Many of you are aware of my recent travels to Haiti. I went through an organization called "Mission Haiti" and spent time at an orphanage in Ti-Riviere, Haiti. I had an opportunity to travel with a fabulous team. Other than spending time with the kids at the orphanage, we hiked up into the mountains and put on three medical clinics.
We also had a children's program at each clinic. Each night when we returned to the orphanage, we helped with youth group. Youth from all over the village (and beyond!) came to hear testimonies and to worship together.
My eyes were really opened to more of the spiritual world. In Haiti voo-doo and witchcraft is popular. The heaviness of satan and demons were often too close for my liking! I felt the Spirit of the Lord among us though, keeping us safe. As we prayed about our adventures in Haiti, Luke 18 was spoken over our group. Check it out. Many of my stories I will share line up with teachings found in Luke.
I'd like to share a couple of instances that really jump out in my mind.
1. We hiked up steep mountains with many unsteady, unclear paths. I kept saying over and over in my head "someone SHOULD be hurt right now. this is crazy!" BUT, no one got hurt. I knew that prayers from back home were being answered! Thanks for praying for our safety. Also, I NEVER felt unsafe. Ok, maybe once...we took a crazy row-boat ride to a private island. But even then, I knew I was in the Lord's hands. Even as we passed many people with machetes, fear never came over me.
2. We went and prayed over a demon-possessed girl: Rosemonde. Her grandfather had made a 'deal' with satan that someone from each generation of his family would carry a demon. The demon fell on this little 13 year old girl. As a group we had decided we would go pray over her and her family. Upon arriving to her place, we learned her parents weren't home. Rosemonde's cousin carried Rosemonde out to us, where we were confronted with a girl that basically looked dead. We had to hold her body up in the chair. Her eyes rolled back in her head. Her mouth hung open. If I hadn't seen her eyes roll on their own, I would have thought she was dead. She was unable to speak to us. Her family was starving her, as they didn't want to 'feed the demon.'
The Lord had just spoke to me that morning in Proverbs 25:21-22...
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
We attempted to feed Rosemonde while we were there, but she couldn't move her mouth. We carried Rosemonde to a mat and then gathered around her to pray and worship. This was such a powerful experience. I felt the Spirit surrounding us...fighting battles. As we prayed, I felt the Spirit moving me to wash Rosemonde's feet and wounds. I battled with God for a while. Her feet were filthy. Her wounds open. Bugs crawling on her. I thought, "Seriously God, you want me to touch her? You want me to wash her feet? Seriously? Do I have to? But God, I don't have gloves to wear..." I felt a strong pulling. Yes Heidi. Get down and wash her feet. I love her.
So, after I finally 'got over myself,' I obeyed. It was after washing her feet, it seemed as though Rosemonde 'came to' a little more. We saw her feet and arms move. She attempted to look around. Her eyes focused a little more. It wasn't until later that I found out the Lord was speaking the word "water" to another person in our group. She told me she was trying to figure out what God meant, when she saw me bend down to wash Rosemonde's feet. "Ah Ha. water. washing feet." I'm able to look back at that now and realize the power of the Spirit...speaking to both our hearts in ways we didn't understand at the time.
We never saw a complete healing while we were with Rosemonde, but I definitely knew that the work of the demons had been disrupted, and they weren't liking it. We placed Rosemonde back in the chair before leaving. Her head still hung low. I was sad to go, but knew we needed to. God was going to continue His work...we had to trust that. As we walked away, I needed to see her one more time. I looked back to find Rosemonde pulling her head up, her eyes focused on us as we walked away. Those eyes still stick with me. I also continue to remember what it was like to hold her lifeless body. An experience I know I won't forget.
(Side note...Rosemonde passed away about a week ago. Before her passing away, her parents accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They also dedicated Rosemonde to Jesus. I only pray I see her in heaven some day. Please keep praying for her family.)
3. Mary. I don't think I will ever forget Mary. After youth group one night, Cory came up to me and told me that a woman had come to the orphanage for medication. This was nothing new to me. Michelle and I, being the nurses in the group, had been asked by many people for medication. As I approached Mary and the translator, Mary began telling me that she had back pain for a year. As I sat down next to her, it was noticeable the stiffening pain she was having in her back. I ran inside to grab some Tylenol for her. As I explained to her (through the translator) how much Tylenol she would take/how often she could take it, I felt compelled to ask Mary if I could pray with her. She agreed to it. As I went to start praying, a thought came to me. "Does she even call Jesus her Lord and Savior?" I asked the translator to ask her that question.
This is the part that I cannot fully explain in words.
As the translator said "Jezu" (Jesus in Creole), Mary screeched and flung her body over me. She then jumped up and ran around the room, shouting "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" and speaking many words in Creole that I could not understand. As she ran around and got down on her knees, I continued to sit there praying for her. I was shown (again) the power that the name of Jesus held/holds! She eventually came back and sat down by me. I asked her through the translator what she had just experienced. Freedom. Mary had just experienced freedom from her back pain. She told me that since her back pain had started a year ago, no one had prayed for her. She also was unable to go to church since her back pain had started. When she went to walk in the doors of church, she felt a power holding her back from going in. "Hmm," I thought, "Satan can just go take a hike."
4. The kids at the orphanage. Of course they captured my heart. Especially Schneider. This little 7 year old boy was so sweet. As I would be walking along, all of a sudden I would feel a little hand in mine. It was Schneider. I never knew I could love someone so fast.
These are just a few of the things I saw/experienced in Haiti.
When sharing these stories with friends/family, I've had many different reactions. A couple of things that I want to emphasize...yes, demons exist. and yes, healings can happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF JESUS!!
The Spirit is at work in Haiti.
Please pray for Rosemonde's family and for Mary. Please pray for "Mission Haiti." Please pray for Pam, the founder of "Mission Haiti." Please pray for Cory and Lynn Grimm, and their family, as they prepare to be full time missionaries in Haiti. Please pray for Ti-Riviere and the surrounding communities. And of course, pray for the kids at the orphanage :)