I have just finished reading Demons of Poverty, by Ted Boers and Tim Stoner.
Mr. Boers is a successful businessman and a Christian who came to a point in his life when he wanted to use the wealth God had given him to help others.
He was drawn to the incredible poverty and suffering in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Boers gathered together numerous investors and set about on a development project called “Nouveau Kiskeya” (New Haiti) on a 15-mile long strip of pristine oceanfront in the northwestern peninsula.
Rather than being primarily profit-motivated, Boers and his fellow investors agreed that the primary purpose of the project was to bring jobs to thousands of Haitians and introduce them to the God of the Bible.
Boers writes that, from the very beginning, God blessed their efforts. He kept a journal and documented 16 different instances of miracles that moved the project forward.
In one instance, even though he was told that finding an adequate supply of fresh water in that area of Haiti was a waste of time, the drilling rig struck an aquifer 318 feet down that produced one million gallons of freshwater per day.
The equipment used had a maximum drilling depth of 320 feet.
And, the man who sold the land to the Nouveau Kiskeya project came to faith in Jesus Christ.
During the project, hundreds of jobs were created and great strides were made. Investors continued to fund the project even when it seemed it would end for lack of money. Boers was convinced it truly was a “God project.”
And then it failed.
It didn’t fail overnight. It was a long, slow death over the course of 18 months with, according to Boer, government corruption at its roots. And, he asserts that government corruption had its origins in evil.
Haiti’s past is controversial, with some calling it myth or choosing to ignore it, but it is known that a group of slaves who had been horribly mistreated by their French owners led a revolt in 1791 that eventually led to Haitian independence. The slaves were led by a voodoo priest. A pig was sacrificed, they renounced the white man’s God, made a pact with the devil, and much bloodshed ensued.
There are those who disagree with the accuracy of this account, and its relevance to modern politics in Haiti, but no one disagrees that voodoo is practiced in Haiti.
Boers firmly believes that Nouveau Kiskeya failed because of spiritual warfare.
And it shook his faith to its core.
How could this project that was blessed by God so many times just fail? Why would God allow this to happen?
It took him almost two years of reflection, but he eventually realized that God’s objectives might have been different than his own.
When he looked at a list of what happened during the project from God’s perspective, he found that 75 children had been rescued from horrible abuse, over 100 voodoo practitioners and several voodoo priests had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, 37 boat people attempting to escape Haiti washed up on the beach of Nouveau Kiskeya and were saved from death, 17 ponds for irrigation were built and provided 80,000 man-hours of paid labor plus desperately needed water for gardens and livestock, 4000 familes have safe drinking water as a result of the successful well, a 14-room guest house was built on the property that now serves as a spiritual training center for local pastors, and 40 local churches are united and working together to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those 40 churches, their pastors, and their congregations continue to engage in spiritual warfare against the enemy of our souls—and they are winning.
The book is an excellent read for any Christian, but is especially important for anyone with a heart for missions. I don’t often use a highlighter, but I did mark a quote by Dietrich Bonhoffer on page 139.
“The figure of the Crucified invalidates that success is the standard.”
These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word. (Isaiah 66:2b)