JeanJean had grown up in the small, rural, primitive community of Caïman where UCI is located. When we were in seminary in the U.S. and felt God calling us back to Haiti to serve, we looked at many other places to serve because JeanJean knew that Caïman would not be an easy place to take his new family. It was steeped in the worship of vodou, an animistic religion that believes in evil spirits that inhabit many inanimate objects and that worship them to appease them. But, God made it clear that he did want us to serve in this little corner of Haiti. It was not the lack of electricity, running water, internet or phone service, or the horrendous roads that made us worry. It was the fact that we were exposing our girls who were only 2 and 6 y/o to vodou. We had bars on our windows before we had a cement floor. The first people that were hired by UCI were guards to protect our family and property. When people are lost in the worship of Satan, the ‘father of lies,’ it is not a safe situation. 

In the first couple months of our ministry of UCI, we became used to the sound of vodou drums every weekend night.  JeanJean was teaching the lay pastors during the day, Kristie was homeschooling and developing a women’s ministry, but the drums kept beating. 

One night, JeanJean woke up in the middle of the night and told Kristie, “That’s enough. I have to tell them.” What was on our hearts was the fact that God clearly called us to this area that had people that were lost in hopelessness. JeanJean decided to go out to talk to the people in the vodou ceremony. He found one of the guards that was a Christian to accompany him. After much reluctance, we took hold of the promise ‘because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world’
(I John 4:4). 

They walked to the ceremony and found 50 men heavily drinking while they danced and called upon different spirits. When they saw JeanJean, a man who had grown up with them, they stopped and drunkenly asked him to join in. JeanJean asked if he could just share a couple of words with them. He shared John 3:16 and broke it into 2 parts:  those that believe and those that don’t believe. He asked the question, ‘What has serving these spirits done for your life? Do you have hope? Joy? Assurance?’ He gave witness saying, “Those that believe have a God that gave His only Son to all of us who believe and wants us to have abundant life now and a gift of eternal life.’ 

JeanJean didn’t stay much longer after that and turned to go back home. Amazingly, all those men were now sober and decided to pack up and leave as well. The next morning, the witchdoctor that had led the ceremony came to our house. He sat down with JeanJean and asked, “You know those things that you talked about last night? Can that be true for me? You know what I have done…could God really want someone like me?” It was our great joy to assure him that God knew him and loved him and wanted him to come to him. That was the first witchdoctor that came to Christ and God has brought over 35 more witchdoctors and many, many other people lost in vodou to saving faith in Jesus.