Mickey Starling: Greene Publishing, Inc.
After spending a year in the impoverished nation of Haiti, Tessa Andrews can't wait to get back to teaching at the Cite Lumiere Christian School, in Les Cayes, Haiti, where she is an elementary education instructor. Despite the darkness that engulfs this nation as a result of poverty and the heavy presence of Voodoo worship, Andrews is full of hope for the Haitian people.
Voodoo is a religion that blends Roman Catholicism with African magic and involves sorcery and spell casting. "Spiritual warfare is very real there," said Andrews, who is back in Pinetta for a short visit. "I've learned a lot and I actually feel closer to God in Haiti," said Andrews.
Being close to God is wonderfully reassuring to Andrews, who sees demonic activities and manifestations on a regular basis. "Even the kids are just used to it," said Andrews, who recalls talking to a Haitian Christian who once passed by a known member of the Voodoo church, who was staring at her. She suddenly felt that she was being "chained by demons." Andrews asked the woman how she responded to this spiritual attack and her answer was simple. "I cried out to Jesus and the chains fell immediately."
Teaching the missionaries' children and the others who attend the school is a true passion for Andrews. "I've seen a lot of spiritual growth from the kids," said Andrews. "We recently brought in an unchurched seven year-old girl that our kids just embraced. She didn't understand the meaning behind Passover, Easter and the Crucifixion, but her classmates explained it to her, in detail." Keeping the Bible stories relevant for their young minds is something Andrews thoroughly enjoys. "I love enhancing the Bible stories for them and bringing them to life," said Andrews. "I love everything about my time in Haiti except the tarantulas. They are pretty scary."
The support from Pinetta First Baptist Church, her home church, and the Madison Community continues to bless Andrews. "That support is what makes this possible," said Andrews. "I've seen other missionaries who have been disowned by their relatives for choosing to enter full-time missions." Such a choice does involve giving up on financial success for a season and certainly entails a fair amount of enduring other hardships. There is no air conditioning in Haiti and the temperatures can be sweltering. "You just get used to being hot," said Andrews, who also noted that the diet for some Haitians is pretty sparse, especially where meat is involved. Andrews has recently switched her missionary affiliation to Reciprocal Ministries International (RMI). This organization has made support and finances more accessible and they are a ministry specific to Haiti. RMI partners with American churches to provide live chickens and goats to Haitian families and a feeding program for children. "Though the kids in this program receive only one meal a day, they are showing great improvements to their health," said Andrews.
As Andrews readies to return to Haiti in the fall, she will continue to need support to meet her needs. If you are interested in helping her continue to share the light of the Gospel in Haiti, contributions can be sent to Reciprocal Ministries International, 5475 Lee St., Suite 301, Lehigh, Fla. 33971. You can also call them at (239) 368-8390 or visit their website at www.rmibridge.org.