I was born in a heathen family who knew nothing about God’s amazing love and the beauty of Christianity. My parents were voodoo worshippers, completely ignorant of the things of God. Voodoo is an African cult imported into the Antilles by the African slaves during the colonization. It is characterized by belief in sorcery and witchcraft. The voodoo worshippers believe in evil spirits, called demons, and adore them as their gods. They believe these evil spirits have power over them if they do not fulfill their duty toward them respectfully and faithfully. Therefore, these voodooists are really enslaved by the devil and need to be freed by the power of the gospel of Christ.
It was such an environment that I came from. For fear of these evil spirits my parents never went to church, neither did they encourage us to go. I was not interested in going to church either. I was more eager than all the other children to go to the devil’s temple for worship every week with my mother, until one day when I was 13 years of age one of the spirits chose me to be set apart for his priesthood.
Although I used to go to the Obeahman and enjoyed the voodoo ceremonies, I was empty, and I did not have any joy and peace within. There was no love, no sense of happiness and satisfaction among these Haitian voodoo worshippers. They envied, hated and killed one another. It was a real hell for me. But, blinded by the devil, I could not see my way out. There I was, a 13 year-old boy, hopeless, desperate and lost in the world. But while I was there in that pit of destruction, chained up by the devil’s fetters, God, my loving Heavenly Father, was thinking of me. He had a wonderful plan for my life and so He opened up a way out for me through some little Christian friends.
These young people invited me to go with them to Sunday school. Without any resistance and unknown to my mother, I accompanied them. The ﬁrst Sunday I enjoyed it very much. Every Sunday it became more interesting. The more I kept going and learning about God, the less interest I had in the voodoo business, until one day I made the decision to stop going with my mother to the voodoo temple for worship. I started going to The Salvation Army meeting. I can vividly remember that Sunday night when the Lord put His hand upon me. It was after listening to a message and the preacher was singing the appeal song, “Have you any room for Jesus?” that sitting in the pew I felt God’s hand heavily resting upon me to pray at the Mercy Seat. There at that sacred place I met with God and experienced something that I never felt before—the presence of the sweet Holy Spirit invading my soul—a sense of extreme joy and happiness came over me and all my life was changed. I was born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh! Glory to God! It was a blessed experience that I never will forget.
Major Vilo Exantus is Disaster Services coordinator for the Caribbean Territory.