haiti's founding fathers put their faith in God during the Independence War -- and not in Satan. The best evidence available for this very important point is found in a letter sent by the leaders of the revolution to a French governor. In the letter, they wrote:

"God who fights for the innocent is our guide. He will not forsake us."

If there ever was a satanic contract, those who sent the letter would have referred specifically to Satan as their leader and not to God as their guide and protector. Haiti's founding fathers knew or believed that their cause was just and God was going to help them succeed. The rest is history.

Jump to the Present
Among the candidates who lost the last presidential race stands Pastor Chavannes Jeune, who ran for L'Union Nationale Chrétienne pour la Reconstruction dhoti (UNCRH). Earlier, Pastor Chavannes, an advocate himself of the curse theory, had served as the national leader for the MEBSH (Mission Evangélique Baptiste du Sud d'Haïti), one of the country's largest Baptist organizations. As rumors started coming out about possible efforts by election officials to manipulate the results, thousands of people took to the streets to express their frustration. That's when Pastor Chavannes, who finished fourth in the race, made a statement that the Haitian people will remember for a long time:

"Christian ethics prevents me from endorsing the schemes and manipulations committed during the vote count."

Pastor Chavannes continued by saying that Haitian voters had the right to protest if they suspected that their vote was being stolen -- a situation very similar to Ukraine's recent orange revolution! He also said that he would be willing to work with the new elected government for the benefit of the nation.

Now, could it be that by his active participation in Haiti's political life, Pastor Chavannes Jeune has just identified the real cause of the country's misery? Could it be that injustice, schemes, and manipulations (but not a curse from God) were all along responsible for Haiti's instability and poverty? After all, the old curse was removed about a decade ago, and Haiti's plague can no longer be examined through these defective and broken lenses.

Although many secular societies have achieved stability and prosperity through education and law enforcement, there is a strong conviction among many believers that a shared faith in God is a requirement for societal health. In the case of Haiti, the religious argument went beyond mere faith in God to include a direct involvement of the divine in the day-to-day realities of the population. The message that attempted to spiritualize the agonies of the Haitian masses places both Satan and God at the center of the debate. It's worth noting, however, that prosperous societies -- secular or religious -- own their stability and success to the degree of respect they have for their own laws. In that particular regard, Haiti can certainly learn from them.

Considering the lack of evidence that there ever was a spiritual contract with the devil, I wonder if the proponents of the curse theory can actually consider their work done. Now, how can believers help this ravaged little country leave the curse behind and move into a culture of hope? Maybe a strong push for law and order in Haiti should follow the religious campaign that has resulted in the cancellation of the supposed satanic pact. In the meantime, one simple thing Bible believers can always do when trying to understand Haiti's agony is to open up the Bible and read Exodus 20:16 for guidance: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."