Haiti (BHM/MNN) — Lent has begun.
The gaiety in Haiti leading up to the season was punctuated by an official statement from the Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe. In it, he said he believes that "culture is one of the key sectors for economic and social development of the country" and invited the public to reject violence, as well as celebrate the Haitian Carnival 2013.
Haitian Carnival is one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the Caribbean and North America. It's about decadence, indulgence, and challenging authority. It's also influenced by local customs such as voodoo and Haitian music.
It's contrasted by the sobriety of Lent, whose traditional purpose is to prepare the believer for Holy Week, marking the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection.
In its own way, the celebration of Carnival gave way to a time of revival for Baptist Haiti Mission team members. Although schools were closed and businesses shut down for the celebrations and rituals, the churches of Haiti and BHM took the time to share about the meaning behind the tradition.
• Camp LePhare (BHM camp in Montrouis) is hosting camp this week for students as a positive alternative from the activities of Haitian Carnival. Students will be housed in a safe environment and be exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ instead of the darkness of voodoo and spirit worship.
• BHM missionaries Darlene Wynn and Elsa Peterson left the mission property in Fermathe for the week. They are leading Vacation Bible School in a province highly saturated by Voodoo. Children in families who practice voodoo will be sent to participate in this time of VBS and the Gospel will be presented.
• The schools connected with BHM are hosting a spiritual retreat for their teachers this week. This will be a time of encouragement and reflection for those in the school system seeking to point their students to the Lord.
• Multiple churches throughout the countryside are hosting youth camps, conferences, and other times of worship for their church families. Our hearts are overwhelmed by the response the church of Haiti is taking to combat the ways of the world.
They are seeing firsthand that what Satan intends for evil, the Lord works for good. A spiritual battle is at hand. Their team knows the outcome of the war and are praising the Lord for His victory.