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2/21/2010 ~ CINCO BAPTIST CHURCH; FWB, FL                                                           

                                                                 THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE DISASTER

2/21/10: Today I visited the Cinco Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, FL., where I was privileged to hear Pastor Dr. Mickey Lane Hawkins and two of his Deacons give moving testimony about their recent visit to Haiti. Also featured was a visual presentation of the carnage. This is an incredible catastrophe, with scenes that remind me of the time I spent in Louisiana after the Katrina-Rita disaster; only the Haitian tragedy is much worse. Records indicate that just less than two thousand people died from the combined effects of hurricanes Katrina & Rita. No-one really knows for sure about Haiti, but it seems likely that there were probably a quarter of a million deaths!

I'm trying to re-calibrate my mind about the Haitian event after hearing the stirring and emotional witness of Pastor Mickey Hawkins. With Katrina, I wanted to take people into my home and I ultimately served seven months with FEMA in the New Orleans area assisting with that relief. But the Haitian thing seemed distant to me. I originally come from the Island of Jamaica, right next door to Haiti and I wondered why God had sent this incredible trial to Haiti and yet spared my childhood home. Then a friend reminded me that ~ notwithstanding the fact there are numerous nominal Christians in Haiti; many of whom claim to be Roman Catholic but were actually coerced into this tradition during slavery ~ the National "Religion" of Haiti is actually the Anti-Christian, West African Voodoo! We have some of this stuff in my own homeland where it's called "Obeah" but it has basically died out in Jamaica since my childhood as the island has become one of the most Christian countries on earth.

Meantime, in Haiti, they still worship the dead, carry out animal sacrifices, pray to familiar spirits, attempt to read the future and seek to pacify evil apparitions. They also practice 'Black Magic', cast spells and create 'death potions' for a fee. A particularly malign brand of Voodoo called "Petro" includes wild sexual orgies, death curses and the creation of "Zombies." As I understand it, the poverty level in Haiti has gone from somewhere around 60 to 80% in the last few decades. Now we have this devastating earthquake. I wonder if God has a message for Haiti?

To be frank, I was also disgusted when the Haitian Government, on its first official day of mourning on Friday the 12th. of February last, invited Voodoo priests to the ceremony ~ AND THEY "PRAYED" THERE RIGHT ALONGSIDE CATHOLIC PRIESTS & PROTESTANT MINISTERS! What were the Christians thinking by getting involved in - and implicitly sanctioning - this travesty?

Anyhow, I guess we can leave those judgments to The Almighty.

Of course, the suffering of the Haitian children in particular is heart-wrenching ... Pastor Hawkins told of a seventeen year old boy whom he was unable to help and who had spent days trying to dig the dead body of his young sister from the rubble; one of the Deacons cried when he recalled another young girl - apparently parentless - who followed him around tugging at his leg for an entire day and whom he ultimately had to leave behind. Apparently, the Cinco Church was even prohibited from distributing food and water, and had to travel with an armed guard because of the likelihood of being mobbed by the starving crowds. So I certainly recommend that, notwithstanding the Voodoo issue which we can leave in God's hands, you should assist Pastor Hawkins and the Southern Baptists in their Haitian endeavors. As Pastor said: 1) Pray for the Haitians; 2) go on a Mission to Haiti if you can; 3) but at least do something caring like send "A Bucket Of Hope" via "NAMB", The North American (Southern Baptist) Mission Board for the relief effort. Pastor Hawkins also advised: Read 1 John 3:17-18. "If any of you has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? ... let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

God Bless you all (AND Shalom!),                                                                                                      

Bill.



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Pd. Pol. Adv., paid for and approved by Dr. Bill Escoffery,

Candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida.

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Last modified: 09/13/10