Reality check in Haiti amidst a bicentennial celebration.

By January 5, 2004

Haiti (MNN)–A celebration marking the 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence from France turned into a scene of internal strife, with bloody clashes breaking out between police and protesters.

The country is in the grip of extreme poverty with despair strengthening its hold. Malnutrition afflicts two-thirds of the population, 80 percent are unemployed, and life expectancy has fallen to a hemispheric low of 49 years.

World Help’s Eric Vess, speaking from Haiti, says the trouble sets the stage for their outreach. “The real way that Haiti will be transformed is really person by person, church by church, child by child. The work that we are involved in here is Bible distribution and feeding programs.”

Some Haitians wanted to rededicate their nation to Satan, but Vess says believers are determined. He urges prayer support in the days ahead. “The Christians in Haiti would ask American Christians to pray with them that those who espouse voodoo will not have the upper hand and dedicate this nation back to Satan for another 200 years, but that it would be dedicated to Jesus Christ.”

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