Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Encounter With Voodoo in Haiti

As mentioned in my last post about Haiti, there is alot of spiritism mixed into Christianity, because there is alot of Voodoo practiced there. So the following experience on (pgs 130-131 of the 1994 Yearbook) shows a scary situation that the missionaries had to deal with in that regard.

(early missionaries in Haiti, pg 124)

(the following experience involves 2 of the missionaries shown above, Alex Brodie and Victor Winterburn, who are in the photo at the top, and the top right)

An Encounter With Voodoo
Victor Winterburn was one of the newly arrived missionaries. A Canadian, he was 23, was baptized in 1940 at the age of 12, and had been pioneering since 1946. Soon after Victor became branch overseer in September 1951, the life of one of the Witnesses, Frank Paul, was endangered by voodoo superstitions. Victor Winterburn and Alex Brodie went to Frank’s aid. Let them relate what happened:
“In 1952, following up on reports from brothers, we found Frank semiconscious on a cot in a voodoo temple. His hands were tied to a post behind him. His feet were also tied. A gag prevented his mouth from closing. His lips were cracked. His emaciated face was covered with blisters. We tried to talk to the mambo (priestess), but she ignored us. We could not communicate with Frank. And we could not remove him. Even the police said that they could not touch him, since he had been taken there by his parents.
“We visited his parents and pieced the story together. His wife had left him, and he was raising his child by himself, doing tailoring at home. He fell ill and became delirious, so he was hospitalized. Believing he was possessed by a bad spirit, his parents transferred him to the temple. We were later told that the sick are beaten and hot pepper is put in their eyes to drive out the evil spirits.
“Growing afraid because his condition worsened, his parents called one of the brothers, who tried to return him to the hospital. But knowing where he had been, the hospital did not want him. He was admitted only after a sister with nursing experience offered to buy the required drugs and take care of him. The congregation provided his meals—a service normally rendered by the patient’s family.
“The doctors said he had typhoid and malaria. We wondered if he would recover. Yet, he regained his health, resumed his ministry, and eventually remarried. He greatly appreciated the assistance the brothers gave and the warm, supportive spirit of his congregation.”