Our Vicar Peter MacPherson’s Travel News from Haiti!
From Peter MacPherson
Greetings from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
I am travelling as a guest of Compassion under the leadership of Tim Hanna, the National Director of Compassion Australia. Our group is quite small –comprising two ministry couples from Perth, one pastor from Brisbane, and me.
Compassion (the Christian child-rescue ministry) has been working in Haiti for 50 years and presently cares for 110,000 of the poorest children in the world. We were honoured guests at the 50th Anniversary which included speeches from Compassion International CEO, Jimmy Mellado and former CEO, Wess Stafford, massed choirs and orchestras of children, dancing, drama, testimony, awards and special wishes from the Government Minister representing the Prime Minister. It was blisteringly hot and very humid, but there was much thanks to God.
Today we visited a Compassion project set up with a local church to help mums with very young babies. The babies are weighed and checked each month and vaccinated against all the regular tropical diseases. The mums are taught about infant development, oral hygiene, breast-feeding, nutrition, family planning and general health. They are also taught about Jesus and encouraged (but not forced) to join the local church. In the same complex there is a school for older children run by Compassion. Most of these children will have sponsors in other countries that pay for tuition, medical care and some support of the child’s family.
Haiti is an incredibly poor country which has been devastated by numerous natural disasters including the 2010 earthquake that caused about 200,000 deaths. Estimates suggest about 80% of the population live in poverty.
Spiritually speaking, Haiti is quite dark. It’s colonial overlords were the French who introduced Roman Catholicism. They imported many African slaves who introduced voodoo practices to Haiti. Our interpreter told us today that they believe the 18th century independence movement was begun after a voodoo ritual involving pig’s blood. He even said that behind every Catholic saint the people worship another voodoo power. Some men have been known to be both a RC Priest and a voodoo priest. It is in this mix that Protestant churches declare that Jesus is Lord and teach the people to put their trust in Him only. Spiritual warfare is very real in Haiti – not just an academic topic.
Thank you for your prayers, I really appreciate it. Blessings, Peter
Peter returned to Melbourne late on Sat Aug 18