As a gateway to the Caribbean, and with the second longest coastline in the Greater Antilles, Haiti should be a prime location for your next vacation, but unlike the adjoining Dominican Republic, few tourists visit the western end of this shared island that was once idyllic.

Why is there such disparity? Why is Haiti so “developmentally resistant?”

It’s a well-documented but surprisingly little known fact that in 1791 desperate slaves called upon voodoo priests and the power of that religion to give them victory in the slave revolt to come. This ceremony involved animal sacrifice imploring Satan to liberate Haiti from the ruling French slavers. In exchange, the voodoo priests promised along with the war leaders to dedicate the country to Satan and serve him faithfully for 200 years. When the French were finally expelled and Haiti was declared a nation on January 1, 1804 a new spiritually dark chapter in the country’s history began. Voodoo has been described by secular anthropologists as a passive world view that relies on the will of capricious “spirits” for its followers be subject to.

At the time of this pact with the devil, Haiti was France’s richest colony and was well known as the “Pearl of the Antilles” for its singular beauty. There is no question that the enslavement of millions here was almost singularly cruel and harsh. Half the Haitian population died fighting for freedom. Once free however, an enslavement of a different kind has kept Haiti from realizing its potential. A Spiritual enslavement.

Soon after, Haiti became one of the world’s poorest and most beleaguered nations, despite being the first and only Black republic that gained its freedom from enslavement. However, a continuing reliance on a Voodoo world view is said to have created one of the most difficult places in the world for development to take place. This is why our activities embrace interventions that address body, mind and spirit equally!

Although today the country is predominantly Catholic in description, it’s reported that between 75-90 percent of Haitians practice voodoo, a mix of African spiritism and witchcraft. As recently as 2003, then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide advocated voodoo declaring, “An ancestral religion, voodoo is an essential part of the national identity.” Ironically, from the time of its freedom in 1804, Haiti has been in chains. In place of the one true God, Haiti has served the master of evil, lies and despair. An island of God’s bountiful sun does not know God’s Beloved Son and only faith-based support can return a once proud country to its former glory.

Including this information isn’t intended to frighten you off from our work, but to embolden well-meaning people and spur you to action! A useful saying is that we are meant to be mirrors- to shine God’s light into dark places. May God use the Joy and Hope of Haiti to reflect His light into the lives of these beautiful children. May these Children then grow up to change their nation.

With this brief history lesson complete, you can now understand why helping Haitian children fulfill their destiny and help their once great country recover must be framed in the context of physical, emotional and spiritual challenges.